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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  1. ryan
    Posted September 17, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I submit that most of those drivers on Rowena during rush hour ARE aiming to get on the freeway. There’s no freeway entrance on Hyperion, and so they cut down Rowena to Fletcher.

    My only evidence is from observation. And I ride on Silver Lake Blvd to Fletcher every day, not Rowena. Incidentally, I often bike at the same pace as the cars. So I can observe the majority of vehicles traveling long ways to then enter the southbound 5 (the one right after the Fletcher bridge).

  2. Ryan
    Posted October 22, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    I’d like to amend my comment: I meant the entrance to CA-2, not I-5. I bike by this every day and apparently never looked closely at the numbers!

    However, I did look at ADT numbers, and found that there are 37,000 average daily vehicles on Fletcher at Riverside, and 20,000 on Fletcher at San Fernando (this is counting both directions of travel). Where do those 17,000 vehicles disappear to between the two points? Likely onto the freeways. And for eastbound travel on Fletcher, the differential between the two points is 8,000. So, a good percentage of the vehicles on Fletcher – and likely the roads that feed to Fletcher, such as Rowena and Silver Lake Boulevard, are carrying people onto freeways and outta town.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] don’t want to deal with the road diet, there’s a giant freeway free of bikes and pedestrians just a block and a half away. Although describing WAZE as methadone for road hogs is absolutely […]

  2. By Today’s Headlines | Streetsblog Los Angeles on September 17, 2015 at 8:25 am

    […] 11-Year-Old Cyclist Matty Grossman, Silver Lake Safe Streets Hero (LAist) …Rowena Complaints Just Entitlement Junkies Looking For A Fix (Flying Pigeon) […]

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