L.A. Surprising History of Transit Innovation

In recent years, Los Angeles has embraced mass transit as a solution to the city's legendary traffic woes. This embrace has historical precedent, however, says Sam Lubell, who examines six of L.A.'s unbuilt proposals for transit systems.

Los Angeles is well known for its car culture and notorious traffic. "[I]n the midst of all this car craziness, Angelenos, their various government agencies, and several visionary designers have been proposing mass transit schemes for more than a century," says Lubell. "Some of them are incredibly innovative, some of them, well, just crazy. Now that we’re becoming more and more used to driving 0 miles per hour on the 405 freeway, and running into rush hour traffic on the 10 freeway at 2 p.m., we’re getting more and more willing to take a look at something—anything—other than the car."

Lubell examines six schemes, from a 1925 subway plan to maglev train proposals in recent decades, that he and co-curator Greg Goldin compiled as part of their upcoming exhibition, Never Built: Los Angeles, which opens at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum on July 27. 

Full Story: Fail Harder: Lessons From L.A.'s Best Unrealized Transit Ideas


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