My entire perception of Angelenos’ modes of transportation were based on
- the Missing Persons Song “Walking in LA” which states “nobody walks in LA”
- That scene in LA Stories when Steve Martin drives next door
- Speed (though I didn’t really believe the basic premise of the movie that anyone took the bus in LA, and that it was therefore a legitimate target of a madman. Forget the premise that Keanu Reeves could save anyone…)
- Steve Carrell riding a bike in The 40 Year Old Virgin – is anyone crazy enough to ride a bike in LA? I asked myself.
I am excited to say that assumptions #1 and #3 were incorrect, and that the answer to #4 is Yes!
Sad to say, people really do seem to drive just a few blocks to the store. I am committed to not getting sucked into this ridiculous car vortex when I relocate to LA LA Land in a few months.
BUT, people really do take the bus! And the buses seem to come frequently, express routes exist… I’m pretty impressed.
And, there’s a big bike community in LA, people who ride everywhere, so that’s a viable alternative, too. Interesting to note that the only communities I noticed with bike lanes, though, were the lefty enclaves of Santa Monica and Silver Lake.
Biggest of all was my discovery that there are indeed sidewalks in LA, and that people do use them. OK, they might just use them to walk between their car and their destination a few blocks away, but it’s something. What people do NOT do in LA, however, is jay walk. I discovered this the hard way. My partner and I were happily walking from UCLA into Westwood Village, in total east coast mode. Look both ways, no traffic coming, head on out into the intersection. We were halfway across before I noticed that NO ONE ELSE HAD MOVED! When the walk light came on, they all dutifully crossed, but not a moment before. Evidently the UCLA cops have nothing better to do than hand out $150 jaywalking tickets (so I’m told). So we got hip to west coast style of street crossing real fast. Having gotten one jaywalking ticket in my life (DC, $10, I did not pay it in protest of its sheer ridiculousness; I keep waiting to end up on a no-fly list to DC: “Ma’am, we’ve got a warrant on you for an outstanding traffic infraction.”), I don’t fancy another.
So, in the interest of a “fair and accurate” pop culture, I believe that the classic Missing Persons song should be changed to “Nobody Jaywalks in LA.”
Then, we could rework Prince’s “All the Critics Love you in New York” to be “Everybody Jaywalks in New York”, and we’d have our 2K6 version of an East Coast/West Coast rumble all set to go!
Honestly, I think the Northeast has it all over SoCal on this one – you can’t win the war by bowing to The Man and doing what he tells you to do, when he tells you to do it! Plus, what are ya gonna do when the gas crisis peaks and you can’t drive anymore? 9-11, the black out, the transit strike… New Yorkers WALKED, baby!
OK, clearly I’ve got some issues of my own to work out, but overall, my home-to-be is seeming better everyday.
Now where did I put the car keys?