To Los Angeles’ Great Relief, Carmageddon is a Bust
Published on July 18th, 2011
Carmageddon is this decade’s Y-2K. When the year 2000 approached dire predictions were made about the nation’s fate. Fear mongers predicted total paralysis for air traffic, business systems and banking records. On December 31, 1999 the nation held its breath. But on the morning of January 1, 2000 everyone wondered what all the fuss had been about.
What happened, or better said what didn’t happen, in Los Angeles along I-405 Saturday and Sunday was much the same as the scare from 10 years ago. The worst was anticipated. But by the time the weekend was over, Carmageddon turned out to be much ado about nothing.
Los Angeles drivers prudently stayed home—always a sound option in the face of the massive traffic that constantly bedevils local residents. [Carmageddon: Mission Accomplished, by Kenneth R. Weiss, Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Andrew Khouri, Los Angeles Times, July 18, 2011]
Since motorists were nowhere to be found, the freeways were wide open and, for at least a brief moment in time, showed a picture of what life might be like for residents if Los Angeles County didn’t have nearly 10 million people.
Film buffs will recall a scene in the classic "Sunset Boulevard" when William Holden and Gloria Swanson cruised along in their convertible pausing only at the automated "Stop" and "Go" signs. See the vintage signs here. On Sunset Boulevard circa 1950, hardly another car was in sight.
Policy makers in both Sacramento and Washington D.C. steadfastly refuse to consider the consequences of more people living in California. Immigration and children born to recent immigrants are the driving force behind California’s population growth. Every time an incentive like the DREAM Act, the California version of which is headed to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for approval, illegally crossing the border looks more inviting.
In his 1995 op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times, CAPS’ former Executive Director Ric Oberlink asked in reference to how many immigrants California could accommodate : "Does our nation need more workers competing for a limited number of jobs? Do our overburdened and overcrowded schools need more students crammed into the classrooms? Will our scenic parks be more enjoyable when shared with additional multitudes? Does precious wildlife habitat become easier to save in the face of additional human encroachment?" [The Case for Shutting the Door, by Ric Oberlink, Los Angeles Times, November 3, 1995]
The answers to Ric’s questions are a resounding "No." Through CAPS continued efforts, the consequences of overpopulation are more well known today among the general public than they were in 1995. Many in Congress have joined our fight for sensible immigration policies.
Fewer people mean fewer social problems—traffic, crime, overcrowding on our streets, in our schools and at our hospitals and a better quality of life for everyone.
The two non-Carmageddeon days provided a fleeting reminder of what California could be like if it weren’t for overpopulation.