The Los Angeles Daily News has a feature article that begins:
Two years ago, Simon Pastucha - an urban designer and planner for the city of Los Angeles - left his Mercedes SUV at the dealership and hasn't looked back.Read the full article here and then come back. I lived in the San Fernando Valley before Interstate 405 replaced Sepulveda Boulevard as the commute route to Los Angeles. Back then, the Daily News was a throw-away paper known as the Green Sheet. (The front section and some other sections where printed on green newsprint.) I left and moved to Northern California well before the Los Angeles commuter rail started operating.
But how does a professional with children and far-flung meetings survive in car-centric Los Angeles without owning an automobile?
The guy featured in the Daily News article used to lease a Mercedes SUV for $500 a month. This is not a guy forced onto public transit because of "mobility" issues, unless you count the lack of mobility associated with gridlocked Los Angeles freeways. From a transitarian point of view, this is the perfect story. First one guy, then another and pretty soon you're talking about lots of people.
Which brings us to my favorite blogger du jour. He's the guy I ranted about in my "Dictatorship of the 33" post. He's the one who tipped me off to the Daily News article. I don't use his name or his Web address because I don't want to give him the satisfaction of knowing how much he annoys me. However, I think he offers an opposing view that illustrates the thinking (loosely defined) of transit foes.
He starts with a very telling headline: Living a Minimal Life Without a Car
And what is so minimal about life without a car? Well, according to this blogger, "This man and his children are hostages to public transportation."
I simply don't see it. I must confess that I don't think I could go completely carless. The guy in the article rents cars on the weekend when he needs one. But going from a two-car to a one-car family is more than possible, even with Sacramento's less-than-ideal bus service.
Probably most telling was the blogger's suggestion that a little rain keeps people from using transit:
Would you like to live his life? Oh, what happens when it rains hard, which does happen? Does he stay home from work? Does he rent a car? Dos he ask a friend to drive him into downtown LA? Or does he do all that walking in a heavy rain? Would you want him as a friend?Sorry, but the last time I checked people are not water soluble. And, in any event, it is not as if transit riders sit on top of the trains and buses. They ride inside, which is just as dry as the inside of a single-occupant car. A hat and coat or an umbrella offer more than enough protection when not actually riding transit. And a hat and coat or umbrella are still required by the blogger when he drives to the mall and has to walk a half-mile to reach the stores.