Thursday, October 9, 2008

Update On Going Car Free, And Mixed Transit Use

Congratulations to fellow L.A. bike blogger Bike Girl on completing her month long car free challenge. I hope it inspires others to consider living with less car in their life. As I've mentioned, I'm now living completely sans automobile. This has posed no serious issues so far. I had already reduced my driving to almost nothing a few months in advance of making the complete break to sell it, and so I was more then ready.

That doesn't mean I haven't made a few changes. To cut down on my epic cross town bicycle journeys, which can get tiring even for me some times, I have been introducing more mixed transit use into my life. Mixed transit is pretty essential to getting around a city as expansive as Los Angeles without a car. Once you get a grasp on the public transit system, especially with a bike in the mix, it really opens up a lot of car free options.

howBusBikeRacksmall
(How to load a bicycle onto a bus bike rack)

A recent example is my day last Saturday. I rode my bike to catch an early Santa Monica 10 bus to get to downtown L.A. for a photography meet up hosted by Blog Downtown. The 10 Bus is one of my favorite buses so long as you take it at non-peak times (aka, when the 10 freeway is not the suck). It hops onto the 10 Freeway and shoots straight to downtown, skipping all the cities in between with stops only in Santa Monica and Downtown. This is the most direct bus I've ever ridden on.

After wondering around with fellow shutterbugs in Downtown snapping pics like crazy people, I rode my bike to the 7th St. Metro Station to meet my girlfriend, who had got there from Hollywood via the Red Line. Next on the agenda was getting to Carson to watch some elite bicycle racing. We bought Metro day passes and hopped on the Blue Line to the Artesia Blvd stop. From there we biked a couple miles to the ADT Velodrome at the Home Depot Center to watch the National Track Racing Championships.

On The Blue Line
(Meghan On the Metro Blue Line)

After watching epic awesomeness at the Velodrome (a post on that is in the works), we needed to get back to my place in Santa Monica. Going back the same way would be out of the way since we didn't need to go to Downtown. So improvising on knowledge from my college days of living car free across the street from LAX, we took the Blue Line north to the Green Line connection West. We got off at the Green Line Aviation Station, and went down to wait for the Santa Monica 3 bus that would take us north along Lincoln Blvd. Fortunately both bike racks were free since it was the end of the line, and so we loaded our bikes and hopped on board after only a brief wait for the last leg of our public transit.

Sometimes transfer delays can be a real bummer in public transit, and L.A. certainly has a lot of room for improvement. But we lucked out with no more then about 5 minute waits at each of our transit stops during the day. Finally we got off at Pico and Lincoln, and biked the last couple miles back to my place. Thus completed an exciting and full day that took us across many regions of L.A., all without a car and pretty stress free. Bikes + Buses + Trains for the win.

P.S. Thanks for the congratulations on going car free green LA girl.

1 comment:

Matt said...

I too love mixing up mass transit with the bicicleta but I always worry that the one time I have to be somewhere for an appt, 3 buses in a row will have their racks full. I know, I know, plan ahead, get there early. It was a real problem in Santa Barbara but maybe here in LA/Santa Monica it won't be so bad. I also love the Big Blue 10 to downtown. It's a great way to get to and from Union station to catch a train or bus out of town.

-matt