on walking and cities …

I've been back in LA for less than a week, but this morning I realized that I've already returned to my wacked out LA ways. 

Something about LA makes me HATE WALKING!  While in NYC, I probably walked 7 or 8 miles a day, but this morning I got up and got in my car to go to the gym.  Now, that in itself isn't weird, but for the fact that I live 3 blocks from the gym.  I also got irritated because the first floor of the parking lot was full and I had to go upstairs.  It upset me to have to go down a flight of stairs to get into the gym, then up one flight to get back to my car.  WTF???  I spent 30 minutes doing cardio on a freaking eliptical training machine and then 30 minutes working out my legs … What's another two flights of stairs??? 

The thing that's worse is that I can't figure out exactly why I hate walking in LA so much.  Certainly, part of the issue is that LA isn't really a "city" in the same way that NYC is … When I walk in NYC, I tend not to realize how much I'm walking because there are always businesses and stores to look at along the way.  I don't get why people in LA and in Honolulu are so afraid of "mixed use" development with businesses on the first floor and apartments or condos above, but they don't seem to like it.  Why???  Today, we call it "mixed use," but it really just used to be the way that cities were built.  When you think about it, 8 million people living in NYC probably consume much less of the Earth's resources than 8 million Angelenos.  By living closer together in smaller places and using mass transit they don't have to drive and they don't use up as many resources building their McMansions (Good friends of mine are a childless couple who live in a 5 bedroom, two and a half bathroom house … Why???).

A really nice by product of riding the subway is that EVERYBODY does it, so it isn't nearly so easy to ignore the fact that there are people living amongst us that are poor, homeless, mentally ill, immigrants, etc.  NYC is a much more integrated than LA is both ethnically and economically. 

Believe me, I'm no live green fanatic, but I just like living in a city … A real city and I don't understand why other people are so resistant to that …  Also don't take me for an LA basher.  This city has been really good to me and I'm finally (after seven years) beginning to consider it "home."  I just think that it is a good thing that could be better …


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7 thoughts on “on walking and cities …

  1. I know exactly what you mean. That is sort of one of the reasons I love San Francisco. It's a city and I can walk it. I try to do it in LA and it's just not the same….
    Welcome back to LA and your wacky ways 🙂

  2. i know what you mean! i was in nyc two months ago and i walked miles each day and didn't really complain about it. but having to park down the street to where you want to go, and actually have to walk a block or two in LA seems like such a hassle. if only you can drive up to everything!

  3. A friend of mine owns an apartment in Manhattan and we've gone there several times. We walk so much there where as here in Atlanta only from our car to the door. I'm from LA too and I don't feel comfortable walking there either. I agree that walking is more done in SF but Oh the hills!

  4. Well I dont know too much about L.A. and New York…because I live in a little country town in Alabama…lol. But I will say that you do better than me at the gym. I pay 50 bucks a month, it's one block away, and I never go and I really should.

  5. I think needing to drive everywhere is a byproduct of Suburbia. LA just happens to be a city that's really a collection of suburbs (I grew up in the Valley, myself) with a downtown area that just sprawls. These days, nothing is in walking distance from my house, which I think is a shame, but as I chose to build my house in the community where we live, it's largely my fault.
    My sister used to live in Manhattan, and I used to love walking everywhere when I'd visit. It was great, too, when she had the kids, because I could push the stroller everywhere and get some (relatively) fresh air. Now they live out in the 'burbs, too, and it's just a different feel.
    My mom really likes the new subways in LA – I still haven't ridden them, but she swears by them. (My parents also happen to live near a station.) She says the BART in SF is much better, of course, but the LA subways meet her needs pretty well. The thing about mass transit in LA, though, is that people are so tied to their cars it's not likely to ever catch on. That car fanaticism is something you don't often see in New York or even San Francisco.
    But welcome home, all the same. [sigh] And I still wish I were there! (Well, except for the housing prices and property taxes, anyway.)

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