My readings lately have included a few interesting LA related issues: Valley Succession and the demise of the Pacific Electric Railroad (or as Angelinos refer to it – the old Red Line). My opinions are as follows: Making the San Fernando Valley portions of Los Angeles their own city is a great idea. It might be a royal pain for the people south of the Santa Monica mountains, but there are enough high-income communities (such as West LA and Beverly adjacent) that it will even out nicely.
As far as Light Rail in LA, I am continually amazed at the decisions that were made in the 50’s and 60’s by the local government regarding public transportation. Looking back, I can understand why the people made the decisions they did. Who could have predicted what the much heralded “freeway” actually would do for LA namely increase traffic to a saturation point and then not fund infrastructure improvements to keep up. The real kicker is that if they would have let Alweg build the Monorail System (courtesy the Monorail Society) or kept the Red Car running, life in LA would be completely different. There are some sites out there that want to bring back the Red Car in Downtown and possibly expand it and incorporate it into the Metro Rail system. I think it is a neat idea, but public transportation and acceptance in LA in this day and age is doomed unless they build a line to the West Side (Beverly Hills, Westwood and UCLA, Santa Monica, the rest of the beach cities, and yes, the west valley.) The worst traffic in LA is the 405 Corridor hands down (though I-10 is the busiest). Until they come up with a light rail/subway solution it is not going to get any better. The worst part is that even if they started right now, it would take 5-10 years to build.