Days like this make me love LA more than I usually do. I ended Wednesday night on a great note and got fired up about being an LA native. This is typical of me but I can't help having so much pride for the city that raised me, especially when I meet people who feel the same way.
GOOD Magazine and Libros Schmibros hosted a meetup in a Boyle Heights bookstore to attract residents from different LA neighborhoods to chat about local issues. There was no agenda or format. One person poses a question and the discussion grows from there. Adults of all ages filled the room who were mostly bicycle riders, bus riders or both. There were engineers, organizers for the plastic bag ban, architects, fine artists, graphic designers, writers, healthcare workers, entrepreneurs, students and folks from different professional backgrounds sharing why they love being an Angeleno, why they hesitate to admit being LA natives, the highs and lows of the city and what they would like to contribute to make it greater.
It's no surprise that the topic that came up the most is transportation. It could have easily turned into a ranting session about the shortcomings of Metro or why LA public transportation is just not as good as other major cities, but it didn't. It became a productive discussion about the importance of transportation and what needs to be done by different levels of government, transportation authority and the riders themselves.
The room supported the idea that attitudes must change and ridership needs to grow to receive the much needed funding to improve transportation solutions. This is a general suggestion by the group, but I welcome you to think about why you ride or don't ride public transit and what changes you would like to see and how you think it will get done.
This event is just the beginning of many more discussions to come and was designed to encourage locals like myself to create smaller meetups to go more in depth about other topics that may not have been covered today and to create coalitions of all kinds to raise awareness and to take action to make something happen.
Want to start an Echo Park Patch meetup? Let's do this.