26 April 2010

To the kids that frequent Culver Center...

STOP STEALING MY BIKE LIGHTS! Seriously. A few weeks ago while I was at the gym, my front light ran away. I replaced it but have been keeping it in my bag, only attaching it at night while riding, which is a total pain. Since the back light was still there I assumed it was uninteresting to potential thieves... wrong. Just last week I was leaving the gym, and when I went to turn it on it wasn't there.

11 April 2010

Speeding up LA's Mass Transit Plans

So the big news this week is that LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been promoting the 30/10 Plan, which aims to bring mass transit to Los Angeles a full 20 years ahead of schedule. Is it snarky to say that it would be the first time LA Metro ever arrived early?

Snarkiness aside, the basic idea is this: since July 2008 we've all been paying a half-cent sales tax (passed through Measure R) that will pay for the expansion of Metro Lines, Light Rail, and Guided Bus Lines throughout Los Angeles County over the next 30 years. The projects range from extending the Green Line so that it actually goes to LAX, to whole new lines connecting the current network to the beach and West Santa Ana, and a plan this extensive takes time to plan, design, and execute, never mind the process of raising funds a half-cent at a time. The 30/10 plan would shorten the time span from 30 years to 10 by borrowing cash from the federal government (which is guaranteed to get paid back over the 30 years through the Measure R funding) and gives all the projects a nearly immediate green light. A couple of key things make this awesome:

1) We avoid 20 years worth of inflation and increased construction costs. Due to the overall economic slump construction costs are relatively low right now, and taking advantage of this could save up to $3.6 BILLION.

2) It would create jobs in planning, design, engineering, and construction which are sorely needed right now.

3) It would help LA shed its car-dependence that much more quickly. It will take time for Angelenos to embrace public transit, it's not going to happen overnight. By making this investment now, people might actually be ready to use it (and even live without cars?) by the time it was originally scheduled to be completed.

For more coverage on the 30/10 plan, I'd highly encourage you to check out this excellent post over at the Transport Politic. Also, stay tuned for further coverage here, starting with a dissection of the proposed routes. To help support this plan, head over to Move LA to see who to write or use one of their form letters.

07 April 2010

Introducing Erin (& Ruby)

Hello, all! Long time reader, first time poster... last year my good friend Emily moved out of LA at about the same time I moved back to the area. So we were talking last week and decided that I should start posting my adventures on LILAWAC, seeing as I'm car-free. I so figured I should post to say high and give you the basic run-down before I start launching into rants about transit or stories about people nearly running me over.

//I would say that I bike to about 80% of my destinations, walk to 5%, bus to 5%, and catch a ride with a friend to the remaining 10%. This includes a 5-miles-each-way commute to work every day down the most pothole-filled bike lane imaginable.

//I've lived in LA for about seven and a half years, on and off. Seven here, two in Seattle (worse weather, better culture, bigger hills), and the last six months back here after I finished grad school. I love this place, but know it could be better.

//I didn't learn to ride a bike til I was 17. Yep, you heard that right! So if you're out there thinking this is cool for others but you're not a good enough rider, I'll call BS on that. I'm still not good at hills, I'm not super-fast, but I'm pretty fearless in traffic and willing to try things to make alternative transit work for me.

//I'm a designer, and my beliefs seep into my work. So if things go a little pie-in-the-sky or design-y around here, it's because I know that great things can be done, and there are other people out there working on them.

//I do not wear spandex. Well, I wear yoga pants to the gym, but the point is that you'll never catch me out there looking like Lance Armstrong or something. I believe that bikes can be used as transportation without making a sport out of it (unless you're into spandex, to each her own!)

//I've been car-free for one year now, and was car-light for a year and a half prior to that.

//And last but not least, you should meet Ruby (this is her at Venice beach last weekend). She's on her second life at least; I got her two years ago from Recycled Cycles when I lived in Seattle and have never looked back. The shop said that the frame was made by Giant, but it's been totally rebuilt, stripped of markings, and powdercoated, so I don't
know what model she originally was. Doesn't matter to me, she's great, and I get tons of comments on how beautiful she is.

Anyway, this is my first post to say hey there, and I'm looking forward to sharing more about living in LA without a car. Stay tuned.