How LA Can Turn Crisis Into Opportunity

The closure of a key freeway segment could be a chance to improve and promote public transit.

1 minute read

November 15, 2023, 11:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Early morning view of downtown Los Angeles with blurred heavy traffic on Interstate 10 in foreground.

Morning traffic on Interstate 10 near downtown Los Angeles. | James / Adobe Stock

The Los Angeles Times editorial board wants the city to see the recent shutdown of part of Interstate 10 as an opportunity to promote the region’s transit options.

As the board explains, “The section of the 10 Freeway damaged Saturday morning by a pallet yard fire is a major artery carrying some 300,000 vehicles in, out and through downtown most days.” The shutdown will have major impacts on mobility reaching far beyond the immediate area.

In an ideal world, a freeway closure wouldn’t upend lives and businesses. With more bus and rail lines, along with faster, reliable service, there would be no need to panic. Travelers would have ample choices to get to their destination, and with fewer passenger cars on the road, cargo trucks could have easier passage.

Rather than just pledge to reopen the freeway as soon as possible, the board suggests that city and state leaders should also “should also push for a rapid expansion of transit service. That would serve travelers now during the closure and encourage people to keep using transit after the route reopens.” The editorial suggests several concrete steps that transportation officials could take immediately, such as boosting service on bus and train lines near the affected area and accelerating the installation of bus lanes.

Monday, November 13, 2023 in Los Angeles Times

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