Wednesday, March 17, 2010

reader request: wilshire boulevard + westwood boulevard (I)

Thanks to Donald Weller for the location request.

UCLA has never had a strong college town feel to me, and I suspect Wilshire Blvd. has a lot to do with it. Don't get me wrong: I love Westwood with all mixed-use fun. But just look at Wilshire. At an absolutely insane ten lanes wide, this rubicon effectively prevents the Village from expanding in any real way — indeed, head south on Westwood-past-Wilshire and you'll notice the bars vanish, and the restaurant choices get just a little more expensive (no chance of finding a Diddy Reese there, for example).

Here, lights regulate every kind of maneuver imaginable — crosswalk countdowns, No Turn On Red LED signage, double-lane controlled right turns, double-lane controlled left turns — instilling in drivers (and those on foot) an anxiety so utterly complete that all conversation momentarily stops. More equals less in a situation like this, something its traffic-engineers-gone-wild probably don't understand. Full of movement but empty of life, this intersection is a classic example of overdesign. See it narrowed!
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About the Photographer

Los Angeles, CA, United States
Writer, designer, and urban planning geek.

Got a location idea or photo submission? Send it to I'll post it to the blog or even run out to shoot it myself.


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