We're all in this traffic jam together. Can we help each other? Need to go from West Los Angeles to Orange County (OC), taking public transportation without spending hours trying to figure it out, or hours getting to a place only 40 miles away?
Let me save you the trouble.
Find a friend!
If that friend is the new Donna, Manage Your Day APP with its tagline "Never be late again. Donna takes care of it." great. According to the developer, the Donna APP gives directions in one elegant click! (My disclaimer: I've nothing to do with APP, nor have I used it. A friend told me about it!)
Yet, if you relied on me to get you to OC from Los Angeles on public transportation you'd be in trouble.
Case in point: I wanted to get to OC without driving, arriving fresh for a weekend afternoon party.
I, therefore, spent hours. Yes! Hours! talking to Metro, and Metrolink, and unhelpful and helpful employees at Culver City City Hall, that's the place a Metrolink employee sent me (after Metro sent me to Metrolink) to learn if parking was free or not free, and possible or not possible to park my car overnight.
"Expo park-n-ride?" the irritated Metrolink employee stormed. "That's handled by Culver City." As if I just didn't know anything. Well, true.
"Do you have their number?" I asked, relieved.
I was finally getting somewhere.
"No!" as if to say stop interferring with my day!
Naturally, I searched online for Culver City's City Hall and first called the Transportation Department. Wouldn't you? A woman answered the phone and when I told her I needed to park at Culver City's Expo park-n-ride in order to take Metrolink downtown to Amtrak, final destination Orange County, she said,
"Orange County Metro has their own systems and they handle their own areas."
"Why are we talking about Orange County's system?" I asked. "All I want is to park my car in Culver City overnig..."
"No, we don't have jurisdiction over Orange County's transportation," she said.
Exascerbated, again I went direct.
"Can I park my car overnight at Culver City's Expo park-n-ride."
"Park-n-ride is handled by Metro."
Getting nowhere but this blog post, I called the Administrator of Economic Development for Culver City, Todd Tipton, who was more helpful.
"Four hours and 23 minutes," Mr. Tipton declared after doing a google map/directions search using public transportation. "And the Expo park-n-ride is governed by Metrolink (Or did he say Metro?). We frequently get these calls because certain Metrolink employees continue to send parking questions to our office."
While Los Angeles and nearby communities may be difficult to navigate, Mr. Tipton said Culver City is creating a walkable community, wide sidewalks, benches, bicycle paths, and the new rail will help ease commuters' woes.
Well, some commuters. In the know.
I never did learn about the overnight parking, so exhausting was it to get the simple facts, but I did get a ride to Orange County and I suspect next time you don't want to get behind the wheel from Los Angeles to OC, you will find a friend too.
And the traffic jams shall continue.
The moral of the story: Get great leadership early on when decisions are made because Los Angeles has a billion dollar freeway expansion going on over-budget, over-time, and will save commuters one minute according to studies I read online, and no one, but no one in a position of power, considered as the crow flies from Los Angeles to Orange County is a mere 40 miles, or in my case, four hours and 23 minutes with public transportation.
If a woman like me had been in charge of CalTrans (California's transportation dept) we'd have built a monorail or a subway or a system like BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) only we'd have SCART (Southern California Rapid Transit) that goes direct from one jurisdication (LA) to the next (OC) and even the next (San Diego) because we're all in this traffic jam together. If we can create an extra freeway lane, surely, in Donna's plan instead we'd simply choose an elegant route for public transportation that prioritizes as the crow flies over the 405 Freeway traffic jams.
Meanwhile transportation departments should educate their employees as to the rules and regulations as they arise, especially when they have jurisdication, and even if they don't: Let's help each other make the air we breathe cleaner by helping people keep one more car off the road.
To see photos from party, click here. Well, first I'll get permission. Check back if curious.
Metro Bus - (323) 466-3876
Metrolink - (800) 371-5465
Amtrak - (800) 872-7245
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