Thursday, September 4, 2008

Metro Westside Extension Community Meetings

(Proposed Route Alternative 11 with Wilshire and Santa Monica Blvd. Connections)

This is a blog about bicycles, but I want to emphasize the importance of expanding public transit to reduce our city's dependence on cars. Bikes and trains complement each other, with bikes being an ideal way to cover shorter distances, and trains being a fast and efficient way to cross greater distances within a city without generating a suffocating atmosphere of automobile gridlock and parking lots. In a future post on transit diversity in the city, I'll talk more on the relationship of cycling to other alternative transit modes.

Last night at the Santa Monica library was the first of a series of meetings this week to discuss the latest incarnation of the proposal for a subway connecting the West Side to the rest of the Metro rail network. It was a great presentation that explained the thought process and community meetings that led up to the current proposal, and the challenges moving forward. Speaker Jody Litvak also emphasized that despite criticism that this is only for Westsiders, such a connection would benefit all of L.A. County. Nearly 3 times as many people commute into the West Side for work as those who commute out of it, so it would in fact benefit Angelenos spread across the city. Compared to current public transit times to UCLA from various parts of L.A., the subway would save as much 11 full 24 hours days of commuting for a daily transit user per year according to one of the charts they had on display.

10 Freeway
(A typical summer Sunday afternoon in Santa Monica)

During the public comment portion I put in my two minutes to talk about the failure of our Automobile dependence and the need for efficient alternatives such as the proposed subway. I spoke of beating average car travel times from Hollywood to Santa Monica on my bicycle at rush hour by as much as 20 minutes and the Crimanimalz beating freeway traffic on the 10 and 405 with bicycles and even in-line skates. Siel of green LA girl, was at the meeting live blogging the event until her laptop died, so check it out if you're curious to read more about what was discussed.

There are still more meetings, today and later in the week so if you have a chance I recommend checking it out, and if you've got something to say, go exercise your 2 minutes.

Sept. 4, 6 - 8 pm (Today):
Plummer Park, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood.

Sept. 6, 2 - 4 pm:
Beverly Hills Public Library – Auditorium, 2nd Fl., 444 N Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills.

Sept. 8, 6-8 pm:
Los Angeles County Museum of Art West - Terrace Room, 5th Fl., 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles

Sept. 10, 6 - 8 pm:
Westwood Presbyterian Church, 10822 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles

For more details about the meetings and which transit lines serve these meeting locations check out Metro. If you are looking to bike to one of these meetings and are having trouble, let me know in the comments, and I might be able to offer some route suggestions.

Although Metro is not allowed to use these public meetings as a campaign platform for the next election, it is obvious that building such a subway is going to cost a lot of money that Metro doesn't have right now. If you want to see a Los Angeles future with a fast and efficient transit network, I suggest you read up on Measure R. This measure will appear on the ballot for L.A. County voters this November.


1 comment:

Jody Litvak said...

Thanks Gary for providing an update of the meeting and for participating. We certainly hope others will attend the remaining meetings.

Either way, we invite people to check in with the Study website at Click on "News & Info" for material from the Study including the most recent set of meetings. Click on "Contact Us" to ask a question, share your opinion, and add yourself to our list so we can keep you informed of Study developments. We also invite people to join the "Metro Westside Extension" group on Facebook.

Jody Litvak
Metro Westside Extension Study Team