Fairfax: Ped. Friendly, Bus Friendly and Bike Friendly

7_2_09_farmers.jpgPhoto: Sir Baldilocks/Flickr

(editor's note: This is the fourth part of our ongoing series where residents defend the "alternative transportation friendliness" of their community.  While I'm still taking submissions at damien@streetsblog.org; I thought I'd share my thoughts on my community.  You can read previous posts on Claremont, Downtown LA and Mid-Wilshire for inspiration.)

When my wife and I first discussed moving to Los Angeles, we had a lot of the concerns that East Coasters, scared by the daunting image of Los Angeles as a Car Culture Capital.  To counter our fears, we used the Walk Score website to pick a community that would at least be walkable.  Thus, we ended up in the border area between the Orthodox Community and West Hollywood, the neutral zone between Beverly and Melrose.

However, this area turned out to be a great place for non-auto transportation.  I now live two blocks away from two bus stops, and have a somewhat longer although easily manageable walk to the Beverly Rapid Lines.  In about twenty minutes, these buses can take me to the Red Line stop at Beverly and Vermont where I can take a train that connects me anywhere.  A three seat ride isn't a perfect trip, but I can get pretty much anywhere I need to go via transit with a minimum of walking.

But the ability to walk to get pretty much anything one wants or needs is the real attraction of the area.  The open-seven-day-a-week Third Street Farmer's Market at Third and Fairfax is the anchor of walkability; but the wide sidewalks and crossings needed by the Orthodox community provides as complete a pedestrian network as you're going to find anywhere in the city.

Food, entertainment, shopping is all a half mile walk away.  For someone like me, that loves to cook, to have access to an organic market, a Ralph's, a Trader Joe's, a Whole Foods and the Farmer's Market all within a mile trip; well, that's a piece of heaven.  And I still haven't even mentioned the Pan Pacific Park right in the heart of the area for anyone looking for some open space.

While nobody is going to mistake Fairfax for Silverlake anytime soon, you have easy access to 4th Street for a relatively easy ride most of the way Downtown and can take local streets to the attractions along Melrose or Hollywood Boulevard.

Fairfax may not be the first place that comes to mind when Angelenos think of car-free, or in my place car-reduced, living; but there is something for users of every mode of transportation.