I was pleased, along with my fellow transit riders, to see that the People Mover at LAX Is nearing completion.
The People Mover is an elevated electric tram that will connect passengers on the Crenshaw Line, (also nearing completion) with the airport. It is the most significant upgrade in mobility for the city since 1993 when Mayor Tom Bradley presided over the opening of the Red Line station at MacArthur Park. That station, and what it connected to, is the reason that Langer’s Deli, which in spite of its excellent food had seen declining patronage for years, is still around today. Other places with excellent food but which were not near Metro stations, such as the Pacific Dining Car, unfortunately are not.
Before that, for positive rail news, you’d have to go back to 1876, when L.A. got connected via the intercontinental railway to the rest of the country. That first train depot is where the Los Angeles State Historic Park sits today.
Transit riders, and anyone else who may have shared the dream over the years, can now celebrate this nearing-completion of the People Mover. It will connect us to what we’ve been longing for -- to flight, to world travel and, yes, to our dreams.
Tourists from other parts of the world, who are used to depending on urban rail to get around, will now fly in, jump on the People Mover and into the still growing network of trains covering L.A.
The will see a different L.A., one that includes Hollywood, Disneyland and the beach. Even Beverly Hills. But they will get there without the use of the car. And they will do so in such numbers and in such a fashion as to change the city in ways that will start slow but build over time. These changes will be huge for the city overall. They may not affect those citizens who choose to remain in their cars, but it will be huge for everyone else.
Will it help traffic? Probably not. In spite of what anyone tells you. Will it help pollution? No, not that either. At least not until we require everyone to drive an electric car and polluting industries are shut down. Not gonna happen. But at least it gives us another option.
Such is life in Los Angeles. It is why we pass transit bills. And it is why we plant vineyards in the city. Not necessarily to make wine, though that too. But to honor our past, the history of this place we call L.A. With our hands in the dirt, it is how we build a greener, better connected and more livable city.