LA has a bad rap for traffic, but it's not the worst in the country (it's the second worst!). Clearly, I can't pretend we don't have car congestion. But I can offer a little perspective on the matter. After living in four major cities, three of them with established and networked public transportation, I can say that traffic and delays are simply part of big city living even when you're not behind the wheel. So, I'm convinced Sarah Stewart Holland selected today's topic simply so she could shout, "I win!"
Maybe it's because I grew up knowing the transportation ways of LA, but I haven't found traffic all that bad. With that said, the key to avoiding road rage is taking surface streets, planning my routes to go against rush hour gridlock (I avoid the freeways at all costs for most hours of the day), and arriving early. Other than that, LA has a robust bus line, a metro, a commuter train system, and a new elevated light rail which is going to connect the east and west sides of the city. And, of course, we have LAX and four other airports in nearby suburbs. It's not a problem getting out of town (or visiting)!
What I miss the most is the ability to walk from place to place and neighborhood to neighborhood as I run errands. It not only felt good to exercise and get a little fresh air, but it was wonderful to soak up and be part of a community. You'd see your neighbors walking their dog, your friends at a coffee shop, the woman from yoga at the grocery store.... In LA, you don't as easily run into each other and strike up an organic conversation. Rather, you limit daily social interactions to your side of town because it's not a short trip from Silver Lake to Santa Monica (or you plan such a rendezvous way in advance).
At the very least, though, LA's transportation situation inspires patience, a good iPod playlist, and creative iterations of "I Spy."
Alben Barkley Regional Airport in the 1960s. I'd be lying if I said it looked very different today.
L.A. traffic...I win!
No, seriously. The traffic is L.A. is so famous infamous this almost doesn't seem fair. There is no traffic in Paducah. Zero. There's not much to get to, but to get there takes approximately seven minutes. In fact, one of my friends calls it a "Seven Minute Town."
It's awesome and I've realized it's also where I get my penchant for being late. When you grow up in a place where transit time is a very, very small part of any daily schedule, you don't learn to build it in. Therefore, I pack my schedule to the gills and often end up late when there is any type of delay (especially traffic!).
Now, the problem is there are two other words in the sequence above. Planes and trains. In this area, Paducah falls woefully short. The nearest major airport is over two hours away. Paducah does have a small airport, but it is no LAX. We also have a few bus lines, but there is no real mass transit to speak.
I miss mass transit in particular. Driving is lonely. I miss walking among people and being outside. I miss the freedom of the Metro - being able to sit and ride to the far reaches of the city. Of course, I DON'T miss waiting in the rain, track delays, and mean homeless people. I also think the perks of suburban transportation (aka my minivan) was really designed for parents. There is nothing child-friendly about mass transit.
Do I wish there was a closer airport? Sure. But if I have to trade Alben Barkely Regional Airport for the 405 at 5pm, I'll pass.