Noplace, Los Angeles: Urban Sprawl, Public Transit and the Growing Civic Identity Crisis in the San Fernando Valley
Professor Murtaza Baxamusa
PPD 628, Urban Planning and Social Policy
Word Count: 4,126
This paper will examine the influence of urban sprawl in the San Fernando Valley on public transportation in the context of wealth inequality, city service delivery, politics and public safety. A case study of the Seattle Monorail system will be used as a basis for comparison. This paper will look at urban sprawl in the Valley as one possible cause of a declining civic identity for Valley residents. Finally, a transit project connecting the Valley with the City will be proposed as a possible solution to the Valley’s civic identity crisis.
Residents of the Valley lack sufficient public access to the City. This lack of access to the jobs, goods and services in the city limits our economic growth and compromises our shared identity as citizens of Los Angeles. An elevated light rail system from the intersection of the 101 and 405 freeways in the Valley to LAX in the City, would help to close both the economic and cultural divides between these two halves of Los Angeles.
The system would run above the 405 freeway with limited stops in Westwood, Century City, Culver City and Inglewood. The system would be a relatively inexpensive and an environmentally friendly alternative to both the Sepulveda Pass underground tunnel and Orange Line bus-rail conversion projects currently under consideration by Metro. It would get people out of their vehicles, relieving traffic congestion while granting the poor better access to all of Los Angeles. The increased interaction between people of different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, made possible by this elevated light rail system, would help to reshape Valley neighborhoods into physically unique and culturally rich pockets of our city. The following map, originally...