The Militant took a good healthy walk with his K-9 unit on Tuesday night along Vermont Avenue when he had a "Hello, what's this?" moment as he passed a Metro Bus stop near Los Angeles City College. The first thing he noticed was that the bus stop sign had a 7-inch long panel box attached to the side of it (Pictured left). Whatever could this be?
Upon closer inspection, the panel (pictured right) had two aluminum dome buttons, similar to those in the (M) station elevators, but larger, with one reading, "LIGHT" and the other labeled, "BUS SIGNAL." Immediately below the labels were their respective Braille interpretations.
Well, curiosity may have killed the cat, but it's kept the Militant alive. So he pressed the "LIGHT" button and a set of three high-intensity LED lights shone from a white plastic cap placed atop the bus stop sign. Afraid of the dark? Let there be light.
The second button was more cryptic. "BUS SIGNAL." Can one request a bus to come arrive at their command? Or does it trigger a random busy signal on one's cellphone?
So the Militant pressed it.
LO AND BEHOLD, OUT OF NOWHERE CAME A METRO LOCAL LINE 204 BUS!
Naw, just kidding. But what happened was that another high-intensity light, shining towards the north, pointed in the direction of an oncoming bus, commenced blinking, most likely to give bus drivers a, "YO! STOP HERE DUDE!" signal to people who are not able to merely wave to the bus to get it to stop (of course, as long as the bus doesn't arrive in the form of a large sardine can on wheels).
The Militant snapped a photo on his Militant cam, at the same time commanding his K-9 unit to keep still as the Militant held the camera. He did notice, thought, that the light stopped blinking after about two minutes.
The Militant wonders if Metro plans to install these interesting amenities on every bus sign in the county, a rather ambitious task, but remembered that along this stretch of Vermont, crosswalk buttons vibrate, stoplights tweet and make "cuckoo" sounds as it is in close proximity to the Braille Institute 's Los Angeles Sight Center a couple blocks down the street. Amenities like these are neat bells and whistles to able-bodied people, but are necessary apparatuses for people who are benefited by the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Militant Update: Oh Crap! Progress At Last!
Speaking of transit amenities along Vermont Avenue, the Militant has been closely following the progress of the JCDecaux Automatic Toilet at the (M) Vermont/Santa Monica station, which has apparently remained in the same unfinished state since the Militant first noticed it way back in June (when a n00b Militant used to write in the first person, that silly self-centered fool).
The Militant is pleased to report that the said toilet (pictured left, taken November 12) now has a complete concrete base and the construction fence has been removed - five months later. It is still not yet operational, but judging by its 5-month-latency timetable, pedestrians and Metro riders who want to take the #1 and/or #2 (and we're not talking about buses here) will probably get to do so by April. So can you hold it that long?