He Would Have Gotten My Vote

Earlier today, Larry Harnisch posted some clippings from the Los Angeles Times published sixty years ago today. As a transportation wonk, the headline “L.A. Welcomes Harbor Freeway Extension With Four-Block Traffic Jam” caught my eye as it succinctly summarizes the cycle of freeway expansion–congestion–more expansion—more congestion.

Accompanying that article, however, is a brief wire report of an assemblyman, Charles Chapel, questioning the wisdom of using money for freeway construction.[1]

Chapel on Freeways 1953

Chapel says, “Freeways, instead of solving our problem, are contributing to it.” He even advocates for mass transit options, “I don’t care what kind– elevated or surface or subway or what.” As cities, including Los Angeles, consider multimodal transportation solutions, his views seem prescient today.


  1. “Assemblyman Chapel Asks for Freeway Probe.” Los Angeles Times. August 8, 1953: 1.  ↩

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