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The Noxious Tandem Team
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Los Angeles, my city, the second-largest city in the nation, has once again scored #1 in smog and pollution--and in traffic congestion. That is the noxious duo, brought on by Angelenos' love of automobiles and the power of the gas and oil industries to block and thwart all efforts at creating an efficient public transportation system.

I'm overstating the case a bit. In the last decade L.A. has developed a public transit system, but it is only moderately effective. I find it quite confusing to use, but if I were to use it more often, maybe I would see its value better.

It is so much easier to jump in my car and drive, than to walk out to the main street, catch a bus, transfer to the Orange Line, go downtown, transfer to another bus...you get the idea. The city geography was developed around the automobile and it is now time-consuming and inconvenient to go by public transit.

Though I must admit having park 'n ride areas has greatly improved the convenience of public transportation.

Then there's the smog and pollution. It's not bad at this time of year. What we have now is mostly tree pollen A-A-A-CHOO! and other stuff that makes for itchy eyes and runny noses. But late in the summer the inversion layer over the city keeps the pollutants confined, unmoving, and the air turns brown.

However, as someone just reminded me, air pollution now is a lot better than it was twenty years ago, if that's any comfort. But traffic congestion is much worse, horrible in fact.

I'll bet the Audio Books people do major business here, with people trapped in their cars and nothing to do, might as well listen to a book.

Time just published an article which reviews a study linking air pollution (both in the home and in traffic) with hardening of the arteries. After 35 years as a transportation professional, I will undoubtedly pay the price.

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