Like many Los Angeles area folks, I’m crazy about cars. Fortunately, I’m able to incorporate my love into my work, and covered the L.A. Auto Show on Press Day 1 yesterday. Unfortunately, my day was ruled as much by the cars on the roads outside than by the shiny new models inside the Convention Center.
I left my house by the beach after rush hour to avoid traffic, hit the show very hard, then skedaddled out of there by about 4:15 p.m. to avoid the evening rush. As a result, the compressed time I spent at the show was somewhat manic. Stopping off at Langer’s on the way home? Forget it.
Inside the show, the car companies advertise their cars based on many attributes: quality, value, economy, luxury, technology, and driving fun. But I didn’t see or hear one mention of anything to do with traffic. Such a discussion would seem to be antithetical to the car companies’ mission, which is of course to sell more of those shiny sexy cars.
As a car lover, I’m guilty of moving out here and contributing to the problem. In my defense, however, I work mostly from home, and put on very little mileage. My car is over 8 years old, and I’m going to hang onto it as long as I can. My trips to L.A. city proper are rare.
I know it’s not a new subject area, but what is the toll — to our psyche, our finances, and our quality of life — that we in the Los Angeles areas pay each year for our traffic? Can anything be done about it, or is all hope lost? I’m no traffic expert, but I would think that living closer to where we work, having a shorter commute, is one way to make the problem better. Another is more and better mass transit, to the extent possible in sprawling, designed-for-cars L.A. Maybe the new Expo Line will help.
I hope something will help. The Auto Show demonstrates that we’re putting out amazing cars. The roads in and around L.A. show that there are fewer and fewer places to put them.