Zocalo Public Square to take a year-long look at your commute

In partnership with Metro, Zocalo Public Square today is beginning a year-long series of short profiles of Metro riders. The profiles can be found here everyday: http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/mylacommute/

I think the first seven profiles posted this morning provide a nice glimpse into the many different people and the wide variety of places they go on the Metro system. Look at this first batch — of the seven, only two are commuting to downtown L.A.

It’s one thing to see a bunch of people on a bus or train, it’s another to know a little about them. It really humanizes the transit experience.

We’ll be sharing many of the photos on The Source each week and pointing readers to the Zocalo site.

Here’s the news release about the series from Metro and Zocalo:

Metro and Zócalo Public Square Join Forces to Create Innovative Program to Examine Our Commutes and Our Lives

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and Zócalo Public Square have joined forces to launch an innovative program to examine our commutes, our lives and our region today.

It’s a multi-faceted project that will include interviews and profiles of Metro riders (#myLA commute); bus tours into the history of Los Angeles; live, open-to-the-public events on issues connected with regional mobility and development and a series of syndicated stories about topics of national interest, including how mass transit connects communities.

Metro and Zócalo will seek to humanize an experience shared by millions of Angelenos every day: our commutes. We sit next to one another on mass transit; we pass by thousands of people each morning as we walk, drive or ride to work. Yet beyond complaining about traffic, we seldom talk with one another or think broadly about how our commutes affect our lives, change the way we see L.A. and provoke our curiosity and frustration, our sense of humor and of wonder.

The Metro/Zócalo partnership includes a pioneering fellowship program that directs college students and recent graduates to explore Southern California and seek out stories of how people live in and move around the region today.

Metro/Zócalo fellows will ride Metro bus and rail lines—and car and vanpools—collecting written, spoken and visual stories from fellow passengers to be published by Zócalo at http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/mylacommute/, on The Source on Metro’s website metro.net and on KCRW.com. Zócalo, Metro and KCRW will be sharing stories and photographs widely on social media with #myLAcommute.

The Metro/Zócalo project is part of Zócalo’s broader mission to help Angelenos tell their stories, and to create a deeper sense of place and attachment for all Southern Californians. It also represents Metro efforts to put a human face on the transit experience in hopes of fostering greater public awareness of the expanding transit system as well as vanpool, carpool and other alternatives to driving solo in the congested Los Angeles metropolitan area.

The project headquarters will be in a new Zócalo satellite office on Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights, across from the Metro Gold Line Station.

About Zócalo Public Square

Zócalo Public Square, a proud affiliate of Arizona State University, is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism. Zócalo partners with educational, cultural, and philanthropic institutions, as well as public agencies, to present free public events and conferences in cities across the U.S. and beyond, and to publish original daily journalism that is syndicated to more than 160 media outlets. Visit Zócalo at www.zocalopublicsquare.org and twitter.com/ThePublicSquare.

About Metro

Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that is really three companies in one: a major operator that transports about 1.5 million boarding passengers on an average weekday on a fleet of 2,000 clean air buses and six rail lines, a major construction agency that oversees many bus, rail, highway and other mobility related building projects, and it is the lead transportation planning and programming agency for Los Angeles County.  Overseeing one of the largest public works programs in America, Metro is, literally, changing the urban landscape of the Los Angeles region. Dozens of transit, highway and other mobility projects largely funded by Measure R are under construction or in the planning stages. These include five new rail lines, the I-5 widening and other major projects.

Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at metro.net, facebook.com/losangelesmetro, twitter.com/metrolosangeles and twitter.com/metroLAalerts and instagram.com/metrolosangeles.

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