Opinion, Berkeley Blogs

Can Los Angeles reinvent itself around rail?

By Jayni Foley Hein

A city famous for its car culture now has three new rail transit projects under construction. Can Los Angeles reinvent itself around rail-oriented development?

old car Passenger vehicle transportation plays a major role in contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. But building more rail, alone, is not enough to get folks off the road and onto public transit. Unfortunately, “if you build it, they will come” does not apply to transit. Rail needs a healthy ridership in order to thrive.

My colleague Ethan Elkind just authored a nice op-ed in the LA Times explaining how Los Angeles can shift from a car-oriented to a transit-oriented culture, and detailing some key steps that it must take to achieve this.

Promoting more smart growth and infill development, especially in ways that reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT), is critical to reducing the passenger vehicle-related emissions that contribute to air pollution and climate change.

Cross-posted from the environmental law and policy blog Legal Planet.