The infamously car-centric city is weighing a proposed congestion pricing pilot program to reduce traffic and encourage public transit use.
L.A.’s notoriously traffic-choked freeways may soon not be so free anymore, reports Rachel Uranga for the Los Angeles Times. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), the region’s transit agency, is exploring a congestion pricing scheme for some of the city’s freeways and roads.
The plan so far lacks solid details, but Metro expects to release a full study of the potential program in the next few months. “The transit agency has zeroed in on three locations for a possible test program: a nearly 16-mile stretch of the 10 Freeway between downtown and Santa Monica, arterial streets and freeways around downtown and the canyon streets and freeways that connect the San Fernando Valley to the L.A. Basin.”
According to Uranga, “the plan promises cleaner air, smoother rides and more funds to the agency’s coffers in the future. Studies show it could reduce harmful air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by pushing more commuters to use public transit, while making roads less hellish for those who pay to use them.”
Rather than having optional paid lanes, which already exist in the Los Angeles area, the congestion pricing proposal would apply to entire roadways. “The aim is to change commuter behavior with the charges while providing transit alternatives.” Those transit alternatives, which remain an inferior option in most parts of the city, will be key to getting commuters to switch modes.
On the other coast, New York City’s congestion pricing plan is inching forward. If implemented, it would be the first such plan in the country.
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