An Afternoon of Trains

Sunday, March 13, 2005, at 01:20PM

By Eric Richardson

Subway Kathy and I took a fun little trip last night. Originally we were going to go get an assignment for my transportation class out of the way. That involved riding a rapid west on Wilshire, the Red Line to Hollywood, the Gold Line to Pasadena, and two stops on the Blue Line down toward USC. Well, that wasn't what we ended up doing. We still ended up with a good little public transit journey, though.

Kathy started out down at USC, so she walked over to Figueroa and caught the 81 up to 5th and Hill. I met her there and we went over to the Central Library. She checked out six or so books for an assignment, and we brought them back over to my apartment.

From my apartment we walked up Spring to 5th, and then a block west to Broadway to catch the Rapid. The assignment called for taking the bus west to Wilshire/Vermont (yes, you could take the subway the exact same place quicker... the point of the assignment is engaging all LA's different transit modes). I was excited that we got one of the MTA's new CompoBus Rapids. They really are nice buses inside. It's still a bus, though, I was reminded as we bounced up the bad pavement on 5th coming up the hill by the 110.

We actually took the bus past Wilshire/Vermont to Wilshire/Normandie, since I wanted to see the photo art recently installed there. They were good, and I liked the light box presentation. Metro's looking to do something similar in the long empty corridors of the Pershing Square station, and I think that'll be a great asthetic improvement.

We rode a little 2-car train back to Wilshire/Vermont, walked downstairs, and caught the train to Hollywood/Highland. Here the assignment called for us to walk east down Hollywood Blvd. to Hollywood/Vine. We were supposed to look at the redevelopment occuring, and hypothesis how the Red Line might be driving this. The nice new retail going in, though, is right in between the two stations. What will really accelerate Hollywood redevelopment is the Nederlander developments down by Hollywood/Vine and the transit-oriented development that'll be going on top of the station there.

We took a little side-trip down to Amoeba and I bought the self-titled cd from The Sounds (used, $7.99). Kathy bought one volume of the Beatles' anthology (also used).

The plan was then to take the Red Line back to Union Station and head up to Pasadena, but we had just been there the night before and we decided to instead take the Blue Line down to Long Beach for dinner. We had to wait 15 minutes or so at 7th/Metro for a Long Beach train, but we reached the end of the line at the Transit Center sometime around 8pm (though the car we originally boarded didn't make it all the way... the 3-car train dropped to a 2-car at Willow).

We walked up Pine Ave. a few blocks, got quoted a really long wait at the Kings Fishhouse, and ended up eating at Rock Bottom, which was very good.

We only had to wait five minutes or so after dinner for a train. It was a stubby little 1-car, but it got the job done.

Riding the Blue Line down we picked up some fare collectors around the Anaheim St. station. They rode a guy on our car a citation for not having proof of fare. That's a $250 ticket, and that's why you buy your ticket even if they don't normally check.