Los Angeles Commutes
By Jeanette Joy Fisher
For decades, California has been known as a land of lots
of cars and long commutes--commutes that turn freeways
into endless parking lots. But with the price of gas
heading above $3.00 a gallon, even Californians are
beginning to look into the possibility of living closer to
The trend toward revitalizing downtown areas isn't new.
Witness the rebirth of such downtowns as Detroit,
Michigan, or Portland, Oregon. But Californians seemed to
buck that trend, continuing to move farther and farther
from their jobs and commuting on congested,
pollution-spewing freeways for hours on end. But that may
be coming to an end, because the Golden State seems to be
experiencing the rebirth of many of its downtown areas, as
Such areas as Hollywood, South Bay, and San Fernando are
seeing building booms in their downtown areas, and even
downtown Los Angeles, the automobile capital of the world,
has begun to emerge from the ashes of neglect and apathy.
The boom is being drive by high gasoline prices and less
willingness on the part of people to commute long
distances in heavy traffic.
In Los Angeles, the area around CBS Television City is
growing by leaps and bounds, including a new upscale mall
and several nicely designed multifamily structures that
fit in well with the elaborate mansions that still
dominate the area north on Beverly Boulevard. The actual
boom began in 2004, when gas prices began to rise rapidly.
Suddenly, both small and large builders began to realize
that consumer sentiment concerning urban living was
beginning to change quickly in California. So builders in
Los Angeles, Burbank, and Long Beach began to rethink the
concept of urban residential living and went to work to
fill the growing demand for livable spaces closer to
downtown areas. In 2005, the boom really took off,
including a 325 percent increase in new attached housing
units in various Southern California downtown areas in
just one year.
Numbers like that were bound to attract more builders to
cash in on the trend. That was the case in places like
Inglewood, where the urban building boom is now in full
swing, driven by people who no longer want to fight
California's world-famous traffic--especially people who
work at Los Angeles Airport (LAX).
So it appears that California is being forced to join the
rest of the nation in revitalizing its downtown areas,
which will be a boon to everyone involved--including
Planet Earth, which will see less pollution as
Californians take to the highway in fewer and fewer
Copyright © 2006 Jeanette J. Fisher
Earth Day 2006 - Good News for the Environment
Even though American rivers donít catch fire anymore and
the smog levels have decreased in most major cities,
thereís still a long way to go. But we must all work to
continue the momentum set in motion by the first Earth
Day in 1970.