Subway foes and transit boosters: Just growing farther apart?
It's nearly impossible to say for sure when Los Angeles might come into its own as a post-suburban city, a place fully comfortable with multi-family housing and connected by a comprehensive mass-transit system. But one thing is for sure: The debate about what the development of such a city will mean, and what kinds of changes it will bring, is as wildly incoherent as ever.
In the last few weeks alone, there have been a number of signs that the city is ready to pay more attention to its streetscape design and its shared and public spaces, perhaps none clearer than the mass of more than 100,000 people who came out to celebrate the CicLAvia street-closure event on Oct. 10. At the same time, opponents of increased density and new transit lines seem as entrenched and energized as ever -- evidenced by the tizzy among transit opponents, as seen in the LA Weekly and elsewhere, after a recent report from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that said a Westside subway would mean little improvement in car traffic.
So what does it all mean? As I argue in Sunday's Arts & Books essay, maybe the divide between those who welcome events like CicLAvia and developments like the subway and those who are on guard against them is not closing but growing wider.
-- Christopher Hawthorne
Photo: Bike riders during CicLAvia on Oct. 10, 2010. The event closed more than seven miles of L.A. streets to car traffic. Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times