Dreaming of an LA commute without cars

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Commuting in Los Angeles can be a nightmare with or without cars. With a car, you are stuck in traffic. Without a car, you are stuck at home. People are constantly talking about an imaginary L.A. without traffic, smog, or cars.

Boston-based designer Peter Dunn recently re-imagined the city’s trademark freeway system as a subway system. He made a new map using the familiar design of subway maps. He color-coded 31 freeways, 75 interchanges, and more than 850 exits on one poster. “Dunn launched a Kickstarter in late June to collect pre-orders for a first print run. A month later, with 404 individual backers and around 500 orders, Dunn has raised nearly six times his initial goal of $2,000,” said the Atlantic Cities.

Greater Los Angeles Freeway System Map by Peter Dunn

In reality, lawmakers and city planners are trying to make L.A. more commutable. The Exposition Transit Corridor, Phase 2, the extension of of the current Expo Line between downtown Culver City and downtown Santa Monica, will make a long-time transportation dream come true. The $1.5 billion extension will be completed in 2015, though that could slide into 2016. “The 6.6 mile second phase will connect Santa Monica by rail to Downtown LA, Pasadena, San Fernando Valley, South Bay, Long Beach and dozens of points in between. With seven new stations serving diverse LA neighborhoods such as Century City, West Los Angeles, and Santa Monica, the Metro Rail system will expand to 87 stations and over 93 miles of rail to destinations across L.A. County,” according to the Metro homepage.

The completed Expo Line map
The completed Expo Line map

On the other hand, few people know that the city once had one of the largest trolley networks in the nation in the early 20th century —  and abandoned it. During the height of the automobile boom, the city changed course and ripped up the tracks in order to build a sprawling network of freeways. The 1925 plan showed that the city had cut a number of trolley tunnels through large hills and connected them to a large terminal in downtown L.A., according to Wired. “L.A.’s current subway system began operating in the 1990s, and it follows many of these same routes.”

Happy travels!