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, September 22, 2014

Look, no wheels: L.A. without a car


By America Hernandez, September 20, 2014

 As a 22-year-old lifelong native of downtown Los Angeles, I’ve never driven a car.

From dance classes in Koreatown to schools in Los Feliz, and the odd Hollywood rock gig or two in between, all I ever needed was the underground Metro Red Line.

But what if you live in Sunland and want to shop at the Americana in Glendale? The Metro 90 and 91 buses both will get you there in just over an hour, and a quick hop on the 780 Rapid connects you to Paseo Colorado in Old Town Pasadena.

How about getting from Compton to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for exhibits on ancient Korean vases and African paintings of the cosmos? Taking the Blue light rail line to Seventh and Metro, followed by 25 minutes on the westbound 20 bus leaves you five minutes away on foot.

Each day, I’m one of about 2 million people who rides the buses and rails in L.A., according to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. And it’s not just people who can’t afford cars.

“There’s a change underway, from the baby boomers to the millennials,” said Marc Littman, a spokesman for Metro. “People are fed up with traffic and want options.”

Even if you have a car but don’t want to deal with parking at the beach, Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus will take you to the pier or Venice – whether you live in Culver City or Brentwood – at L.A. Live or near Los Angeles International Airport.

Most buses in Los Angeles today are clean and air-conditioned, but packing a pair of sunglasses is always helpful if you find yourself near the window at a red light.

And don’t let the transit time dissuade you: Take a book, or better yet, keep your eyes peeled. Walking and getting to look out the window while someone else steers are the best way to learn the city and immerse yourself in its diverse cultures.

Empty-nesters are relocating to cultural centers, and yuppies and hipsters embrace the stress-free walk to work in up-and-coming neighborhoods.

“If there’s anyone who doubts Los Angeles people ride mass transit, I tell them to go to Union Station at rush hour and see the 70,000 commuters streaming out of the tunnels to and from work,” Littman said.

Los Angeles Metro is the third-largest transportation agency in the country, after New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Chicago’s Transit Authority.

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard and experienced is that buses in this town are famously unreliable.

This can be true, but technology is here to help: A few key phone numbers, websites and applications can make sure you always know where the bus you want is in real time.


If you already know your route, Nextbus uses your location to show the nearest stops from all agencies in a scroll-down format, with two upcoming arrival times tracked live.

Moovit has both a trip-planning feature and fixed schedules updated using GPS.

For me, the simplest option is often best. Metro’s Trip Planner website lets me input starting and end points and shows me all the options, including how much walking I want to do.

Once I’m at the stop, I’ll call the number on the signpost to see whether the bus is a few minutes early or if I’ve just missed it.

Of course, for those times when I’m running late or want to head somewhere not easily accessible by bus or rail, application-based car services such as Uber let me enter my desired destination, then sit back and relax as my chauffeur does the heavy driving.

For all the talk of constraints that come along with public transit, I find knowing how to get around independently in Los Angeles truly liberating.

When The Missing Persons sang “Nobody walks in L.A.” in 1982, the group had a point. Back then, the California dream was cruising Pacific Coast Highway with the top down and the music up.

Forget that song. You don’t know this city until you’ve punched up your iPhone playlist and walked L.A.