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Elon Musk's Hyperloop latest of many wacky L.A. transit ideas

Inventor Elon Musk's concept for the Hyperloop — a mass-transit system that would move people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes — has captured the imagination of residents in a city known for horrible traffic.

As The Times' Catherine Green, W.J. Hennigan and Ralph Vartabedian explained Tuesday morning: "Musk unveiled the design of his Hyperloop, a $6-billion high-speed transit system powered by solar energy. The line would travel along interstates 5 and 580 at speeds of up to 760 miles per hour and have the feel of an airliner, Musk said. Capsules would hold 28 people each."

The idea was generated much interest in California and beyond, even though there are skeptics.

But this is not the first time L.A. has gotten excited about wild mass-transit ideas.

In the 1960s, the city toyed with the idea of building monorails in the middle of major boulevards and freeways. Then there were talks about a personal "pod" people-mover system.

Traffic woes also had planners looking at the Los Angeles River.

As Steve Harvey wrote: "Hence the excitement when local officials were approached in 1985 by the makers of a hovercraft. The company said the vessel could travel the length of the L.A. River on a "bed" of air, which is about the only way the concrete-bed waterway could be navigated. But, at a test run near the mouth of the river in Long Beach, the hovercraft' s engine wouldn't start. It was towed away, never to be seen again.

Undaunted, another new company, Los Angeles River Cruises, sent out invitations in 1990 for a "VIP voyage" on the waterway.

According to Harvey, other wacky transportation ideas include:

— 1986: The West Los Angeles Veloway, a 17-foot-high concrete track from Santa Monica Boulevard, near Westwood Boulevard, to Westwood.

— 1863: Use of camels to get people around L.A.'s then-small city center.


...Then there was L.A.'s concept of monorails in the middle of streets & freeways. pre - #hyperloop

— Shelby Grad (@shelbygrad) August 13, 2013

Does Musk's #HyperLoop seem a little crazy? Back in early 1970s, L.A. considered a people-mover pod system:

— Shelby Grad (@shelbygrad) August 13, 2013

What do you think of Hyperloop? Idea of the future or just another "camel corps"? Share your views below.


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