A Multi-Modal Independence Day
July 5, 2012 1 Comment
To celebrate America’s independence, there are a few things that come to mind in Los Angeles… the beach, bike rides, fireworks, barbecues, friends, and music. I experienced all of them yesterday, while also celebrating my independence from another thing… the personal automobile.
I didn’t necessarily set out to specifically spend the day without a car, but it was actually the easier and better way to get to most of my destinations for the day, which ranged from Downtown to the beach, with roughly 19 miles in between them. By the end of the day, I had traveled a total of nearly 50 miles by heavy-rail subway, light-rail, bike, bus, and foot. I exercised on bike, had tacos and margaritas by the ocean, grilled chicken, corn, and beer on a Downtown rooftop, and watched fireworks from a lawn in the shadow of the Coliseum.
Read on for more detail of the fantastic Independence Day celebration and how it’s possible to experience an incredible range of Los Angeles without getting in a car.
Lunch BBQ in Marina Del Rey
My host actually suggested I take Metro as far as I could and then bike. She knew I take the Expo Line to Culver City and bike to work, so figured I would enjoy the ride. Parking lots in Marina del Rey were full and streets were closed before noon, so anything we could do to not drive would help. From my home, we took the Red Line to the Expo Line and connected to the Ballona Creek Bike Path near La Cienega/Jefferson station. The bike path goes all the way to the marina, where we switched to the Marvin Braude path and then hooked up with Washington Blvd’s bike lane to get onto the peninsula. We enjoyed tacos and margaritas outside just as the sun was burning through the marine layer. Many guests said they drove around the area for 40 minutes looking for parking, and then had to walk an additional 20 from the spot they found… in total taking longer than our bike ride.
Shopping for Dinner BBQ
On the return trip, we followed the same path, but got off the Expo Line at Pico and biked to Ralphs Downtown to do some shopping for a dinner party. Instead of connecting back to the subway, we decided to try out the new bike lanes on Main and Los Angeles Streets to get back to Union Station. The protected/buffered lanes in Downtown make a huge difference when compared to the unprotected lane we rode on Washington earlier in the day. We definitely felt safer with the extra few feet between the bike and auto lanes.
Downtown Rooftop Dinner Party
Jumping on the 733 bus at Cesar Chavez and Alameda provided a quick way to get into the Historic Core and Fashion District, where we celebrated with barbecued chicken, corn, beer, and an incredible American flag cake.
As the sun started to set, we could see the beginnings of local (or home) fireworks shows all around us from our rooftop perch. Views like this are one of my favorite things about Downtown LA.
A short walk to the 7th Street / Metro Center station and our group of 13 for the evening was on the Expo Line (my third time for the day), headed to Exposition Park to watch some fireworks. Alighting at the Expo Park/USC station, we were an incredibly short walk from the lawn in front of the Natural History museum, where were threw down our blankets and watched the sky burst into color. (Side Note: I cannot wait for USC football season and getting to the games by Metro. Fight On!)
After the show, half of the group went to explore the USC campus, while a few of us boarded the Expo Line to head back Downtown.
The station and trains were absolutely packed, proving what a blessing this train has already been and will continue be to the community for years to come. It hits residential areas, business areas, and community/public spaces perhaps better than any other line in the county (and will only get better with the extension).
A short Expo ride followed by a farewell to our friends at 7th Street and then a short Red Line ride back to Union station rounded out the day. After 20 miles of biking and another 30 miles of travel, I was tired. You can bet I slept well after an incredible day celebrating this great nation in one of its greatest cities with many of my closest friends–and doing it all without a car, a truly independent feeling.