04 August 2012

Just How Big is Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is the urban sprawl capital of California. Simply climb to the top of any of the many mountain ranges which surround the city; one can see freeways, blocks of buildings, and endless ballet of cars, usually through a thick blanket of smog. 

Los Angeles Skyline and San Gabriel Mountains
Image © Charles Abbott, 99 Photography

Ask anyone who lives in the area: no on gives a second thought to driving 45 minutes at the top of the hat, or assuming that traffic will delay one's arrival for at least another 30 minutes. These constant traffic snarls and delays are simply a part of life for the average resident of the area.

The Hollywood Sign
Attribution: User Oreos at Wikimedia Commons

So why is traffic also so bad? How did Los Angeles earn the reputation as one of the most trafficked city in the country? Well, take a look at the map below and see how much larger of a geographic area the city covers when compared with other cities. A resident of LA simply has a much larger area which they will be expected to transverse for work, school, or pleasure. And because everything is so spread out, many areas are impractical for mass transit, keeping everyone stuck in their cars.

Size of Los Angeles vs. other urban centers
Attribution: Archinect News

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