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3348000771_ff2bf9c57b.jpgIs LA setting a global transit
example? (Photo: hustle roses
via Flickr)

Today on the Streetsblog Network, Jarrett Walker at Human
Transit
talks about how the push for better transit in Los Angeles
provides an example for planners in other parts of the world, especially
in newer cities that don’t benefit from European-style density. Walker
acknowledges that LA has a long, long way to go toward building a
world-class transit system (read the post in full for all his caveats),
but argues that the power of its image in popular culture gives it a
unique influence as it moves forward:

Los Angeles has built a strong consensus about the desperate need for
transit, and this is the story that impresses foreigners. Every
television viewer in the world has seen images of Los Angeles and what
life is like there. And one thing they’ve all been shown, over and over,
is that this is a city for cars, a place where cars mean freedom, and
your car is your most important fashion statement.  When I tell them
that the popular mayor of Los Angeles is spending major political
capital on a campaign to accelerate transit development in his city, to
the point of demanding a complete rethink of how the Federal government
funds transport projects, eyebrows shoot up. It’s one of those little
jolts that can change our notion of what’s possible, wherever we are.

More from around the network: Transportation
for America
looks at how the high cost of transportation can make
living in rural areas unaffordable, even when housing costs are low.
Bike Portland has an interview with Bike
Snob NYC
on the occasion of his debut in polite society. And Cap’n
Transit
makes a comparison between buses and burgers. Trust us,
it’s worth reading.

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