Looking for a Fix

Monday, the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council held a meeting to “discuss” the Rowena Avenue road diet. The meeting seemed to be primarily a response to a group of NIMBYs, who blamed the road diet for congestion which long predated it, as well as almost everything else short of Islamic Jihad. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Inquisition…

It turned out that, as Streetsblog LA’s Joe Linton reports, about two-thirds of the comments recorded were in favor of keeping the road diet. Slower motor traffic speed was seen as having made the neighborhood not just safer but better—”more like Larchmont,” as someone put it—Larchmont Village being a delightful and very slow traffic street near Hancock Park, crowded with pedestrians and featuring a well-used bike corral.

It was, Linton reports, cut-through drivers on adjacent streets that most annoyed residents—and that’s more an artifact of the phone app Waze than of bike lanes, since the same phenomenon afflicts neighborhoods whose streets remain obese.

Of course Waze is just an enabler; like electric cars, it is a sort of methadone for road hogs. It doesn’t change the underlying addiction. And there’s no need for all that cut-through motor traffic on Rowena anyway: there’s a giant freeway only a block and a half away, with four wide lanes each way, a 65mph limit, and absolutely no cyclists or pedestrians at all. It’s specifically designed for speeding motor traffic, so drivers who don’t have business in the immediate neighborhood should just head for an onramp.

And yes, the freeway gets jammed—which simply disproves the baseless assertions of the NIMBYs. After all, if the usual drool of our neoneanderthal friends had any foundation in reality at all, freeways would be free and clear 24/7. Instead, the more lanes we build, the worse traffic grows. And it has been thus for decades.

Really, it’s just the entitlement junkies screaming for a fix. It’s kindest not to let them have it, because, no matter how much you give them, they’ll just want more and more and more and more and more….

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