Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Local Buses: Part One

The other evening I was on my way home from Northridge when I saw a gentleman sitting on the northwest corner of White Oak and Saticoy waiting for the 239 bus to come. I was rushing home because I was about fifteen minutes late as far as getting ready to have dinner with a friend at a sushi place, which somewhat conveniently, was in the same block I was passing.

The only inconvenient things when my friend and I came back an hour later only to see the same gentleman sitting at the same spot, occasionally getting up and into the street, wondering where the bus was.

It's not rare that I'm in that same position. Sometimes it happens when I'm on Sunset Blvd waiting for the 2 (a line that I praise quite frequently), which can run ten or so minutes late heading west because traffic is awesome. (Very rarely does it run late coming from Beverly Hills.) But even though it's annoying when it happens, at least the 2 runs ever twenty or so minutes.

That said, an amount of local lines in the Valley run every 40-60 minutes midday, with a more than fair percentage of them being north-south buses. I really don't understand the reasoning behind it, and haven't for quite a while. If you've read here recently or at all, you know that I've come to the conclusion that local service needs attention if Metro's apparent goal of reducing fuel emissions and lessening traffic is ever, ever to get off the ground.

I only found out recently that there are local council meetings held in the Valley the first Wednesday of every month. Knowing that it's short notice, I still feel it worth mentioning that one will be held this evening at 6:30 pm at the following address:

Marvin Braude Constituent Service Center
6262 Van Nuys Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91406

The intended agenda is highlighted in full here, per Metro.net.

I almost challenge next month for local service to make its way on the agenda, or at the very least, an item not on the agenda open to discussion. Why? It's because the squeaky wheel (or brake, or chain) that gets the grease, gets the lube.

I also challenge that anyone who is affected by local service in the Valley - whether you drive, cycle, walk, or bus it - attend and take in the information, if not join in the topics. And if you're not in the Valley (and if you are) check out and see if there is a meeting you can attend soon. Being informed and having a voice are the strongest tools a person or collective group can have.

Local service in the Valley is not the best, and during rush hour it is far from the worse. Thank goodness for the Orange Line and Rapid lines 741 (Reseda Blvd), 750 (Ventura Blvd), and 761 (Van Nuys Blvd). But what about Topanga Cyn Blvd? Winnetka Blvd? Balboa Blvd? Sepulveda Blvd? Laurel Cyn Blvd? Vineland? These streets heading in the north-south direction are just a few of the streets that benefit from local lines, but not frequently enough to efficiently serve the local areas. There are malls, schools, businesses, recreational facilities, bridges over the hill and accessibility to Metro itself that the having of more efficient local service would greatly benefit the economy. I don't even think the ways need counting. Aside from that, there are homes in which people hope to get to without having to walk three to five miles at the end of a work day.

I don't think I've left much out, and I'm not sure what else can be said at this point.

But if able to attend, whether tonight or next month, I highly encourage it. And if not, make use of Twitter regarding your thoughts and use the #metrolosangeles hashtag. Send an email. Write a letter. Start a blog. Take pictures. Get the grease, get lubed. It's a serious issue and I think it would be pretty cool to see local service boom.

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