Los Angeles in 1946 – The Elevated City of Tomorrow

In the name of traffic relief for the business district of Los Angeles in 1946, the Plant Engineering Company submitted an idea to remove all street-level sidewalks and move them up to the second-story of buildings.

The official report was named "Suggested Down Town Traffic Solution Program" and the pitch included some of the following advantages:

"Pedestrians are taken off the street level, so there is absolutely no retardation of vehicular traffic by pedestrian traffic, which at present is the greatest interference, particularly to lanes of turning traffic".

"Three to four extra lanes of traffic would be provided for all vehicular traffic, which would double the existing traffic lanes, and increase traffic volume four to five times its present rate, considering the easy flow through the controls".

"Foot traffic would be speeded up by the elimination of stop and go signals on the upper level".

"Old one story buildings adversely affected could be purchased and levelled by the city, or others, to provide for ground level parking. The code could then require that any multi-storied future construction provide the first floor as parking space".

The Plant Engineering Company submitted the proposal to Milton Breivogel, who was one of the most influential urban planners in Los Angeles history and served as the principal planner for Los Angeles County between 1941 and 1953. 

Can't imagine why Mr. Breivogel would pass on this idea, (could firetrucks fit under the elevated sidewalks?) The Plant Engineering Company was after all, eager to cooperate in any plans that would be born out of their idea, which consisted of three pages of text and ten sheets of drawings.

Download the original proposal in .pdf form, HERE. (7.9 mb) 

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A determined contributor to the memory and preservation of a decade.

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  1. beddoesheywood
    September 26, 2011, 5:04 am   /  Reply

    Brilliant idea could still do it? Dont know about cost though.

  2. Brandon
    September 26, 2011, 2:36 pm   /  Reply

    I wish they would have at least tried this!  Maybe section off a part of the city or something.  Oh well, I don't know if we could afford it now…

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