Time For Los Angeles To Get On Track


It’s time to take back our city. Time for us to tell them what kind of transit system we really want.

Metro is a failure. The City Council is a failure. The Mayor is a failure.

Each entity operates in a vacuum devoid of reason, pursuing its own self-interests. Council members lord over their own districts as independent lands, without governing in the best interests of the greater good. The Mayor wants his Subway to the Sea, while the brain trust at Metro is just trying not to fall down and hurt themselves.

We have a train that almost goes to LAX, but doesn’t. We have a subway that ends before it really begins. We have buses that add to the congestion, force numerous transfers, and rarely arrive on time. Now, Metro announces yet another bus project that will cover a large stretch of Wilshire Boulevard – except the busiest portion that runs through Beverly Hills. $27-million for a new kind of bottleneck. Completion date: 2011.

Three years and $27-million for a half-assed bus lane. So much for you going to that meeting to tell Metro that you want a subway. If the bus doesn’t happen until 2011, when do you think they’ll finish tunneling to Santa Monica?

So, what do we do about this nonsense? Do we shake our heads, and mumble about how effed up the whole thing is? Do we continue to go to these Metro meetings and hope that one of their colorful little maps for one new rail line will actually happen someday? There are a lot of citizens in this city that want a public transportation system that works. A whole system. The Transit Coalition, Southern California Transit Advocates, GetLAMoving, Angelenic, Blogdowntown, LAist, MetroRiderLA, Curbed, The L.A. Times, and countless others have been outspoken about it. Not to mention individuals who have participated in the discussion, and demanded something better. Something big. Something now.


Maybe it’s time we said enough is enough. Maybe it’s time we told them what to build, where to build it and when to have it done. It’s their job to find the money and make it happen. To serve in the best interests of the people of Los Angeles. If this were a company, a lot of people would have been fired by now. Maybe they still should be.

Individually, we’ve all been talking and dreaming about the same thing. Maybe we should start talking and dreaming together. We all have a stake in this. Bus riders. Train advocates. Pedestrians. Bicyclists. Businesses. Environmentalists. Homeowners. Developers. Citizens.

Isn’t time we got organized?

Photo from Bonnie BonBon’s photostream

13 thoughts on “Time For Los Angeles To Get On Track”

  1. Count me in as someone who wants a metro system that works. We can’t do it over night. From where I sit watching the last 20 years here are the historic obstacles. None can be overcome, but they need to be worked on:
    1) local govt pandering to suit their needs, not the greater metro area. Forming PACS only makes it worse. Anything “dot org” is just a roadblock to the greater good. Results in totally gerrymandered routing not following the biggest daily communtes.
    2) NIMBY and all its various forms.
    3) Paying for it…a very steep bill. My 2 shiny bits add a buck/gallon sales tax for transit only with the money staying in the county it is generated. That would help get the stupid monster suv off the road and in general get people to consider it as a option.

    There you go…late the hate mail flow

  2. We need to do it, pay for it, and get over it. A lack of a 20th Century mass transit solution isn’t a problem that LA is going to be able to leapfrog.

  3. Traffic today was especially bad this morning on the 10.. but the situation is salvageable. Have you tried taking the FlyAway bus from one of 3 locations to/from LAX? The main thing we need is the Expo line to get built.

  4. Hey,

    What about http://www.thebusbench.com, our whole blog is about the bus? We don’t have cars. All we do is take the bus AND I think we do some good coverage. We also comment here all of the time in regards to bus issues (in addition to some others.) Oh, but we’re not team players and we curse too much. I’m not going to be the bigger person, I think we should have gotten a mention on the transit advocates blogs.

    BusTard has been writing about the bus for over ten years.

    And I think we’re one of the very few blogs that talk about alternate forms of transportation from the bus perspective, not the rail or bike perspective, but the bus perspective, the working class perspective, and which is actually the vast majority that takes an alternative outside a car to get around.

    Most people who don’t drive a car in Los Angeles take the bus, not the rails, not their bikes but the bus.


  5. That is true Browne most around here without a car do the bus. But most of the other big cities I’ve been in the bus is the feed to the rail and subway lines. I think where Jason is going with this is that Buses do takes some cars off the street but not enough to compensate for all the buses added. My take on it, could be wrong.

  6. Frazgo,

    Jason may or may or may not be right, but I was talking about me, me, me, me, and my wonderful blog about taking the bus.

    I have a blog dedicated to public transport and I don’t deserve a mention? We do a report almost daily on the rails, the dead escalator report and we comment here, you talk about public transport and we get nothing.

    I think this is one of the many problems with LA. Instead of talking to people who are actually doing the thing you talk about you talk about your friend who talked about it once or doesn’t even ride the bus or the trains and isnt’ even from LA(you know like the MTA Board, Pam O Connor, Roger Snoble CEO of the MTA.)

    Instead of including and promoting people who actually talk about the issue, you take them completely out of the conversation by linking via nepotism.

    Yeah bars, tv, movies, no thebusbench doesn’t talk about that, but public tranpsort and that kind of thing, come on…

    The Economist linked us, so I think we’re doing pretty well in covering things.

    Browne, http://www.TheBusBench.com

  7. The Bus Bench rules. Check out out for some good reporting, and some wild straight-up in ya face writing. MetroRiderLA luvz The Bus Bench. And as you can tell, Browne and friends are very militant. :)

  8. I think a lot of bloggers love the bus bench…it’s one of the few blogs I go to everyday. Their dead escalator report has been an example of the best kind of online journalism: concise, acurate, and backed up.

    That being said, it seems like LA is on the precipice now and teh citizens are reaching a level of mobility that is going to make a difference. Just punch “Bicycle Riders Bill of Rights” into a blog search and see what the cyclists are up to. Just go to one of the service cut meetings and see the train and bus activists argue together hand-in-hand.

    For too long LA has been the car culture capital of North America, now those of us that believe in alternative transportation are getting more organized and more angry than ever. The looming threat of global warming has alerted the world to the threat that car culture brings to everyone in all corners of the world.

    Now is the time, now is the place. It is time for everyone to demand that we get the transportation system we deserve!

  9. Well, what do y’all expect when a bus loaded with 90 people gets counted the same as me driving a single passenger civic around town.

    CalTrans, the MTA, and the LADOT have very explicit policies that ignore the people-moving capacities of transit, walking, and biking. They estimate how many people take the bus as compared to cars, but they don’t tie any roadway designing into making transit, walking or biking more efficient or safe.

  10. Is Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills really that busy? I’m skeptical about the desire for the majority of bus riders to get dropped off along that stretch. ;-)

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