Misadventures in Azusa

18 thoughts on “Misadventures in Azusa”

  1. (Sorry for the late note; I just noticed this wonderful blog.)

    Long ago when I lived in Monrovia which is close to Azusa, I attended a “planning” (that is, actually a “marketing”) meeting concerning the Monrovia station on the upcoming Gold Line. I observed that restricting access to two north-south dead-end traffic-funnel driveways, one of which dead-ends again in less than a block in the other direction into the embankment for the freeway, wasn’t particularly pedestrian- or cyclist-friendly. That observation was not well-received by the gathered officials and architects. I understood the officials’ point of view; they all live way up the hill north of Foothill Blvd. and didn’t plan on using the station themselves. Actually it’s good that the line runs south of the freeway closer to most of its passengers.

    Looking at the pictures available online, it’s clear that my fears of difficult bike negotiation have come to pass. Steel fences all around the platform, forcing the entire train’s worth of passengers either into the parking garage or down a long narrow ramp to access the street. It does appear that there is a crossing inside the station boundary, so it’s better than others I’ve seen where you have to leave the station and return to switch from east- to west-bound (or alternatively, to get to where you parked).

    1. The configuration of the train station is the least troublesome aspect of Azusa. For the people who enjoy life there I say, Mazel Tov. Could I live there myself? I’d put a gun in my mouth first.

      1. I don’t live there anymore, and the traffic in LA is awful, but actually living in these northern foothill communities isn’t so bad. One must simply set up one’s life to avoid e.g. regular trips to Irvine. There are plenty of acceptable jobs in these communities, so that really is possible. Other parts of LA would be worse in that one would have to commute long distances.

        1. So you’ve touched on the logic of most suburban communities. “I like my house. I like my job. Money is pretty good. Costco is right down the hill. The schools are okay. I found a church I like. And if I’m smart about when and how I drive traffic is mostly bearable.”

          It’s a collection of individual isolated elements that are more or less pleasant. The thing that’s completely absent – and the thing I really need to be happy – is the stuff in between all the separate parts. That’s the stuff that doesn’t exist in places like Azusa.

  2. I think I told you this story, but it’s apropos. I drove to LA last spring to check out a college with my youngest daughter. Stayed at an Airbnb in the Eagle Rock neighborhood full of modest bungalows much as you’ve pictured above. When I arrived, I asked the very nice young woman who was my host if there was a grocery store within walking distance. She scrunched up her nose and said she thought the Trader Joe’s was a mile away, but of course that was too far to walk. I, however, thought a mile walk sounded great, especially after such a long car ride.

    I checked google maps and discovered the Trader Joes (along with several other stores on as close to a neighborhood shopping street as LA gets) was only half a mile way. Perfect! But then I noted there was a freeway between me and the store (so many freeways in LA) and I had an option of only one street to take to go underneath it. I began to be a little concerned that I might have to pass through a homeless encampment under the freeway, so I switched to earth mode to see what the neighborhood was like. I saw that this street (the one I would spend the majority of my walking time on) was nicer than the one I was staying in, with larger yards and swimming pools. Even those properties near the freeway had pools. I thought the odds of a homeless encampment right next door to them low. But then I noticed that this street had something peculiar. Not a single foot of sidewalk. If I wanted to walk the half mile to the grocery store, I would be walking a down a 30 mph busy road along a narrow shoulder.

    I gave up and drove. I was right about there being no homeless encampment. I was also right about walking that road being a miserable experience. I expect the entire neighborhood I was staying in of maybe 5000 people, even though only a ten minute walk away (or a five minute bike ride) from their shopping needs, also always drove.

  3. >A few years ago a friend and I needed to drive a mile on Santa Monica Blvd during rush hour. It too 15 minutes to get a quarter of a mile. We parked and walked.

    This is the point. why drive a mile anyway?

  4. What you’ve described sounds like the perfect location for implementing fast and frequent heavy rail, not just little two carriage trams. LA is getting as dense as European cities, without the infrastructure to handle the new levels of density. It’s time for Angelinos to start saying bye to the automotible, regardless how ingrained in the culture it is. Adapt or die, as they say.

  5. Sorry you had such a rough time. Traffic in greater LA is bad, but only very occasionally that bad. I’ve had a commute like that in the past, which I usually avoided by flexible scheduling, but when I couldn’t avoid it I’d make it in about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. If you don’t drive long distances between 6:30 and 9:30 in the morning and between 4 and 7 in the afternoon you’re usually OK.

  6. The freeway traffic on weekends can be worse than weekday traffic. And it seems to last all day. I always wonder where everyone is going. Certainly nowhere as important or interesting as where I’m going…

    The Expo Line has provided a great east/west alternative to the 10 freeway for those travelling between Santa Monica and downtown LA, but that has a very localized impact. It doesn’t affect regional freeway traffic. I really do wonder where all those people are going. Millions of people on their way to the beach, shopping, soccer tournaments, birthday parties, museums, movies, etc. Carmageddon proved we could figure out other things to occupy our time on the weekend, but what do we miss out on if we just stay in our boring neighborhood all the time?

  7. We lived in LA for years, moved out in 2008. Visited in 2011, was at Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and needed to get to Washington and Fairfax at 5 PM. I thought, no problem, I’ll use my sneaky shortcuts. They were parking lots…

    A client was back in Santa Monica this month on business, said she could not believe how insanely congested it was. That’s what happens in an already crowded area when, over the course of a decade, way too many pricey condos and apartments are built, replacing lower-density buildings with higher density.

    A few years ago a friend and I needed to drive a mile on Santa Monica Blvd during rush hour. It too 15 minutes to get a quarter of a mile. We parked and walked.

    Van Nuys curse, yes. My wife had a client in Beverly Hills. 405 is the primary route (canyon routes are bad too.) It was 17 miles and always was 1-2 hours each way. And that was in 2007.

    Here in Vegas they don’t know what traffic is.

    1. “That’s what happens in an already crowded area when, over the course of a decade, way too many pricey condos and apartments are built, replacing lower-density buildings with higher density. ”

      So…absent a moratorium on new employment uses, Trump level immigration controls, and some kind of new Chinese-style internal passport system, how are you going to accommodate the people who, somehow and despite it all, want to move to LA? Spread the low density all the way to Fresno?

    2. Density reduces congestion by reducing trip distances.ma

      >A few years ago a friend and I needed to drive a mile on Santa Monica Blvd during rush hour. It too 15 minutes to get a quarter of a mile. We parked and walked.

      This is the point. why drive a mile anyway?

      1. Because AMERICA HELL YEAH! Are you some kind of communist? WALK? Even during De Toqueville’s era, he was shocked at how Americans would ride (horses back then of course) every distance rather than walk. LOL 🙂

  8. The new Metro line in Azusa is relatively new, barely 4 months in operation. Even in the best of worlds, it takes far longer than that for commercial activity, travel patterns and building stock to react to new infrastructure. Metro has seen quite healthy ridership in its other lines.

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