Thursday, July 8, 2010
Walking In LA
Unless all your friends live next to you and your work is nearby, it is very difficult to get from point A to B in Los Angeles. This city is so big you could fit all the major cities within the city/county limits and still have room left over, according to I read.
So it is ironic that a city so obsessed with image and health and being green (or so it claims to be) has such poor public transportation, as well as being one that does not encouraging biking or walking. Weird because not only is that a healthier route - yes even factoring in the smog you breathe in - it is significantly safer and cheaper. Of course, it is a big distance to cover, and when you're addicted to using your car, it's very difficult to change your habits. You're almost better off not getting a car in the first place and using a bus, bike, subway or walking as it would prevent such a habit from forming. Taxis are far worse, they are far more expensive here than in NYC and equally as unhealthy.
I'm reevaluating my own car usage in this time as it is more expensive overall, though it is less per month if it were just gas. Cars have a whole other set of expenses not included in public transpo or free means of transport - parking, maintenance, insurance, cleaning, taxes and of course gas.
So cost effectively while it is better not to use a car, assuming you travel on a daily basis, and it is better in terms of health as well, the main trade off is time. If the average person walks a mile in 15 minutes, then just to get 4 miles can be an hour, which could otherwise take you under 10 minutes in a car. There are options though - planning ahead is a big one, which is the main reason people rush from A to B. Or you could carpool with friends and split the gas. Or you could even take a zipcar which is rented by the hour.
Some places offer free travel to home from their location (within reason) such as Ralph's which has free shuttles to help you lug everything home.
The added side effect of trimming the transportation expense down besides lower expenses include a greener planet and exercise. So this is a triple savings: you can save yourself a gym membership as you get healthier, you can save money from no wear and tear on the car, and you can save time and money on destressing activities like drinking or therapy since you'll be getting more exercize. Interesting how by using something meant to simplify life such as a car makes things more difficult in the long run.