Why can’t we have nice things?

Los Angeles Monorail

Did you know that way, way back in 1963 Alweg Research Corp. — the company that built the Disneyland monorail — offered to give a monorail system to the city of Los Angeles?

MonorailI’ve ridden both the Disneyland and the Walt Disney World monorails hundreds of times in my life and I’ve wasted thousands of hours sitting in LA traffic. I mean, really, can you just imagine the wonderful benefits of having such a 21st century mode of transportation in the City of Angels?

A friend of mine recently complained on the Facebook about not being able to find a parking place, and I posted a mini rant in reply about the fact that the whole automobile culture of America is just awful.

Think of how many thousands — tens of thousands — of lives would be saved every year if we ditched the whole concept of everyone having a car. I’m not just talking about the 30,000 people annually killed in auto accidents, either:

  • Less pollution!
  • No drunk driving!
  • Fewer heart problems and obesity! (Everyone would walk a little bit more.)
  • No more deaths from texting and driving!
  • No more idiotic police chases!

And think of how much money you’d save:

  • No more car payments!
  • No more car insurance payments!
  • No more gas to buy!
  • No more oil changes or brake pads or tail lights!
  • No more speeding tickets or parking meters!

And then there would be all the other side effects:

  • Less dependence on foreign oil!
  • Hell, less dependence on domestic oil!
  • You could text or read or play a video game on your way anywhere without killing anyone!
  • You could party all night and not worry about needing a designated driver!
  • No more road kill! Think of all the cats and dogs and armadillos and deer!
  • No more ecosystems destroyed by roads!
  • So much more room for parks and houses and playgrounds and bike paths!
Traffic is terrible everywhere you go.

I don’t currently own a home, so if you consider car payments, auto insurance, maintenance, and gas, the “luxury” of driving my own car is the most expensive thing in my life. And the two cars in my household are also by far the least efficient investments I’ve ever made. Almost every day of the week there are two cars sitting there doing nothing for something like 23 out of every 24 hours! And I am almost always annoyed while driving. Traffic is terrible everywhere you go, and most people are horrible drivers. And, for the love of all that is good and holy, cars are dangerous beyond belief.

MonorailThere’s no good reason for there not to be a robust monorail system in Los Angeles. Seriously. How could you possibly argue against that? Have you ever had to drive anywhere in LA? Then you must agree.

Four decades ago the cost was estimated at $105M dollars, which translates to about $750M in 2015 money. Let’s just go crazy and round that up to an even billion dollars. The Westside extension to the Metro line right now is pegged at something like $4.6B and it’s not supposed to be completed until 2036! And when it’s finally actually done (in what will probably be 2043 for a few billion dollars more than projected) Angelenos will be in the exact same pathetic situation they are in now. Only with a stupid amount of money having been wasted and even more of the city sacrificed to a method of transportation that should have gone extinct a century ago.

What can we do it about?

Further Reading:

2024-02-21: Broken links in this post have been removed and/or updated.

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