Why LA is America's Transit Mecca

Award-wining author Taras Grescoe pens an opinion piece for the <em>Los Angeles Times</em> in which he makes an argument that may surprise many Angelenos - that their city is at the cutting edge of forward-thinking transportation planning in the U.S.
July 9, 2012, 11am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Author of the recent book "Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves From the Automobile", Grescoe tells Angelenos what he's been telling the world - that Los Angeles is the U.S. city "working hardest to improve transit."

"Many Angelenos are surprised to learn that their city's reputation is at an all-time high among international transit scholars. This is the place, after all, that consistently ranks first in measures of commuter stress, as well as in hours wasted in traffic."

"Outsiders may see freeway-driven sprawl, but metropolitan Los Angeles is actually more densely settled, over its entire urban area, than the New York-Newark metro area. That makes the area ideally suited for the transit revival its leaders are trying to foster."

"The real fight in Los Angeles is not going to be over issues such as methane pockets under Beverly Hills High," says Grescoe, "but over whether street space now given over to the private automobile will go to public transit."

"The drivers I talked to in Los Angeles all acknowledged that their city needed better transit. But, they admitted, that didn't mean they planned on using it themselves. Too often, unfortunately, transit is seen as something the other person ought to be using."

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Published on Saturday, July 7, 2012 in Los Angeles Times
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