October 21, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Le Métro

During the last few days of jury duty, I've made my way downtown from East County by way of the trolley, San Diego's light rail mass transit system. Though I have to drive my car a short distance from my apartment to the trolley station, it's still quite a treat to even have the option of using a fast public transportation option. As spread out as San Diego County is, there's no way any mass transit system here can compete with the likes of Chicago's el-trains, New York City's subways or San Francisco's BART. But by southern California standards, it's nice to even have a choice.

Los Angeles has also made strides in recent years with its ever-increasing warren of subway tunnels. Last year, when I still made frequent trips from San Diego to Studio City, I was able to walk down to the local trolley station, hop a few stops down to the Santa Fe Depot downtown, get onboard the Amtrak to Union Station in downtown L.A., then take the subway to North Hollywood, a mile or two from my final destination. In the Land of the Automobile, such a trip is quite an accomplishment.

For overall efficiency, ease and joy of use, however, I have never come across any light rail system like Paris' Métro. Paris is no small city by any stretch of the imagination. And with so much to see, one could spend lots of time getting from one destination to the other, were it not for the subway system. But during my visit, the coverage of the city's Métro was so thorough that one could find a station within a three-block radius of just about any location, ensuring a quick hop with no more than a couple of transfers from virtually anywhere to anywhere within the city. Trying to figure out which configuration of lines and transfers would get you there quickest made even public transportation adventurous.

Caught in southern California's infamous traffic jams, I often think how much easier it would be to live in a city with a more robust public transportation system. With the web of San Diego's trolley system continually expanding, perhaps such yearnings will soon fade away.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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October Columns:

10/31: Halloween's History
10/30: Good GDP, Still No Jobs
10/29: Disaster
10/27: Ash Monday
10/26: En Fuego
10/25: Diving in the Desert
10/24: Dead Car Canyon
10/23: Reflections
10/21: Le Métro
10/20: Pain
10/17: Jury Duty
10/15: Labor Pains
10/14: The Business of Losing
10/13: Owls and Jobs
10/12: Hooked
10/11: The "S" in SUV
10/9: Flee the City
10/8: Sore Losers
10/5: Turkeys
10/4: It's Not the Economy, Stupid
10/2: Focus
10/1: Twenty Years
Previous months in The Archive

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