I used to drive many miles every week to work, so I knew plenty of people who were also drivers. Though highly inclined to bluster about the road rage and problems they encountered, few of them ever gave a thought to the inevitable end that most drivers seem to welcome if not force upon them. I’ve noticed it on my commute on the bright, sunny weekday mornings in the San Gabriel Valley and elsewhere in Los Angeles, and now I have observed it firsthand.
Today, it was especially glaringly obvious. Traffic on a mile-long stretch of the eastbound 10 freeway in Agoura Hills was virtually halted. That closure was due to construction of a new subway, at which point the shoulder of the freeway had been turned into a tunnel that not only diverted traffic, but appeared to close the roadway abruptly to pedestrians.
The shuttle buses, which local and public transportation agencies have for years relied on to get residents from Agoura Hills to downtown Los Angeles, were nowhere to be seen, and dozens of drivers waited in lines up to a quarter-mile long hoping for a chance to cross the freeway at the raised and perpetually dimpled bump now part of the cement, presumably to ensure that cars had nowhere to move westbound. One woman parked her car in the crawl lane, then got on her wheelchair and began skimming across the freeway as it would slither onto a right or, worse, an oncoming car, unable to prevent another accident from occurring.
As the morning wore on, the 11th Street off-ramp was similarly shut down as the street below it was converted into a barrier with a divider line delineating the pedestrian crossing.