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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 12-25-13, 02:25 PM   #1
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L.A. residents living near Expo Line stations reduce car use, study shows

It's great to see L.A. is finally waking up to the reality that good mass transit is the wave of the future. One point that wasn't made in the article is that the combination of the bicycle (especially folding bikes) and light rail allows millions more commuters to leave their cars at home, especially if cyclists are allowed to bring their bikes on board and safe parking spaces are provided for them in stations.

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-e...,6863796.story
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Old 12-25-13, 02:35 PM   #2
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My decision to commute is by bike certainly influenced by access to bike ready commuter rail.
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Old 12-25-13, 02:48 PM   #3
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My decision to commute is by bike certainly influenced by access to bike ready commuter rail.
I combine cycling and commuter rail, too. Love it!
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Old 12-25-13, 02:56 PM   #4
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A fact lost in the media during the L.A. carmegedon, when the media was focusing on the race between a group of physically over enthusiastic cyclists and an airline, was the person walking and riding mass transit between the two destinations, with the person using mass transit only arriving 10 minutes later than the cyclists, and requiring far less exertion or being physically stressed.

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Old 12-25-13, 07:57 PM   #5
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My decision to commute is by bike certainly influenced by access to bike ready commuter rail.
Would you mind telling us a little more about your commute? How far is it from your house to the station? How long does it take you to get to work?
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Old 12-25-13, 08:03 PM   #6
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It's great to see L.A. is finally waking up to the reality that good mass transit is the wave of the future. One point that wasn't made in the article is that the combination of the bicycle (especially folding bikes) and light rail allows millions more commuters to leave their cars at home, especially if cyclists are allowed to bring their bikes on board and safe parking spaces are provided for them in stations.

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-e...,6863796.story
Good post.

Someone posted a similar article about a similar experience with the Minneapolis light rail line. I moved to my current location to have access to the Hudson Bergen Light rail and won't go back. It really is a game changer and I use it every day along with express bus service. I'm a heavy transit user and it's enabled me to remain car free for the rest of my life.

I did read California made cutbacks in bus service while expanding rail/light rail lines. This is unfortunate since the bus services mostly minority communities while commuter rail does not. I wish there was a way we could have both but that is not the case.

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Old 12-25-13, 09:55 PM   #7
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I am a big fan of light rail. If I were doing it all over again I would get a Strida and commute to LA by light rail. However that still is a long way from LA changing all that much. From the LA times about two months ago: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/oct...ashes-20131024

Yes every little bit helps but one must wonder how much is hype and how much is wishful thinking. Though many of us living in the area may be blinded by what we see daily and it is harder to see the improvements.
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Old 12-25-13, 10:06 PM   #8
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A former boss of mine grew up in L.A. when it had a complete mass transit system anchored by trolleys. He used to say the "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" was nearly a documentary. (For those who never saw this half-animated film or who forgot, it centered around a sinister plot to remove the trains from L.A. and force the residents to become addicted to car use.) I guess what's old is new again.

I lived near Sacramento in the '80s when the mayor single-handedly forced the first leg of light rail back in. The fight was so unpleasant that she quit politics as a result. However, as soon as it was up and running, the businesses that were near the stations were clamoring for more (after complaining nonstop during the construction to put it in) and neighborhoods began competing to have the next leg go through their areas.
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Old 12-25-13, 10:48 PM   #9
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Would you mind telling us a little more about your commute? How far is it from your house to the station? How long does it take you to get to work?
AM

Leave house at 5:00, ride 1.75 mi to catch http://www.gonctd.com/sprinter at 5:13
Catch http://www.metrolinktrains.com/ at 5:39 for 55 mile ride.
Bike to work-4 1/2 miles

PM

Leave work at 4:00
Ride 4 1/2 miles-or 9 1/2 miles to a station closer to home, or 30 miles to catch a later train even closer to home. Mid summer during longest days, 1-2 rides all the way home~65 miles
Ride light rail to near home during winter short days
Ride 7 1/2 miles home, skipping light rail after spring time change.
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Old 12-26-13, 02:13 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
AM

Leave house at 5:00, ride 1.75 mi to catch http://www.gonctd.com/sprinter at 5:13
Catch http://www.metrolinktrains.com/ at 5:39 for 55 mile ride.
Bike to work-4 1/2 miles

