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Rand study offers short-term fixes to keep traffic moving

October 02, 2008|Steve Hymon | Times Staff Writer

More toll lanes, one-way streets, pricier parking and bus-only lanes are the best short-term fixes to keep traffic moving in the Southland, according to a study released today by the Rand Corp.

There are few ideas in the study that haven't been floated before by a variety of interest groups -- "floated" being the key word. But Rand researchers say that with little room to build or expand roads in Southern California, the only real option is a coordinated effort to better manage traffic.

Among Rand's suggestions:

* Restrict curb parking on busy thoroughfares.

* Create a network of paired one-way streets.

* Install a network of toll lanes on area freeways.

* Provide more deeply discounted transit passes.

* Increase the price of curb parking to open up more spaces and stop people from circling around the block and creating more traffic.

Some of Rand's suggestions are already in the works.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is pushing a plan to turn Olympic and Pico boulevards into mostly one-way streets on parts of the Westside.

But citizen lawsuits alleging the plan would increase congestion have forced the city to do an environmental review of the plan.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is in the planning stages of converting the carpool lanes on parts of the 10 and 110 freeways into toll lanes.

The tolls will be highest at rush hour to discourage too many cars from cramming into the toll lane at the same time.

Paul Sorensen, the study's lead author, said that pricing options are the best way to get a sustainable reduction in traffic.

The study was funded by developer Jim Thomas, the MTA, Music Center and Rand Corp. Researchers hope their recommendations will provide citizens and politicians alike with a strategy for traffic fixes.

"We're trying to only say that everyone complains about traffic congestion, here's a way of doing something about it," said Martin Wachs, another author of the study and the director of Rand's transportation program.

"There's evidence to say [that] . . . if properly informed and given more information, citizens may opt to take some of these measures, as they have done in London and Stockholm and Oslo and a number of cities around the world."

The full study can be read at www.rand.org.

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steve.hymon@latimes.com

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