Out-of-towner likes L.A. transit system

metrolink.jpgSlate's Matthew Yglesias went from Claremont to Union Station and on to the Vermont/Santa Monica Red Line stop - and liked what he saw. Yglesias says that the region has quietly become the "next great mass-transit city." As with anyone parachuting into town, he doesn't get it quite right, especially describing Mayor Villaraigosa as "visionary." Matt, we need to talk... Still and all, he left thinking good thoughts about L.A., which is more than you can say about many East Coasters popping in for a few days.

As work continues, people will find that Los Angeles has some attributes that make it an ideal transit city. Consultant and planner Jarrett Walker notes that the city's long straight boulevards make it perfect for high-quality express bus service. And then, of course, there's the weather. Something like a nine-minute wait for a bus, a 15-minute walk to your destination, or an afternoon bike ride are all more pleasant in Southern California than in a Boston winter or a sweltering Washington August. As a quirk of fate, the East Coast of the United States was settled first, so cities with large pre-automobile urban cores are clustered there. But the fundamentals of climate and terrain are more favorable to walking and transit in Los Angeles than in New York. The city could have simply stuck with tradition and stayed as the first great metropolis of the automobile era. But it's chosen instead to embrace the goal of growing even greater, which will necessarily mean denser and less auto-focused.

More by Mark Lacter:
American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
Recent Mobility stories:
Animation: How people move around Los Angeles
The real meaning of the taxi fight
BART strike to end Tuesday in the Bay Area
Next for CicLAvia: Beach and Wilshire again then the Valley
First flyover ramp opens at Wilshire and the 405

New at LA Observed
On the Media Page
Go to Media

On the Politics Page
Go to Politics
Arts and culture

Sign up for daily email from LA Observed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
LA Observed on Twitter and Facebook