“In the long term, it will make no difference to the traffic pattern,” said Marcia Hobbs, who has lived her whole life in Bel Air. “I haven’t noticed substantial cutbacks in traffic. As a matter of fact, I would say it was the opposite.”Some facts:
Peak afternoon traffic time has indeed decreased to five hours from seven hours’ duration (yes, you read that right) and overall traffic capacity has increased. But congestion is as bad — even worse — during the busiest rush hours of 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., according to a study by the county Metropolitan Transportation Authority.It's called induced demand. Cooler heads have said the conservatively estimated $600 million 30 Gulch project will create still more demand for still wider freeways at newly created chokepoints and funnel more traffic into an area that, in truth, is really busy for only a relatively small morning and afternoon window on business days. But damn them. Pour the concrete!
Zev Yaroslavsky, a former member of both the county Board of Supervisors and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said the work “made a difference on a number of fronts,” but he called it “the most disruptive project” he had seen during his 40 years in public life here.The article notes a parallel with Little Rock criticism of 30 Gulch:
“I doubt the project would have been undertaken in the first place if we’d known it would cost $1.6 billion,” said Mr. Yaroslavsky, whose district includes the Sepulveda Pass. “There’s a lot of bad taste in my mouth about this. There were mistakes made all around. It was a nightmare of a project.”
.. improving the capacity of a highway tends to encourage more people to use it instead of, say, making their way across the pass on local streets.
“If you go out there at 5 p.m. on a Friday and look at the delay, anyone in my business could have told you that adding the capacity that they added to the corridor would have little or no effect on delays during that period,” Brian D. Taylor, the director of U.C.L.A.’s Institute of Traffic Studies, said.