64 Worst: Onramp Traffic Meters vs. Segregation

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Today’s poll are two of the most popular suggestions in my original call

Its a disappointing admission that a city as diverse as Los Angeles is also plagued with segregation. But while the idea of seperate black, Latino, and Asian communities is well accepted, what may be surprising, albeit obvious, is that its white communities that are the most overwhelmingly segregated of all.

African Americans, according to 2000 census data, make up only 1.93 percent of the population of Bel Air; 1.77 percent of Beverly Hills; 2.48 percent of Brentwood; 3.09 percent of West Hollywood; 1 percent of the Pacific Palisades; and do not even register a hundredth of a percent in Westwood. [New America Media]

Fortunately, onramp traffic meters don’t pay attention to skin color, just that L.A. drivers recognize when their lights are red or green. Designed to help keep cars from piling onto freeways, the traffic meters are usually inconvenience drivers with a short wait before the light goes green and they can proceed to merge with bumper to bumper traffic. All too often, however, being stopped midway through an onramp, requires vehicles to gun their engines to get up to speed with traffic. Worse, the metered lights can result in a backup that stretches down into surface streets, even when freeway traffic is non-existent. Unfortunately, this may be required based on the sad fact that, unlike other part of the country, Angelenos simply don’t simply use courtesy allowing cars to merge, and keep the far right lane open except for exiting and entering.

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Poll closes April 9th.

10 Replies to “64 Worst: Onramp Traffic Meters vs. Segregation”

  1. It is an ignorant mistake that most (white) transplants think of “diversity” and “segregation” as interchangeable words. Because of that, transplant detractos love to say “LA is the most segregated city in America,” never really knowing what a *truly* segregated urban area is like.

  2. I’ve seen that mistake made by born and bred Angelenos – I don’t think transplant has much to do with it.

    As for me, when I first moved to LA, I expected much less segregation. In film and TV, it always seemed like the city was a much more mixed culture. (odd, because now I don’t see much of a mix on TV either).

  3. LA is pretty segregated, but most of America is pretty segregated. I think the thing is people in LA or the west coast talk all of the progressive pc bs, so when you come here from somewhere else you’re shocked.

    The thing about LA that everyone should know is that half of the things that come out of people’s mouths out here isn’t the truth. Half of the things people type on their blogs isn’t the truth. This is just a very make believe kind of city.

    You’re not shocked about NY being segregated, because they own their issues with race. They talk about them. In NY there are stories about how it’s hard to get a cab if you’re a black guy and how Irish live in one neighborhood and Italians live another, NY is honest. Chicago is honest.

    LA on the other hand is a city that lies. It tells all of these lies about itself and then when you move here, you’re in real shock that it is the way it is.

    I think people who move here from the south and the midwest thought it was going to be different than where they were from, but actually it’s pretty much the same, but everyone is just alot better looking with more money and a little less well read.

    I was raised here and I can see in comparison to other places that LA for all of it’s talk (and San Francisco too) is not that diverse and it’s not that progressive.

    It’s not horrible, but you just expect more from a place that has residents like Martin Sheen and Tim Robbins and an industry that comes up with movies like Sir With Love. We have so many interracial people out here, but yet it doesn’t seem to make people any more racially tolerant or accepting.

    New Orleans in the French Quarter felt more diverse than LA in it’s worse days.

    I have to say the the SGV is the most diverse section of LA County. You see alot of people from alot of different ethnic groups living with each other, because they want to, not because they haven’t moved away yet or just moved in. The SGV (San Gabriel Valley) while not very politically progressive, ethnicity wise in regards to diversity surprisingly more tolerant than most sections of LA.

    The SGV is what San Francisco lies and tells people that it is.

    Tim Robbins is from the San Gabriel Valley.

    Browne

  4. Segregation would imply some sort of nasty forced designated living areas. I never gave it any thought since I moved here. I just saw it as neighborhoods with similar national or religous backgrounds congrating. Like the Korean area, the Armenian communities etc., not unlike the French, German whatever neighborhoods from St Louis when I first became aware of them in High school.

    “The SGV is what San Francisco lies and tells people that it is”? I have no idea what to make of that. Of the cities I’ve lived in this is one that is the most tolerant of differences if not outright welcome them.

  5. There is nothing wrong with metering lights – it’s the total lack of understanding of the “zipper” approach to merging. I wish there were yellow symbol signs illustrating this at on ramps.

  6. I’ve lived in Los Angeles or Chicago my whole life and my sense is that Chicago is much more segregated than is L.A.

  7. “The SGV is what San Francisco lies and tells people that it is”? I have no idea what to make of that. Frazgo.

