Mass transit


Hey look, it’s the Gold Line pulling into Union Station! Oops, I’m about 50 years ahead of myself. Does this elevated train look familiar? Or maybe you remember this artist’s conception of an elevated train, below, from January 1907.



And why would we need elevated trains in 1907? Because of the congestion. For example, this traffic jam on Main Street in January 1907. Now there are people in this world who don’t believe streetcars caused congestion in the early 1900s. I know, because I hear from them whenever I refer to our "sainted" transportation system. As difficult as it may be to accept in 2008, the people living in the early 1900s complained bitterly about the streetcars. In fact, the Los Angeles Times said the streetcars caused "a daily blockade on Main Street."



And no, the elevated trains didn’t get built in 1907 nor in 1958. We
just talked about them. Nor did we follow through on the plan to put
light rail down the middle of the Hollywood Freeway when it was being
built in 1947. Because one thing we like to do in Los Angeles is talk
about the terrible traffic. We talk about it, we study it, we draft
plans and then we put them on the shelf. The transportation plans that have
been performed for Los Angeles over the last century would fill a



Yes, it’s another transportation map. Note the big loop circling downtown Los Angeles–obviously this never got built. I hope I can find the original as it’s a bit difficult to make out what they had in mind.



Speaking of transportation plans that never got built, here’s one from 1923. Again, all roads lead to downtown Los Angeles. And in February 1958, Times reporter Ray Hebert took a look at the latest transportation plans being advocated by the MTA. By the late 1960s or early ’70s, everything would be running smoothly, he said.



Click below to read Ray Hebert’s full story

Page 1:  Download 1958_0216_hebert1.jpg

Page 2:  Download 1958_0216_hebert2.jpg

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About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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