Carmageddon: The Automobile’s Lording Over L.A. In The Worst Way

So the 405 reopened earlier today. Admittedly, I over-posted on Facebook about it, for it seemed the thing to do. Around 18:30, Saturday afternoon, I had an epiphany: Carmageddon coverage was ridiculous! I love the fact that in my beloved South Bay, nobody really cared. It says a lot about what The Powers That Be think about the Common People (h/t Streetsblog). To put it simply, not much. I went for a carless adventure yesterday to show my solidarity to an environmental symposium (the organizers wanted participants to arrive on bicycle). So I did a bus/bike hybrid trip. Outbound, it was ride the bike to the MTA 550, transfer to the 232, ride bike to the venue. On the return, ride the bike to the 232, transfer to the 246, ride bike home. (One small problem: the 232 was running late due to a high passenger volume–not traffic–and it reached Wilmington so late I missed the 246 connection. Ergo, I rode the velo the rest of the way home. Not too bad though). Reflecting on the ride, I had a flashback to the survey project with the MTA, and the sympathies I had for people who were jobbed by the realignment/cancellations/truncations of particular routes as opposed to the sensationalist coverage of a major freeway closing for a weekend. Nobody gets riled up when Metro raises fares or changes routes. Or how about since not all MTA buses are really Metro, one ends up double paying depending on route. (To go from San Pedro to Hermosa Beach, it’s $3–$1.50 on the 550, $1.50 on the 232–due to different operators). Speaking of eliminated routes: When I missed the connection to the 246, I lamented about the cancellation of the 247. Sure it was redundant and multiplexed with the 246 from the ATC all the way to Pacific and Front, but the gap between buses had been 20 minutes with the dual routes, now it was 40 minutes between buses. I rode home because of that gap. Here is a crazy truncation story: last month, the 577 south ending was pulled back from Downtown Long Beach (DTLB) to the Long Beach VA Hospital (LBVAH). The alternate/new route from LBVAH to DTLB: Transfer to the Long Beach Transit (LBT) 90’s buses. A not-so-obvious use was that people were using the 577 as the express bus to get from DTLB to Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) buses at Cal State Long Beach. Three Metro stops beats 24(!) LBT stops every time. People doing this run were jobbed due to the fact the 90’s buses stopped all the time between Downtown and Cal State. Unless the OCTA 1 and 50–especially the 1–realign their times, a lot of missed interagency transfers will occur. This is where the real disruption occurs. People missing their connections and having to take longer periods of time to go places . For example, going to OC–say, Huntington Beach–from DTLB once was easy: MTA 577 north to OCTA 1 south. Now, if the connection is missed, it becomes: LBT 90’s north, OCTA 60 east, 25, 29, or 33 south. Two buses is OK, three is a problem. Yet, the mainstream media mentions none of this. It is perceived that people take the bus because they cannot afford a car. Nobody is allowed to take a bus because they want to. Yet, as I learned, the carless have no need to worry about parking in the most traffic intense areas. If you have ever “performed” parallel parking in Hollywood, you understand. The carless pull up on a bike, park it, lock it, and they’re done–even in the high volume spots. Upsets do happen.

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