    It’s a compliment to the SGV. I’ve been all over LA and SGV is the only place where I see interracial people, black people, white people, latino people, asian people, living, with the least amount of issues and it’s not contrived hippie bs, its just people just living together. I think it’s a super cool place in regards to that.

    “I’ve lived in Los Angeles or Chicago my whole life and my sense is that Chicago is much more segregated than is L.A.” dhosek

    Yes I agree for a major city LA is more diverse than most major cities in America, but for all it’s talk it should be a little bit more. In LA you won’t get beat up for being in the wrong neighborhood, but you still get this weird feeling at certain times, like you shouldn’t be at certain spots. All of LA should look like the SGV and it doesn’t and that’s the thing about LA that’s so disappointing. You expect so much more than it is, sort of like prom. LA is like the prom of big American cities. You get here and you go, this is it. At least in regards to ethnic diversity. It should be so much more progressive in that aspect. The fact that Republican Las Vegas, Nevada is more integrated than LA is kind of shocking.

    My friend lives in Las Vegas, she’s Chinese-American married to a Filipino-American, (I’m her daughter’s godmother) on her block there are Asians, blacks, whites, Latinos, there’s everyone. There isn’t a dominant race and I think that’s the picture California paints of itself and it’s so very far from that, and it’s kind of shocking.

    There was this really cool article about the diversity of Walnut (it’s in the San Gabriel Valley) I can’t find it, but if I do, I’ll post it. It was a very nice story about that section of LA and how it dealt with the various races within the community.

    Browne

  8. Having living in Walnut for 10 years, that article was pretty accurate…but even then I had one older Asian lady go far out of her way to avoid me in the aisle of Vons and had the pleasure of overhearing one cocky young asst manager there say to another employee to keep an eye on me (after 6 yrs as a shopper there and even with checkers knowing my name…maybe he was a new transfer).

    both times were completely so out of the norm in my years living there that it kind of shocked me.

    “but you still get this weird feeling at certain times, like you shouldn’t be at certain spots.”

    yeah, raised as a very whitebread latino from the Bay Area (pleasant hill/ walnut creek) I do easily forget that a few people aren’t accustomed to a reality that does not fit their segregated mindset.

  9. LA is segregated because when it was growing, it *was* segregated. That’s why African American’s were in the south side, Mexicans were on the east side, and whites were on the west and north sides. Asian were in pockets here and there. Jews started out non-white, but gained whiteness. BUT there was de-facto segregation because of CCRs (I think it means contracts, covenants and restrictions). These were contracts that prohibited whites from selling to minorities, and they were legal well into the 1950s, when LA was expanding out to the suburbs. It was free-market racism.

    The basis of LA’s current segregation is this initial segregated period before WW2 and the decade after WW2, when the city was undergoing the most growth. Things were sprawled out, so, ethnic groups had large areas. So the Mexican part of town wasn’t a little five-block area – it’s a 10 square mile area. The Black part wasn’t four or five streets – it was four or five miles. People kept moving into LA, into these segregated areas. After all, they couldn’t really live anywhere else — you couldn’t buy in many neighborhoods if you were the wrong color.

    Incidentally, Asians tended to live within these white, black, and brown communities, in pockets like Sawtelle, Monterey Park, Chinatown, Culver City, Crenshaw, Pico Union, Boyle Heights, Carson, Hollywood, Pasadena. Some of these grew and became Asian areas like Koreatown — but the original Asian folks there weren’t Korean, they were Japanese, Chinese and Filipino. The Asian presence was spotty, and dispersing until the 70s, because Asian immigration was not allowed for a long time. That these communities existed at all was a testament to ethnic cohesion, mainstream racism, or both.

    During this time, the LAPD enforced the borders. Where the LAPD didn’t exist there were racist police or vigilante groups to enforce segregation. And if that wasn’t enough, you had race riots like the Zoot Suit riots.

    This uneasy segregation we’re experiencing today… it’s real, it was intentional, and 40 years after it was made illegal, after only being in place around 50 years, it still affects us.

  10. I have to concur about racism in San Francisco. The city has a large Black population, a fair sized Latino population, and a very large Chinese population (30% of the population since the mid 1800s), but, Willie Brown was their first Black mayor, and they’ve never had a Chinese one. Where’s their gay mayor? Isn’t that city very gay? Until Diane Feinstein was mayor, it was all white guys. LA has SF beat on the diversity angle. And we aren’t even doing that well by any measure.

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