Friday, May 27, 2016

The Times has an opinion...

...piece this morning, "California’s Midlife Crisis," that, really, could have been written about anywhere. Take the second paragraph, for example (all emphasis mine):

The real Los Angeles is gray and beaten down, an older man trying to fit into a younger body. We Angelenos are reminded of this when we drive down roads that have been repaved and retrofitted for a half-century or longer. To enter my local freeway, I cross a bridge built in 1940, past a crumbling concrete railing that has been struck so often by speeding Edsels, Ramblers and Explorers that it looks like a relic from a World War II battle.

This gets at one of the biggest knocks on Los Angeles that I hear from people, both in my hometown of Chicago and in LA itself: The traffic!

And I just want to say: What do you think it's like everywhere else?

Do you see that picture above? That's Chicago. It's from an article in the Tribune last year that conceded that although the Los Angeles area had the top three most congested stretches of road in the United States, five of the top 20 are actually in the Chicago area.

In fact:

Drivers in the northeastern Illinois-northwest Indiana region suffered the misery of 61 extra hours behind the wheel on average in 2014 — equivalent to a week and a half of work — because of delays caused by gridlock, construction zones and collisions that tied up traffic, according to the Urban Mobility Scorecard released late Tuesday by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

Turns out, traffic is bad in lots of places:

The Washington, D.C., area, at a numbing 82 hours of delay per commuter, ranked No. 1 on the Texas A&M list of the most gridlocked metropolitan areas last year. Rounding out the top 10 were Los Angeles; San Francisco; New York; San Jose, Calif.; Boston; Seattle; Chicago; Houston; and Dallas.

"The national congestion recession is over,'' the report concluded. "The total congestion problem is larger than the pre-recession levels.''

So, as I tell people here and in LA, it's not just your city, it's pretty much everywhere. In fact, when I hear people complain about how expensive a town is, or how high the taxes are, or how bad the traffic is, I just tell them that anywhere I'd want to live is going to have those problems. If you really want to avoid all those things then go live in the middle of nowhere where no one else wants to live either.

When I go to LA I hear people there complain about how bad the traffic has become. And I always say, Gee, the traffic in my town has gotten worse, too. In fact, it's gotten worse everywhere. (Maybe if you traveled outside your little bubble you'd notice that.) You see, there are more people and more cars in all major metropolitan areas. So of course the traffic has gotten worse.

Hey, Angelenos: Cry me a river! My town has become more crowded, more expensive and the roads more congested. (And we're about to get socked with higher property taxes.) But you know what? At least you have nice weather every day. We only get it for half the year.

A friend of mine once said that all jobs suck, so get a high-paying job that sucks. (Sage advice.) So if all big cities have the same problems, live in one (LA) with nice weather every day that has all those problems.

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