The Times' article of April 25 concerning revision of the city's Coastal Transportation Corridor Specific Plan ordinance highlights a critical failing of the city bureaucracies--this time the L.A. City Department of Transportation.
All too often these bureaucracies pursue their narrowly focused logic to the exclusion of the public interest.
In this instance, the Transportation Department says we must mitigate traffic impacts by widening streets, and therefore this ordinance should encourage developers to do more in this respect. In fact, the department is quoted as complaining that new development is not moving fast enough to support such programs.
Whoa there! New development brings new traffic to fill up the new capacity. So how can we ever get ahead of the traffic problem by encouraging development? The answer is: We can't. The department's solution to the traffic problem is to make it worse!
What was not mentioned in the article was that commercial development generates the most money for traffic mitigation because it generates the most traffic. In the area covered by this ordinance, there are more than 30 million square feet of new commercial development--and over half a million new vehicle trips daily--proposed between Santa Monica and LAX. The Transportation Department complains that we are delaying this development, and that prevents them from trying to solve traffic problems, problems we won't have if we don't build this new development!