The general look and feel of Los Angeles, California is readily understood by anyone who has spent any time near North America’s sprawl lands. The sheer size of Los Angeles, and the inequality and environmental racism it contains — however familiar it’s basic form — is enough to give pause to anyone, though.
Certainly there’s visual evidence nearly everywhere of what is said to be a homeless population now numbering fifty thousand. Beat up recreational vehicles are homes to many Angelenos. You come across them constantly. People camp everywhere from the lawns at city hall to highway medians.
By the late 1970s it seems that a sense of dread had become so attached to this brutally car-dependent collection of over eighty municipal entities that a truly massive investment in rail-based public transit was kicked off. While plagued with construction challenges, including major cost overruns, this program has been bearing fruit for a while now. There are also voices fighting for cycling and walking and the bus network. The latter is especially important to the working people of Los Angeles.
Please take a look at this Los Angelist video about the Metro Red Line. Much of the rationale found in it is applicable to Canadian cities, to sprawl lands found anywhere. The sheer enormity of Los Angeles helps bring these issues into focus perhaps in a way much more raw than they might be encountered where you live but there is much to be learned.
Three items reminding us that how we move around our community reflects and helps determine our status there.
Low-wage jobs are moving to distant suburbs. How will workers get there? As low-wage jobs shift out of the cities, some employers use the rides as a way to attract workers from urban areas.
Why the fight for better transit is part of the fight for racial equity. There are two things I want desperately: justice and better public transit
Transportation: the overlooked poverty problem
See also: (47) No ride? No job!
image: Leo U via Flickr/CC
Underfunding of bus-based public transit combined with a tendency for newer and larger employers to locate in the suburbs makes it hard for low income Buffalonians.
Region’s biggest employers are tough for city’s poorest to reach
image: chrisforsyth via Flickr/CC
We like optimism, yes we do. Infrastructure gets us going pretty good as well. To wit: an item that counsels us to look out to the sprawl for innovative approaches to badly needed infrastructure.
Why suburban tensions and inequality will drive infrastructure innovation
image: Garrett via Flickr/CC
A pleasure it is to point you toward a brace of articles about getting around the GTA’s sprawl lands. Oh yeah, it’s also about race.
Race, the ‘burbs, and transportation. In one of the most diverse communities in North America, any discussion about public space and policy needs to include race
image: Daniel Hoherd via Flickr/CC
Nice! More buses to get LA’s workers to work and jobs building the buses themselves, which are also up-to-date low emissions models.
image: Jim Elwanger via Flickr/CC
Content for today ( International Eradication of Poverty Day ) wasn’t long in the finding.
While busways may not be as cool as LRT and HSR lines, regional rail networks or subways they certainly seem to have a place in addressing suburban poverty. How so? By helping carless/low income workers get around better. At any rate, here is a specific US example of the busway benefit.
image: BeyondDC via Flickr/CC
”That’s how life goes along the poverty line in car-centric cities like Dallas, whose 20th-century growth birthed highways that became developmental skeletons for suburbs where the middle class have fled for decades. Left behind is an urban core with housing and socioeconomic problems — and infrastructure built for cars that many poor people can’t afford.”
Reminicisent of other encounters with what it’s like to get to work in the sprawl, a feature from the Dallas News follows a worker to work. And it ain’t easy.
Stemming poverty in Dallas requires rethinking mobility
image: Broken Piggy Bank via Flickr/CC