Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Let the Finger-Pointing Begin... 

A new buslane just opened in Los Angeles. An extension of the subway system, it consists of dual bus-only lanes that run from the North Hollywood Metro Station out to Woodland Hills. For those of you not from LA, this a major breakthrough in commuting, meaning that people who live in the distant suburbs can take public transportation from those 'burbs to Hollywood, Downtown, Long Beach and many other points without being stuck in traffic.

And, a bit more history -- the busway follows the old Southern Pacific rail line, basically; a route that was commuter-friendly fifty years ago. And, originally, it was going to be an above-ground extension of the Red Line; a streetcar, basically; which was a fabulous idea. That is, until a handful of rich whiners on one block around the route kicked and screamed and bitched and moaned and ruined it for everyone else. They managed to prevail in a lawsuit that banned a rail line from the route. End result -- the busway. Same idea, different mode of transit.

Now, don't get me wrong -- I love the busway. I love the idea that LA finally has a subway. And I think that we need more, more, more. While the whole system is great if you want to get to Hollywood, Downtown, Chinatown, the Airport, etc., it sucks if you have to get to the West Side. Now, it doesn't suck if you have to get to the West Vallley, or from the West Valley. But, before they opened the busway, I was apt to ponder out loud, "I wonder how long it'll be before we have the first bus/car accident on the thing?"

I was basing that on the unfortunate track record with the Blue Line, which is a street-level rail-line. And, gosh darn, wouldn't you know it, plenty of people have ignored the flashing lights and gate-arms and other alerts that say, "DON'T DRIVE HERE, ASSHAT", and have driven in front of or into the Blue Line Trains.

And, today, the Orange Line (as that bus lane system is called) had two accidents, one minor and one major. And, sure enough, the major accident was caused when a driver ran a red light and drove smack into the side of the bus.

And, sure enough, all the whiners and moaners came out of the woodwork to declaim, "The Orange Line is unsafe!" And they demand that the whole thing shut down until gate-arms are installed, and blah blah blah, and they can all go fuck themselves.

Funny thing here, if you're an Angelino -- all the moaners are people married to their cars, who wouldn't even dream of thinking of considering even trying taking public transit. Their concern is that they can drive to work while yakking on the cell phone, doing their hair, eating their breakfast, watching a DVD and putting on their make-up, all the while piloting a land-tank that's much bigger than their skillz. God forbid they should have to walk more than fifty feet, share their space with other people, and arrive at their destination unstressed, in comfort, and faster than they would have otherwise. Nope. Two total dipsticks slamming their cars into buses that are pretty damn hard to miss means the whole system is failed.

And they wonder why LA doesn't have a world class mass-transit system?

Of course, in the ideal universe, the MTA would have told those whining neighbors to go fuck themselves in the first place, and the Orange Line would be just another train. And there'd be a train line connecting Hollywood to West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Westwood and Santa Monica -- hence connecting them to everywhere else. And, in that ideal universe, driver would not be so bone-stupid that they ignore all warnings and smack into a bus.

In an ideal universe, blame would be put in the right place. And the people of Los Angeles (especially the reactionary dick-wits who live in Woodland Hills) would pull their heads out of their asses, realize that People Who Speak Spanish are not Satan in Disguise, and they'd hop on the damn bus and figure out what people in most other major American cities have already learned -- you only need your car when you're buying big shit, or have to go a long way with family. Otherwise, pay your three bucks for a day pass, hop on the Oraange (or Red or Gold or Green or Blue) line, and go have fun.

Because, they forget the two big benefits of public transit: 1) You never have to look for a parking space. 2) You can get totally wasted and still make it home without worrying about getting arrested.

What better arguments could there be?

So, my fingers are crossed that the hideously bad drivers of the West and Central Valley don't permanently fuck up the Orange Line for the rest of us. How hard can it be people? Two simple words when you're anywhere near the busway: PAY ATTENTION.

Or, hang up and drive. Asshats.

I can't imagine having to drive in L.A. Madison is a smaller city and there's only one major highway that loops the south side of the city and I have to drive in that every day. That's bad enough with the tailgaters and cellphoners who are oblivious to what's happening around them. I would LOVE to be able to use pub. trans. But I live 30 miles out of the city and there is no bus or train line that goes out there. There used to be a railroad line but since the oil industry has all but killed the train industry, the train line is now a bike path. A very nice bike path nonetheless.

"Only a nobody walks in L.A." - Dale Bozzio
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?