by Flemming Funch
Wow, I wish it really were like that when I lived in Los Angeles. Would have made the city feel completely different. Here you find the bigger version. If you're not familar with L.A., it is not like that at all, it is an elaborate imaginary exercise. L.A. does have a subway, but for most people in the city, it isn't very relevant, because most people live nowhere near a station. I've never even taken a ride on it. I wanted to, I meant to, but strangely didn't get around to it, because there was nothing really useful I could do with it, and it would take a bit of travel to get to a station. Now, if it had been like on the map, I can right away see how I would have used it. For years I commuted from close to where that Verdugo Rd station would be to 7th street in downtown. Took about an hour to get home on the bumper to bumper freeway.
The funny thing is that Los Angeles used to have an electrical rail system very much like the imaginary one. Or, rather, that's not funny at all, it is rather tragic. Take a look at the Red Car line that existed in the early 1900s. You can read its story on Wikipedia. There were various reasons for its demise, including that it didn't work very well and was in need of serious modernization. But a greatly contributing factor was the well-known conspiracy between General Motors and Standard Oil, forming a company that bought up rail lines in order to shut them down and replace them with cars and busses.
Now, looking at the current Mass Transit System for Los Angeles, I notice there are new developments since I moved. Like a fast bus line through San Fernando Valley where I lived. But the Map is still very unimpressive compared with cities that have a good mass transit system. Somehow it doesn't feel like a very relevant system. And, wow, while I lived in L.A. I was under the firm belief that there was a subway from downtown to Santa Monica along Wilshire, and I just realize that it never was finished. Strange. I clearly remember when they were working on it, and there's even been movies about it, and it doesn't even exist. Some polical maneuvering held up the funding for it and it was never completed.