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Public Transportation in Los Angeles...a myth?

Public Transportation in Los Angeles...a myth?

Old May 26th, 2008, 05:44 PM
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Public Transportation in Los Angeles...a myth?

I have made my plans to go to California next summer public with my family. I'll be starting off in San Diego (Which is no problem as I could just ride the trolley while I stay downtown) and then going to L.A. for a week.

However, my dad and brother in law are concerned about me driving in L.A. even though I'm mainly wanting to use public transportation while I'm there. That's the thing. They think it'd be a better deal to drive with a car enabled with GPS than try to use their public transportation.

My question is, how would I go about not having to rely on a car so much?
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Old May 26th, 2008, 05:46 PM
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imo Los Angeles is one of *THE* most difficult cities I have ever been without a car. Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, NYC, all no problem using public transportation only. It doesn't work very well in L.A. though because things are very spread out. Even distances are most often given in minutes ("it's 20 minutes from here, depending on traffic").

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Old May 26th, 2008, 05:47 PM
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oops didn't finish the thought... meaning driving, going by car
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Old May 26th, 2008, 06:59 PM
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This is a "it depends" kind of question. It depends on what you want to do. Public transport gets better day by day and things would even be better if these idiots on City Counsel and the Mayor wouldn't try to make it "easier" for the car by thinking up these moronic ideas like making Olympic & Pico Blvds (which are, in parts, 1 mile apart) one-way (or "virtual" one-way, whatever that means). They instead need to change LA behavior, make it more, not less difficult, get people out of their bloody cars.

So off the soapbox now -)) and to the serious question. If you stay in WLA and want to remain in the neighborhood, you can take the Blue Bus just about everywhere. Even downtown on the express bus. If you stay downtown or in Pasadena or in Burbank, you've got the Metro, be it the subway (underground) or the light rail (which, because of LA's inability to understand new technology that is, oh by the way, a lot CHEAPER, ain't that "light") to get to all sorts of cool places, like Hollywood Blvd. (which I personally hate, but a big tourist trap everyone has to go to), or Universal Studios, or Olvera St. or Union Station, or Staples Center, etc. etc. You can take a bike on ALL of these public transport options as well.

If, however, you want to do things like go to the Getty Center or the Skirball, it can be done, but it's much easier with a car. And yes, GPS enabled car is great. I have one on our Prius.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 07:42 PM
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Being an Angeleno myself, imo, I would not do LA without a car, unless you plan on just staying in one little area, which is pretty near impossible. It's just a logistical nightmare trying to deal with the public transportation here. Even if you do take a bus, it'll take at least twice as long to get anywhere than if you have a car. You have to deal with transfers, etc. For example, I have a friend who lives in Hollywood and took classes in Santa Monica at the local community college. She took public transportation and it took her 2 hours to get to class by bus. If she had a car it probably would have taken her half an hour or 45 minutes. If you have a lot of time and don't mind spending it on a bus, that's fine, but if you'd like to see a lot of the city while you'd here, I'd go with a rental car.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 05:55 AM
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Surfergirl has laid out the areas served by light rail very well. I would just add downtown Long Beach, where you would have access to the Metro Blue Line, which you then could take downtown to access the other light rail lines to Hollywood, Pasadena, etc. Check out the route maps on www.mta.net.

In Long Beach, you can also walk to the Aquarium of the Pacific, Queen Mary or Catalina Ferry. There are plenty of shops and restaurants.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 08:41 AM
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The reason most Angelenos think that public transportation is not feasible is that they live in the suburbs, and the travel mostly to other suburban locations. Those upper income suburban residents actively fought expanded light rail lines in their communities..which is why the Red Line doesn't go farther west, and why the San Fernando Valley doesn't have light rail.

So if you stay in downtown Los Angeles or Hollywood, you will be relatively well served by public transit.

The link for trip planning is metro.net

I don't think Long Beach is the best place to stay (and I live here). Even if you take the Blue line it's an hour to downtown, and there isn't more than a day's worth of tourist sights here.

You can always take a Blue Line bus to or from the beach in Santa Monica. However if most of the sights you want to see are farther east, and you aren't fixated on the beach, Santa Monica is too far out on the fringe, and traffic is just too awful whether you are driving or not.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 09:31 AM
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No offense, mlgb, but if I were visiting Los Angeles, the last place I'd want to stay is downtown, or even Hollywood, for that matter. I think most people visiting LA, unless they are here for business or for some other specific reason, want to stay on the West Side: Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and the bottom line is that the public transportation, for the most part, only takes you to places you really wouldn't want to go.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 02:22 PM
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No offense crabbie. You might be surprised at how many people don't care about Santa Monica, shopping, or the homes of the stars. But it just depends on the visitor.
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