By Kerry Cavanaugh, May 21, 2014
It’s time to retire the old adage that Los Angeles has a love affair
with cars. That vision of L.A. is so tired. Really, how could anyone
maintain a fondness for driving after experiencing rush hour on the 101,
405 or 10 freeways? Or getting stuck in a traffic jam on a weekend? Or
paying $4.30 a gallon for gas or $10 for parking?
So, it’s a bit frustrating to hear California’s senior senator question whether Angelenos will actually use public transit.
In the midst of celebrating the $1.25-billion federal grant to extend the Purple Line subway to Beverly Hills (which is great news,) Sen. Dianne Feinstein
was asked if she thought Southern Californians would embrace the
region’s expanding network the way Northern Californians have embraced
the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system.
Feinstein, apparently, was skeptical. “I’ll believe that when I see it,” the senator said, according to KPCC’s Kitty Felde.
The senator went on to describe our love affair with the automobile as a
“kind of glue connected to a car and the bottoms of Angelenos.”
Perhaps Feinstein needs to pay a visit to L.A.’s subway and light-rail
stations, or hop a bus. She’ll see a lot of people who have unglued
themselves from their cars. Metro has about 1.5 million boardings on
buses and trains on a weekday. Ridership has exceeded projections on new
routes, such as the Orange Line busway across the San Fernando Valley
and the Expo light-rail line from downtown to Culver City.
It’s not hard to imagine why. Traffic stinks, and if you create a
convenient, comfortable alternative to driving, many people will take
it. So much for L.A.’s love affair with cars.