Archive for the 'transportation' Category


My piece for City Listening II

I hope that lady in third row was awake for this.

With apologies to Marlo Stanfield, I call this brief, angry screed “The Other Way.”

I would kill for Los Angeles to have a comprehensive subway system.  I would choke someone to death with my bare hands, if I had assurances from God, Allah, Xenu, The Beyonder, Oprah, or whoever it is that runs the universe that by committing the act of murder, I would be assuring the citizens of the City of Angels the basic level of public transport enjoyed by the residents of every other mega city in the first world.

Understand that I’m not talking about two jackass subway lines.  I’m talking about a subway system that actually attempts to connect the city.  Even if you did decide to start with two, modest lines to begin with, who in their right mind would prioritize a subway line to North Hollywood over one that goes to Mid-Wilshire, Melrose, West 3rd Street, West Hollywood, The Fairfax District, Century City, The Sunset Strip, Beverly Hills, Westwood, Santa Monica or Venice?

I don’t know if it was I.F. Stone, Studs Turkle or H. L. Mencken who coined this phrase, but it’s the only thing I can think of to describe the Los Angeles subway: What the fuck?  Also, anyone who actually writes, types or speaks the term “NoHo” when talking about North Hollywood,  stop it.

Oh, you think LA’s population is too big and too sprawling?  Then we better get to work building a big, sprawling subway system.  The sooner we start, the sooner it’s finished.

What’s that, you say?  Mayor Villairaigosa’s 30/10 plan would extend the purple line to Westwood by 2017?  That’s a great start to a subway system that we should have been building thirty years ago.  More.

We have done everything that we can possibly do to help cars get around Los Angeles. We have continued to add more lanes and widen more surface streets which only serves to funnel more drivers into the impacted small intestine that winds its way in and around the city.

From here, we could assign blame in various places. It would be easy for me to suggest that we all get our torches and pitchforks and march on Casa de Waxman.  We could tie him down and shoot blasts of methane gas into his face until his stupid mustache gets blown off.

We could get Warren Olney to hold a town-hall hold meeting in Brentwood where all of the the west side NIMBY assholes could apologize to the entire city, and admit that their fears of having their lily-white enclaves besieged by marauding bands of black and brown people–perhaps led by a Latino Lord Humungus–were both racist and elitist.

We could also point the finger at every single Angeleno who has lived here during the past fifty years.  We cruised along, fat and happy; gorging ourselves on cheap gas and Big Gulps in increasingly bigger cars as our commutes got longer, our waist lines bigger and our air quality worsened.

We could do all of that, but it doesn’t help.  What does help?   That’s not even a rhetorical question.  I’m honestly asking for guidance. How do we get there from here? And when we get there, would it be childish and petty of me to ride the subway to Henry Waxman’s house and punch him in the nose?



Best car salesman ever

This is reason #4,080 why Craigslist is fucking great.  Good looking out, Mark!


I love LA!


Taken for a Ride

Whenever I find myself bogged down in LA’s notorious traffic, the following two thoughts invariably pop into my head.

1.  Get the fuck out of my way!

2.  It didn’t have to be like this.

Taken for a Ride is a 1996 documentary that lays out some of the circumstances that led to America having “the worst public transit in the industrialized world.” It’s informative, infuriating, and should be mandatory viewing for every American who lives in an urban area.  I watched in on Christmas Eve.  Luckily, the next day I was able to retreat into the Paris Metro system, thanks to this amazing gift from my wife.


Buzzkill courtesy of The Dept. of Transporation

I was enjoying a beverage and feeling good after a fun set at the always entertaining Triclops show. And then Mary E. Peters decided to show up and play booze Nazi.  "1 icy road?"  You need to get some region-specific posters, USDOT. 

All this  is gonna do is make someone want a Black & Tan. 




LA City Beat takes a look at the traffic problem

(Image via Atwater Village Newbie)

Call it light rail. Call it a subway. I don’t care. Just make it happen. Now. This Los Angeles City Beat piece from last week dives into the people and politics of fixing our traffic problem.

But what will it take to get innovative, reality-based transit ideas rolling through the halls of power in Los Angeles County? This installment in L.A. CityBeat is the first in an occasional series that will examine all of the issues related to making L.A move again.

After a year of apathy and two years of hatred, I have grown to love Los Angeles. Of course, that love is not unconditional. Every major American city has it’s problems. Seattle pesters you with it’s Chinese water torture-like weather until you want to tear off your North Face jacket, kick off your Tevas and dart into the surrounding mountain-side screaming bloody murder. Chicago combines the ball-numbingly cold winters of the Northeast with the hellish humidity of the deep south. Atlanta is in Georgia, which is in the aforementioned deep south. Which is awful. Having lived in Arizona for two years I can tell you that anyone living in a desert city is either certifiable or in graduate school. And if they aren’t crazy, a few years of constant triple digit temperatures will fix that. If you even seriously entertain the notion of someday possibly maybe moving to New York…you’ll get a bill for $275 from Mayor Bloomberg’s office.

In Los Angeles, it’s the traffic. The awful, hellish, unbelievable, soul crushing, unavoidable, what the fuck are all these assholes doing on the 5 on a Sunday morning, traffic that has come to define Los Angeles.

If we don’t get serious about addressing it we are all seriously fucked.

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