As Los Angeles ponders a green, electric future, it might consider times past. The city is targeting the 2028 Olympics to drastically expand its public transportation system with a $28 billion infrastructure project.
Seems, though, something of its type once existed. LA had a light rail system over a hundred years ago. It looked something like this.
Created by Jake Berman, the map shows the Pacific Electric Railway system as it existed before World War I.
L.A.’s transit history is chock-full of depressing and hilarious (but mostly depressing) missteps, encounters with myopia, and instances of sabotage, none more notable than the destruction of the Pacific Electric Railway System. The 1,000-plus-mile network of streetcar lines, which stretched from the ocean all the way to Redlands, was gradually dismantled, either by a nefarious cabal of pro-automobile interests or because of Americans’ changing transportation preferences, or some combination of the two.
Something to consider next time you’re stuck bumper to bumper on the 405.