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What “Carmageddon” Says About LA County

July 15, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s virtually impossible to avoid hearing about this weekend’s shutdown of I-405, as the media has been hyping “Carmegeddon” for weeks, but the fact that there is such a big deal to be made over the closure of such a short stretch of freeway (only 10 miles) over a mere 52-hour period, highlights what the rest of the nation has long criticized L.A. for: extreme auto dependency.

Hopefully, the right people are taking note and regarding the weekend freakout as reason for something to be done about L.A.’s auto addiction. Providing Los Angeles county citizens with the transportation options of other comparable cities would be a step in the right direction toward solving multiple problems in the area, including the infamous smog issue. In addition, wider freeways will probably just mean more cars, and not less traffic. In fact, a University of Toronto study recently found exactly that.

In all likelihood, enough people will be too afraid to use a car this weekend that the traffic situation will be no worse than any other weekend in L.A. Carmegeddon will probably be laughed about years later, and we’ll all feel foolish for worrying about nothing. Fortunately for those of us living in Long Beach, there’s plenty to do without needing to leave the city anyway, including a college volleyball tournament, free movie on the beach, and motorcycle festival at the Queen Mary.

Amidst all the hype however, the situation might encourage people to explore their immediate neighborhood. My advice? Take a walk! Ride your bike! Take advantage of free rides on Metro rail! Do something that doesn’t involve driving. You might find something really cool nearby that you never knew was there.

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