One Lane, One Way, $1 Billion

The weekend closure of the 405 freeway in L.A. highlights the city's limited mobility but also the skewed way transit and transportation projects are debated.

"There is certainly something to be said in this diffuse, diverse and distractible city for collectivity of any kind. And anything that forces us to imagine a Los Angeles without cars - or less dependent on cars, at any rate - has some civic value.

It's striking, though, that amid all this handwringing we've barely paused to ask the most basic questions about what the widening project means for the city and how we navigate it or how we think about the relationship between architecture and mobility in a city planned for more than half a century around the primacy of the car.

To begin with: Is widening the 405 (to add one solitary carpool lane on the freeway's northbound side) really something that we should be spending $1 billion on? Will it actually make traffic through the pass better? And if so, for how long?"

By comparison, much more noise has been created in the face of extensions of the city's light rail, for example.

Full Story: Critic's Notebook: Fast lane to gridlock


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