Sprawlfest

One of the ironies of Los Angeles is that Metro, despite being a transit agency, is still obsessed with the windshield perspective. Even as driving miles drop steadily in the US—since well before the Great Recession (brought on in part by sprawl)—the powers that be wobble onward building more lanes, more parking, more roads. We’ve even spent one billion dollars to add one lane each way to the 405, for ten lousy miles! That would about pay for the entire Expo Line, which has around fifteen times the capacity of that overblown asphalt playpen for already subsidized motorists.

And a good part of the Expo Line’s cost accrues to the parking garages, such as the one at Jefferson and La Cienega. Nearly 500 shaded parking spaces in a multistory structure, absolutely free for the motor maniacs to use. Supplemented by around eighteen bike racks exposed to thieves and sun, and a handful of bike lockers—which you have to pay to use!

Head out to the Valley terminus of the Red Line for yet more: a vast sprawl of car parking on land that could have been developed as much-needed housing, retail, office, entertainment, or light manufacturing space. Instead, more motorized socialism: car storage for the self-entitled. (Note how many bikes are parked per square yard versus how many cars, while you’re looking!)




True, they’re not driving over the Cahuenga Pass, at least, but Metro could have done more to entice them out of their precious little isolation chambers well upstream of NoHo. Maybe even at their own front doors. The bike parking facilities in these photos are as good as it gets so far in LA; the Orange Line, which should be feeding the Red Line, has sparse and highly insecure bike parking. We’re basically bribing people to drive to the train stops, and making other choices tedious or unpleasant—slow and rare buses, streets too frightening to bike one, bottom-of-the-line bike parking. In other cities, the bicycle is acknowledged as the best solution to the last-mile problem, one that brings people to transit stations more efficiently and more effectively than anything else. Bike parking provisions in cities from Tokyo to Amsterdam are legendary and well-used by rich and poor alike.

We ought to do better.

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One Comment

  1. Tim S.
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    LA has such a great climate for bicycling but mixing it up with traffic is intimidating, (in my limited experience).