National Geographic : 1979 Jan
"No, the song." "Oh. 'Appassionata.'" His music was sweet but soon lost again, a flight of chords fallen and swallowed by the freeway din. Freeways a Dying Monster? For all of that, the six hundred miles of freeway in the Los Angeles area work very well for some five or six hours a day. Traffic usually is snarled on only 16 percent of the system during rush hours. However, it is es timated that by 1990 the congestion will jam a third of freeway mileage. "We have to complete construction of a few major freeways, but other than that the plugging of gaps-the era of freeway building in Los Angeles is over," David H. Roper of the California Department of Transportation told me. Other planners feel that rail transporta tion is the city's best long-term prospect. "Long-term" is certainly the proper descrip tion, since plans for mass transit seldom get far in Los Angeles. Simply put, the people of this city want nothing to come between them and their cars. Rail-transit bond issues have time and again been rejected at the polls. Los Angeles has a public bus system. In deed, it is one of the largest in the country, carrying more than a million passengers a day. But most of those who ride the buses do so because they can't afford a car, or because they are too old to drive. So the 5,069,198 registered private vehi cles in the city and the rest of Los Angeles County continue to poison the air. It is not that restrictions are lacking. Emission control standards are the strictest prac ticed in the nation. Also, when gasoline is Cutting an imposing figure, Mayor Bradley slices a cake at the opening of a senior citizens' center in the San Fernando Valley (left). The event occurred on one of Bradley's monthly "area days," when he visits a district of his vast city to hold an open forum and meet with business peo ple, students, and homeowner groups. Jubilation shines on the face of Howard Jarvis on election night (above) after Proposition 13, the statewide property-tax-reduction initiative he co-sponsored, passed by a landslide and touched off a spate of similar measures through out the nation.