19 Jul Carmageddon: Anticlimax or Future of Los Angeles?
The L.A. Times compared the conspicuous lack of congestion during the closure of 10 miles of the 405 freeway this weekend to the now utterly embarrassing end-of-millenium scare, “Carmageddon could turn out to be the biggest non-event since Y2K.” The mother of all traffic jams didn’t occur… because Angelenos heeded the warnings not to drive and construction crews did their jobs in record time.
The lungs of Los Angeles residents are thankful: two days to breathe, while cars stayed blissfully parked. In effect (and not surprisingly) less cars on the road caused a dip in air pollution.
In the meantime, I was helping to park hundreds of bicycles at the Eat Real Festival all Carmageddon weekend. There weren’t enough bike racks on Saturday for the Culver City Bicycle Coalition / L.A. County Bicycle Coalition bike valet, as patrons flocked to the festival on beach cruisers, fixies, old Schwinns, bike trailers, folding, cargo, shining top-of-the line and dusty just-out-of the garage bikes. It was a beautiful thing to behold.
I know we won’t get rid of cars completely. I certainly drive, and feel thankful for the ability to ferry my children, Grandmother and self to doctor’s appointments, grocery stores, birthday parties and the like. However, I ardently hope that positive, inspiring events like Ciclavia, and its evil twin Carmageddon, seep into the psyche of Angelenos: using our cars less is not only possible, it’s a wonderful breath of fresh air.
One day, we just may see Angelyne on a bubble-gum pink bicycle…