I am a recent alumnus of UCLA and now work at UCLA Medical Center . Since my first day at UCLA, I have never had any sort of motorized vehicle within these city limits. Instead, I utilize my scooter, skateboard, bicycle, feet, public transportation, and friends to get from point A to point B.
When I first came to UCLA, I walked everywhere I possibly could. As soon as I saw people whiz by me on other modes of transportation, I decided to bring my Razor scooter to town. Imagine an energetic student with sunglasses on and iPod blaring that does not notice his sweat covered back until he takes his backpack off in class. I cruised around on my scooter for almost a year before I saw some of the potential problems with the many cracks that LA pavement is plagued with. These cracks can become a real rut in your day when they are up close and personal. So, I upgraded my transportation to a skateboard.
My first skateboard was a Sector 9 Cloud Nine series longboard. This thing can go for days with one push. This longboard really spoiled me as I cruised around UCLA campus carving through throngs of pedestrians. Seeing people dart out of your path gives you a real sense of authority and power over your peers. Not only did this mode of transportation cut my travel time in half, it also gave me a much needed adrenaline rush to get through any given lecture.
Before graduation, I decided it was time to acquire a red and black beach cruiser with raised handlebars. Although it is not a 21 gear bicycle, it manages to get me up and down the rugged terrain of Westwood. I use this bicycle to get around campus and work. Now, that I live in Brentwood , it a convenient little 15minute drive to UCLA. When I pass by the 405 on ramp at Wilshire, the people trapped in their gas guzzling cars often star at me – or my bicycle I should say- longingly. Some of these drivers get claustrophobic, frantically trying to merge into another lane before someone else closes the gap that they had been waiting 3.4 minutes for. No Justin Bieber song on the radio could make this time pass any faster. I would not suggest letting friends ride on these lavish handlebars though because the Westwood Five 0 will find you.
Before I get to my feet, I would like to point out how effective the public transportation in Los Angeles can be. Whether you use the blue, green, yellow, red, or neon orange line, the Los Angeles bus system is impeccable. Whenever someone asks me to meet them somewhere, I plan my bus route accordingly. The Big Blue Bus #2 picks me up no more than 100 feet from the front door of my apartment and drops me off no more than 100 feet from my workplace at Le Conte and Westwood. I have used the bus to go all over the west side, downtown, and even take the Flyaway to LAX. Did I mention parking at LAX is at least $15 a day?
Often, I like to go all natural and use my god given feet to get around. Since I only live 2.5 miles away from the Pacific Ocean , I use it as a very convenient goal to run towards. Not many people can say they run to the Pacific Ocean on their spare time. If I get too tired to run home, the Big Blue Bus is only 35 cents away. Another optimal opportunity to use my feet is when going out drinking- day or night. Although drinking and driving may seem like a smart thing at the time, most people quickly change their mind after they have gone to court for months and used their nest egg to pay for their lawyer’s new BMW.
My final mode of transportation is my friends. Carpooling with family and friends is an excellent way to get around town and have fun doing it. If I had a nickel for everytime I carpooled up to the bay area with friends, I think I would have at least $10. Carpooling not only saves gas money and makes the time go by faster, but it is also a great reason to use the carpool lane. Remember that parking lot I was talking about…I think they call it the 405. They built a special lane for us carpoolers to use- I like to call it First Class.
Anyways, moral of this story is that there are so many ways to be a green commuter. No matter which mode of transportation you utilize, they are all environmentally, physically, and even mentally friendly.