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Patch Blog: West Hollywood an Alternative Transportation Mecca?

The arrival of Zipcar, the city's 'most walkable' designation and the Bikes and Hikes tour and rental company have all coincided to make West Hollywood a mecca for alternative transportation.

While West Hollywood is probably best known for our trendy nightlife, world-class design district, hip hotels and inclusive vibe, the city has steadily been building its reputation for being something altogether different and less expected—a mecca for alternative transportation and eco-friendly living.

Zipcar - the car-sharing service that's already become a huge hit with urban dwellers in New York, San Francisco and Seattle (to name a few) - launched its West Hollywood operations yesterday with 10 cars throughout the city. For people who only need a car occasionally, Zipcar makes car-sharing extremely simple with set hourly pricing and self-service access to cars.

And living without a car in West Hollywood is a highly realistic option. Last July, West Hollywood was named the most walkable city in California by Walk Score, a company that uses sophisticated metrics to rank walkability based on proximity to amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants, schools, parks and public transit. With a score of 89, Weho easily edged past San Francisco's score of 85.

Adding to our growing list of options, another new West Hollywood business is encouraging locals and visitors to see Los Angeles on bikes. Bikes and Hikes LA offers an eco-friendly and health-conscious solution to tourists and locals who want to see L.A. without leaving a large carbon footprint. Bikes and Hikes founder Danny Roman, a big fan of alternative transportation and eco friendly living, thinks Zipcar is a welcome addition to the city.

"West Hollywood has recently been named the most walkable city, but there are still some circumstances that necessitate access to a car (moving, hauling equipment, shopping)," said Roman. "Hopefully, people will be able to use Zipcars for these particular needs and bike/walk as their primary mode of transportation. Zipcar and Bikes and Hikes together will lead to a healthier and more eco-friendly West Hollywood."

And we haven't even mentioned the L.A. public transportation system. While the phrase "L.A. public transportation" might be a joke to some people, the reality is that LA Metro buses (the only form of public transit that passes through Weho) offer a highly efficient, reliable and practical option for many people in this city.

- Andy Keown

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Steve Ward February 16, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Otherwise known as the Horvath hack attack. The fast track of this initiative is a little wild considering there are many other options that seem less risky and more affordable. I'm sure Horvath got a fat paycheck out of the deal. [Land and Heilman were probably involved with their hands out somewhere along the line getting their shocks greased...], but thank you Andy for your press release.
joninla February 16, 2012 at 08:59 PM
I am not sure if I am reading this correctly. Are you referring to zip-car extending its business to West Hollywood or a different issue. I am glad (in theory) that zip-car finally came to weho. I don't foresee ever using the service, but years ago when I first heard of the company and their car-by-the-hour I thought it would be the prefect solution to my needs at that time. If there is any objection to zip-car, from what I understand there will only be a few (2-3) cars available and I imagine in use at most times, so it's not a parking issue/problem and is a solution to some people's needs. It takes 'not having a car and living in Los Angeles' to fully appreciate the need for this kind of service.
Evan Atkinson February 16, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Interesting idea. I had not heard of it until now. I'll be looking it up.
Rudolf Martin February 17, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Zip-Car is a publicly traded company and a great service, I have friends in other cities who have used it for years and love it. And I wish Bikes and Hikes LA much success, it's a great idea and tourists will see more of the city that way. I welcome that these 2 companies get this type of press release from the city. But the notion that adding 10 rental cars will "lead to a healthier and more eco-friendly West Hollywood" is laughable. the city is actively ENCOURAGING more local driving by trying to add parking for Plummer Park (mostly used by locals) or building a 5 story robo parking structure behind 4 story city hall instead of adding bike and bus lanes and considering a real local public transportation alternative (which is what more creative cities have been doing). I wonder why the City Line buses are not mentioned here? They seem to be heavily used and a real alternative for people without cars to get around locally. How about adding a City Line Express route with some bus lanes? Now that would be eco-friendly!
West Hollywood Marketing & Visitors Bureau February 17, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Good point about City Line buses offered by the city; I should have mentioned them. Here is a link to more information on transportation options from the City Hall website: http://weho.org/index.aspx?page=397 (Disclaimer: I work for the visitors bureau, not the city directly, so I do not speak on behalf of city hall.)
joninla February 17, 2012 at 05:59 PM
I have often believed the City should have such a local FREE bus line along the Blvd that would benefit everyone. To make it free, would help the people on the lowest end, and the free (and fast/efficient) service will be the tipping factor to encourage people who otherwise would choose to drive from pavilions to CVS and down the blvd. The plus, the reduced traffic for everyone else. So it's a win-win (and the environment as well). As for the Parking Garages planned to be built, I could go off for hours on the countless reasons, problems, costs and effects that will harm the city by those two parking structures. However, more relevant is the real reason for their construction. In order for the large mix-use projects (carls jr & jons and possibly walgreens at one time) to have been approved by the county zoning regulations prohibiting anything of that size, the developer had to agree to add extras to benefit the city (such as the often referenced low income housing units and additional parking spaces). I believe that is the driving force behind the objectively insane Plummer Park Plans. The 'trick' employed in weho is the developers promise to include these extras in their projects are allowed to be near the construction. The City pretends they are doing it for the benefit of affordable housing but they are giving city land & paying for the extras the Large Developers promised, and the Developer gets supersized profits w/out paying the 'cost'.
joninla February 21, 2012 at 05:16 AM
I hadn't intended to reply or comment back, but when you mentioned you did not work for the city, I had to at least say thank you, and say I am sure I would find less bias from anything you might say, than whatever anyone from city hall might say, someday. :)

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