Monday, July 5, 2010

The Lonely Hollywood/Vine Metro Stop

What if you had a clean, efficient subway station in the heart of a major city's nightlife district and nobody used it?

Welcome to Los Angeles and the Hollywood/Vine Red Line stop. I took a ride on the Red Line to visit a friend last Saturday night and as I exited the station directly underneath the new W Hotel I was struck by the beehive of activity in this buzzing center of a revitalized Hollywood.

There was the long line to the W Hotel's nightclub filled with attractive young women and guys hoping to get past the velvet rope and into Hollywood's newest hot spot. And across Hollywood Boulevard there were hundreds of theatergoers exiting the Pantages Theater after seeing the popular Broadway musical "In The Heights." And of course there were the usual picture-snapping star-struck tourists from every destination around the globe.

But dig a little deeper and you will see where the theater crowd, the tourists and the clubbers were arriving and departing Hollywood from and it wasn't the Hollywood/Vine Red Line subway stop. The majority of people were walking towards or away from the giant parking lot across the street from the W Hotel to drive their cars out of Hollywood.

What a shame. I realize some folks travel to Hollywood from places like Simi Valley or San Bernardino and don't have the option of taking public transit, but many of these people live in transit-accessible areas but for whatever reason don't consider public transit.

Perhaps the W Hotel and Pantages need to do a better job integrating with the subway station and advertising public transit as an option.  Or maybe Angelenos need to open their minds more to consider other options besides driving all the time.

But right now the majority of public transit users in Los Angeles seem to be from every other country but the United States of America. But what could be more patriotic on the 4th of July weekend then to declare freedom from oil and ride mass transit?

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