Friday, January 05, 2007

Report from the Los Angeles in the Year 2030: Transporation

In the 1950s Los Angeles led the country in its devotion to the car
and its assoicated illnesses: suburban sprawl, air pollution; growth of ugly strip malls and fast-food restaurants; gated communities; extrmeley long commutes. By 2006 traffic girdlock was spreading throughout the city. 2007 was the last year in the Age of the Car, but even the years leading up to 2007 people were beginning to question the car. The 2008 Saudi War where gas prices doubled in two weeks led to huge re-evaluation of the Angeleno's dependency on cars. With the doubling of the gas price, millions could no longer afford their cars.

The Bus Riders Union struggle in the late 1990s and early years of 2001 caused improvement in bus service. The Red Rapid redesigned buses were introduced 2004-6. A small program giving junior college students subusdized bus passes for a few dollars per semester at Los Angeles Trade Technical College and Los Angeles City College was extended to 8 communities colleges in Los Angeles involving 150,000 students. Discounted bus passes were also given to seniors. The next year the program was extended to give discount bus passes to 250,000 low income people. Also a smart card was introduced citywide: anyone could buy a smart card and use it on any bus system.

The bus discount bus program was success, so bus service was expanded to serve another 1/3 million riders. The ugly bum-proof bus benches, aimed at getting rid of homeless people by making it impossible to sit, were replaced by comfortable bus benches and bus shelters. After the 2008 Saudi War when gas prices doubled overnight
another million people switched from cars to buses. By 2010 a million more people were riding the bus yet traffic was still in gridlock on city streets and the freeways.

In 2007 Metro, the city rapid transit, was building two light rail lines: the Exposition Line from downtown to the beach as well as the Gold Line Extension East through East Los Angeles. Mayor Villaraigosa in 2007 got the money for the subway extension down Wilshire to the beach. In 2008 two lines were being built from downtown to the beach: the Exposition Line and the Wilshire Line. As the Wilshire subway to the beach was being built, people demanded not subways but more light rail.

The 2008 Saudi War convinced the majority of Angelenos that LA needed an expanded light rail system, so the system was expanded from five light rails to 10 lines: 5 going north and south and five going east and west. These ten lines were connected up with the Metrolink, the suburban commuter train system. Between 2009-2020 Los Angeles was spending more money building rapid transit rail line than any city in the nation.
When finished in 2025, Los Angeles has the most modern, efficient rapid transit system in the nation. The fast train built from LA International Airport to downtown was faster than anyone in the world--even Shanghai's. Angelenos were rightly proud of their clean, beautiful new rapid transit system.

The city expanded bike paths from its increased number of parks and along the rivers and creeks, so thousands of people bicycled, particularly among the youth. The Bicycle Kitchen, started around 2003 at the EcoVillage and then moved to near Los Angeles City College, taught bicycle repair skills and expanded into a chain of 10 bike kitchens, giving teens an alternative to cars along with basic mechanical skills. Bike clubs became popular, sponsoring more Midnight Rides regularly around the city. Every public and most private building had its bike rack.

Neighborhoods were remade for walking with millions of trees planted along the streets, wooden benches and planters put on popular shopping streets, and attractive bus shelters. Many residential blocks by 2006 were using "street calming" devices which made it necessary for cars to go slowly by newly designed stone blockages within the street. New housing developments were designed like the late 1940s Village Green without any trees at all but just parks. In the Village Green the cars were hidden away in garages behind the housing. Some business districts redesigned them themselve as 1 or 2 or 3 block pedestrian way with no cars at all.

By 2030 80% of the people of Los Angeles used rapid transportation as their main way to go from place to place. Yes, people still drive cars, which were either electric or biodiesal after gas prices skyrocketed after the 2080 Saudi War. But after 2008 parking fees had to be paid to park anywhere in the city. The parking fees helped pay for the expansion of the rapid transit city. Yes, a minority still loved their cars as people in the Age of Cars still loved their horses but they had to pay large sums to have cars.

By the way, horesbacking riding became more popular. Up to the 1970s there were horse stables throughout the hills of Los Angeles, but most had been closed during the Age of Cars. With the going of the cars, many stables in the hills were opened. Horebaking riding became a popular sport again, and many busineses near the hills put up hitching posts so horseback riders could ride to the business, hitch up, do their business, and then ride away.

By 2030 so few people were using the freeways the City Council was debating whether to tear down down, recycle the concerete into buildings.

No comments: