Long Dead Streetcars Still Shape L.A. Neighborhoods

Why Millions of Angelenos Live According to the Plan of an Extinct Transit System


In the early 1900s, streetcars were the dominant mode of transit in the Los Angeles area. They ran from Pomona to the ocean, and from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach. The addition of a streetcar route to any area immediately made that land more accessible to downtown and therefore more valuable.

One of us used to live in a neighborhood near the intersection of Westwood and Santa Monica boulevards that exemplifies the sort of development spawned by the streetcar. The boulevards are lined with commercial structures and surrounded by …

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