I used to dream about living in a big city and being near a subway. In high school, I thought I would end up in New York City and live this out.
But now, I live in Los Angeles, and I do live near a subway: the Metro Purple Line. It’s one of those milestones you set for yourself in life, that you only realize you achieved after you did it. It’s exciting to be able to walk a short distance (about five minutes) and travel so broadly around the city and the state.
The Metro Purple Line connects directly to LA’s Union Station, as well as to the Red Line, which leads out to Hollywood, the Blue Line, which heads out to Long Beach, and the Expo Line, which goes to Santa Monica. And in about four years, when the project is finished, the Purple Line will be extended to UCLA in Westwood.
The subway is something that’s fun to bring up in conversation, because one of the most common responses that I get is, “I didn’t know Los Angeles had a subway.” And it’s really surprising how many people who in live in Los Angeles have never taken it.
Bit of History
Since 1990, Los Angeles has been building light and heavy rail, and the total rail length is now 105 miles, which is larger that the BART system in Northern California. And Measure M was just passed on election day, which will explore adding dozens more miles of rail in Los Angeles over the next 40 years.
From the 1920’s to the 1950’s, Los Angeles had one of the largest systems of mass transits in America, operated by the Pacific Electric and Los Angeles Railway companies. These companies were dismantled as highways and freeways came to dominate the landscape of post-war America.
The dismantling of the railways is one of the subjects in the outstanding 1988 film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Within Five Blocks is a blog series in which I post about the diversity of places, people, and things that are found on streets and intersections within five blocks of my apartment in each direction.