How am I always the last to know about these things? The NYT's Freakonomics blog has been running a great series of L.A. transportation-themed posts by U.C.L.A. doctoral student and longtime Angeleno Eric Morris.
In his most recent "Los Angeles Transportation Fact and Fiction" entry, Morris writes:
In the last posts, we learned that Los Angeles is not a poster child for sprawl, that the air has gotten a lot cleaner, and that the freeway network
is surprisingly small given the region’s enormous population. What
about the charge that Los Angeles’s mass-transit system is
underdeveloped and inadequate?
By U.S. standards, that’s false.
Of course, Morris goes onto admit: "I can’t look you in the eye and tell you the car
is not king in Los Angeles. It is. Our transit share is quite small: a
bit under 2 percent."
Turns out that as far as mass transit share goes, L.A. puts Kansas City and Milwaukee to shame but lags behind San Francisco's surprisingly-low 5% and New York's country-best-but-still-kind-of-pathetic 10%.