Report on a Comprehensive Rapid Transit Plan for the City and County of Los Angeles
By: Kelker, De Leuw & Co.
Date: 1925 (dated) Chicago
Dimensions: 11.25 x 8.75 inches (28.5 x 22.2 cm)
This is an interesting historical work concerning the city of Los Angeles and the proposal by Kelker, De Leuw & Co. to the Los Angeles City Council and Board of Supervisors to fund, construct, and implement a "Comprehensive elevated railway and subway plan," for the city and county of Los Angeles.
The plan includes twenty-four folding maps and diagrams of Los Angeles city and county, existing and proposed track, population density, suggested fares, travel times, designs of subways and transit stations from numerous other cities. There is also an interesting set of maps that superimposes the existing public train systems of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Boston over a map of Los Angeles to show the scale of work ahead of them should this plan be approved.
The written portion of the proposal consists of just over 200 pages detailing the issues faced by the city and county with regards to their rapid growth in population and the inadequacy of their current street car system in alleviating the congestion and traffic that was a growing problem that would only get worse as time went on. The report details the costs and economic benefits for implementing their plan through using existing transportation facilities and constructing new ones. It sites the success of other cities such as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston.
At the time this report was presented, Southern California had an extensive privately owned rail transit network with over 1,000 miles of track, operated by Pacific Electric ("Red Cars") and Los Angeles Railway ("Yellow Cars"). Ultimately the proposal was turned down for numerous reasons including the apprehension to grant such a large amount of taxpayer funds to a private company, the unappealing aesthetics of elevated rail car lines as well as the noise and fear of depreciated property values for those the lived near them.
Traffic congestion remained a great concern and by the late 1930s the Automobile Club of Southern California (which had massive political influence) engineered an elaborate plan to create an elevated freeway-type Motorway System, a key aspect of which was the dismantling of the streetcar lines, replacing them with buses that could run on both local streets and on the new express roads. Their plan and powers of political persuasion led to the Los Angeles transportation system we have today, freeways in all directions, some as wide as 20 lanes that produce daily clouds of smog over the city that originally turned down this public transit systems partially for aesthetic concerns.
Condition: The book is complete with original binding that shows some ware and bumped corners. The folding maps are very good condition with some light toning along the fold lines. Three plates have minor repairs to edge tears with cello tape. Any maps can be removed and flattened at the request of the buyer.
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