Did GM really kill the streetcar in Los Angeles?

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Judge Doom’s plan to buy out LA’s streetcar system and build freeways is not fiction, or not totally fiction. It’s based on a US Senate report in 1974 that detailed General Motors’ takeover of the Pacific Electric Railroad, the company that ran Los Angeles’ streetcars. GM replaced the streetcars with buses and the removal of the streetcars paved the way for LA’s famous freeways. That’s the story, anyway. But did it really happen that way? What’s the real story?

A. Adler, Sy. “The Transformation of the Pacific Electric Railway: Bradford Snell, Roger Rabbit, and the Politics of Transportation in Los Angeles.” Urban Affairs Quarterly 27, no. 1 (1991): 51-86.
B. US Census
C.Jackson, Kenneth. 1985. Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. Oxford University Press.
D. Ibid.
E. M. Wachs, Chapter 5. “The Evolution of Transportation Policy in Los Angeles: Images of Past Policy and Future Prospects” in Allen J. Scott and Edward Soja, eds., The City: Los Angeles And Urban Theory At The End Of The Twentieth Century, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996, pp. 106-159.
F. Ibid.
G. The Electric Railway Historical Association. http://www.erha.org/latl.htm
H. http://www.1134.org/stan/ul/GM-et-al.html

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