CarFree Week: Getting to the Dentist


Today is Day 2 of the Car Free Week test run, which is basically to see if I can live without my car in Los Angeles and to see what that would truly be like.

I’ve been car lite for a number of years, off and on, so a lot of the strategies of walk, bike, bus, train, and combining all these modes, are well known to me and I’ve employed them in the past, both here in L.A. and in San Francisco when I lived there.

Of course, today would be the day where it rained like for the first time since last spring, although it was merely sprinkles. Not an issue. In fact, I’m loving the cloud cover.

My dentist, Dr. James McFadden, has an office in the pink and black building at the corner of Melrose and La Cienega in West Hollywood. I currently live in Valley Village, near Magnolia and Radford. Ugh. Probably one of the more difficult commutes of this week to do without a car.

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If I were using the car, I’d go over the hill at Laurel Canyon. [Note: this map if for public transport options the entire way. I modified it for my bike through Hollywood and WeHo.]

But I wasn’t. I was using my bike, the Red Line train, and the bike. My route getting there was the Chandler bike lane to the North Hollywood Station, then the Red Line to Hollywood/Highland. I took various streets, but mostly Orange Drive, south to Melrose. I crossed south over Melrose at La Brea to the first east-west street south of there, Clinton Street, and took that west on the bike to where it emerges at the intersection of Melrose/LA Cienega. Voila.

Coming back, I took Clinton all the way east to June Street where it ends at the Country Club. Took June north to Willoughby, then east again to Vine, which they’ve made into a more bike-friendly street with share lanes. I took that north for the few blocks to the Hollywood/Vine Station under the W Hotel and then took the train back to NoHo, then onto the Chandler bikeway back to where I live (just east of Laurel Canyon Station).

Thoughts: West Hollywood is not an easy place to get to with public transport, but it’s doable. Many maps will tell you the best bike route east-west in Hollywood is on Willoughby, but I prefer Clinton as it’s a nice neighborhood and few cars. Between June and La Cienega there are lights at every major intersection you need to cross except for Highland, where it’s fairly easy to get across because of the boulevard in the middle of the street, and “Keep Clear” signs for cars which seem to be followed. I didn’t like the bike options from the Hollywood/Highland station, but perhaps I just don’t know the route yet.

Looking at my calendar for this week, this is the most challenging car-less trip I have planned, that I know of for now. Perhaps someone will ask me to come out to Santa Monica or West L.A., but it hasn’t happened yet!