Los Angeles NIMBYs And Libertarians Seek Alternative Universe

The land use and transportation news out of Los Angeles yesterday was head-shaking. On land use, per the Los Angeles Times, wealthy NIMBYs are bank-rolling a voter initiative essentially to freeze development in Los Angeles:

The Coalition to Preserve L.A. announced plans for a ballot measure, titled the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, that would put a moratorium of up to 24 months on development projects that cannot be built without votes from elected officials to increase density.

The proposal also would make it harder for those officials to change the city’s General Plan — the document that spells out the city’s policies on land use and traffic — for individual real estate developments.

You can read the text here. As my colleague Jonathan Zasloff rightfully describes it, it’s “NIMBYs gone wild.”  The last thing an overpriced and supply-constrained region like Los Angeles needs is less housing, especially near transit stops in places like Hollywood.

Let's pretend this works.

Let’s pretend this works.

Meanwhile, on transportation, the libertarian Reason Foundation came out with an equally retrograde proposal [PDF], advocating for over $700 billion in new transportation spending in Los Angeles, primarily for roadway expansion.  About half of those funds would come from toll revenue. Because we all know that expanding capacity on roadways is an excellent long-term solution to solve traffic (even CalTrans now admits that expansion just induces more demand).

Even worse, most of the capacity expansion would happen via tunnels underneath existing roadways, which are hugely disruptive, difficult to build, and not likely to get approved by our byzantine power structure. The only decent part of the report is the emphasis on bus-only lanes and greater use of congestion pricing in highway lanes, with the revenue going to transit.

All in all, a tough day for sensible proposals on land use and transportation in Los Angeles.


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