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CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK

Finally, on the right track

September 27, 2006|Christopher Hawthorne | Times Staff Writer

Indeed, travel by subway can make those differences more pronounced. When you're riding underground, even along a single boulevard, Point A becomes distinct from Point B; sections of the city become discrete locations rather than parts of an asphalt continuum. Transit-oriented development around subway stops can further this sense, though the design of projects on land controlled by the MTA -- such as the Hollywood and Highland shopping center or the Archeon Group's proposed $160-million condo tower for the intersection of Wilshire and Western -- is hardly encouraging along these lines.

Most of us would rarely if ever take the line for its full route. But it would make all the difference to know that we could. With a subway connection to the beach, after all, residents of El Sereno, Koreatown or downtown could reasonably think of themselves as living in the same city as somebody in Brentwood.

Without it, those neighborhoods threaten to drift off permanently into their own orbits. And we can start thinking of Monica, facing east from the beach along the proposed course of the subway, as the patron saint of blown opportunities.

christopher.hawthorne@latimes.com

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