To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Monday, February 24, 2014

H‌ow to walk in LA


By Alissa Walker, February 2014

The 'you drive everywhere' cliche is so oft repeated, it's easy to forget that Los Angeles is actually made up of some perfectly strollable neighbourhoods. Journalist, blogger and activist Alissa Walker takes to the streets.
I moved to LA 12 years ago, and have been car free since 2007. Soon, I was noticing new things, meeting new people, learning about different areas of the city and caring more about LA as a whole. It has completely changed my relationship with my community.

It’s not true that nobody walks in LA. Public transport is actually great, it’s the third biggest system in the US, and better than in the suburban neighbourhood I grew up in, in St Louis. And Los Angeles is not any more or less dangerous than any other big city. But it is massive, over 400 square miles, and not all parts of it are transit accessible. It can take a very long time to get from, say, Pasadena to Santa Monica.

When people move here, they are told: ‘Oh you have to get a car, it’s horrible for walking.’ But I honestly think it’s a perception thing. Even though I loved to walk, I just did what everyone said! But the city is also changing very quickly, so there are activists who are trying to make that perception change.

LA used to have the largest electric railway system in the world, the Pacific Electric, or Red Car. In the early 1900s the system went all over the city, and locals walked to the stations. In the areas built at that time, like my neighbourhood of Silver Lake, there are public staircases built into the hillsides for passengers to get to the trolley stops.

There are many different ‘styles’ of walking, pacing fast, strolling leisurely, window shopping, people gazing, sporty hiking... It depends on where you are and what you want to see. The beach boardwalk is great for people-watching. In the mountains, my best hike is the Bridge to Nowhere hike outside of LA, but we also have great hikes right in the middle of the city in Griffith Park and the Santa Monica Mountains. I love old neighbourhoods and one of my favourites is Angelino Heights, with streets lined with old Victorian buildings. I also love the midcentury modern houses of Silver Lake.

My pavement-pounding essentials are my iPhone 5c to get around the city and look up places, and my Nike Fuelband to see how far I’ve walked. And a Metro TAP card to ride the bus home when I get tired.

Everyone should challenge themselves to leave the car at home one day a week. This would not only take cars off the road, it would improve attitudes and health and create a serious positive change for the city. It will feel so good we’ll start taking two days away from the car, then three, then four... In an ideal future, Los Angeles becomes the walking capital of the world. With our great weather, mostly flat terrain and interesting streetscapes, we really have no excuse!

Walking is becoming something that Angelenos do for transportation and regular errands, not just ‘for exercise’ and that’s an important difference. To see locals on the street who are walking to work or taking the subway to go out is a huge image change for the city, and helps make the streets fun and safe.