Mar. 21st, 2014

mangosteen: (allwork)
I've been flying quite a bit for business, lately. By the end of this month, I'll have 15,000 butt-in-seat miles from the beginning of 2014. It's a truism that one conference room looks very like another*, but every now and then I get free time and get to explore a bit.

Earlier this week I was in Los Angeles, and I want to give a megaphonic shout-out to [ profile] pseydtonne for giving me the urban-planning nerd's tour of West Hollywood and the surrounding area.

Note: I have a thing for statutory demarcation points. Kilometre Zero in France, IND chaining zero**, etc. This trip I added the geographic center of the Studio Zone (aka the "Thirty Mile Zone" or "TMZ")***. I'm open to more suggestions.

As we were driving around, it became pretty clear that LA is finally catching onto the idea of needing public transit, and unlike other cities, it has a lot of land to build on due to current lower density, and enough leeway in rights-of-way to route around transit-blockers such as Beverly Hills****. The "subway to the sea", "streetcar to the sea", and expo line extension projects are all really interesting, because a new generation doesn't actually want to be driving as much. They have built it, and people are using it. The only way that a transit line direct to LAX ever happens is over the car rental and taxi lobbies' collective dead body, but it's a good start.

Another interesting point is how there's a whole bunch of buildings/areas that don't look terribly iconic, but look very familiar for one reason or another, typically because they were used in a movie set for something. When you live and work in the dream factory, you make dreams out of the the stuff you have around the house.

Realization: I've always thought of LA as "25 suburbs in search of a city", but it's actually much more accurate to say that it's "six or seven crystallization nuclei that all ran into each other" (h/t [ profile] palmwiz)

In short, I really wouldn't mind going back and exploring more... and this incredibly biased kid who was born in Queens is slowly beginning to understand how people can live in LA.

* When your head's down over your pieces, brother.
** Rather hard to stand at that one.
*** Yes, the middle of the intersection. Only for a moment, and it was late.
**** Which now joins the club that counts as members Arlington (MA), Georgetown (VA), Cobb County (GA), San Mateo County (CA), and Chris Christie (NJ).


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Elias K. Mangosteen

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