New Year’s resolution: My sacrifice for L.A.'s public transit future

I’ll admit it. I’m one of those people. You know the type: One of those East Coast transplants who haughtily extols the benefits of public transit and pedestrianism, and pretentiously makes fun of all my Angeleno friends for their inability to grasp that walking a mile to the store and back isn’t that big a deal.

“Back in Boston, we would walk through snow to get to the T.”

If you think that’s obnoxious, it gets worse.

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For the first year I lived in Los Angeles, I didn’t have a car. I walked, rode a bike or took the subway everywhere I went. I practiced what I preached.

Then something happened.

Six years ago I got a car, and I’ve been slowly driving more and more ever since. I live in eminently walkable downtown L.A., so it’s not as if I’m constantly behind the wheel. But I’ve put far more miles on my vehicle than I should for someone who talks as much trash to my lazy Angeleno friends as I do.


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I work in Pasadena two days a week, right off the Gold Line, yet I still drive to the office. I haven’t even tried to take public transit. I feel horrible about it, but it takes 15 minutes to drive and 45 minutes to take Metro.

No more.

In 2014, I’m vowing to sacrifice that extra hour out of my day to practice what I preach. From now on, no more driving to work in lieu of a perfectly reliable public transit system.

Despite the impending Expo Line extension, the Crenshaw corridor line and the “Subway to the Sea,” L.A.’s public transit plans are still inadequate to cover the city as a whole. A north-south route along the 405 Freeway to the Valley is crucial to bridging gaps in the system.

But if you thought Carmageddon I and II drew the wrath of Westsiders, just imagine what kind of outrage a decade of subway construction will bring.

A project like that will need political will. And that won’t happen without ample subway ridership numbers. It’s time to stop being lazy and do my part.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m going to continue to be an annoying East Coast transplant. If I catch any of you out there driving six blocks to Jamba Juice and back, you’re going to get an earful. This year, however, as small a solace as it may be, at least you’ll know I earned the right to lecture.


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Matthew Fleischer is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist. Follow him on Twitter @MatteFleischer.