Observing Los Angeles

Elon Musk the latest in long line of 'loopy LA dreamers'

hyperloop-musk.jpgThe Financial Times reporter in Los Angeles, Matthew Garrahan, writes for his audience that Elon Musk is now "the new dreamer-in-chief" in California. "This week Mr. Musk published plans for the Hyperloop, an elevated, sealed tube between San Francisco and Los Angeles that would use air-cushioning to propel pods carrying travellers at speeds of 700mph – and shorten to 35 minutes a journey that can take six hours," says the FT's man. "It is a marvellously bonkers idea that has been embraced by the tech community but politely dismissed by some California politicians, who point to potential stumbling blocks with land acquisition costs."

The short piece then goes on to tie in the Unbuilt LA exhibit at the A+D Museum and even the foibles of San Diego mayor Bob Filner. Excerpt:

A number of the forgotten designs look suspiciously like Mr Musk’s Hyperloop. A proposed “airtram” from 1936 was the brainchild of Joseph Strauss, the engineer who built the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It promised “the speed of the airplane, the comfort and quiet of the automobile”, with cars “propelled by silent drive motors”. Forty years later came plans for an air-cushioned “people mover” to shuttle commuters in small pods around a loop in Los Angeles. The project died in 1980 when Ronald Reagan, the newly elected president, suspended public funding.


Some of the plans are downright weird: Bible Storyland, apparently inspired by Disneyland, would have occupied a site to the east of Los Angeles, and featured a reconstruction of the Garden of Eden. Heart-shaped to symbolise “God’s love for humanity”, it was abandoned when local clergy declared it blasphemous.

Previously on LA Observed:
Elon Musk finally explains how he'd get from L.A. to S.F. in 30 minutes
Hyperloop draws skeptics in Sacramento


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