Kudos to Los Angeles (and Mayor Eric Garcetti) for poaching another Silicon Beach icon from neighboring and increasingly no-growth Santa Monica. Los Angeles can certainly use the 400 jobs as well as the tax revenue Yahoo will bring to the largest city in the County. Still I can't help but express concern about the added traffic and pollution that Yahoo, Google and the other Silicon Beach bathing beauties will bring to largely transit-free Playa Vista and its neighbors. True, Google has been a leader in providing shuttle buses and bikes to its employees. But with housing costs in the region what they are, will these private sector transportation solutions be enough to keep traffic flowing on already congested Jefferson, Centinela, Lincoln, Sepulveda and the 405? I doubt it. So once again Angelenos will be cursed by the double-edged sword of economic development and a lack of transportation foresight when big developments like Playa Vista were approved.
Silicon Beach's explosion at Playa Vista and (as expected) the failure of the 405 widening project to put a dent in LA's notorious traffic, confirm the need for a rail line along the 405 between the San Fernando Valley and the South Bay with light rail spurs or bus rapid transit (BRT) lines along key arteries like Jefferson Blvd. Ironically, Yahoo is leaving a Santa Monica location soon to be well-served by Metro light-rail and expanded Big Blue Bus service. Meanwhile, Jefferson Blvd from the 405 west to Lincoln Blvd is a broad boulevard with the capacity to support a BRT or light rail line. But is anyone in the city or at Metro thinking of or planning for one? If they are, the silence is deafening.
With Yahoo and Google and countless others looking to turn Playa Vista into Silicon Beach Adjacent, it is time Metro, the City Council and candidates for the new Metro CEO position chimed in on their plans for transit salvation in West LA.
Yours in transit,