How many times have you driven down a narrow one-way street here in Los Angeles when another car comes barrelling down the street towards you, you begin to pull over, but the other driver doesn’t seem to be slowing down, and you think, “Is this guy going to smash into me?!” Of course he sees you and squeezes past you as your knuckles turn white gripping the steering wheel. Perhaps this is a bit dramatic, but incidents like these are why such narrow streets need to be one-way.
The first thing homeowners on those streets will say is, “This will increase speed on our side-streets. Think of the children!” All you have to do is put speed bumps on the streets, many of which have them already. That takes care of that problem.
Making these streets one-way could improve traffic on the main streets. If drivers knew they wouldn’t have to squeeze through the side-streets, they might take them when the main roads jam up, thus getting more cars off of those streets.
Here come the angry homeowners again — “We don’t want a steady flow of traffic on our quiet little street.” And to them I say, “Too damn bad.” These people chose to buy homes in the middle of the second largest city in the nation; they should expect cars to be on their streets. I think because people live in houses instead of apartments, they tend to forget that they are in the middle of a city. They want the conveniences but not the hassles. If they want to live on a street where no one drives down it except people who live there, go move to some suburb somewhere.
Not every street in town needs to be one-way. Some side-streets are wide enough, like this one:
You couldn’t just have one street one-way, and the next street two-way. That would be too confusing. Here’s how I would work it: the street grid of Los Angeles is basically a series of boxes — small streets surrounded by large ones. The streets would be consistent within each box. For example, the box between Beverly, Melrose, Fairfax and LaBrea has narrow streets, so those would all be one-way. The box between Beverly, 3rd, Fairfax and LaBrea has wider streets, so they would remain two-way.
It is difficult enough to drive around Los Angeles. We need to make things easier. This is one way to do that.