By Jeff Hall.
I attended the annual meeting of Brentwood Park Property Owners Association, held recently at the Brentwood Country Club. It was great to see many old friends.
Mary Ann Lewis, as always, did a great job running the show.
Traffic on the Westside was – surprise, surprise – the hot topic of conversation.
Mike Bonin, Jody Litvak of METRO, Lisa Martello-Palmerof LADOT and Hilary Norton of FAST (Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic) engaged in a panel discussion on what governmental agencies and nonprofits can do to ease the burden.
There was talk of a new Metro stop at the VA (and maybe beyond, in a westerly direction); Mike Bonin said some form of public transit linking the Valley to LAX will become a reality maybe sooner than we might otherwise think.
There was an idea that was written up in the LA Times recently, about charging drivers on the Westside $4 if they came or went through the Westside during peak traffic times (with price reductions for locals).
Mike Bonin said that even though this idea works in London and other cities, he did not think it was a good idea for the Westside, because, in his estimation, drivers really had no viable alternatives – as they do in London.
This idea could maybe be considered at a later date, he said, assuming more alternatives become available.
I’ve been attending meetings of all sorts for many years in which traffic is the main point of discussion.
Many times I’ve raised my hand in settings like this and suggested there is something very simple and inexpensive we could do: Let’s give everyone who works at a computer all day a “Work From Home Day” once a week.
Think about it. We can be pretty much anywhere and still be productive. If we are working on documents, emailing, Skyping or calling our office all day during our “Work from Home Day,” will we really be less productive? I doubt it.
Let’s say half of all workers work on computers. If all these folks worked one day a week from home, there would be a 10 percent reduction in car trips (one day per week equals 20 percent of the workweek; if half of all workers are information workers, that’s how I came up with my 10 percent figure).
If this idea doesn’t seem “fair” to those who can’t work from home, those who can’t work from home will STILL benefit – from the big reduction in traffic!
This wouldn’t cost much to implement, really. We could have a reduce car traffic all across LA for very little cost.
Every time I raise this issue, there is applause from whatever audience that hears it. The idea just makes sense.
Mike Bonin said, as a city councilman, he doesn’t really have the power to implement such a plan.
I wasn’t here in LA back in 1984, but I understand organizers of the Olympics came up with a voluntary plan to reduce car traffic, and it worked like a charm.
So it can be done – even without “official” action.
Let’s all start talking about “LA Work from Home Day” (I just registered that domain name, LAWorkFromHomeDay.org, but I don’t have a site up and running yet – stay tuned).
Meanwhile, if you like the idea of LA Work From Home Day, send me an email and we’ll get a conversation started: jeff.hall@brentwoodnewsLA.com.
If enough people get behind this idea, our elected officials will see the wisdom. I know everyday people do.