Gridlock On The 405 Freeway - 'The Westside Parking Lot'
By Hal Eisner, June 27, 2013
Los Angeles, CA -In the big picture West LA is relatively small. But, it's got three really big construction projects going on and, according to some I've spoken with in the transportation industry, this "perfect storm" of converging projects is making traffic worse than it already was in West Los Angeles. Those projects having a domino effect on Sunset, Santa Monica, Wilshire, Olympic and Pico are the 405 widening project, the Wilshire Loops and The Expo line expansion.
Some days it feels so badly gridlocked that it makes drivers grind their teeth. METRO's Marc Littman says he gets it. He gave me a statement to share with you as did Bruce Gillman at LADOT.
The one part of Littman's statement that really resonates here is that if you buy into the notion of "no pain no gain" then how much longer do we have to wait for the pain to go away. We're having plenty of that pain!
From Marc Littman at METRO:
"Metro acknowledges that the I-405 and Expo Phase II to Santa Monica construction has added to Westside traffic, which was woeful long before our work began because the Westside is so densely populated and a major jobs center. On top of that the work we're doing in the Sepulveda Pass is restricted by mountains so there are limited alternate routes for commuters and others. The good news is that much of the I-405 work will be done by the end of the year. Metro and Caltrans already have opened up three miles of additional lane capacity northbound on the freeway.
Just today another of the Wilshire ramps was completed. All of the bridges, the major utility relocation work,, the underpasses and the Wilshire ramps will soon be done. And we will continue opening more segments of the additional 10 miles of northbound lane, which will give one of the busiest freeways in the world more capacity. When the Expo light rail line is completed to Santa Monica in about 2 ½ years, traffic weary Westsiders will have another option to beat traffic. And the Westside extension of the Purple Line, likewise, will add even greater relief. You'll be able to go from downtown to UCLA in 25 minutes on the subway, an impossible feat by car.
So look beyond the short term pain and embrace a where you won't have to slog through traffic that will only get worse if we do nothing. But 2 million voters countywide – including an overwhelming percentage of Westside residents – in 2008 in the middle of the Great Recession said enough. Doing nothing is not an option. We want traffic relief and we'll pay for it. So Metro is delivering on that mandate."
Bruce Gillman told me in check with LADOT's ATSAC Center there was no unusual uptick in vehicle volume. He also pointed out that whenever a lane is closed it in a loss of roadway capacity that otherwise would be available. Hence the slowdown. Further, states Gillman...
"LADOT's Temporary Traffic Management team and our Traffic Control Center (ATSAC) are constantly monitoring westside activities to maximize traffic signal operations in order to serve all approaches around HWY 405 construction projects."
Littman says it all be better when the projects are done. Time will tell.