Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

zombie cars eat L.A.


LA parking crater

A new study in the Journal of the American Planning Association estimates that in 2010 there were approximately 18.6 million parking spaces in Los Angeles County. That’s about 3.3 spaces, or 1,000 square feet, per vehicle—literally more space for each car than for each person in the county. The authors also note that the amount of parking has continued to grow over the years, from around 2.5 million spaces in 1930, to 12 million in 1970, to 18.6 million in 2010. That data is over 5 years old, so don’t be surprised if we’re approaching the 19 million mark by now.

It seems logical that the way to reduce car congestion is to widen roads and build more parking. But this is exactly what Los Angeles has been doing for the last 50 years, and the results are: Los Angeles is 70% asphalt, and totally congested!

But one more tragic result of accomodating the car (instead of humans) is the illustration above courtesy of Better Institutions. The city-for-the-car is a dysfunctional moonscape with a massive parking crater where its heart ought to be.


Cycling Los Angeles mayor injured by cab


A recent article in the LA Times reports that the mayor – Antonio Villaraigosa – broke his elbow a few Saturdays ago when a taxi cut him off while he was cycling on Venice Boulevard.

Maybe I’m being a bit callous and rational, but I can’t imagine a better spokesperson for bike safety than a mayor with a broken elbow.

I’m also really glad that he didn’t crack open his head and damage his brain, otherwise he wouldn’t be smart enough to make the changes that he needs to make to ensure that this kind of thing doesn’t happen to everyone in LA who decides to “try cycling.” That he was wearing a helmet (and being followed by a body guard in a car) is perhaps the only reason why he isn’t just another road statistic, like so many other damaged cyclists who have been the victim of cars.

Motorists who are afraid to “try cycling” often blame cyclists for all the damage cyclists endure trying to trade in their metal tanks for a bike. Taxis and other commercial vehicles routinely engage in driving behavior that puts every cyclist sharing the road with them in danger. But until a famous person is a victim of these inadequate road infrastructures, the urgency often gets lost in the haze of smoggy car culture.

This blog questions the green credentials of the mayor, as well as the way the incident is being reported in other news sources and blogs.

Needless to say, sunny and flat Los Angeles is hell for cyclists – who normally treasure sunny and flat – because of its mortal traffic and herculean distances between home and work and other activities. Will it get better now that the mayor has sacrificed one of his body parts to car ubiquity?

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