Supporters of Measure S say it will stop mega-developments that worsen traffic. But in fact, the measure will do little to improve traffic. Congestion has many causes and possible cures, none of which are addressed or advanced by Measure S.
Traffic is growing in L.A. because the population and economy are growing. Though it is true that bigger buildings produce more traffic on nearby streets than the vacant lots and smaller buildings they replace, denser development near stores and offices lessens traffic overall.
In neighborhoods of higher density, more people walk and bike. More people also ride mass transit because service is best where density is higher. This is why California’s greenhouse gas reduction law requires each region to plan denser housing along transit-rich corridors. When people in dense communities drive, they make shorter trips, because more destinations are close by.
Proponents of Measure S are asking to reduce traffic where they live while creating more traffic everywhere else.