Dana Gabbard: Why My Community Is the Best for Transit

6_23_09_tut_bus.jpgThe Tut Bus in front of the LACMA. Photo: The Metro Library

(Editor's Note: This is the first in what will hopefully be a series of residents defending their community as the best for car-free living in Los Angeles.  Make your submissions to damien@streetsblog.org.  For more information on the series, visit yesterday's story.)

I am a resident of the Wilshire corridor (especially the stretch from Alvarado to Fairfax). I live, work and do most of my living along that famous boulevard. And do so easily sans car. Wilshire is lined with places to eat, nightspots, markets, medical offices, famous museums, etc. Apartment complexes cluster in the Miracle Mile, Wilshire Center, Westlake, etc.

Daytime you have frequent local public transit service from Metro (Line 20--downtown L.A. to Westwood Bl.) and Big Blue Bus (Line 2--Westwood Blvd. to downtown Santa Monica). Overnight line 20 serves the entire street (16 miles!) with owl service that operates on a 30 minute headway! Plus you have the Rapid 720 and during weekday peak the Super Express 920 for key linkages and long-distance travel. Western Ave. to downtown L.A. is also served by the Metro subway. Several neighborhoods (Koreatown, Miracle Mile, Pico/Union) have DASH community circulators. And via various connections you have access to the web of Rapid, busway and Metro Rail services that criss-cross the County plus Metrolink and Amtrak for regional access and beyond. It can be mindboggling when you understand how transit access along Wilshire works and how to make use of it.

It is a diverse community, with many areas very livable--going along Wilshire you'll spot people walking to local businesses and nightspots. You also see people biking along the street fairly often.

Here is an example based on my experience on the day I wrote this: From my apartment this morning I walked a block and a half to a bus stop and caught a westbound Line 20 bus to work. A the end of the workday I walked a block to the Private Mailbox location I get my mail at and picked up the latest batch of transit agency agendas etc. to hit 3010 Wilshire #362. I crossed the street and minutes later boarded a line 20 bus westbound to Fairfax. Walked to my allergy doctor's office to get my shot. Afterward walked to a nearby bus stop, caught a line 20 bus eastbound after a few minutes and disembarked in mid-Miracle Mile to have dinner at an excellent Indian restaurant I started frequenting a few months ago. After my repast it was only steps to a bus stop where I caught another eastbound line 20, which carried me to the cyber cafe at Wilshire/Normandie where I am writing this. Right outside it is the bus stop where I will catch the bus that carries me home.

So I would nominate the Wilshire corridor mid-city segment as the most public transit friendly neighborhood in L.A.