Remember Carmageddon? That nightmare that was supposed to happen when the 405 was closed over a weekend? Yeah, it didn’t really happen. Most people just stayed home, and traffic was awesomely light getting around town — in fact, it was more like CarHeaven.
Well, it’s back. Only this time, it’s bigger, better and planning on sticking around way, way, way longer.
Sunday I had stopped in for lunch on Montana Avenue and was then on my way to the gym at the Loews hotel on Ocean Avenue, an approximately 1.5-mile trip. It only took me 35 minutes in stop-and-go traffic.
The good part of this is that I was able to witness a man running along the fence in the Palisades Park and then perform a handstand on the fence for 1 minute — I thought it was very nice of him to offer entertainment to those of us stuck in traffic. I tried to cut over to 2nd Street, figuring that I would just zig-zag over to Olympic Drive and then back to Ocean, and pop into Loews. Yeah, that was not going to happen either.
The massive traffic realignment that happened on Colorado Avenue between 4th Street and Ocean has the lanes rerouted, and on Sunday I couldn’t turn left to cut over to Olympic Drive. My plan was foiled.
As we approach the closure of the California Incline, I can only imagine what new levels of Carmageddon we’ll be facing on a daily basis as that traffic relief is now re-routed and condensed onto Moomat Ahiko Way; plus there’s the nominal offloading of traffic from PCH that will now be merging into the Ocean Avenue traffic.
Traffic problems seem to be increasing with each week. I realize that much of this is anticipated to be transitory due to the construction of the Metro, but there also seems to be some permanent problems that we are not addressing adequately.
Monday I was on my way back from children’s court, and the backup on the 26th Street off ramp was about two blocks long, from the base of the ramp. I noted that at the top of the ramp there was not a single car turning left towards Pico. What this tells me is that the heavy traffic headed into the heart of the city needs better solutions than we have provided. This was at 10:15 in the morning on a Monday, and it likely had been that way for hours.
I’ve said it before: We need an additional off ramp from the westbound 10 — either something between Lincoln Boulevard and 26th or between Bundy Drive and 26th, or both. We’re going to continue to grow — that’s really undisputed; one way or the other, it will happen. But we can ameliorate some of the side effects if we start thinking about the problem differently. As much as the Metro is supposed to help, I’m betting it’s not going to be used by a large number of the office workers at Water Garden, or in the downtown corridor.
Hopefully the Metro will be used by more people who are tourists and visitors from our neighboring cities and that will at least alleviate some of the nightmarish traffic we’re experiencing, but we still have about another year to go before it’s operational.
Even when the Metro is operating, we’ll have different traffic issues to deal with — the delays that are expected at Lincoln and Colorado will have a ripple effect across the city as traffic backs up on Lincoln, which will then back up onto the freeway.
Summer is not even here yet, and we’re having major delays in the downtown area. I’m thinking that we need to have a much bigger solution than the stopgap measures we’ve been provided with traffic officers directing traffic.
What would happen if we went to a mostly one-way street design downtown that allows for greater flow of traffic? Seems like there should be a way to re-route the streets so that we have fewer left turns, which I believe cause greater delays than right turns.
We’re going to have to do something big to accommodate the masses, and it will be better and easier the sooner we get on it.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles divorce and child custody lawyer specializing in fathers’ and men’s rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra.