Trains, Bicycles and L.A. Neighborhoods

Posted on September 20, 2014 by

The region which defined “sprawl” is now moving toward “sustainable growth” with cluster development along rail line stations, restored waterfront bike paths and boutique neighborhood centers.

No longer “seventy two suburbs in search of a city,” the Los Angeles metro area is maturing.

In my 30-plus years in LA, I’ve watched communities become more intact. That doesn’t discount job loss, poverty, gentrification and dislocation. But am I right that neighborhood pride is on the upswing (note the explosion of farmers markets)? This is not the most alienating place in the world.

Expect dramatic change in my neighborhood with the completion of the Santa Monica to Downtown Expo Line. This doesn’t mean, of course, that we’ll be abandoning our cars and commuting by train to work.

But rail stations do form distinct neighborhood identities (I’m still the kid from the Bay Parkway  / 86th Street stop on the West End line through Bensonhurst, Brooklyn). Sorry, bus stops just don’t add that dimension.

Lately I’ve been riding the Ballona Creek bike path which more or less links Marina Del Rey to Culver City’s Expo station. Next year, I’ll have my choice. Bike to the train: travel east to the hippified loft neighborhoods on Spring or west to the “human-scale” (but congested) urban development model, imagined and designed by Santa Monica progressives.

Comments (2)


  1. Peter Olney says:

    I recently visited LA from San Francisco and traveled from LAX to DownTown LA in one hour on the MTA. If you Angelenos haven’t done so you should spend a day riding your system. It is a great way to get to know your wonderful, diverse and dynamic metro area. At $5.00 a day pass it is a very economical alternative to toxic autos and certainly much cheaper than Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). Que Viva Los Angeles! Thanks Lou.

  2. Scott Zwartz says:

    Dear Peter,

    It is really foolish for you to tell Angelenos to take the Metro to get to know about LA when you went from LAX to DTLA.

    We are over 5,000 sq miles. You saw less than 20 sq miles.

    If you want to see Los Angeles, get a car.

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