Sunday, December 19, 2010

Getting Groceries in East LA Without a Car

La Opinión just came out with an interesting article about the struggles of some East LA residents to get to a good supermarket (i.e. one that doesn't price gouge them and has a decent selection of fruits and vegetables) without a car. "For a better trip to the supermarket" (translated) reminds us, sadly, that transit isn't always up to the level it should be to support people who live sans car.

In this case the transit failures are both public and private. Edelmira Ortega, 67, complains in the article that it's hard for her to get to her bus stop, since it's four blocks away and she has trouble walking. Another woman in the article, Olga Pérez, says it takes her three hours to make a grocery run to a good supermarket on city buses.

The Superior market at César Chavez and Rowan, highlighted in the story, has been reaching out to customers like Edelmira and Olga with vans, but recently cut them back from three to one, making the service much harder to use.

When I encourage people to live without cars or with less use of a car, I imagine a world where these hardships don't exist. I think such a world is possible, if we're serious about creating the conditions for successful transit and taxi/shuttle services. Unfortunately, we're not there yet in every neighborhood, and until we are, it's going to be hard to make the case to chuck the car in East LA. We need a city where being car free is a dignified choice, because, as a start, some people don't have a choice.

But I've got to tell you, I'm feeling pretty optimistic. Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal has been approved by Congress, so maybe our society isn't totally clueless!


  1. We did, however, lose on the DREAM Act. Thank you, party of racism and xenophobia!

  2. Yeah, that was a bummer. I don't hold out much hope for rational immigration reform over the next two years if we can't even allow people who were brought here as children to gain legal status by joining the military or going to college.

    Congress may vote to approve a moat and 5 million border patrol robots though . . .

  3. Unfortunately DADT repeal was a bargaining chip to keep the borrow-and-give-to-the-rich tax deal off the front pages. One step forward, three back.

  4. :) yeah, I actually supported the tax deal. Not because tax breaks for the rich are a great form of stimulus, but because it achieved an extension of unemployment benefits, and because the tax breaks for the rich automatically expire in two years.

    In my view, the time to tackle the deficit is later, since the economy is still really weak. It's not how I would have written a stimulus bill, but I buy the argument that it was a legit compromise. I say it beats no stimulus at all.