Are Cars Protecting Los Angeles?
The New York Times Subscription
LOS ANGELES — I was born in New York and spent my formative years there, so waiting makes me crazy. I’m a jaywalker and I push elevator buttons more than once. I find the shortest line to anything. I walk fast and can drive like a competitor in a video game race. I attribute these qualities to years spent trying to survive in New York’s hustle culture, and not to innate personal flaws.
Then I moved to Los Angeles and discovered that pedestrians wait for the lights to change before they cross. I’d heard that this was the case, but you could never believe such a thing possible unless you saw it with your own eyes.
The car is king here.
I never could adjust. Yeah, the car gives you freedom — if you don’t mind sitting in endless traffic jams. I mind. Also, because Los Angeles was designed for cars, everything you want to do and everything you care about is too far away to get to on foot, so you never walk to anything. Sometimes, after getting coffee with a friend, one person will drive the other to her car, parked around the block. I’ve actually taken lifts from friends in their car to my car in the same parking lot. Even on those short pointless trips, you can find yourself in traffic.