Freeways

Thursday April 28, 2016
~8:30am, on a freeway

On my way to CSULB, I always listen to the radio for any news about the freeway, most importantly of the 405 North, which is the one I use to get to Long Beach. I want to know if there might be traffic on the 405 N, but I don’t necessarily do anything about it. I should be exiting the freeway and using the streets instead, but I don’t know how to get to Long Beach that way (and I can’t really access my phone for the GPS while I’m driving).

There is almost always traffic in some freeway, whether it’s the 405, the 5, the 55, etc. Almost always, it is due to a crash. Saddening as it is to hear it, I’m never surprised. There are so many cars on the road, and so many reckless drivers, that I expect there to be at least one crash every day. Sometimes, though, traffic is just due to an unusually high number of cars for the day.

As I was listening, the station I was on had a guest come in. The guest apologized for being late and jokingly blamed it on California’s traffic problem, particularly Los Angeles’s. I remembered the time when I first heard about the SoCal traffic problem just a few years ago. I noticed the traffic in California on the freeways, but I didn’t know that it was actually well-known. I was also reminded of the Four Ecologies book, about how Los Angles was built on transportation, and citizens of LA spend a good part of their lives on the freeway.

The freeways are so convenient for travel that it’s hard not to use them. You can get anywhere with freeways. You can live in the suburbs and still get to your work in the city in 15 minutes. I guess that’s why there are always so many cars on the road. And with the fast speed, there are also crashes. It’s almost like a necessary evil in that freeways are dangerous, but they’re also essential for our lives.

 

2 Comments

  1. Christopher Fernandes

    I hate LA traffic so much, but until this class never made the connection to why SoCal/LA compared to other places. The 91 is the worst (it’s the one I take to get to/leave from home). Guess that’s what happens when your city is founded on the automobile.

  2. Katarina Stiller

    I hate driving. And freeways. The 4 Ecologies book really surprised me in its traffic descriptions, in that it really didn’t sound like L.A. had particularly bad traffic in the 70s. I just took L.A. traffic for granted, but when I asked my mom about it, her account was similar to the book’s. There weren’t nearly as many cars way back when, even though L.A. was still very much a commuter city. And those cars were also slower. Freeways could handle that kind of stress. Today’s freeways are old and outdated – but there’s too much expense and red tape and time required for any really effective upkeep. I-105, the last major LA freeway to be built, (finished in ’93) took years of legal battling and billions of dollars to become a reality.

    On the bright side, L.A.’s air is a lot cleaner now than it was 40 years ago. Thank you Clean Air and Water Acts of 1972! California might not know how to deal with its traffic, but at least we can see the mountains again…

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