Thursday, March 04, 2010
WooHoo! Go get the volunteers, they'll work for free!
The Automobile Club of Southern California is hosting "Volunteer Day" on the 405 Freeway and is inviting motorists from throughout the Southland to participate in a "Barn-Raising" approach to improved mobility and congestion relief. Bring a shovel, a pickax, a hardhat and any available heavy earth moving equipment for a fun weekend working with other committed motoring activists as we all pitch in and build that High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on the 405 freeway. Originally estimated to cost $1 Billion, the Interstate 405 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane Project is the second largest Recovery Act funded transportation project in the nation.
As we all know, these are tough times, with the State of California and the City of Los Angeles facing severe economic conditions that include record home loan foreclosures, unemployment, and furloughs for State and Municipal employees who work in environments of great uncertainty. It is against this background that the motoring public has rallied together and offered to give up that $1 Billion, asking that it instead be used to balance the budget, to fund pedestrian projects, to fund bikeways projects, to improve the environment, to support the threatened transit circulators, to reposition mobility as a mechanism for connectivity at the local level, not simply as a traffic sewer that shoots people through our communities on their way far, far away.
We motorists still believe in the 405 HOV project which when completed will result in a continuous 72-mile HOV lane, making it the longest HOV lane in the country. But we also realize that the days of super-sized funding are long gone so we figure if we're going to really change the world and make it possible to live in Northern California while working in southern California, we're going to have to pitch in to make it work.
The idea of utilizing volunteer labor came from the cycling community, a well meaning crowd of pedal powered travelers, who dealt with the lack of funding for their bikeways projects by forming the Department of DIY. Along the way came transportation authorities who realized that this meant "free labor" and before you could say "Get out of my way!" the cycling community was doing surveys, developing plans, conducting outreach, analyzing data, evaluating projects, and advocating for a better world. All while the people paid to perform the same duties fumbled and complained that the activists didn't know how tough it was to be employed, to be well-paid, and yet to be so helpless.
Well, the motoring public isn't helpless. That's why we're gathering on weekends to build our way out of this congestion. That's why we're donating our time and effort to making the 405 HOV project even bigger and even more effective. That's why we need you to give up your weekend and join in the revolution. (please carpool, there isn't much parking on the westside, but that's something else we're going to work on!)