Commuting, II

By cjohnson | December 6, 2005 1:15 am

journeyYou join me in part two of my journey from home to work. Part I, together with my reasons for doing this, can be found here. We pick up the journey just after we passed another food stand serving tasty morsels. We’re still on Sunset (which by the way has a cycle lane for a long way), in the heart of Silver Lake now, and there’s a slight hill up towards the ‘hood called Echo Park, just ebfore which we’ll do our turning onto a useful side street (there are so many in this city, which is why the complaint that cycling is dangerous can be tackled a bit…you can choose to avoid a lot of the worst stuff…it does not grant you immunity, but it can help manage your vigilance a bit better). Immediately turning the corner we glimpse one of the many interesting gardens that so many people have. In fact, I could do you a whole garden tour using the route I take when I walk to the busstop if for some reason I’m not cycling. We’ll pass many more of these, along with lovely trees, etc. I won’t include any more photos, or we’ll have to do a part III and IV.

journey I like to pause and smugly look at the 101 freeway as I cycle over it. Annoyingly, it is not at a standstill as I took this photo, so the photo is not dramatic. Ok, I’ll come clean here: it seldom is at a standstill. What people tell you about traffic in LA is in fact over-exaggerated, most times. Try driving near London or many other major European cities and you’ll know what I mean. Traffic is not the (only) reason I choose to use public transport (and cycle). journey See earlier discussions. One reason is simply that if we don’t use what is there, it will never get better. And cyclists should simply not give control of the road to motorists. We have a legal right to a lane on the road when we want it, and should not be forced onto the sidewalk, or into our cars. How will drivers learn this if we don’t cycle? (See here.) journeyI’ve said lots on this already…. If I come by here in the evening, I’m always amused to see people pulling up and getting out in all their finery for some sort of fun night out at the local night club. This one is just a doorway. I’ve not been to any of these. I passed a lot of these on Sunset too, but I did not take any pictures. There’s another neighbourhood nursery of some sort (right). Everybody seems happy.


journeyjourneyOh! They’re resurfaced this lovely stretch of Rampart. It is an excellent and wide road, quite safe for cyclists (official cycle route in fact). Hang on, I’m going to coast down this lovely bit of road….. I like this apartment building (right; just before the left turn onto Wilshire Blvd. I don’t know why.

journeyOk, here’s something you know: MacArthur Park. You know how it goes…

“Mac Arthur’s Park is melting in the dark
all the sweet green icing flowing down
someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
’cause it took so long to bake it
and I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh, nooo! “

If you know what that means, please let me know. (Btw, I’m thinking of the Donna Summer version, not the Richard Harris, version, ok?!) Lovely park. See families out there a lot. Yeah, sure, people will instead tell you about the drug dealers and such. journeyI see families too (and the installation of video cameras has apparenly really changed it a lot too); kids feeding the ducks, etc. I’ll be boring and tell you about the good stuff for a change.

There’s a red line subway stop here, by the way. You can stop here and take the 200 bus a short way to USC if you’re near a red line subway stop, or within a bus ride of one. Swing around the park, right onto Alvarado (which later feeds into Hoover)….there are several blocks chock a block with people going here and there on their business. Yep, there’s a lot of walking about in some parts of LA, despite what you’re told. There’s any number of interesting store fronts and things all jumbled together here. I was playing tag with a bus and so did not take any photos, I realize now….. (There are also several wonderful murals and other public art…see here for photos.)

journeyWell, I’ll skip out some interesting bits here and there. We come pretty quickly to the Adams district now, and one of the main features is that there are fantastic craftsman houses of various sorts. I ought to do a tour of this ‘hood for you some time, for this is the very ‘hood that people talk about when they tell you how dangerous USC is supposed to be. journey It is mostly ignorant twaddle. Sure there’s some crime -it is a city- but it is not the war zone people will have you believe. In the ‘hood are more excellent places to eat (e.g., Lucy’s), and you can even get your teeth looked after (I love that sign: “Adams Family Dentistry)…..

journey The cafe coverage is not as great as SilverLake, Echo Park and Los Feliz, but there are some nice things, such as the 29th Street cafe, where we sometimes take speakers for a beer. There’s a Starbucks, of course. (Won’t bother with a picture…..) It is part of a whole shopping centre the university owns, which has a movie theatre, an international food court, and other things.

journey And then I am there…on campus. There are other cyclists, lots of activity, lovely trees, lovely people (faculty and students alike). Ah, yes, USC, where I work.

