“Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.”
— Frank Lloyd Wright
“Life in LA is not lying in the sun for months. It is having a 4pm meeting and leaving at noon to sit in traffic for four hours. It’s not glam.”
— Billy Boyd
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,”
— NJ Deputy Chief of Staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, writing to David Wildstein, at Port Authority of NY & NJ, who responded, “Got it.”
It does not take a political wizard to see that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, so recently re-elected by a wide margin, is in deep, deep trouble coping with his BridgeGate scandal. We have been bombarded with wall to wall, Christie/BridgeGate/Sky is Falling news by our 24/7 Talking Heads Media.
But, I have very good news for Gov. Christie. There is another job waiting for him out here in the fabled Land of Fruits and Nuts, where the weather is so much easier on the aging bones than back in New Jersey. And, it’s a job which can draw on his truly unique talents to snarl traffic — Traffic Czar of West Los Angeles!
Hurricanes, we don’t have no stinkin’ hurricanes here! Yes, we have earthquakes, but they are so much simpler, and quicker . . . . But, man oh man, do we ever have traffic!
Specifically, Gov. Christie, after he cleanses himself of BridgeGate, of course, would make a wonderful Traffic Czar for the mind-assaulting, spirit-numbing, energy-sapping gridlock which West Los Angeles traffic has become over these past few years.
“Time for some traffic problems in West LA!” Well, it’s been that time for a while now – helped along by more construction projects, tying up more streets and vital intersections, than ever dreamed of before. West LA’s traffic desperately needs a ‘can-do,’ no-nonsense tough guy, who can stand up to public pressure. A bully, who can put those white gloved, be-whistled traffic cops out, and on duty at all those intersections where the cars line up and watch the traffic lights go from red to green to red to green to red to green, enough times to raise your blood pressure because you have not moved a single inch all the while.
Traffic studies? Yes, Gov. Christie can finally study why, on LA’s WestSide, the breathtaking concept of timed traffic lights, coordinated with the traffic flow if you are traveling within the speed limits, so that you can drive clear across Pico or Olympic, for example, on a green light, and not have to stop at every other red light, often only a block or two apart the whole way, seems as alien to our Traffic Engineers as life forms from Mars.
And, about those Presidential visits . . . perhaps we could prevail on Gov. Christie to use some of that good cheer on evidence when he toured SuperStorm Sandy’s disaster sites with Pres. Obama right before the 2012 election, to prevail on the White House not to tie LA’s WestSide traffic into knots every time he decides to visit us for a fresh infusion of fund raising in our tonier neighborhoods, like Brentwood.
Last visit or two ago, I stood at my West LA office window and watched the Presidential Motorcade drive West to East right down Wilshire, with all side streets feeding into Wilshire closed, because there had been a shooting at Santa Monica College, which required a route diversion. President Obama, seated in the middle of one of the long parade of up-armored black SUV’s, was merrily waving to us all, and WestSide traffic was at an absolute standstill, while we all waved back.
The new Subway to the Sea, under construction, has begun leaving its indelible imprint everywhere you look, from miles-long construction on Bundy/Centinella down all the way past Santa Monica Airport, to half dozen other sites which manage to close traffic down to fewer lanes. Now, narrowing down lanes to complicate traffic is something that we know Gov. Christie is good at doing, having served his apprenticeship on the GW Bridge, narrowing lanes for that ‘traffic study,’ seemingly aimed at those Democratic voter parents of those poor kids trapped on their school buses for hours on end.
Once, in days long passed, Los Angeles had one of the finest public transit systems on earth, with the Big Red Cars going from Dana Point to Mt. Washington to Ventura, and to all points in between. All they had to do was leave that there, in place, no? But, ripping it all out in the 1950’s and early 60’s and now having to re-build it, in parts, at 21stC prices . . . yup, that makes a lot of sense. In the 70’s, there were still railroad spur tracks going all across the WestSide, complete with railroad bridges, and it all could have easily been converted to lighter rail for public transit, but we ripped those out too.
Since Gov. Christie has been accused of both being very slow on the draw, and quite particular, in doling out Sandy relief and rebuilding money, we know that he won’t be in favor of tearing down and ripping out any more of LA’s WestSide’s infrastructure – so that we can build it back again decades later, for 10 times the cost. We can take comfort from that.
And, since it appears that he may have favored certain developers in New Jersey, and not others, Gov. Christie won’t have any problems here as LA’s WestSide Traffic Czar because nobody really cares how many new developments are planned, or on the boards, to further tie up the traffic here – they just keep on building them. He won’t care either . . . .
Yes, Gov Christie could have a whole new political life out here, far from all this bad press, which has truly inundated us.
It’s a no-brainer, really.