Posts tagged Public Transit

Photo: Gregory Han

Photo: Gregory Han

In these politically turbulent times an interest in the role of public spaces playing an important part in civic engagement within a city has been rekindled. The Women’s March in Los Angeles on January 21st was a powerful expression of political dissent, one representing overwhelming concern for the future of human rights in this country. It was grand, but I don’t have to tell you that because you were there – everyone was there (at least it seemed like it, with participation estimates in Los Angeles alone ranging from 100,000 – 750,000).

During the day of the march Metro ridership was up by 360,000 riders compared to an average Saturday. Some might complain about the stresses on transit and the resulting inconvenience it posed to non-march oriented riders, but it was only a single day on inconvenience. The benefit is now countless members of the local population have become somewhat familiar with the public transit system. Metro reports that 40,000 TAP cards were sold that day. Civic engagement and public transit go hand in hand.

Cities are weird. People are weird. And how does one expect to bask in this weirdness without exposing yourself to it. This is where the magic of cities is generated. It’s not all good nor all bad – it’s everything in between. You might catch a cold from a stranger on the bus, but you might also fall in love with the person sitting next to you after seeing the look in their eyes while they’re reading your favorite book. (more…)

Photo: Linda Daley

Photo: Linda Daley

I have lived in major cities all of my life, relying on public transit to get around. But it was in Los Angeles where I converted into a regular car commuter. The opening of the Metro Exposition rail line changed that. Although I still drive daily (Los Angeles is, after all, a big county), I am relieved to have the choice of public transit. The daily ride is my madeleine, triggering long buried memories of commuting by train in different cities and different landscapes.

Photo: Linda Daley

Photo: Linda Daley

My travels from Culver City station to Downtown Los Angeles have been an education in urban culture. From my seat on the train, I am drawn daily to the passing scenes and have been curious enough about them to look up their stories.

Automobile Club of Southern California Headquarters, designed by architectural firm Hunt and Burns in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style. Photo: Linda Daley

Automobile Club of Southern California Headquarters, designed by architectural firm Hunt and Burns in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style. Photo: Linda Daley

Some places, like the USC campus and Exposition Park, are well known destinations. My research revealed anecdotes of minor and prominent landmarks, as well as monographs of historic buildings and places.

Photo: Linda Daley

Photo: Linda Daley

Photo: Linda Daley

Photo: Linda Daley

What is the story of the Felix Chevrolet sign I see in the distance; or the murals along a wall of Los Angeles Trade Tech College? How large is the West Angeles Church’s congregation? Who were the architects of the historic St. John’s Cathedral and the Spanish revival building located down the street from it? Each story reveals a bit more about the city I have called home for over two decades.

St. John Cathedral was built in 1925 in the Romanesque Revival architectural style. Photo: Linda Daley

St. John Cathedral was built in 1925 in the Romanesque Revival architectural style. Photo: Linda Daley

By the way, have you noticed the lot used by LATTC for its pole climbing training? I made up my own narrative for it. I re-envision the space as a public art piece — a modern interpretation of an urban forest, neatly arranged rows of trunks without canopies.