It was a late Friday afternoon when I decided to skip the typical Los Angeles traffic and stroll around the city.
Wandering around LA usually involved driving with my head out the window and constant finger points to various historical sites, however this adventure was definitely different since I was on foot.
I began my journey at the door frame of the Diesel showroom on Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood, where I was interning that morning. I decided to head north towards Melrose Ave and venture towards the well known shops and restaurants.
As I walked down the streets of West Hollywood, I noticed there were a lot of other people walking as well, which made me more comfortable and at ease.
Crossing the street, you had about 15 people walking with you and another 15 walking against you. I assumed many of them were tourist or sightseeing like myself, however I came to find out how wrong I was.
While I walked and crossed several streets, I noticed a woman who was traveling the same direction. I decided I would ask her about her thoughts on commuting around West Hollywood by foot and if the crowd of walkers were merely tourists.
At the next stoplight, I introduced myself and extended my arm for a handshake.
Her name was Stephanie Mendez, an Executive Assistant at Warner Music Group. She told me how most of her friends and coworkers walked during the day due to the annoyance of parking.
She was not sure if the community of walkers consisted of more tourists than locals, but was certain that majority of the people were walking with a destination in mind.
Mendez informed me how West Hollywood has a variety of transportation options, from public buses, rental bikes, and even low price taxi rides, like the popular app Uber, except here in LA it’s called Lyft.
According to the Lyft homepage, Lyft is a transportation network company out of San Francisco that offers people a door-to-door ride all across the Los Angeles area.
Thanking her for the much needed information, we parted ways.
I continued to walk down Melrose Ave and made a left heading back towards Sunset Blvd. As I walked back towards Sunset, I noticed how much easier it was for me to cross the street without getting threatened by a speeding car.
All the main roads had new brightly neon crossing walks with big flashing lights that would go off whenever a pedestrian crossed the street. It felt safer and way more efficient than having to run across scared for your life. Since cars seem to always try to squeeze themselves between walkers.
I also witnessed many people on bicycles who were actually using bike lanes. From my own experience, I always felt safer riding my bicycle on the sidewalks. However, in West Hollywood you were banned from riding on sidewalks and strongly advised to use the newly widened bike lanes.
All along the streets of West Hollywood there were posted signs stating the illegal use of bicycling on pedestrian sidewalks.
As I inched my way back to the start of my journey, I ran into a fellow colleague of mine, who I knew always walked about West Hollywood to get from point A to point B on his daily routines.
Giovanni Carlile, Account Executive at Diesel, used the LA bus system, as well as the walking routes of West Hollywood on a daily basis.
“I never owned a car in New York and I didn’t want to have to buy one now,” said Carlile. “I enjoy the bus and the exercise I get from walking. In New York, I can get anywhere in 30mins. Here, I get anywhere in like a hour.”
According to Walk Score, West Hollywood was named the most walkable city in California and number four nationwide, even before New York. They figured this quota out by calculating the distance to amenities in categories such as grocery stores, restaurants, shopping, and banks.
“Weho [West Hollywood] offers free bus systems that help me get around. And anything in between I walk to,” said Carlile.
On the city of West Hollywood homepage, you can find details about each route schedules and operation times.
My journey through “Walkable Weho” made me realize that the greater Los Angeles area can someday be as efficient and productive with their transportation systems as West Hollywood has transformed to be.
The Heart of LA that is stretched to about 1.9 miles is scattered with walking locals, as well as tourists, seeking to be devoured into the fast pace life of the greater Los Angeles area.