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Transit Nerds Successfully Lobby L.A. Times Reporter To Take Metro

Metro Red Line train (Photo by Gary Kavanagh via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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You did it, transit nerds. You successfully shamed a man who quit his bike for his car and turned him into one of you.

Ben Poston, a reporter at the Los Angeles Times and Milwaukee transplant, wrote a first-person column proclaiming that biking in L.A. could be done. A year later he had changed his tune: he wrote another column about how a biking collision scared him off of his bike and into his car.

Poston faced a lot of blowback from his column. Some of it from hard-core bikers seemed misplaced: they shamed him for worrying about his bodily safety and said he'd get used to being hit. (On that note: shouldn't that shaming be focused on jerk-face, inattentive drivers, car-centric city planning and a criminal justice system that doesn't always take bikers' safety seriously?)

But the blowback from transit advocates worked, Poston writes:

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They made the most compelling argument: Why was my argument framed only as bike vs. car? What about buses? What about the subway and light rail? (Attention Los Angeles County residents and out-of-towners -- yes, LA does indeed have a subway). One transit advocate Tweeted: “This makes me sad. He shouldn’t bike if feels unsafe, but he never considers walking and transit instead of driving?”

Some were infuriated I didn’t even mention public transit, especially considering I live in Los Feliz, which is close to the Metro Red Line stop at Sunset Boulevard and Vermont Avenue.

The same transit proponent went a little overboard on Twitter: “I want to find out where he lives and wait outside his house for him one morning to have an intervention okay maybe too creepy.”

Still, I got the message. Why wasn’t I taking the Metro?, I asked myself.

Poston made the switch and he says he hasn't looked back. His commute time from Los Feliz has doubled, but he appreciates the slower, less frantic pace. He says he enjoys fitting some walking and magazine-reading into his new commute. He likes getting out of his Los Angeles bubble (aka his car) and interacting with other Angelenos (who have not harassed him, we're assuming). Now he's an evangelist for a third mode of commuting: "I’d encourage anyone else to give it a try."
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