Thursday, August 22, 2013

Editorial: On Being a Carless Angeleno

Runners in Elysian Park. Photo by intellichick.
I'm no stranger to writing about how much I love being a carless Angeleno here, but it is a welcome change to read so much about the topic in the news.  Recently, outlets NPR ("Why Millennials are Ditching Cars and Redefining Ownership") and The New York Times ("Hollywood's New Stars: Pedestrians") have featured articles on emergence of Los Angeles' carless culture.  As a carless Angeleno, I'm thrilled by these developments because I love knowing that more people are spending less time in cars to experience all that LA has to offer! 

I always equate less people driving to more exercise and less stress.  Not only do you worry less about parking spaces and traffic, taking transit and walking more can also help support healthier lifestyles.  It's great when you go out to an event with friends while taking public transit and walking because you have plenty of time to just enjoy the ride and catch up.  Or, if you're on your own, it's the perfect time to just relax and listen to your favorite tunes!  Lately, I've been really appreciating Metro's extension of light rail and extended hours; it supports walkable commutes and increases opportunities to learn about new places and how you can frequent favorite places on foot.

Looking back on my summer, I think of all the great adventures I've had through walking and public transit throughout Los Angeles: dance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and seeing fireworks at Grand Park with the Red Line; Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z at the Rose Bowl with the Gold Line; and visiting friends in Culver City with the Expo Line.

But I'm always so amazed at what I find around me when I'm on my own two feet.  The other day my co-worker Tiina and I decided to take a walk and try out Boba 7 in Downtown, where I enjoyed what I thought was a very delicious and very Angeleno drink: Horchata Boba.  And just yesterday, I walked to meet up with a friend and discovered Peddler's Ice Creamery where the ice cream is bicycle churned.  I'm based in Koreatown, so I'm always discovering new places to go and see there, especially with its many food offerings.  A lesson I'm always affirming is that there are so many great places and spaces around me, that I often pass by and don't see when I'm in a car or even on a bus.  When I'm walking right by, I can't help but stop and give pause.  One of the best things about carless/walking culture is that you have more opportunities to truly understand the neighborhoods where you work and live and visit and what these places offer can be pretty amazing. 

Los Angeles is a great city where I know car culture has its place, but I think there's plenty of room to enjoy the carless and walking part too.  I know I do.

-Charity Tran, ExperienceLA Editor

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