Transportation in Los Angeles – Looking Ahead, Looking Back


As recently reported in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles City Council voted 12-2 on Tuesday to approve “…a sweeping transportation plan that calls for the addition of hundreds of miles of new bicycle lanes, bus-only lanes and other road redesigns over the next 20 years.” The primary objectives of this initiative, dubbed Mobility Plan 2035, are to increase the options for those who don’t want to rely on the automobile and enhance road safety.


Photo by Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

While most would agree that those are worthy goals, exactly how the city should achieve them is in dispute. According to the same LA Times story, “…opponents, many in the city’s Westside, are preparing to sue, saying the city’s own analysis shows the loss of roadway for cars would add to traffic congestion and reduce emergency response times.”

As Los Angeles looks to the future and debates how best to address its mobility challenges, it’s a good time to consider how our transportation infrastructure developed over time. Suffice it to say, it’s a multifaceted story with fascinating twists and turns.

HiddenHistoryLA_logoA recent podcast by Robert Petersen, publisher of Hidden History of Los Angeles, provides an excellent overview of LA’s early rail system, with a particular focus on the city’s first subway tunnel in downtown. I highly recommend you check it out, along with a story I wrote about the Subway Terminal Building back in June 2012. While you’re at it, take a listen to some of Petersen’s other stories. I think you’ll find them well worth your time.