Why You Don’t Ride: David, San Fernando Valley

Why You Ride (or Don’t Ride)‘ is a series where you, our faithful readers, share your transportation routines in L.A. and your thoughts on how to make things better – read more about the concept here.

Want to share your story? Take the survey here if you ride transit regularly, or take this one if you don’t ride.

Who You Are:

Name: David
Occupation: Television Post Production
Location: San Fernando Valley

Your Transportation Routine:

How often do you drive and for what purpose?

I drive Monday thru Friday for commuting to work.  On weekends I try not to drive my car, using my bicycle for as many local errands as possible.

Where are you typically traveling from and going to?

From Encino/Tarzana to Century City.

How many vehicles do you or your family have?


How long does your commute typically take?

1 hour each way for 18 miles traveled.

Briefly, how would you describe your typical driving experience? Love it, deal with it, or hate it?

I hate it. There has to be a better way.

On average, what do you spend each month on transportation?

$100 – $300

Do you use any forms of alternative transportation?

I have ridden my bike to work.  I have taken the LADOT Commuter Express.  I have taken the 761.  Also combinations of those three.  I have also carpooled with a co-worker.

Why do you drive?

My child’s school is on the way to work, so it makes more sense to drop off on the way to work than having my wife make a separate trip to school.

Your Perspective:

Why can’t/don’t you take transit?

I feel like I have tried all the alternatives available from the San Fernando Valley to the Westside.  For cost (I drive a car that gets 45 mpg and is paid for) and convenience nothing beats driving.

Have you tried to use transit before? What was your experience?

Yes.  I think the LADOT Commuter Express is a great option with the exception of one thing.  It should have one stop in Westwood on Wilshire and skip all the winding through Westwood Village and UCLA.  I walk from work to the Commuter Express just as far as someone at UCLA would walk to Wilshire.  It is my observation that the majority of the riders on the bus I take don’t originate from UCLA.  If I ran the world, I would have the Commuter Express stop once at Wilshire in Westwood and continue on down to Santa Monica and Sepulveda Blvd.  I know LADOT Commuter Express is not run by MTA, but your question was regarding “transit”.  I would have the same comment about the 761.  It winds through UCLA too much and doesn’t connect to Santa Monica Blvd.  For me riding my bike is an option, but the officially designated bike route from the SFV to the Westside is Sepulveda.  The bike lane starts and stops, appears and disappears…this makes riding through the Sepulveda Pass on a bike extremely dangerous.  Also there is never any enforcement of the speed limits there, adding to the danger to cyclists.

What could local transit agencies do to encourage you to take transit more often?

See my long-winded answer above.  Again if I was in charge, I would establish some kind of Express service originating at the Orange Line at Sepulveda or Van Nuys Blvds., stopping at Ventura Blvd. then running via the freeway carpool lane to Westwood and then Santa Monica Blvds and eventually to the Expo Line.  This of course is for my own selfish needs!

How do you feel about buses?

I’d ride a bus if there was a route that served my needs.

How do you feel about rail?

I’d ride rail if it there was a route that served my needs.

Given limited funds, how would you address L.A.’s transportation issues?

I think the only successful way to address this is to take politics out of the equation.  I know – fat chance of the ever happening!   The resources have been Downtown L.A. centric and that just doesn’t make sense.  There are major job centers that are left out.  Century City, Warner Center, Burbank, and Santa Monica to name a few.   Some of those are being slowly addressed and that is good.  This is a tough question, but I think you have to connect the major job centers with dedicated, traffic-separated lines and then work your way out and away from those job centers, making them as pedestrian and cycle friendly as possible.  I think that is the best way to get the private automobile off the road.

I drive four or five days a week to downtown Los Angeles for work, typically arriving by 7am and leaving at about 4pm. Sometimes I run an errand after work; however, only about once a week. An example is to pick-up dry-cleaning on the way home. I reserve my weekends for grocery shopping or for trips to places like Home Depot or Best Buy.

2 replies

  1. My name is Luisa And ride the red line everyday monday throught friday to North Hollywood because I work over there.
    Also I take the bus number 183 going to burbank or glendale every day. During the weekend I also travel on metro and different buses in hollywood. I used public transportation the 7 days a week.Thank you for the services of the red line and also the services of the buses.

  2. David is right on: His last statement on how to address LA’s transportation issues could be used as the mission statement for LA Transportation Planning efforts. Express routes, regardless if bus or rail, must be aggressively addressed, or else we shall lose whatever gains have been made to date. A major focus on Transportation Planning must be embraced region-wide, or else we shall never recover.