Is Mass Transit Feasible For L.A.?

The city's new Orange Line busway has made little system-wide impact; should the mayor continue to strive for more transit options, or is it time to give up?
March 1, 2006, 12pm PST | David Gest
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"...after several months running and lots of time for drivers and riders to get used to them, the Orange Line Metro Liner express buses chug along relatively accident-free on a dedicated 'busway' through the middle of the San Fernando Valley. But while the buses have exceeded early expectations for the number of riders, they hardly seem destined to put much of a dent in this city's chronic congestion."

"It may come as a surprise that the Los Angeles area has one of the most extensive public transit systems in the country, with 73 miles of subway and light rail, 500 miles of commuter train lines and 2,670 buses covering 18,500 stops. The problem is that people live and work in pockets spread over an area larger than Rhode Island, and that going long distances on mass transit can mean long waits and frequent transfers that send public-transit newcomers rushing back to their cars."

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has vowed to do something about the problem. "The mayor has added traffic officers at 38 choked intersections. He has sped up plans to synchronize traffic lights at all of the city's 4,300 intersections. And he promises to double the number of left-turn signals in four years.

The mayor's biggest proposal by far, however, may be the toughest to make happen, a bid to extend the city's Red Line subway nearly 13 miles from downtown to the sea."

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Published on Friday, February 24, 2006 in The New York Times
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