Southern California…the car is king. Leading in number of cars but also in stringent vehicular emissions control, and in HOV lanes (High Occupancy meaning 2 here in Cali - not 3 like where i live). In December, Quebec decided to adopt the same emissions standards, the first territory outside of the US to do so. California is pushing the automakers, and it has some clout. No kidding!
There are a lot of cars in So Cal, Peter and I experienced our first Californian “gridlock” at the Enterprise counter at LAX: a 45 minute human traffic jam. When you see a 20+ seating area with a movie playing on the large hanging TV above the seats and 4 machine snack dispensers - that’s a pretty good sign that this place is busy! The man serving us assured us that this was the busiest Enterprise in the world. I would argue that LAX car rental agencies are the busiest in the world, that they rent more cars than anywhere and by a long shot. In Southern California you can’t get anywhere without a car - those bike lanes and wide sidewalks be damned.
At the Amusement Park we visited, the parking lots were impressive, and extensive. If you have a Volvo, you get to park in a preferred lot - nice joint advertising! It is the off season, and a Monday, so we aren’t greeted with a sea of cars driving in, and parking is a breeze. I can only imagine what it is like on a long weekend. One funny thing, the overflow parking was full..not with Park visitors whose cars did not pass muster but with brand new SUV’s - looks like a local car dealership rents space from the Park to store their cars…based on what is happening with gas prices, those SUV’s may be there a long time ( ref. Eric’s Times they are a-changing post).
If casual ridesharing is going to work, it has to work here. There are more people, more cars, more traffic and congestion, more air pollution, less public transportation than anywhere. There is a lot of carpooling but it has reached a peak, and the HOV lanes are still underused. Nobody stands to benefit more from a working casual ridesharing system than Californians. And we need it to work for Californians, cause if it works here, other places will follow.