LA Transpo Alert: Do NOT Double Down on … Stupid

ALPERN AT LARGE-Much that is wrong in life cannot be helped. When others in power do stupid things, and promote stupid ideas, there is little that the rest of us can do but protest.  But we don't need to double down on stupid. 

As previously stated in my last CityWatch article, the Mar Vista Community Council (photo above), which is quite divided on the benefits versus the risks/problems of the Road Diet (to say nothing of how it was implemented), is quite unanimous in its desire to get the facts and data about the goods, bads, and uglies of the Road Diet.

The Mar Vista Community Council is also unanimous on safer/high-visibility crosswalks and is willing to spend $10,000 or more out of its annual budget for seed/matching money for the CD11 and CD5 offices it works with for safety and related transportation/infrastructure improvements. 

Because all of the MVCC, and all of the community, wants safe roads and sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians and bicyclists.

So when Garcetti hems and haws about Vision Zero, and the community either rolls its collective eyes or gets angry, it's NOT because the community has a problem with pedestrian safety, it's because Vision Zero may not be as safe or effective for what it claims to be.

Pedestrian safety, yes, but doubling down on stupid ... no!

To reiterate ... public safety, and pedestrian safety ... YES.  Stupid, unproven, poorly-implemented and possibly ineffective (if not downright worsening of the problem) ideas ... NO.

Ditto with the a very, very stupid decision of a judge who deemed that a misbehaving and unruly passenger did not merit an arrest has just caused Metro ridership to plummet even more.

As someone who's spent a great deal of time and personal resources to promote Metro Rail expansion and ridership during my life, it's rather horrifying to see that a young lady who chose to act like a damned idiot and got herself arrested because she fought to keep her feet on a seat when a police officer merely did her job and asked her to remove them, will probably profit from her unruly behavior and pathetic example for other riders.

Of course, other judges have legally thrashed and shredded the law on the "rights" of RV/Campers to park illegally and impede mobility and safety on our sidewalks and roads, as well as supported the "rights" of multiple families and inappropriate homeowners to turn single-family homes into hotels and hurt our infrastructure, so this judge's idiocy isn't anything new.

The Metro Board of Directors now has an opportunity to provide signage and encourage a better Code of Conduct for its riders, so that this incident will never happen again, but will probably choose the cowardly and politically correct alternative to make it clear to riders who want safe and appropriate behavior that Metro Rail is NOT a very likely place for that to occur (Uber/Lyft, anyone?).

Asking the law to be adhered to, and not making those following the law to be merely chumps who will be mistreated, is just common sense.  But as so many have noted, common sense is hardly anything common...and particularly true nowadays.

Discouraging mobility and decency is something that transportation and community activists have fought for over the past several decades but empowering the lawbreakers and demeaning the law-followers is becoming one of LA's greatest past-times.

If not THIS Mayor, or THIS City Council (perhaps with the exception of Councilmember David Ryu), it is hoped that Doubling Down on Stupid will not be the rule for the future ... or at least after the next series of political elections in the City of the Angels.

(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at [email protected]. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)