Ten days from now the first true passengers will be riding the Expo Line to our fair city. They bring with them the opportunity of new business for our stores, restaurants and ever growing list of theaters.
It’s the start of a new era in the city, and one that I hope is a harbinger of good fortune all around. Driving up Main Street this weekend, I enjoyed the transition at Colorado to 2nd Street and was impressed with how smoothly it worked.
Change and development is hard for most of us to accept and incorporate into our lives. I see people struggling in family court every day – divorces, child custody, finances – and the lesson I’ve learned is that the change is not the problem, it is the resistance to the change that causes the stress. After all, change is eternal; nothing ever remains static. As our city embarks on a new mission, that of easy destination, we will have new challenges, and new opportunities arise.
Yes the increase in visitors will hopefully bring added revenue for businesses and the city, as well as traffic issues, logistics complications and questions of bandwidth. How much can we absorb of the larger Los Angeles community when midsummer crowds will explode and the beach becomes the escape zone from the inner city pressure cooker? We’re about to find out.
We will become a destination for good and bad reasons. Some will come to us to enjoy the benefits of living here, the Thursday night concerts, the cool summer nights and the ocean to surf. Others will come with other purposes in mind, we can expect more petty theft – that’s a result of more people coming through, and we can also expect more suicides and more traffic incidents on the tracks.
These last days of relative isolation from the rest of the city should be cherished. The city that we have known is soon to be no more. That may be a good thing, most change is good, if properly moderated. The influx of new visitors brings with it great potential.
And the flip side is also to be recognized, the rest of Los Angeles becomes more accessible. For those of us who travel downtown, this new access portal provides us with greater opportunities to enjoy the benefits of living in a world class city. Being able to get to the Disney Concert Hall without driving in horrific traffic midweek may allow me to enjoy concerts that I would otherwise skip to avoid the 90 minutes sitting in a car to go 15.5 miles.
I rarely venture to downtown Culver City, even though I love the selection of restaurants, and movie theaters, but when it takes me 45 minutes to get from 14th and Pico to the 405/10 interchange, it’s just not worth it. But now, what is a short train ride may cause me to explore more.
Do I miss the sleepy little town of Santa Monica, yes, yes I do. I wish the Pioneer Boulangerie was still around where I studied law outdoors and enjoyed my coffee and pastries. Would I prefer the funky coffee house that used to be Wednesday’s House to the corporate blandness that is Peet’s or Starbuck’s or Coffee Bean? Absolutely. Is there anything I can do about it? Nope. It’s gone. I have my memories, and today’s youth will have theirs.
To the young’uns of today they have their memory making moments. To them this is their city, at its best for them. So while we reminisce about the “good old days” let’s not spoil it for the youth. For them, they have new opportunities, and new adventures to be had. They have the whole of Los Angeles before them now, and it’s only a train ride away. As have we.
So in these last few days, let’s remember the past, and remember to put it away as we embrace the future – a future that may have many great things about it that we can’t envision yet. That’s the cool part of the future, it has options that are beyond our abilities to dream about.
Goodbye sleepy little town, and Hello Los Angeles. Welcome to the beach.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at email@example.com or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra.