By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
And you notice your fellow riders looking your way, too, wondering about you: why you look the way you do. And, for that matter, why you decided to join the now-close-to-130,000 Los Angeles people who suddenly chose to ride in a hole in the ground. Out of the 211,000 total who use all MTA rail.
There‘s still potential for a lot more. Subways, once you finally have them, are so much better for everyone than buses.
Not everyone agrees, of course. I believe the Bus Riders Union, with its court-mandated success in getting a greater commitment for more and cleaner buses, is close to being the biggest Los Angeles grassroots success story of the past decade.
But sometimes the organization seems less interested in mitigating the miseries of bus commuting than in perpetuating them. The point of transport activism isn’t just to benefit the bus makers, but to provide the best transit possible for everyone. No one system can do that. And that‘s why Red Line founders like the late Tom Bradley demanded a subway for this city 20 years ago.
Which gets us into the shoulda-beens. Had our MTA only been properly and (betimes) honestly run; had the agency only not proved so much weaker than insider scamsters like ex-Councilman Richard Alatorre and the well-wired local contractors who gouged, underperformed and overcharged; had some bigmouth in Washington not derailed the proper, westbound route -- in short, had the job been done with the purpose and integrity with which very few mass-transit systems have ever been completed in the Free World . . . Just think what we might have to show for all the wasted, unreplaceable federal billions. A Red Line all the way to Wilshire and Robertson boulevards on the West; to Boyle Avenue on the East; and to Chandler Boulevard and Woodman Avenue in the Valley. At least 500,000 (let us guess) fare-paying riders a day. Around 400,000 fewer cars on the freeways and streets. A daily loss of several tons of air pollutants.
This nearly was ours. As it stands, we now can travel two dozen miles downtown from North Hollywood in 25 minutes, all day long. And we can stare into the faces of our fellow Angelenos. And to take them in, for what is for many of us the very first time.
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