Looking for an L.A. neighborhood where you can live without a car? The blog NoHoFoSho – which dubs itself “the Valley’s urban lifestyle blog” – wants to convince you that its namesake, North Hollywood, is L.A.’s premiere transit hood.
We’ve always been big NoHo boosters here at The Source. The San Fernando Valley nabe is a veritable transit hub with the Red Line and Orange Line offering Valley residents high quality rapid transit connections to the rest of L.A.
Beyond the transit services offered, the NoHo neighborhood itself defies the Valley’s suburban stereotype with mixed-use walkable streets that give residents easy access to great restaurants, bars, shopping and arts. There’s so much going on in transit oriented NoHo that we even made a guide to all of the Destination Discounts offered to Metro patrons by local businesses.
NoHoFoSho goes one step further with their multi-part series entitled Where to Go From NoHo: The Carfree Life (Part 1 and Part 2). Recently carfree writer J. Ryan has compiled a long list of L.A. neighborhoods and attractions that can be reached from North Hollywood without ever stepping foot into a private automobile. The destinations are extensive and varied, from the obvious (downtown L.A. in 30 minutes on the Red Line) to the surprising (Sunset Strip in 25 minutes).
Most destinations listed are reachable in under an hour, many in 30 minutes or less. Car driving times are provided as a point of comparison. It’s a great guide, and a compelling case for North Hollywood as the neighborhood of choice for Angelenos wanting to live without so much car in their lives.
Categories: Go Metro, Metro Lifestyle
While NoHo enjoys its connection to many Metro destinations that can be easily reached in less than an hour, other neighborhoods in L.A. are not as fortunate. Given the vast geographic area and congested freeways of L.A. and its surrounding counties, could you give us your take on what can be done to encourage more people, not just NoHo residents, to take public transit? In my personal experience, the decision to take public transit is based not only on the availability of Metro service, but also on the accessibility to Metro stations in suburban neighborhoods. For example, if there are no walkable streets near the Metro station, or if it is difficult to park or take connecting busses near the station, people will be less likely to use the public transit. It has been shown in a transit-oriented development study of the San Francisco Bay Area that residents living within a half mile of the rail stops are “four times as likely to use transit, three times as likely to bike, and two times as likely to walk” as those who live at greater distances to the stations. Therefore, in addition to the expansion of Metro rail services in L.A., the development of transit friendly communities, defined as intensively developed areas within a half mile of rail stations, could also be important to achieving our goals of increasing public transit ridership and reducing carbon footprint. From the picture in your post, the NoHo station seems to be surrounded by parking lots. Is there any commercial, residential, or civic development within walking distance of the NoHo station? I really enjoy reading your blog and thank you again for sharing with us your insightful views on what’s happening at Metro.
Thanks for the thoughtful feedback. I think you’re right on the money regarding your point about safe walking paths being critical to encourage transit use.
As for NoHo destinations, I’m not an expert but I believe there are a number of good restaurants and theaters within a short walk from the Metro station. Pitfire Pizza is a personal favorite.
Contributor, The Source
I have been interested in learning how to get around L.A. without a car since moving here four years ago, so it is really refreshing to read your post, which describes NoHo as the transit hub of San Fernando Valley, and the premier “transit hood” in L.A. As we all know, the public transit system in L.A. and the stations and hubs that support it are widely viewed by Angelenos as inadequate, restrictive, and inefficient. Consequently, going car-free in this city is nearly impossible. Even tourists who visit Los Angeles find it difficult to get around without a car. As Jenifer Duncan, who never owned a car in U.K., said in her article Los Angeles without a car, “Every travel guide warned me that Los Angeles without a car was near to impossible. One book even went so far as to say that a car was sometimes necessary to cross the street.” After sitting next to someone who vomited on the bus, which I had also personally shared a similar experience, and finding many stores and tourist attractions to be miles apart, some “in a no man’s land beside a freeway,” Duncan concluded that “it is possible to survive in L.A. without a car, but it is certainly not desirable.” In your experience of living in L.A. without a car, do you find any aspect of the transit system that is lacking and needs to be improved? Hopefully with the passage of Measure R in 2008, and funding for 12 key mass transit projects in mayor Villariogosa’s 30/10 initiative, the dream of living car-free in L.A. may be realized in the near future.