During his first governorship 40 years ago, Brown’s Department of Transportation suddenly restricted some lanes of the heavily traveled Santa Monica Freeway to carpools. The resulting traffic jams created an intense political backlash.
Initially, Brown defended the action, saying, “Obviously, the ethic of unlimited freeways that attempt to pour cement from one end of the state to the other is over, and it takes a while for people to adjust to that.”
As the furor escalated, however, Brown ended the experiment, claiming that “Diamond Lanes” were devised by predecessor Ronald Reagan’s administration, not his.
Since then, the state’s population has climbed by two-thirds, but vehicular traffic has more than doubled to 330 billion vehicle-miles a year. With very little expansion of roadway capacity, congestion has reached epic proportions.
A recent study of traffic congestion determined that Los Angeles County has 10 of the nation’s 20 worst corridors, including a No. 1 stretch of Highway 101.
The Brown administration’s newly published California Transportation Plan 2040 indicates that one strategy for moving Californians out of their cars is to let congestion worsen.