A City of Freeways? Or a City of Freeway Fighters?

Los Angeles Has Been Defined Both By Its Big Roads and By the Efforts to Stop Them

The I-710/60 interchange

Southern California has approximately 67,000 vehicular lane miles. In other words, we have enough roads to wrap around the earth 2.69 times at the equator. Government officials believe more roadways are needed, but the people often want something else.

Many people say that our embrace of freeways defines Los Angeles, and we should leave it at that. But the contrary is also true: Opposition to freeways has made Southern California what it is today. Angelenos are freeway fighters—and sometimes freeway slayers.

As an urban historian who has done more than a decade …

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