PM

Leave work at 4:00
Ride 4 1/2 miles-or 9 1/2 miles to a station closer to home, or 30 miles to catch a later train even closer to home. Mid summer during longest days, 1-2 rides all the way home~65 miles
Ride light rail to near home during winter short days
Ride 7 1/2 miles home, skipping light rail after spring time change.
Wow...you're a champion. That's one of the longest distance carfree commutes I ever heard of! What is the total elapsed time of the mixed commute? How long would it take to drive?
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Old 12-26-13, 03:19 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
AM

Leave house at 5:00, ride 1.75 mi to catch http://www.gonctd.com/sprinter at 5:13
Catch http://www.metrolinktrains.com/ at 5:39 for 55 mile ride.
Bike to work-4 1/2 miles

PM

Leave work at 4:00
Ride 4 1/2 miles-or 9 1/2 miles to a station closer to home, or 30 miles to catch a later train even closer to home. Mid summer during longest days, 1-2 rides all the way home~65 miles
Ride light rail to near home during winter short days
Ride 7 1/2 miles home, skipping light rail after spring time change.
Wow! I didn't even know those trains existed. My father lives in Aguanga. Next time I go to visit him, I'll have to take a ride on the Sprinter. It looks like you can connect to the the Coaster if you want to go south to San Diego. When I was growing up in that area (Ocean Beach/Point Loma) , you would have had to drive. Those of us who favored mass transit were a small minority. The car was king.

***

I work with a fellow who lives in Córdoba who commutes by high-speed rail. It only takes him 50 minutes to get to to the town we work in. Ninety-six miles in 50 minutes! It'd easily take him twice that long by car.
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Old 12-26-13, 05:28 AM   #12
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Good post.

Someone posted a similar article about a similar experience with the Minneapolis light rail line. I moved to my current location to have access to the Hudson Bergen Light rail and won't go back. It really is a game changer and I use it every day along with express bus service. I'm a heavy transit user and it's enabled me to remain car free for the rest of my life.

I did read they California made cutbacks in bus service while expanding rail/light rail lines. This is unfortunate since the bus services mostly minority communities while commuter rail does not. I wish there was a way we could have both but that is not the case.
Can you get to Staten Island on the Hudson Bergen trains?

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Old 12-26-13, 07:55 AM   #13
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Wow...you're a champion. That's one of the longest distance carfree commutes I ever heard of! What is the total elapsed time of the mixed commute? How long would it take to drive?
Leave house at 5:00 am, arrive work at 7:00. If I drive the entire way it's about one hour. In the afternoon the drive commute is 1 1/2 to 2 hours because of traffic. The added time is worth it for many reasons. Cost wise, my monthly pass costs about what my 30 mpg car would burn in gas driving that distance for a month. The big saving comes in depreciation. I plan to have this car for ten years, which will not happen if I put 600 miles + per week on it The other big advantage is that after having driven about a half million miles in my life time, it isn't fun anymore. I have "Freeway Burnout". Then there is the ride itself. I catch a nap on the train to work in the morning, and socialize with others cyclists in the bike car on the trip home. Then there is the opportunity to ride my bike.

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Wow! I didn't even know those trains existed. My father lives in Aguanga. Next time I go to visit him, I'll have to take a ride on the Sprinter. It looks like you can connect to the the Coaster if you want to go south to San Diego. When I was growing up in that area (Ocean Beach/Point Loma) , you would have had to drive. Those of us who favored mass transit were a small minority. The car was king.
The car still is king, unfortunately. I know Aguanga, though not many do. It's a small place. Unfortunately a place near there that would seriously benefit from a rail line, the Interstate 15 corridor from San Diego to Riverside, is low on the list of places slated to get one. I don't know how long it's been since you were here, but when I moved to the area as a child in 1969 Temecula (on I-15 about 20 miles west of Aguanga) was a village of about two thousand people. Now the Temecula/Murietta area has over 100k people and the traffic is horrible as many of them commute to San Diego, Riverside, or LA. One bright spot is that the Metrolink has a firm plan to extend it's Riverside line to Perris, which is 25 miles north of Temecula. That's no help to those who commute from Temecula to San Diego, which is the majority of their long distance commuters. The I-15 between San Diego and Temecula has been a pit into which many millions of dollars have been, and are planned to be spent on accommodating more cars. People like me advocating for rail get drowned out.

