In Her Shoes: a discussion about women and a car-free L.A.

Stana Katic moderates In Her Shoes, a panel discussion on women for a car free L.A. Photo: Steve Hymon/Metro.

Stana Katic moderates In Her Shoes, a panel discussion on women for a car free L.A. Photo: Steve Hymon/Metro.

Earlier this week, Metro and Alternative Travel Project (ATP) hosted a panel discussion about access, safety and opportunities for women seeking an alternative to car travel. The panel was moderated by actress, activist and ATP founder Stana Katic and comprised of: Metro DCEO Lindy Lee, LASD Transit Policing Division Chief Ronene Anda, LADOT Pedestrian Coordinator Margot Ocañas, Director of Community and Innovation for the Goldhirsch Foundation Shauna Nep and USC Professor James Haw.

Discussion highlights include:

  • More getting-around options means more independence — important when you are car free by choice, but even more important when you’re car free by necessity.
  • Safety is paramount. If women are going to leave their cars, they have to feel it’s safe to do so. This is an issue that is being tackled in multiple ways, from engineering — LADOT mentions the timing of crosswalk lights to allow pedestrians to walk first, increasing their visibility to motorists — to education (how to report issues while in transit) and technology (cameras on buses and trains, Metro’s Transit Watch app).
  • Better first mile/last mile solutions. More people would be willing to try alternative modes of transportation if it were easier to start and complete trips. Shauna Nep mentioned that car sharing options, such as Lyft and Uber, are increasingly popular ways to connect to public transportation.
  • Nep also mentioned that owning a car is becoming less important than having the latest tech. Millennials — myself included — prefer spending money on gadgets that connect us to our social feeds. And then transit gives us time to use those gadgets. So basically, tech > driving!?
  • Less cars on the road means better health for everyone because today’s cars — while significantly cleaner than in the past — still pollute. So even if it’s just one day a week, won’t you try going car free? Think of the children!
  • Stana Katic mentions that while naming rail lines after primary colors is fine, she personally hopes for a “Zebra Line” someday. #IStandwithStana

Want all the fun, nitty gritty details? Make sure to check back for the video recap, coming soon.

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14 replies

    • Regarding the pollution issue……electric cars!!!!! How about putting charging stations out there, like those who carry gas.
      Then you’d really have something to talk about

  1. The only problem I see is changing the mindset of women to not use personal transportation but instead use public or car sharing alternatives. LA is a big city and getting around is not easy, even in public transportation. Then you got the different schedules of the women, time tables as far as picking up kids and taking them to their various activities, last minute shopping for food for dinner and the list goes on. Logistics will not be easy. There will have to be a lot to consider to ensure safety (especially at night), promptness of the alternative transportation in getting people to their destinations on time, changing schedules at home in getting everyone out the door on time. The ideas are good, but the logistics will be a problem that will take a lot of thought and planning.

  2. Was this event invite-only? If so, that’s a shame. I’m a woman living in LA (not famous or anything like the Alternative Travel Project leader Ms. Katic who, frankly, I have a hard time believing really uses public transit often), a daily Metro rider (& follower of you on Twitter) and heard nothing about this. I would have loved the opportunity to come and participate rather than hear about it second-hand from you and others. Disappointing you didn’t advertise this better so more LA residents could attend.

    • Hi Stevie,

      This particular event was not marketed to the general public, but Metro has plans to work with ATP on future projects, so stay tuned!

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

    • That raises a question about who attended. These forums need to not just be geared to alleged opinion leaders but also with the general public. The Christopher Hawthorne Third LA forums and the Zocalo panels are good examples of getting people from all walks of life to listen to discussions about important issues.

  3. I like adjusting “the timing of crosswalk lights to allow pedestrians to walk first” but I think it’s also important to really limit the too-frequent use of “beg buttons” around the city, in particular adjacent to Metro stations. If there is any place SoCal where beg buttons should not be used, it’s in direct proximity to Metro stations, as pedestrians need to be given the highest priority in these areas.

    Heck, I think low-car-volume intersections should default to an all-directional red for cars and all-directional walk for pedestrians. When cars arrive at these intersections, sensors could then change the signals to hold the pedestrians while allowing cars through … truly giving pedestrians the right of way but still allowing cars to travel through.

    • Hi Katarzyna,

      Sorry for the wait, Alternative Travel Project is working on the video, and we will definitely share as soon as it’s ready!

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source