I have just finished reading the remarks in the Oct. 24 edition of Grunion Gazette about lane conversions to bicycle lanes in the downtown area of Long Beach. There were a couple of points that were made by one of your reader/contributors about Long Beach's rapid transit system that were not accurate.
Long Beach, for a city its size, is far from being virtually the only city in Southern California that you can survive in without a car. The individual has obviously not spent much time in the San Francisco bay area or even closer, in the greater San Diego metropolitan area.
After mustering out of the Navy, I lived and went to college in San Diego for a year and never started my car to get around the city or its surrounding suburbs, including shopping malls and amusement areas such as Balboa Park, the zoo and Sea World. Because San Diego's system is so effective, my car sat so long the seals dried up and leaked transmission fluid all over the ground.
My son went to college in the East Bay area for two years and never took his vehicle with him because he didn't need it for anything. They used Bart, the Bay area's version of the light rail, the ferry and the extensive rapid transit system in the city, all of which are connected with each other.
Now as for Long Beach, I worked in the city for more than 30 years and on several occasions attempted to use the bus system (the light rail didn't exist then) to get to work and here's how it worked for me.
I worked 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, considered normal work hours. It took me an hour to get to work and an hour and a half to get home to East Long Beach. I sat on a bus bench at San Francisco Street and PCH for 45 minutes waiting to catch a bus with an hour ride to the bus stop 1/4 mile from my house. This was getting dangerously close to spending half as much time riding the current system to and from work as work itself, and that's unacceptable.
Long Beach Transit's system is not an effective way to coax people out of their cars and onto the transit system. If you're going to Los Angeles, the light rail is fairly effective but it's a scary ride, particularly at night.
If you think people are willing to get out of their cars for anything, I challenge you to go by any McDonald's, Jack in the Box, In ’N' Out Burger, Burger King, Starbucks and any other drive thru fast food restaurant you pass and see how many are in the drive thru line versus the walk up window or inside.
Long Beach has got to do a lot better than the antiquated slow bus system they currently use. The only people on the bus are mostly the financially challenged and students and God forbid you need to ride the bus when school is in and the students are riding the buses to school. I sat at a bus stop and got passed three times with full busloads of school kids. Long Beach Transit does not make it palatable for the average Joe to get to work and back on their current bus system and until they figure it all out, the people will not use the system.
As for E-bikes and scooters, ask some of the residents of San Diego how they feel about that whole can of worms. You will find that the bikes and scooters are not well liked and there is a grassroots push to get rid of them, but that's another story.
Shawn Larson is a Long Beach resident.