Talking Headways Podcast: A Car Free Travel Guide to Los Angeles

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This week we’re joined by Nathan Landau, a transit planner in the Bay Area and author of the travel guide Car Free Los Angeles and Southern California. It’s got great places to eat, theater, live music, and even local book stores. But why write a travel guide that focuses on getting around without a car? And why is a northern California planner writing about the southern part of the state? Listen and find out.

I put the question to Nathan: If he was Anthony Bourdain and had 24 hours in LA, where would he go? The answer might surprise you — it certainly made me want to go take a look at places I hadn’t been before. We also delve into books and movies about LA that folks should read before a trip, and why it is that disaster movies seem to destroy the city over and over again.

So join us for a fun conversation about Los Angeles and learn a few places to go and how to get there on the bus or train.

1 thought on Talking Headways Podcast: A Car Free Travel Guide to Los Angeles

  1. Not everyone in the Bay Area is snobby about LA 😀 And if you are, you may need to rethink what you thought about Los Angeles:

    http://static01.nyt.com/images/2015/05/07/business/07LA3/07LA3-master675.jpg

    ^ Yup, this is LA (Red Line). If it looks kinda familiar it may be because LA Metro’s subways are often lazily passed off as New York’s in film.

    http://www.ahbe.com/img/Portfolio/Wilshire-Vermont-Station/110505-029-photoshopped.jpg

    ^ Yup, this is LA (Purple Line, Koreatown).

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_yoc1ccNVxQM/SFxaARVH2pI/AAAAAAAABWo/OGlNXqlkfIs/s400/P6200536.JPG

    ^ Clear signage and display

    LA Metro’s current map:

    http://www.commongroundcreative.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Metro.jpg

    Having lived in LA–twice–and visited countless other times, getting around LA carless is definitely doable. And even fun!

    It’s not perfect, but it’s also getting easier by the year. In my experience this is also borne out by the fact that several friends of mine who live in LA have in recent years opted to sell or mostly give up driving their cars (and these aren’t particularly “transitphile” people, either…just average people responding to the increasingly attractive and rapidly expanding non-driving options around them).

    And very soon, you’ll even be able to get to Santa Monica by rail:

    http://www.santamonicanext.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Expo-Line-Phase-II.png

    http://www.santamonicanext.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Screenshot-2015-12-09-at-12.40.45.png

    ^ test train in Santa Monica

    Last time I visited LA I stayed near Thai Town (between Los Feliz and central Hollywood), which is very accessible in terms of transit and walkability. Once the Expo Line extension to Santa Monica opens up this year I’ll definitely plan another carless trip to LA.

    http://www.buildexpo.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/photo-gallery.jpg

    ^ Expo Line

    http://www.urbanindy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/orange_line_m_johnson.jpg
    ^ Orange Line (Bus Rapid Transit) in the San Fernando Valley

    http://images.greatergreaterwashington.org/images/201210/181351-1.jpg

    ^ bikeway adjacent to Orange Line

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2454/3903729824_15322b3ae3.jpg

    ^ Gold Line in Pasadena

    Cool stuff to look forward to, as well, in both the near future:

    http://urbanist.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83454714d69e201310fffb62d970c-pi
    ^ some upcoming expansions

    http://media.metro.net/projects_studies/foothill_extension/images/CrenshawLAX.gif

    ^ Crenshaw Line, currently under construction

    http://www.livingstreetsla.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/4th-St-Bike-Blvd.png

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/–8fp84onJUE/TqzDkqQq3NI/AAAAAAAAAPA/pPsXH2UqL2M/s640/LAs4thStRenderingbyAaronKuehnSeenOnCiclaviaDotWordpressDotCom+2-BikeWalkLincolnPark.png

    ^ 4th St Bike Blvd

    And medium-term:

    http://www.bustler.net/images/news2/los_angeles_union_station_master_plan_by_unstudio_and_eek_02.jpg

    ^ Concept rendering of Union Station redo with HSR

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