About two weeks ago, I was in a major four car accident. If you happened to be stuck in major traffic on the 5 North freeway on the morning of Dec 27th, then that was probably because of us, hooray. A typical LA commute, no? =) I am now left carless for the next month or so and ordered not to drive due to injuries. Basically, I now depend heavily on the Metro and Metrolink to carry on with my normal life.
Car accidents in LA seem to be the worst, because there's this notion that without a car, you can't survive in Southern California. But taking the Metro/Metrolink is definitely giving me a different perspective. The five lines on Metro can take you from Long Beach all the way to Pasadena. Switching to Metrolink gives you access to San Diego. I currently have a 22 minute commute from Orange County to downtown LA.
But it's not the surprising convenience of the Metro/Metrolink that makes the experience so valuable. It's more that as a public transit rider, I have now been initiated into a part of LA I wouldn't have seen otherwise. It's really something to sit back on the subways and observe the ebb and flow of different faces as people enter and exit the trains. And sitting in a train allows the time to observe the landscape changing from one stop to the next. At one point on the green line, you find yourself traveling in the middle of a freeway, something I've never experienced on the subways of Boston and NY.
There's also something special about emerging from the calm, rhythmic train into the noisy, busy station. And for a moment, while waiting to transfer onto the next train, it's as though there's this unspoken acknowledgment that we're all the same - people with destinations. When reaching the final stop, the crowds collectively spill out of the trains to face another 9 to 6 hour day... just like me. And suddenly, the city feels more tangible... and suddenly, I feel a little more connected to the heart and soul of LA.
-Sarah Koo, ExperienceLA Arts/Cultural Marketing Intern