How to make L.A. better? Readers say more green, less driving

By Steve Saldivar

Los Angeles is a compromise.

In exchange for open beaches and delicious tacos, we have signed away part of our lives to live in bumper-to-bumper traffic taking us to homes we can’t afford.

Is your glass half-full or half-empty? In response to a recent column by Steve Lopez, we asked you if you thought Los Angeles is getting better or worse.

From telecommuting to an expanded City Hall, here are some of the fixes you recommended.

Do you have an idea that's not listed below? Feel free to leave it in the comments.

Readers respond

Filter by: Better | Worse | All

Andy Decker

“One word: telecommuting. In a region so vast, with so many people, so much traffic, with so many jobs tech- or IT-related, it makes no sense for so many people to have to drive daily to work.”

Bradley S. Smith

“Expanding the City Council from 15 members to 30 or even 45 members, and moving toward a borough system, with council members serving at the "city-wide" level two days a week and "regional" levels three days a week, and with a regional-level "borough manager" and staff, would go a long way to bringing city services closer to the neighborhoods and making those services that much more responsive.”

Daniel Farzannekou

(Chris Erskine / Los Angeles Times)

“My idea is simple: artificial forestation. Plant trees — tens and tens of thousands of them. Let’s keep the air clean, the streets shady and forget about all this concrete we’re boxed inside of. Let’s create public gardens. Let’s take these massive chunks of land around town and plant trees to grow tall and strong, let’s utilize the frontage on our homes. I think we could all benefit from a bit more nature. After all, we spend so much time jammed on the 405 or the 134; it’d be nice to step out and rest under the shade of a big burly tree.”

(Chris Erskine / Los Angeles Times)

Dennis HIll

(Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times)

“Divert stormwater from the Los Angeles storm canals to areas that are in need of water in Southern California.”

Donald R. Koelper

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

“Rethink and reconfigure greater L.A.’s means of regional governance, by which the various cities work together for the mutual benefit of the region’s nearly 20 million people.”

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Fred Calef III

“Make our roads multimodal: in Munich, Germany, the roads are shared by people, bicycles, cars and trains. Bicycles not only have their own lane, but it’s raised to the level of the sidewalk so you don’t feel like you’ll be run over at any minute! Instead of everyone being in a car, the ridership is split among those four transportation types, thus much fewer cars, but decreased transit times for everyone (and much less auto pollution).”

Jasper Whang

“No one ever mentions student loans in any article. I pay close to $1,000 dollars a month in repaying student loans, and I’m not alone in this. This directly affects the living standard of a large portion of our youth and our future. And we’re expected to contribute to the economy and society while being under shackles of the bank? Try getting rid of my financial strain of owning a car, and maybe, just maybe I could be proud of being an Angeleno. ”

Jose Guzman

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

“One-way streets would help a lot. I know Mayor Villaraigosa tried to get support behind this and lost out to some stubborn business owners, but the benefits of one-way thoroughfares through a city bordered by freeways is an easy solution for moving people from A to B and then to C. Right now we are seeing congestion "forcing" drivers onto alternate routes through residential neighborhoods that weren't designed with heavy traffic flows in mind.”

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Josh Diaz

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

“There must be a transportation revolution when it comes to transit. I can imagine when autonomous vehicles take effect this could ease traffic by creating efficiency in movement patterns that are dictated by AI.”

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

KC Crain

“Let's have those 58 billionaires invest in the health of the city that surrounds them. Why not have them stake a bank whose priority is not profits but making successful small business loans? The bank could open branches and install ATMs in underserved areas; it could get the unbanked into free checking accounts and offer low-interest payday loans. It's not about charity but investing in the dynamism and diversity of L.A. and serving the underserved rather than preying on the precariousness of their existence. It seems to me there are plenty of ways we can help each other help ourselves. ”

Lee Bridges

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

“There are plenty of places to build our badly needed housing near public transit, create walkable communities, and improve tax base density for transportation upgrades. Green spaces are essential for health; plan where those will go in advance instead of bickering over them.”

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Murray Rubinstein

“The only way this mess of a city can improve is to completely revise our political system. It will never happen, but my fantasy would be to have quarterly performance evaluations of our politicians. A good example is each district is required to add housing for homeless people, so far Paul Koretz has 0. Sorry, Paul, you're out. ”

Nancy Walker

“Los Angeles is a city of extremes: extreme poverty and extreme wealth. This should not be the case. Create housing for people who are homeless. Voters have approved housing funding for people who are homeless several times. Yet, people are still living on the streets and creating public safety and sanitation issues. Use empty buildings across communities to house people who are homeless. It would be better to pay property owners of said buildings — or provide them with a tax write-off if it helps get people off the streets.”

Philip Green

“At the risk of submitting the least sexy idea ... I would double down on the Neighborhood Councils. Yes they are messy. But they are also where communities have a real voice. With the right leadership and an ambitious expansion of their resources, they could greatly increase civic engagement and address many of the problems at the street and neighborhood level. They could also play a pivotal role in mobilizing volunteers for the Olympics — and that sense of community involvement could be one of the lasting legacies of the Games.”

Sing Lim

(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

“Don’t allow heavy vehicles over 1 ton to be on the freeways in the L.A. metro area between 7 and 9 a.m. and then between 6 and 8 p.m.”

(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Steve Volpin

“Ban Waze. It's turned our quiet hillside neighborhoods into rush hour thoroughfares that were never designed to handle more traffic than a few Model T's.”

Summer Bailey

“L.A.'s ethnic communities are so separated from one another. Maybe an L.A.-wide competition, exposition, celebration, scavenger hunt, exchange program that links all the neighborhoods and encourages people to travel outside their comfort zone.”

Tim Hall

(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

“Immediately prioritize and treat as an emergency the building of a new Metro rail line running elevated over the center median of the 405 from where the Blue Line crosses the 405 in Long Beach… [to] Westwood.”

(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Additional credits: Development by Vanessa Martínez