Bridges will tumble, rail lines will shut off and fuel will run low. But when the Big One strikes, 20-minute neighborhoods, bikes and even food carts may save Portland.
May 15, 2009.
I quit a job, spent a year of my life and paid thousands of dollars to get this shot.
More formally known as the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency, Metro offers more than buses and trains. It exudes personality, a personality interwoven with this vast community. Many claim Los Angeles has no public transit, but I know otherwise, and this afternoon's ride only cements my opinion. A bus driver stopping randomly alongside the road might not be the model of efficiency, but he embodies the charm of transit in Los Angeles. I've heard of bus drivers who croon Rat Pack hits as they carry passengers to and from their homes; I've watched flirtation blossom to affection on the platforms of the Green Line. I've watched drunken partiers stumble down bus aisles then politely strike conversation with late night commuters. I've even seen gangbangers politely offer their seats to elderly and disabled passengers.
It's becoming clear that the age of the automobile is coming to an end, or, at the very least, changing. Los Angeles, like other cities, loses billions of dollars each year just because of people stuck on the region's tangled roadways. Scholars, politicians, activists and numerous overlapping government agencies each offer often-competing solutions for how to get the region moving. All the while, the solution might begin not with expensive upheavals and construction of vast new transit networks, but instead with better cooperation, education and mobilization of the surprisingly robust transit network that already exists in the metropolis.
I'm in the midst of preparing some posts about the Expanding Vision of Sustainable Mobility summit hosted this week by the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. In doing so, I'm semi-procrastinating by skimming long-ago bookmarked blog entries and websites I set aside for reference in my master's project exploring the possibility of a transit revolution in the Los Angeles area. This might be a bit late, but I was impressed by this January post from StreetsBlog LA about the Los Angeles Department of Transportation's (LADOT) plans to convert old parking meters to bike racks.