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Ezekiel Watson
Ezekiel Watson

Los Angeles Traffic



Here's a dirty little secret that politicians, agencies and transportation innovators probably don't want you to know: there is almost nothing they can do to fix traffic in a thriving city like Los Angeles.




Los Angeles Traffic



Oft-cited research from economist Anthony Downs found -- as far back as the 1960s -- that traffic on urban freeways always increases to meet maximum capacity. He also found that adding new roads or lanes doesn't help.


In fact, a Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority study showed rush-hour travel times actually slowed by a minute on average during the year after completion in 2014, and traffic has only increased since then.


A USC/Metro study found the first phase of the Expo Line light rail from downtown to Culver City also had no effect on traffic on the parallel 10 Freeway or nearby streets. That's despite the fact the rail line attracted healthy ridership of more than 30,000 people a day.


For instance, you might avoid visiting a good friend often in West L.A. because the traffic there is bad. But if new capacity is added, that makes it easier to drive and you'll visit your friend more often or at times you would have previously avoided.


"When you add up the millions and millions of people in the L.A. area, the aggregate effect of those individual decisions to venture out onto the roadway means that it's hard for adding a lane or even a couple lanes to really move the needle on traffic during peak hours," said Juan Matute, deputy director of the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies.


Autonomous vehicles do have the potential to make traffic flows more efficient, which will free up space on the roads. Routing traffic through the air or underground also adds extra capacity to the system. But they fail to address demand.


Los Angeles has a complex multimodal transportation infrastructure, which serves as a regional, national and international hub for passenger and freight traffic. The system includes the United States' largest port complex; an extensive freight and passenger rail infrastructure, including light rail lines and rapid transit lines; numerous airports and bus lines; vehicle for hire companies; and an extensive freeway and road system. People in Los Angeles rely on cars as the dominant mode of transportation,[1] but since 1990 Los Angeles Metro Rail has built over one hundred miles (160 km) of light and heavy rail serving more and more parts of Los Angeles. As a result, Los Angeles was the last major city in the United States to get a permanent rail system installed.


Transportation in Greater Los Angeles is a complex multimodal transportation infrastructure, which serves as a regional, national and international hub for passenger and freight traffic. The transportation system of Greater Los Angeles includes the United States' largest port complex, seven commuter rail lines, and Amtrak service. With many highways, it is integrated into the Interstate Highway System.


There are a dozen major freeways that crisscross the region. California's first freeway was the Arroyo Seco Parkway segment of California State Route 110, also known as the Pasadena Freeway. It opened on January 1, 1940 and links downtown Los Angeles to downtown Pasadena. From Chavez Ravine north to Pasadena it can be quite dangerous because there is no shoulder, the lanes are narrow, the turns are sharp (not always properly banked), and the ramps are quite short and offer little room for acceleration to freeway speed; all of this is because the freeway was designed for much slower cars and much less traffic volume than exists today.[original research?] Commercial vehicles over 6,000 pounds (2.7 t; 2.7 long tons) are prohibited from using this freeway. Newer freeways are straighter, wider, and allow for higher speeds.


Los Angeles has synchronized its traffic lights.[10][11][12] The mean travel time for commuters in Los Angeles is shorter than other major cities, including New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago. Los Angeles' mean travel time for work commutes in 2006 was 29.2 minutes, similar to those of San Francisco and Washington, DC.[13] Rush hour occurs on weekdays between 5 am and 10 am, and in the afternoon between 3 pm and 7 pm (although rush-hour traffic can occasionally spill out to 11 am and start again from 2 pm until as late as 10 pm, especially on Fridays). Traffic can occur at almost any time, particularly before major holidays (including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and three-day weekends) and even on regular weekends when one otherwise would not expect it.


Some of the more common means of maintaining surface street traffic flow is the use of loop-sensors embedded in the pavement allowing for intersection traffic signal timing adjustments to favor the more heavily delayed roadways; the use of a traffic control system allows for the synchronization of traffic signals to improve traffic flow (as of October 2009 this system is currently installed at 85% of the city's signalized intersections, more than any other US city); restrictions on vehicle turns on roadways without designated turning lanes during rush-hours; and the extensive use of rush-hour parking restrictions, allowing for an extra lane of travel in each direction during peak hours (weekdays excluding holidays generally from 7-9am thru 4-7pm, although hours vary by location) by eliminating on street parking and standing of vehicles, with violators being ticketed, and in the case of priority routes known as "anti-gridlock zones", immediately towed by specialized enforcement teams dubbed "tiger teams" at steep cost to the violator.


