Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Blog Awakens!

A rainy bus bench at the southeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Linden Drive, Beverly Hills

Hey, you know what? I think I've got too many urban plannery thoughts to just keep in my head.  As a result, I feel the urge to write again.  After all, isn't self expression the essence of what it is to be human?

What's the thought of the day?  How about I love transit, even when transit doesn't love me back.  On today's transit adventure walking back from Century City, I got caught in the rain at the bus stop pictured above.  I wasn't alone.  Several other people were huddling under some nearby trees trying to stay dry.  I don't know about you, but when I see this bus bench with no shade I don't see the work of a society that's serious about reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 (as many say would be necessary to head off the worst effects of global warming).  Riding the bus is so good for society: it reduces traffic and pollution, provides mobility to the disabled and the poor, and yet, the people who decide to participate in this constructive activity are literally asked to stand in the rain.  Yes, I know this is Southern California and it doesn't rain that often, but if it's not the rain, it's the sun, and that ain't no picnic either.

I think providing for adequate bus stops is a dual responsibility of the transit agency (Metro in this case) and the local city (Beverly Hills here).  Beverly Hills controls the sidewalks and Metro has a stake in good customer service.  Some sort of cost sharing arrangement would probably be the adult way to handle it.  We need to treat bus transportation like it is a serious way of getting around.  That starts with upping the human dignity level of the stops.  This stop is by no means unique.  It is a symbol of the hundreds (thousands?) of crappy bus stops that exist all over LA County, in communities rich and poor.  It's time to roll up our sleeves and get to work on this problem.

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