More proof that the car is king

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Appropos of the reader comments in yesterday's item about the film Los Angeles Plays Itself, which drifted into a discussion of L.A.'s street car past and the change to automobiles: Times reporter Steve Hymon gives up riding the Gold Line to work from Pasadena to downtown. He began it with a vision of settling in with coffee and a newspaper for a pleasant ride, but nothing was as he hoped.

The result of this nine-month experiment in mass transit: My round-trip commute from Pasadena by car of about 50 minutes ballooned to 100 minutes by train. I didn't sip coffee which isn't allowed on the train and for reasons I'll soon explain, I rarely read the paper.

And, I'm back to driving solo to work...

Its chief problem is that it's always slowing down for something. The Gold Line brakes for everything but its shadow.

It's more or less the same complaint that Los Angeles residents had when they began to abandon street cars in the 1920s, long before any conspiracy to promote buses kicked in: driving gets you to more places faster. And unlike on the Gold Line, when you are behind the wheel on the freeway, any self-respecting Angeleno can drink coffee, eat breakfast, read the paper, gab on the phone, shave or put on makeup.


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