Last edited by CommuteCommando; 12-27-13 at 02:56 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 12-26-13, 10:58 AM   #14
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Citizens in Cincinnati have risen up and saved a streetcar project that was about to be scrapped. Hooray!

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/2...izens-to-thank
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Old 12-26-13, 12:08 PM   #15
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Wow...you're a champion. That's one of the longest distance carfree commutes I ever heard of! What is the total elapsed time of the mixed commute? How long would it take to drive?
Yeah. He goes farther than me, but it's faster. I leave at 5:00 am, ride 9 miles to the bus station, ride the bus to Salem, catch a different bus 20 minutes later, and get to work a little after 8:00. I catch the bus back at about 4:30 pm, back to my bike, and usually get home around 7:00. I don't do this every day.

At least my employer pays for my bus pass.
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Old 12-26-13, 12:20 PM   #16
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With rail comes pedestrians (hopefully). With pedestrians come...no, not traffic enforcement (L.A. took out many of its red light cameras that were citing motorists who were turning right-on-red without stopping). No, LAPD is focusing on those deadly pedestrians who are flaunting the law. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/26/us...nted=1&_r=0&hp
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Originally Posted by New York Times
In a city of seemingly endless highways — with its daily parade of car accidents, frustrating traffic jams and aggressive drivers — the Los Angeles Police Department these days is training its sights on a different road menace: jaywalkers.
They are even going so far as to cite jaywalkers who aren't even breaking the law.
Quote:
Originally Posted by New York Times
Jeff Grotke, 49, a bankruptcy lawyer who works downtown, said he crossed a street midblock on the way to Bankruptcy Court when there was not a car in sight. He was stopped by two officers and given a ticket.

“Honestly, I cussed them out for about five minutes,” he said.
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Vehicle Code Section 21954
(a) Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.
Years ago, a pedestrian was cited for crossing mid-block in the absence of cars on the U.C. Davis campus. Not only did the judge dismiss the citation, he spent ten minutes angrily haranguing the cop for both not knowing the law and for wasting everyone's time. That was the last jay-walking ticket I ever heard of in Davis.

It looks like L.A. must be experiencing some success in weaning itself from car dependence. Otherwise, why would there be such push-back?
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Old 12-26-13, 04:25 PM   #17
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With rail comes pedestrians (hopefully). With pedestrians come...no, not traffic enforcement (L.A. took out many of its red light cameras that were citing motorists who were turning right-on-red without stopping). No, LAPD is focusing on those deadly pedestrians who are flaunting the law. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/26/us...nted=1&_r=0&hp


They are even going so far as to cite jaywalkers who aren't even breaking the law.




Years ago, a pedestrian was cited for crossing mid-block in the absence of cars on the U.C. Davis campus. Not only did the judge dismiss the citation, he spent ten minutes angrily haranguing the cop for both not knowing the law and for wasting everyone's time. That was the last jay-walking ticket I ever heard of in Davis.

It looks like L.A. must be experiencing some success in weaning itself from car dependence. Otherwise, why would there be such push-back?
"We fear the jaywalker more than the anarchist." How pedestrians lost the right to use the public roadways. This would make a good thread of its own, but it don't have the time today. (hint hint)

http://rebelmetropolis.org/we-fear-t...he-anarchists/
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Old 12-26-13, 05:18 PM   #18
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Can you get to Staten Island on the Hudson Bergen trains?
No. There was talk to extend the Hudson Bergen trains over the Bayonne Bridge but the cost was out of the question. The MTA bus S89 stops at the 34th street station and that will take you to Staten Island. However, the S89 only runs Monday through Friday during rush hour.
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Old 12-26-13, 05:26 PM   #19
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With rail comes pedestrians (hopefully). With pedestrians come...no, not traffic enforcement (L.A. took out many of its red light cameras that were citing motorists who were turning right-on-red without stopping). No, LAPD is focusing on those deadly pedestrians who are flaunting the law. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/26/us...nted=1&_r=0&hp


They are even going so far as to cite jaywalkers who aren't even breaking the law.




