I live in a district that most people can’t believe exists: a walkable neighborhood in LA. Yes, our Walk Score is up in the nineties, and we deserve it. Though we suffer all the ills of traffic–the speeding, the congestion, the smoke, and the noise–we can opt out of it. Many of us walk or bicycle or both for most of our local chores, and we have a choice of bus lines, including a Rapid line; the subway will be here as well within a few short years. Shops, offices, and restaurants abound, as well as museums and even a coworking establishment, and the architecture is LA Eclectic, ranging from classic Art Deco to modernist towers, with lots of faux-Tudor and faux-Spanish apartments in between often boasting lush garden courts. The Miracle Mile is more of a miracle now, as Los Angeles transitions to a car-lite future, than it was when it was first named ages ago.
Just this morning, I strolled three blocks to te local Goodwill to pick up some inexpensive shirts for the coming summer heat. From there I walked three blocks north to the local Trader Joe’s for wine and chocolate. On the way back I encountered Josh Paget, director of the New Urbanism Film Festival. He lives in the neighborhood too, and was ambling along dangling a shopping bag from his hand. I do some PR work for the Festival (which is also in the neighborhood, though a mighty six blocks away), so we stopped to talk about current business. Our cell phones had stayed in our pockets, and this meeting was completely unplanned.
That done, we each headed home…though truth to tell, we both felt quite at home on that streetcorner as behind our doors. In effect, I have the biggest apartment in te world, with nearly a mile square of floor space. Our rents are low for LA, and we don’t shovel all our money at the hungry beast in the garage….
A walkable neighborhood is more than just convenient–it’s a low-cost luxury open to all.