Whine Of The Times

bus2.jpgIt seems that whenever our city’s dominant rag scratches it’s newsprinted ass and remembers that it’s been awhile since they’ve last gratuitiously and snidely bagged on the various forms and functions of LA’s sprawling public transportation system, they trot out some eagerbeaving staffer who takes one or more car-versus-bus or car-versus-train trips only to come back and report in a “Behind The Wheel” column that cars rool and everything else drools. In this lameass pit in its newshole the Times has previously slammed on bikes as an alternative commute only a loser or Lance Armstrong could love, and last July it whined about the Gold Line being too freaking stoppy-and-starty. Waaaaah!

Now in today’s edition comes the next volley. Headlined “Lunch in L.A.? Car Beats Train As Meal Ticket,” (crapass registration required), writer Sharon Bernstein and her editors suffer us with something like 40 column inches of her and her family becoming the latest publicly transported guinea pigs sent over from Spring Street. Her radical mission? Do lunch in Pasadena from downtown and later from her home in Studio City. And among the smug results of her investigative treks: a) the sidewalk at the Civic Center Red Line stop smells like peepee, b) the signage at Union Station is markedly poor, and inevitably, c) her car beat anything the MTA could offer. Shocking, t’aint it?

Sigh. Sure, I’m irrationally defensive of this city’s public transportage, but not to the point that I’m blind to its flaws and drawbacks. Still, once and for all I’d like to see the Times drop the axe and stop the grindstone and come to grips with the fact that they and their seemingly all-too-deskbound writers are the only ones in this town who don’t understand that the MTA’s products and services just aren’t built for speed. Hell, convenience isn’t even much of a factor. But you know what? For the vast majority of riders lacking and/or declining the luxury of an automobile, it gets them where they’ve got to go. And the last time I left my truck in the garage and hopped aboard the No. 201 bus at Sunset and Parkman and rolled with it over to Fletcher and Riverside to catch the No. 96 up to work, it took me about an hour and along the way I knocked back 45 pages of the book I was reading. Nice. Try it some time. Or don’t. Just don’t let the Times make that decision for you.

10 thoughts on “Whine Of The Times”

  1. Public transportation in this city, I have to say, has improved greatly since I moved here in ’97. It seems to keep improving, too. That’s not to say I don’t ever have complaints about it, but I’m very grateful it exists at all and that it’s as extensive as it is.

    Ah, and I don’t really like cars! To each their own, but I’m with you on using my time reading instead of trying to overcome simmering road rage brought on by the multitudes of idiocy on our fair city’s freeways and leeways.

  2. I agree that public transportation in LA has come a long way, but it’s a little harder for some of us suburbanites. I either have to drive or take two busses to get to the nearest Metrolink station. If I’m going to do that, I might as well drive to wherever I’m going. Also, while driving can be a hassle, oftentimes I find it to be considerably faster than taking PT, which is important if you don’t have a lot of time to spare, which I don’t.

    I remember PT being good in DC (they have an awesome Metro system), and very good in Copenhagen, Denmark (they have a rent-free city bike program!). If PT becomes as convenient in LA as it is in those places, I’ll gladly leave my car in the garage.

  3. I have to agree with Mr. Hooks. However, it is not a bad place to strike up a conversation with an attractive person. Any luck there, Will?


  4. Public transit rules. Its anonomous, cheap and gives people free time to think, listen to music, read, and be around other people in the community- its the great equalizer. For those folks who say LA is too spread out for a good transit system I suggest taking a look at the old rail lines that ran all the way from San Bernadino to Downtown to Santa Monica and damn near everywhere else in Los Angeles. Theres even a beautiful, ornate, old underground cable car stop below the (crackhead infested) Roselynn Hotel Downtown- ask the front desk guy behind the bullet proof glass about it. Theres another stop on olive street— but most people with the exception of the real old timers (like my grandma) and Huel Howser dont know that it ever existed. Why? Because in 1950 the interstate Highway act was passed, giving a green light to Mack trucks, firestone and GM to buy up all the tracks and cars and pave it all over for cars.
    If you want to know more about the history talk to the guys at the “whistle stop” in pasadena on colorado blvd. They can tell you all about it. Theres also a chapter in Fast food nation that talks about it too.

    I have faith the system will get better – if anything out of necessity.

    Now if only we could get a great park space like central park or golden gate, things could be real perfect here.

  5. Fairmount Park in Philadelphia is the largest landscaped city park in the world, about twice the size of Griffith Park.

    I believe what qualifies Griffith Park as being the largest anything is that part of it is “urban wilderness”, while Fairmount Park is entirely landscaped.

  6. I agree that griffith park is great, vast and beautiful- however it seems to be utilized on an individual and small group level(much like the auto) rather than a collective 20 to 40+ thousand person -in one place, at one time- communal space.

    A consciously designed, reasonably comfortable, centraly located, city park space dedicated to the enjoyment of free theater, relaxing, concerts, lectures, protests, and rallys does wonders for empowering and culturaly enriching the community. It might sound to good to be true, but alot of other cities already have one, so I know it can happen. Im going to keep wishing and maybe write a letter to Angelenos’ patron saint, Eli Broad about it.

    Hello Eli.

  7. I remember waaaaayyyy back in the day, I used to have to get from downtown LA and Fullerton, without a driver’s license. The nice thing about it was, I got some exercise rollerblading from my Fullerton office to the Fullerton train station (albeit, suffering some major spills) and enjoyed my music and books on the 45-minute ride. The bad thing? Not having my license. Ahhh, I miss those days.

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