Years ago, a pedestrian was cited for crossing mid-block in the absence of cars on the U.C. Davis campus. Not only did the judge dismiss the citation, he spent ten minutes angrily haranguing the cop for both not knowing the law and for wasting everyone's time. That was the last jay-walking ticket I ever heard of in Davis.

It looks like L.A. must be experiencing some success in weaning itself from car dependence. Otherwise, why would there be such push-back?
Nobody walks in L.A.

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Old 12-26-13, 06:33 PM   #20
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Nobody walks in L.A.

Ha. Not strictly true, but true enough.
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Old 12-27-13, 08:22 AM   #21
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Nobody walks in L.A.
Like the song, the analogy is 30 plus years out of date. Of course, LAPD now has a new cash cow on an old shaming tactic.

http://www.businessinsider.com/huge-...ngeles-2013-12
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Old 12-27-13, 01:49 PM   #22
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Literally from the time of the first car, they have been at odds with pedestrians. There were two possible solutions: a) require motorists to share the road and always yield to pedestrians, or b) ban pedestrians from the major portion of the roadway. Under heavy corporate influence, the choice was a).

The real purpose of jaywalking laws is not to make money for the city. The purpose is to provide a legal cover for motorists (and insurance companies) when they crash into pedestrians.

How come bicycles are still allowed on roads when walkers are not? Mainly because bicyclists, at the time jaywalking laws were enacted, had strong lobbying groups to fight for their rights. Walkers were unorganized. We should keep this in mind as the big pushback against bikes commences.
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Old 12-28-13, 09:48 AM   #23
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Literally from the time of the first car, they have been at odds with pedestrians. There were two possible solutions: a) require motorists to share the road and always yield to pedestrians, or b) ban pedestrians from the major portion of the roadway. Under heavy corporate influence, the choice was a).

The real purpose of jaywalking laws is not to make money for the city. The purpose is to provide a legal cover for motorists (and insurance companies) when they crash into pedestrians.

How come bicycles are still allowed on roads when walkers are not? Mainly because bicyclists, at the time jaywalking laws were enacted, had strong lobbying groups to fight for their rights. Walkers were unorganized. We should keep this in mind as the big pushback against bikes commences.

Looking at the very last portion of the article that I linked, it commented that jaywalking is prevalent in New York City, and that NYPD won't ticket jaywalkers since the general population won't tolerate the ticketing. It will probably take some time, but I suspect that LA pedestrians will become better organized, and push back in ways similar to NYC.
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Old 12-28-13, 03:16 PM   #24
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Looking at the very last portion of the article that I linked, it commented that jaywalking is prevalent in New York City, and that NYPD won't ticket jaywalkers since the general population won't tolerate the ticketing. It will probably take some time, but I suspect that LA pedestrians will become better organized, and push back in ways similar to NYC.
I think you're right. I don't know about California, but the Complete Streets movement is having a lot of success here in Michigan. What is needed are broad coalitions of walkers, cyclists, senior citizens, handicapped people, dog owners, fitness enthusiasts, environmentalists, and enlightened business leaders.

If a provincial city like Lansing, MI (where auto manufacturing is the biggest industry) can start improving conditions for walkers, a sophisticated city like LA should not be far behind.
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Old 12-29-13, 09:56 AM   #25
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Regarding jaywalking:

Back in the early 1980s ()I was out for a stroll in Guatemala City when I came to an intersection. As there were no cars in sight, I stepped off of the curb and started walking out into the street, intending to cross against the red light. At that moment, I noticed two machine gun-wielding cops rounding the corner. Not wanting to be caught in flagrante delicto (this was, mind you, during the bloody reign of Efraín Ríos Montt), I froze in my tracks and stepped back onto the sidewalk, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible.

Thinking my behavior suspicious, the officers called me over and asked why I'd stopped. When I told them I was afraid of getting a ticket, they laughed, told me I could cross whenever and wherever I liked as long as I didn't walk out in front of a vehicle, and sent me on my way. The whole idea of fining someone for jaywalking was foreign to them, and they got quite a chuckle out of it.

I wonder how many countries besides the United States actually fine people for jaywalking.
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