Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Militant's Friday Adventure, Part 2: Pedalling for Sustainability

The Militant joined around 200 other Angelenos on Friday night as they participated in Ride-Arc's educational and informative monthly themed ride throughout this city's streets. This time, the topic was "Emerging Sustainability in Los Angeles," a ride that pointed out various real-life examples of sustainable living that are taking place in this city.

The ride started at City Hall East, where tour guide Ron Millam (who apparently couldn't be heard by everyone in the crowd, even with the aid of a megaphone), co-founder of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition pointed out a monument with a seemingly prophetic quote by the late Mayor Tom Bradley which alluded to the city's influence and potential. The ride went down to the very green (and very expensive) Elleven South Lofts in Downtown's South Park district, turning heads in the post-concert crowds spilling out of the Nokia Theatre (where at one point one of the concertgoers yelled, "Get a car!" to which the Militant yelled back, "[The Militant's] already got one, fool!" The Militant could add more to that but he would be past the 110 by the time he was finished). Examples of street furniture at 7th and Witmer were pointed out, and the group stopped near the Levitt Pavilion Bandshell at MacArthur Park right by 6th Street ("We love it!") to do an extremely pitch- and rhythm- deficient rendition of Randy Newman's "I Love L.A." (hence the reference). The pack headed north and went up the track-cracked pavement of Bimini Place to stop by the Los Angeles Eco-Village commune and up to East Hollywood where they stopped at the Hel-Mel corner in front of Bicycle Kitchen and rode through the Los Angeles City College campus, which was where a couple of LEED-certified buildings were under construction.

Heading back towards Downtown via Sunset/Cesar Chavez, the ride went through Chinatown and the Los Angeles Historic State Park to the under-the-bridge headquarters of Farmlab (pictured left), finally stopping by the under-construction Fuller Lofts building in the industrial corridors of Lincoln Heights.

As Millam alluded to in the tour, Los Angeles has a ways to go before being a true sustainable city, but the potential is definitely there. It was also interesting to note the route, which was limited to a 5-mile radius area stretching from the (north) Eastside to the edge of Hollywood. Los Angeles lacks a center, you say? Newsflash: That's the center right there.

The future Los Angeles will no longer be the traditional "Westside-Eastside" dichotomy: It's going to be Downtown, Hollywood and everything in between (or immediately next to it). And everything outside of that won't really matter.


Miles said...

That is the truth. Although, I might add that anything that's outside of the center that is still approximate to transit might be considered a spoke off the center. At this point (and I was thinking of this this morning), anyone who moves into SoCal into a neighborhood that doesn't yet have good mass transit/doesn't want mass transit/or is actively fighting against it -- well, they get what they deserve.

On another note, now that Beverly Hills, WeHo and Santa Monica are so gungho about getting the subway and expo lines over to them, they should pony up more cash. It was these municipalities which actively fought the extension in the 80s and 90s out of ignorant racist/classist fear.

Anonymous said...

where at one point one of the concertgoers yelled, "Get a car!"

WOW! although i'd like to think this sort of mentality is very limited, it really speaks wonders about the general population. when will these idiots learn?! (and thats putting it litely) I'm a native Angeleno, but am living in Houston now, and wow! that quote generally sums up this entire i guess L.A. isn't that bad, thanks to people like you!! love the bike rides.

Militant Angeleno said...

anonymous: Actually the Militant saw a bike documentary at this summer's Bicycle Film Fest filmed in NYC and one of the motorists yelled the "GAC!" phrase at a cyclist. But that might be the difference in NYC, where motorists roll down the window to yell at you and here, where they honk...which the Militant sometimes might not be able to tell the difference between a "Move your slow bicycle ass off the road!" honk or a "Whoo! You bike riders are awesome!" honk.

As for Houston, isn't that a more bike-hostile city than Los Angeles? Actually, isn't the entire state of Texas, for that matter? The Militant has heard that not only do people driving pickup trucks (with caked-on mud on their sides) shoot at bicyclists with rifles, but it's legal and in fact encouraged by local law enforcement!

Actually the Militant was (half-) kidding there. After all, America's most famous cyclist, Lance Armstrong is a Texan. But he might just have more balls than everyone el...oh wait...sorry, singular, not plural...