A few days ago I took a tour group to the Getty Center in Brentwood. The museum sits up on a hill overlooking the 405 freeway and the city of Los Angeles. On a clear day you have a spectacular panorama of the San Gabriel Mountains, downtown LA and the Pacific Ocean. Even on a hazy day like this you still get a decent view.
The buildings in the distance are lined up along Wilshire Blvd in Westwood (a district in the city of LA). It was too hazy to see all the way downtown which is about an 18-mile drive from this point.
Haze, by the way, is a different condition than smog. Because of the strict controls on air pollution we don’t have nearly as much smog as what I remember from decades ago. But there is nothing humans can do about the haze. From my limited understanding of this phenomenom, haze is caused when the colder air being pushed in from the ocean meets the warmer air on land. And because we live in a basin surrounded by mountains, there is nowhere for this air to go. I may not have this whole thing correct, but you get the idea!
Of course, on any tours around the Los Angeles area, the question comes up about traffic. Yes, it is bad. Which is why I personally take public transportation as much as possible so I don’t have to deal with it. And as a step-on guide, I get to sit behind the driver and let him or her worry about it while I talk to the passengers!
At the Getty I had my point and shoot camera with me and a little free time as the tour-goers were enjoying themselves in the various galleries.
This is a closer view of the freeway. This view is looking to the south. You can see the traffic going north on the 405 is stopped at the upper right of the photo so there is very little traffic in the foreground on that side. So you might think the traffic doesn’t look that bad. Normally in the afternoon the congestion on the northbound side would be as bad as or worse than on the southbound side.
Construction has been going on continuously for what seems like the past 100 years in order to widen the freeway, add more lanes and rebuild the overpasses. So sometimes they have to move construction equipment and you can’t get through.
My vote would have been to spend the money making the freeway narrower to discourage people from driving and instead put the money into a mass transit system to move people from west LA out to the valley. But, as usual, they didn’t ask me. Encouraging more cars is ludicrous. Every time more lanes are added to the freeways or more freeways are built, the more people drive on them. Duh!!!
It’s the same backwards thinking as requiring a certain number of parking spaces for new buildings. If there were NO parking spaces people would be forced to leave their cars at home and take the bus. But in this automobile-crazy city that won’t happen until the streets are so clogged nobody can move at all.
All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, please check with us first for proper usage. Thanks!