Los Angeles needs cleaner mass transit to counter urban sprawl

Los Angeles needs cleaner mass transit to counter urban sprawl

Tomber Su/THE CHIMES

Tomber Su/THE CHIMES

Tim Seeberger, Writer

Unless you own a car, Los Angeles is difficult to navigate. Public transportation should bridge that gap and help people get around in a eco-friendly way. This is not the case for Los Angeles. Even though Los Angeles County Metro Transportation Authority is actively making improvements to their public transit, they remain far from where they should be as one of the largest cities in the world. travel via public transportation

travel via public transportation

The amount of people who drive in Los Angeles poses serious environmental problems for the city. 70 percent of all people living in Los Angeles county commute by car alone to work — 2,714,944 people. Only 6 percent of the population takes the buses and less than 1 percent — about 7,000 people — take the train or subway. With growing environmental problems in Los Angeles County, there needs to be a bigger effort toward creating new ways to travel via public transportation and showing people they can use and rely on the system.

In March, LACMTA announced an expansive, $120 billion plan to expand the existing transit lines throughout Los Angeles, repair worn-down roads and even build a tunnel through the Sepulveda Pass used for both cars and a new train line. This plan, funded by a half-cent increase in sales tax for the next 18 years, will take 40 years to complete. The idea behind this massive plan is correct but unfortunately, it lacks urgency.

Low air quality

Although it is pleased me to see Los Angeles County address the issue of a broken infrastructure, this is not enough to fix their public transportation problems. According to the American Lung Association, Los Angeles has one of the lowest levels of air quality of any city in the U.S. Rising levels of smog can cause a myriad of health problems such as asthma and lung cancer.

Even worse, this plan will take 40 years to complete. Metro Los Angeles announced they are building streetcars to run through historic LA, but will not be completed until 2053. Metro is implementing this plan at a lethargic pace considering the amount of health problems coupled with a constant population rise in LA County.

The light rail Metro system needs to have greater focus in the LACMTA master plan. It is perplexing to see that Metro is implementing plans, such as repairing the 5 freeway in Norwalk, that will not be completed until 2018. They are pouring tax revenue into projects that will take years to complete. These projects will become obsolete by the time they are completed. LACMTA will need to repair the 5 freeway again after this project is over. They will always need to repair broken and outdated infrastructures as long as there is a steadily-increasing amount of people in Los Angeles that have access to vehicles.

Los Angeles County is huge and unfortunately not fully accessible with the Metro system. Los Angeles needs to shift a greater focus away from highway infrastructure and more on improving their light rail and bus system. They need to look at other cities that have a proficient rail system like Washington D.C. and New York City. LACTMA has taken a step in the right direction, but they still have steps to complete in order to truly improve the city of Los Angeles.

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