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Transportation

Fake L.A. Subway Map: What Los Angeles Would Look Like With a Comprehensive Rail System

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Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge Over Beverly Hills' dead body. - NUMAN PARADA
  • Numan Parada
  • Over Beverly Hills' dead body.
Numan Parada, an L.A.-area mapmaker, created a "fantasy public transit map" for Los Angeles in 2007 -- and it appears the map has gone viral again this spring.

Were not surprised. No matter your position on Metro's budget priorities, it's hard not to drool at the prospect of instant rail transportation from any corner of L.A. County to another.

Click to enlarge:

click to enlarge NUMAN PARADA
  • Numan Parada
Parada reportedly based the fantasy draft on the London Tube, down to the $23 font he bought to replicate the text on the London Underground map.

And, well -- it was worth it! This fake L.A. subway map may be the hottest piece of transit porn ever to circulate the Internet.

Makes you wonder, too. Could a public-transportation utopia like Parada's ever exist in Los Angeles?

In an L.A. Times profile circa 2007 (when the map first blew up), Parada said: "While I don't sincerely think a system like this is realistic to build, I think it can give hope."

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has displayed similar hope, frequently travelling to Washington to beg for transportation grants and tell anyone who'll listen (or won't) about his plan to build a "Subway to the Sea."

But rail is astoundingly expensive -- especially compared to the amount it would cost to bolster L.A.'s crumbling bus system. Critics often bash the L.A. Metropolitan Transit Authority for repeatedly cutting bus lines to throw billions more at trendy pipe dreams for a full subway in Los Angeles. (The Bus Riders Union has even gone so far as to say Metro's rail favoritism is racist.)

The biggest obstacle here is the sheer size of Los Angeles County. Genevieve Giuliano, a professor at the USC School of Policy, Planning and Development, told the Times:

"Instead of trying to overlay 19th century rail technology on a 21st century city, we should be reinventing the bus system, providing exclusive lanes for buses in places where we need the capacity to move people. That's a whole lot cheaper than building billions of dollars of rail."

Also, because the county has already been so densified around a crap traffic system -- ever-widening roads that, no matter how wide, could never accomodate the hordes of vehicles that need them -- it's hard to convince residents, businesses, schools, etc. to scoot over for a noisy/messy subway line.

Case in point: The battle currently raging between Metro and the City of Beverly Hills. Predictably, the latter doesn't want some dirty train car running through, shuttling downtown scum onto its prestigious shopping grounds.

Metro will end up spending millions just fighting the Beverly Hills lawsuits -- and that's on top of the $9 billion or so it would take to expand the Purple Line westward, should Metro come out of the community battle alive.

Still, it's fun to dream.

UP NEXT: Compare L.A.'s actual subway map with Parada's fantasy. That is, if you're brave enough to weather the white space.

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