This Weekend: The AltCar Expo in Santa Monica


Tomorrow and Sunday will mark the Fourth AltCar Expo & Conference in Santa Monica.  Admission is free and directions can be found on the AltCar’s website.

In 2007, I went to the AltCar Expo in Santa Monica and reviewed it for Street Heat in one of my first posts and first ventures into transportation reform in Los Angeles.  While I won’t be going to this year’s for the obvious reason, watching the growth of the Expo from a neat demonstration of car toys to a more balanced look at alternative transportation has been interesting over the past couple of years.

True, this year’s Expo will feature the usual "green" car-show and a bevy of speakers extolling the virtues of "green" driving; but it is also increasing the presence of non-vehicular transportation at the Expo.  A welcome sign that AltCar can mean "alternatives to the car" as much as "Alternative Cars."

If you have a chance this weekend, and you’re not too busy going to see Crude or hanging out with David Byrne, the Expo can be a good, fun and informative way to spend some time.  I’m not sure if any of next week’s freelancers are planning on taking a stab at reviewing the Expo, but if anyone wants to put their thoughts to paper please drop me a line at

  • The LA Greensters will be building a park in their Alt-Car Expo booth, dispensing with the traditional expo style of engagement and instead showing videos of the Greensters at work moving gear on a Film Production, at work moving parks on the LOAD[ing] Zone event from Park[ing] Day and most recently at the Crenshaw Crush. Drop by on Fri and Sat and hang out with the Greensters at the Alt Car Expo Park!

  • angle

    “My alt-car is a bicycle”

    (Alt-bumper sticker).

  • A tip for those insist on driving to this expo… free parking at the structure on Main St and 2nd (the Santa Monica Place mall parking structure). It’s a 2 minute walk to the Civic Auditorium.

    Does that violate the spirit of alt-car expo? I don’t know… but it beats paying $8 to park 100 yards closer. Anyway, the best way to go (which is what I’m doing) is to take the Blue Bus #1, #2, #3 or #7, only 75 cents.


    @bzcat: I personally would rather not read encouragement of so-called “free” parking here at StreetsBlog. We should notify the city of Santa Monica to fix that parking lot you mention… why are they still giving away any parking for free? Why don’t you mention how to take transit to the event?

    Then again I find those so-called “green” cars pretty disgusting too. I think it’s a public relations scam that any hybrid or veggie oil or electric car is advertised as being environmentally friendly. Perhaps people who find themselves addicted to heroin should use organically grown fair trade poppies grown by worker-owned cooperatives… but that doesn’t mean that the heroin will make them healthy… or that we should celebrate minimally-destructive heroin. In my opinion, car addiction is analogous. Cars kill. Period. Whether its a hummer or a prius, it’s still crashing, parking, noisy, disruptive, unhealthy…

    (ok – I am a hypocrite… and a fellow addict…I do get behind the wheel of a car a half-dozen times a year… and it would be good thing if all the cars out there are burning less fuel… but I just personally can’t bring myself to celebrate the AltCar.)

  • I was going to be there but I couldn’t afford the rent!

    1000 for a stall for my bike shop :( I was so sad when I heard that – I specialize in bikes that are car substitutes (Dutch city bikes, cargo bikes and accessories).

  • I did tell people how to take the bus there… did you not read the 2nd paragraph of my post?

    And the free parking is there whether or not I mention it or not. It’s this type of nazi like enforcement of your anti-car anything utopia vision that turn people off this otherwise wonderful and useful blog.

  • @bzcat – sorry… i did miss that you mentioned transit and that’s even how you plan to travel to the event! My mistake. Also, my comment was way more beligerent than was called for. Neither the “free” parking nor the nature of the expo are your fault.

  • LA Greensters had a great day with Park[ing] Booth, promoting the pedal-powered transpo team and screening video of the Rebel Without a Car shoot, LOAD[ing] Zone and the Crenshaw Crush.

    At the end of the day Governor Schwarzenegger took a tour of the AltCar Expo, visiting the Greenster booth and discussing sustainable film production.

    Saturday, Bike Talk will broadcast from the Greenster’s Park[ing] Booth.

  • It was a good event. Had lots of folks asking questions. A few monorail nuts and/or folks who have solved transportation and expect billions spent based on scrawls on back of an envelope dropped by and were displeased we didn’t endorse their vision. I didn’t get a chance to circulate while working the Transit Advocates booth but people seemed to be enjoying themselves. We had schedules for westside transit services not otherwise represented (Culver CityBus, LADOT Commuter Express) plus Amtrak/Metrolink, exposition light rail and Purple Line extension info and other outreach materials.

    The woman in the booth next to ours was the one who got the governor to come into our area, which was where the bicyles were located and had him look at some of the non-motorized exhibits. God bless her!

    Our thanks to the event for letting us have a booth gratis and allow us a chance to advocate on behalf of transit. Attendance seems down versus last year (the first at the Auditorium). Maybe the economy is to blame?


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