Transportation Apocalypse in The City of Angels

News outlets on the west coast have been busy with the unfortunate excitement of an inevitable transportation disaster cause by construction on the 405.  The traffic situation is said to be more paralyzing than an earthquake and more immobilizing than a hurricane.

Route 405 links the northern and southern parts of the greater Los Angeles metro region, and construction this past weekend was predicted to be so disastrous that news outlets dubbed it " Carmageddon."  Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Police Lieutenent Andrew Neiman and even even California Department of Transportation regional director Mike Miles have all had relatively the same message for Los Angeles drivers tempting to get on the road this past weekend: "Just stay home."

Daredevil Planking the 405

Demolition of the Mulholland Drive Bridge

While L.A. residents were panicking over the idea of not being able to drive for three days, JetBlue saw an opening in the market and went for it. The low-cost air carrier offered flights from Burbank (just north of L.A.) to Long Beach (just south of L.A.) for only $4.  A sweet deal considering the rest of the city was predicted to be a post-apocalyptic nightmare of gridlock by Saturday afternoon.   Would this have happened in any major Northeast City like New York, Philly, or D.C.? Probably not, simply because there are other ways to get around.

This is part of what makes having transportation choices so desirable for so many people.  Americans are increasingly choosing to live in areas with access to trains, subways and bike lanes- or in neighborhoods where jobs, homes, schools and shopping are within distance of one another.  Being dependent on only one form of transportation, like Los Angeles residents are finding out, can be limiting.

Despite the bad transportation publicity, the city of Los Angeles is already working to create more diverse  transportation options for its residents.  The city's ambitious 30/10 Initiative aims to build 30 years' worth of mass transit in just 10.  The initiative will improve public transportation options in the city, a strategy proven to reduce congestion better than expanding roads, and in doing so will create thousands of jobs in the city and offer more efficient alternatives than the car.

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