Thanks for joining me on the journey to work. Not so bad, eh? Not once did I come close to getting run over (this time, you say), it was rather interesting and colourful, and I got here a bit faster than if I’d used the bus, actually. Most times I cycle to the bus stop and take the bus most of the way to work (another route). That way I can read, and get to work fresh as a daisy. journeyOcassionally, I just want to see what’s going on in the various neighbourhoods for a bit of a change. Either way, I get to see real life on the way to work. I hope that you now agree that at street level, LA’s not so bad. (Maybe some time I’ll include more actual people in the photos…I don’t like sticking cameras in people’s faces you see…..especially when I stand out like a sore thumb on a funny-looking bike. Hard to be discrete.)

-cvj

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Miscellany, Personal
  • http://www.pyracantha.com Pyracantha

    you are lucky to have a nice climate and freedom to move about alone after dark.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/clifford/ Clifford

    “freedom to move about alone after dark”… well the perception of the freedom varies depending upon who you talk to. I’d never go out after dark at all if I listened to what people tell me. I don’t listen (but am careful, as in any city). Perhaps I’m a fool.

    -cvj

  • Tim M

    What do you do when it rains?

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/clifford/ Clifford

    Well, if it is light rain, I use a raincoat and cycle and bus as usual. Really heavy: walk to busstop with raincoat+umbrella. Just like anywhere else.

    Cheers,

    -cvj

  • Jeff

    Those are some great pictures! I especially like the penultimate one

  • http://blog.lib.umn.edu/deg/campfire/ DouglasG

    In the more moderate months here, I also bike to work. However, I live in Minnesota, so darkness and cold keep me off the bike a good part of the year. I have found a similar thing. You don’t have much to worry about from the people in the neighborhoods. It is the cars. If you’re not on a bike route or another, drivers can be road hogs, and that can be deadly. The right route makes all the difference. Plus, you don’t have to spend 30 minutes in the gym because you “work out” on your commute. Keep it up!

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/clifford/ Clifford

    Well, I should say that I have no problem with the people either. Most times, they are very friendly, and are just regular people getting on with their lives, no more interested in you than you are in them.

    I cycle at night every day. The trick is to have bright flashing LED lights. They are dirt cheap and make a huge difference. I have one on front (white) and back (red) of the bike and one pointlike red one on my helmet at the back. allows drivers to figure out how far away I am….. if they’re not too busy on the phone….. I want to scream (I don’t) at the other cyclists I meet who are wearing all black and have no lights. Fools.

    -cvj

  • http://jenniferhead.cfa.harvard.edu Jennifer

    Clifford, the photos are great, and match perfectly with the story my Santa Monica sister just told me about the USC campus – she and her husband went for a walk on campus and in the neighborhood recently, she said it was darling. I’ll be out for a visit in February, hope to see you then. I’ll definitely stop by one of the burrito stands, I love Cambridge but they don’t know how to do beans and rice properly. Must be something in the water. Thanks for the posts.

  • Indiana Jones

    When I first saw this post, I thought it was going to be something about Lie algebras.

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  • Ryan Mallery

    The more cyclists commuting to work the better. Los Angeles is such a frustrating city by car, and such a beautiful city by bike. You might check out http://bikeboom.com/webcalendar/month.php it lists some of the different cycling related events that are going on in the greater Los Angeles area, anything from bicycle scavenger hunts to bicycle tours of art galleries. Maybe I will see you on the road.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/clifford/ Clifford

    Ryan Mallery:- Thanks! See you out there!

    -cvj

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