There is a new face at Streetsblog Los Angeles this summer. Readers will soon begin seeing the byline of Streetsblog L.A. Summer Intern Doug Lewis who started last week and will be with us through early August.
Below Doug introduces himself in his own words:
My name is Doug Lewis and I’m a rising senior at Pitzer College studying Public Policy and Sociology. My interest in transportation has come rather recently over the past few years.
For my first 18 years I was tethered to cars in a Massachusetts suburb. Driving wasn’t so much a choice but a necessity for the demands of everyday life and unpredictability of New England weather. (The walkability of my home according to Walkscore.com is a dismal 8.) At 16, a driver’s license and car promised an unprecedented level of autonomy and freedom unreachable by any alternatives. To me, a license felt like a ritual stepping stone towards achieving adulthood. Without it, I was caged within a few square miles. Transportation alternatives were either non-existent or incredibly inconvenient.
It wasn’t until I moved to the edge of L.A. County in Claremont, CA for school that I saw driving as a choice rather than a requirement.
After a semester in Kathmandu, Nepal navigating a cartel-esque private shuttle system in ancient, pedestrian-based cities I came to see public transportation as the heart of city life. I found the daily rituals of transportation shaped rich traditions that mold cities’ character and community. In the diversity and heterogeneity of Kathmandu urban life, shuttle transportation exposed my worldview to communities, ideas, and people outside my own pre-subscribed assumptions. The diversity of urban areas, I feel, is one of the great riches of urban life and is made possible by an equally diverse transportation system that confers accessibility and independence. To borrow from Jane Jacobs, “By its nature, the metropolis provides what otherwise could be given only by traveling; namely, the strange.”
I look forward to working with Streetsblog L.A. to cover local and regional efforts to challenge the notion of what Reyner Banham famously coined Los Angeles’s “Autopia.” Of my ever-changing future aspirations, one is to improve cities transportation systems to allow for multi-modal alternatives. Ultimately, I see transportation as a tool to ameliorate the inequities and restrictions of car-dependent regions.
Since arriving in California, Streetsblog L.A. has been one of my go-to sources for transportation news in L.A. County, providing a window to the often-overlooked local and regional efforts that are incrementally transforming Los Angeles from a car-dependent city to an interconnected multi-modal transportation system. I look forward to contributing to SBLA’s passionate community and provide discussions about Los Angeles’s transportation development.
As a SBLA writer, I see it as my responsibility to expand public awareness of Los Angeles’s public transportation developments. I’m optimistic about the future of Los Angeles’s transportation to provide healthy, sustainable, and congestion-free alternatives for everyday life’s demands. With the recent completion of the Gold Line and Expo line extensions in addition to the upcoming R2 ballot measure, it’s hard to look at Los Angeles’s transportation system and not have a sense of optimism about our cities’ future as an interconnected, multi-modal city.