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It is no question that the Los Angeles metropolitan area experiences some of the most traffic congestion in the United States. Anyone who has visited L.A. knows that a five-mile trip can easily turn into a 45-minute ordeal. America’s 2nd-largest metro area has the most congestion overall, the second most hours spent in traffic per resident, and the 7th longest commute (Forbes). No doubt it is a problem, and the Los Angeles Planning Division has incorporated a variety of techniques to tackle the issue over the years. Yet, traffic and congestion persists. It seems that a large root of the problem stems from Los Angeles’s car dependency. L.A. “is slightly denser than Seattle (which has just over 7,000 people per square mile) … yet one-third of Seattle residents bike, walk, or take transit to work, more than twice as many as in Los Angeles (15.5%)” (Planetizen). Why aren’t more Los Angeles residents biking, walking or taking transit, you ask? Could it be that the urban area was planned to be more car dependent? Most planners of L.A. want to see less cars on the road and more alternative methods of transportation used. However, a recent report by Baruch Feigenbaum suggests that the solution to the congestion is the construction of series of new roads and tunnels for the area. Regardless, both parties can agree that something needs to be done to improve the gridlock. That leads me to my research question: What techniques or methods will decrease car dependency and increase alternative modes of transportation in Los Angeles? Using best methods of other, similar metropolitan areas, I will see what has worked and what has not and what legal steps were taken to ensure success. I know for a fact that eminent domain will be a controversial aspect of my research, which is of great interest to me. Overall, the City of Los Angeles has over four million residents, who loathe the traffic and congestion of their beautiful city. If the decrease of car dependency can improve the flow of traffic and lower the chances of road rage, I will consider that to be a success.
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