How Do You Divide Already Crowded Roads and Streets?


The City of Los Angeles has just approved a plan that will set the framework for dividing the city’s network of streets into the future.

The overall goal is pretty clear: make things so tough for the drivers of cars to get around that they will gladly abandon their vehicles and start commuting on foot, by bicycle or on public transportation.

The architects of L.A.’s 20-year mobility plan — dubbed Mobility Plan 2035 — say they want to slow down traffic to increase safety for cyclists and pedestrians. They say doing so will also help keep cars moving at steady pace, which will actually reduce traffic tie-ups. Los Angeles isn’t alone in its efforts to accommodate more cyclists and walkers. It seems to be a national trend.

The momentum against the automobile has really picked up speed.

Los Angeles’ master plan for transportation calls for removing auto lanes, adding 300 miles of dedicated bike lanes and reconfiguring city streets and intersections to make them more pedestrian-friendly.

While the goal of reducing cars on the road may be admirable, even desirable, the push by local government to reduce the number of street lanes available to cars too often fails to take into consideration that some of the roads truly are not suitable or safe for divvying up, or what people want.

There has already been angry push back from automobile drivers and owners who say the city did a poor job of engaging them in the planning process.

We understand their frustration: and fear of ever-longer commutes and widespread gridlock.

Los Angeles is spread out over many miles and the ability to get around the city without a car is no easy task.

What many local governments seem to forget is that present day roadways weren’t planned to accommodate three-way usage. Say what you may, some heavily traveled corridors just won’t be safe for bicyclists as drivers enter and exit these corridors.

We believe it’s important to allow local elected officials to work with their constituents in making decisions about which roads in their districts are best suited for the traffic changes called for in the Mobility Plan.

Change is never easy, especially when it’s forced. So allowing residents to buy into the process is crucial to successfully addressing transportation in the city. Without it, planning gridlock is inevitable.

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