No Pain, No Gain

That seems to be the mantra for Los Angeles County when it comes to transportation.

We all know that Measure R was passed partly as a reactive (and somewhat proactive) effort to ease the everyday pain of being a commuter in Los Angeles. Of course, most major cities’ residents suffer the same fate every weekday to and from work as well – so why does our region deserve special attention? Because according to the results of an IBM survey – as reported in a recent article by Reuters, our commutes hurt THE MOST. In a survey of 4,446 commuters in the top 10 metropolitan cities in the country, Los Angeles took the title for giving its residents the most emotionally painful commutes. Ouch – reading that hurt, but it won’t hurt as much as getting back onto the 210. To calculate scores for the aptly-titled “commuter pain index,” IBM surveyors measured responses to time, traffic, congestion, stress, anger (lots here) and impact on work.

But the pain doesn’t stop there.

Facing a different kind of hurt are the cities that sit further east along the Foothill Extension corridor. In an article published a few weeks ago in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, several inland cities expressed their angst and displeasure at the extremely long wait before their transit-oriented development plans – centered around their respective Foothill Extension stations – can come to fruition. In the words of La Verne resident Richard Taskesen: “maybe we’ll be dead by then.”

According to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, the City of Montclair officials are hoping to create their own downtown – complete with residential buildings, shopping centers and restaurants – with transit (read: Foothill Extension) at the heart of it. La Verne has reserved land for similar development around its station. Claremont has already made its transit-oriented plans come to life, but is waiting for the Foothill Extension to arrive to make the “transit” in “transit-oriented” work. Ontario, which will be the last city to see the Gold Line as part of the Ontario Airport extension, has already identified land to be used when the train does finally arrive.

Unfortunately, talking about these plans nearly a decade before they can even start construction (because there’s no other choice) just adds more points for anger to the San Gabriel Valley commuter pain index. The culprit? Politics. But you already knew that.

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