Let me say upfront that I apologize for talking about this subject so much. Cars and driving are two subjects dear to my heart and traffic is one of my least favorite attributes of Los Angeles. I know Carmageddon didn’t come true and was over-hyped but it actually made a difference. This city felt like a real city. The public transportation could actually move freely through this part of the city. I noticed more people taking to their bikes and the sidewalks. I was able to ride my bike on Wilshire between the Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Facility, which has a beautiful park setting, to Bundy Dr during rush hour on Friday. That was my first indication that this weekend was not going to be a nightmare as it was marketed to be.
Saturday morning, I rode my bike to see how the crew was tackling the demolition of the Mulholland Dr south bridge. This was the first time I have ridden from the Westside north through the Sepulveda Pass. I took advantage of the fact that there were few cars on the road and joined other bicyclists and pedestrians wanting to see what was going on as well. The spectators were able to get into the media area and it was a decent view.
I wanted to take advantage of the free public transportation for entertainment and errands, especially since the streets were so “empty.” The bus system works great in Los Angeles if there is light traffic. I think if major streets used metered parking as bus lanes, the system would be more attractive to riders as they will be able to adhere to a real schedule. In fact, some of the bus lines I was one this weekend were so far ahead of schedule they had to take a mini-layover to get back on schedule. Normally, the buses are behind schedule, even on weekends. One of the entertainment destinations was at Helm’s Bakery in Culver City for the Eat Real Festival where I had many spicy samples and learned to pickle lemons and limes.
What did we learn from this weekend? Fear and media hype can keep people from driving their cars. I noticed more people riding bikes and walking in my area and I was happy to see that. The bus system works great when traffic is light. I wonder if it will work out like this the next time they close the 405 again to demolish the remained side of the bridge.
I have to admit that it was tempting to drive because of the open roads but left my car in the garage to benefit my community. Okay, I am off my soapbox and this should be the last mention of Carmageddon until it happens again in 11 months.
– GreenUp! Guy