There are many other famous L.A. streets which carry significant traffic but are not labeled as boulevards. Examples include: Broadway, Bundy Drive, Barrington Avenue, Centinela Avenue, Fountain Avenue, Mulholland Drive, Slauson Avenue, Pacific Coast Highway, Century Park East, Avenue of the Stars, Century Park West, Normandie Avenue, Highland Avenue, Melrose Avenue, Florence Avenue, Manchester Avenue, Vermont Avenue, La Brea Avenue, Fairfax Avenue, Western Avenue, Van Ness Avenue, Figueroa Street, Grand Avenue, Huntington Drive, Central Avenue, Alameda Street, and Imperial Highway. West Los Angeles has many streets named after states that run east and west. Somewhat confusingly, adjacent Santa Monica uses a few of the same state names for different streets of its own.


There are a number of commercial areas in nearby cities that have been redeveloped in the past two decades specifically to accommodate pedestrian traffic. Old Town Pasadena was redeveloped in the late 1980s by moving parking off Colorado Boulevard so as to make the street pedestrian-focused. Likewise, the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica was closed off to vehicular traffic altogether in 1965 and revitalized with improved pedestrian amenities in 1988.[19]


Downtown Los Angeles has numerous public escalators and skyways, such as the Bunker Hill steps[20] to facilitate pedestrian traffic in the traffic-laden and hilly terrain. Downtown Los Angeles is one of two neighborhoods in Los Angeles ranked as a "walker's paradise" (with walk scores 90 or above) by Walkscore. The other is Mid-City West, which encompasses the area of the city immediately south of West Hollywood and east of Beverly Hills.[21]


Learn more about traffic control and enforcement within the City of Los Angeles. Officers enforce parking ordinances, impound vehicles, and direct traffic. Traffic control prevents congestion and improves safety.


LADOT traffic officers enforce all parking laws in the California Vehicle Code and Los Angeles Municipal Code. Traffic officers are deployed 24/7 and patrol the city in shifts throughout the day to address the problem of parking violators and respond to constituent complaints of parking violations. Last year, traffic officers issued about 2.3 million citations.


In addition to citation issuance, traffic officers perform a wide variety of duties. Officers respond 24/7 to requests for traffic control assistance from LAPD and LAFD to help manage traffic at major emergencies, signal outages, and large-scale public demonstrations. Annually, traffic officers provide traffic control services at over 6,000 Special Events throughout the City at venues such as; the Los Angeles Coliseum, Staples Center, Dodger Stadium, Hollywood Bowl, Greek theater, and the LA Marathon. Traffic officers address over 138,000 abandoned vehicle complaints and recover over 4,000 stolen vehicles annually. In addition to these activities, officers respond to requests for service from residents and enforce violations that helps maintain Public Safety.


LADOT assesses potential traffic impacts for each special event, develops plans to minimize traffic congestion, and posts temporary parking restrictions as well as deploys traffic officers and engineers to manage traffic before, during, and after a special event.


The technologies deployed under these ITS projects will enable DPW staff to monitor and control traffic signal operations from a remote location on a real time basis. Staff will receive immediate notification of signal malfunctions resulting in more efficient maintenance responses. Using roadway sensors and closed circuit television cameras to monitor traffic conditions, staff will be able to better manage congestion caused by incidents and special events. These ITS technologies also include providing motorists with both pre-trip and en route information on roadway traffic conditions through devices such as cell phones, Changeable Message Signs, and the Internet. All of these functions are coordinated through the County of Los Angeles Traffic Management Center (TMC) at DPW's Headquarters in Alhambra, California.


In Los Angeles traffic is just part of the life, right? A cliche that has been brow beaten into us by countless photographs, internet rants, movie car chases and real-life suspect pursuits broadcast via helicopter on the 5pm news. But the cliche is one thing. The reality and data behind that cliche is quite another. 041b061a72


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