Orange County Continues to Lead SoCal in Screwing Over Everyone Around It with 405 Freeway Expansion

Just after plans to drill a hole through a mountain to extend the 710 were thankfully killed by the Metro Board last month, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) thought it was best to secure some $627M in federal funding—thanks, guys!—for the $1.9B project to expand the 405 Freeway from Route 73 in Costa Mesa until it hits the wonderful bottleneck nightmare that is the 450/22/605 junction in Long Beach.

In what the Press-Telegram hilariously and misguidedly calls “an improvement,” the project is a major blow to livability, transit, and urban advocates who cite those pesky, academically-backed research papers which show time and time again that expanding freeways exacerbate traffic, congestion, and pollution. In fact, the piece fails to bring up any research that allows readers to understand how this will negatively impact the future generations of Southlanders.

In fact, according to research from the National Center for Sustainable Transportation that was supported by Caltrans, noted that “numerous studies have examined the effectiveness of this approach and consistently show that adding capacity to roadways fails to alleviate congestion for long because it actually increases vehicle miles traveled.”

Some of those studies, all of which are nonprofit, nonpartisan, academically-sound research?

Here’s one.

Here’s another.

And another.

And another.

And another.

And another.

And another.

And another.

And another.

And another.

And another.

Here’s what the OCTA Board really said: Who the hell cares about all those studies? I mean, who do they really benefit? Those swimming-in-wealth researchers who look at traffic and urban design, amiright?

Let’s expand the freeways because, you see, I sit in traffic every fucking day and it bugs me and even though I have been offered solutions, they don’t “fit” my lifestyle. You see, I want to be able to go wherever I want to go, whenever I want to go. All in the comfort of my private space in a really crowded SoCal. And I do not want to have to sit next to a working class person or deal with the kind of people that take buses—I mean, I’m not anti-poor or racist or anything, but you know what I mean… It’s just annoying and even though there is overwhelming evidence—I call it bullshit because I don’t agree with it but whatever, let’s call it “evidence” like you say, everyone else knows it’s FAKE NEWS… Even though there’s that, that if I did take transit, traffic would actually be alleviated, I just don’t like the idea. It’s gross.

So here’s to more congestion, more traffic, more pollution, and worsened lives for the future. It’s not going to affect me and my Audi.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food to politics to urban transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 12 nominations and an additional win for Best Political Commentary. Born in Big Bear, he has lived in Long Beach since college. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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