Authored by: Claudia Goytia, American Heart Association, Government Relations Director, Greater Los Angeles Division
I am lucky to be able to have the option of choosing public transportation for my mobility options in Los Angeles County. Prior to 2016, I didn’t really consider any other mode of transportation other than my car. After months of sitting in my car for 60-90 minutes a day, twice a day, spending over $100 a month to ride solo in the FastTrack I knew I needed to find another way to get to Downtown Los Angeles. I would come home exhausted from sitting in my car for more than an hour, always too tired to cook dinner, get kids ready for games or practice or even walk the dog. My standard phrase for passing off caregiver duties to my husband was, “My knee hurts from driving, can you do it?” I knew there had to be another way to get to work. I researched options and venture into the world of public transportation. Discovering that I had many options if I planned my day and coordinated schedules with my husband and my kids, gave me a sense of relief and optimism. I was ready to try something else so that I could enjoy my family at the end of the day.
The traffic map of what my commute out of LA looks like when I drive to the office.
Now, I begin my day with the intention of taking the Metro Gold Line from the Azusa station. Taking the Gold Line, as I mentioned, comes with coordination of schedules. I cannot leave the SGV before 8am, as I am the primary source of transportation for my children in the morning. I can’t leave the East San Gabriel Valley before rush hour like other commuters headed to Los Angeles because I want to make sure my kids get to school safe. I know parents that pay for morning care just so that they can leave early in the morning to beat rush hour and get to work on time.
The Metro Gold Line is a 20 minute drive from my home. Driving past the 10 freeway on my way to Azusa, I cringe when I see the bumper to bumper traffic. Once in Azusa, I have a 10-minute walk from parking on a residential street to the Gold Line. This is so much better than having to endure crawling my way to Los Angeles in my car. I have come to find the Gold Line as the better option to get to and from Downtown Los Angeles. I may get home a bit later and start dinner later, I may get to a game after it begins, but I am present and enjoying my time with my family.
View from Azusa streets as I walk to my car from the station.
I am lucky to be able to use to this as an option. Many other families rely solely on public transportation to get to work, school, play, doctor visits, grocery shopping etc. with many trips to coordinate daily. I however, have more than one option, and I don’t take them for granted. I am committed to putting to use Measure M and SB1 tax dollars, that I contribute to, to fit my lifestyle and mobility needs. Since Summer of 2017, I have weaved the use of the Gold Line to activities with my family, so they too can use this transportation option.
This is a picture of my niece, daughter, husband and son walking to Little Tokyo station from visiting the Broad Museum.
We have traveled to Olvera street with the kids during Christmas break, rode the Angels Flight with my son during a day at the Broad Museum, taken the Gold Line to Pasadena for Date Night and traveled Boyle Heights to participate in Ciclavia. My goal is to introduce public transportation to my family so that they too can use it and make it work for their mobility needs.