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With Transportation in the News, Don't Forget About Walking

We live in one of the most walkable cities in the state. Why don't more of us do it?

An argument being used for putting the Century City at Constellation Boulevard is that the distance from Santa Monica Boulevard to the heart of Century City is a long walk. While I would argue that people in Century City walk further to the food court in Westfield Mall for lunch without too much strain it did get me thinking about walking.

Personally, I love to walk. I actually chose to live in the fashionable "industrial triangle" area of Beverly Hills in my mid-twenties because I could walk to the clubs in West Hollywood (back in the dim, dead days when I went to clubs). I could walk to the grocery store, the library and even work. Unless there was a monsoon, I walked.

Then a little over a decade ago I got a job downtown. The company charged for parking, but paid for (most of) a Metro Pass. A carrot and stick deal of course, but it worked. I don't care for carrots, but like sticks even less. So I started to get out of the habit of walking and started taking the bus, waiting what sometimes seemed an eternity for one to show and sometimes giving up and just getting the car. Need I write that since the most exercise I got was pressing "Control", "Alt" and "Delete" my weight rose and my waist went from trim to, well lets just say less so?

So I made a decision to walk more last year. First I decided that on the way home from work I would take whichever #14 bus (the one I take most) came first, whether it went all the way into Beverly Hills or stopped at the Beverly Center. Since the one going all the way into Beverly Hills seems to be on a lunar schedule, I usually ended my day with a mile-or-so stroll. Then I decided to mix it up and change buses. I would take the #728 down Olympic Boulevard that goes to Century City and walk from Beverwil Drive. I could walk up Beverly Drive and stop for dinner or window-shop. I could walk up the side streets and look at the houses. I could pick up something from or for dinner at home.

Unless there was a monsoon, I was walking again.

Then I started really leaving the car, and even the bus behind. Bus service in Beverly Hills is fairly atrocious on weekends and in the evenings so I started to walk to shops on Wilshire. Friends having get-togethers? I'd walk, unless they live in the hills. I started to notice more about the city I live in: new shops, old houses, public art - all the things that didn't register when in stop-and-go traffic or trolling for a parking spot.

I also started to lose some of that extra weight. Quite a bit of it. Enough so that I feel that I can have treats if I just keep walking. Just today, to make up for the frozen yoghurt I had for lunch, I walked from Roxbury Drive to the Pavillions in West Hollywood. I love walking through Beverly Gardens: the cactus garden, the rose garden with its mix of "Gemini" and "Julia Child" roses, the sculptures, the fountains and the greenery make it a mile and a half stroll. I didn't have to fight for parking at Pavillions and I did't have to endlessly sit in traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard.

I realize that some of us have errands and families and even addresses that preclude us from doing what I'm doing as much as I'm doing it. But I urge you to put down the keys and take a stroll. Ellen Lutwak has created a FaceBook page called "Walk Beverly Hills" and puts together groups of us to see the sights and show off how walkable our city is. During the first one I attended she pointed out a Banksy piece I didn't know existed and a restaurant that has some great chili. I urge you to "like" the page and come walk with us.

Unless of course there's a monsoon...

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Bridget April 03, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Pedestrian friendly cities are the best cities to live in. Thanks for the reminder! Great article.
George Vreeland Hill April 03, 2012 at 05:20 AM
I am walking more and more. So much of what I do in Beverly Hills is within walking distance. I love it. George Vreeland Hill
abkune-clark April 03, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Your right. We all need to get out of our cars and walk. Our city is very walkable and beautiful! Love the article. Thanks
Mondraee April 04, 2012 at 02:03 AM
"Nice article, thank you for posting! Also, Hippocrates said it best: 'Walking is the BEST medicine.' I can't think of a more beautiful place to take a stroll than Beverly Hills."
Vanessa Cisterna April 04, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Beverly Hills is one of the most walk able cities I've ever lived in. I have literally only put about 4000 miles on my car since our move here in 2010. This city is small enough to enjoy a walk to everything above and below Wilshire. The way I break the habit of being lazy is I think about our trips to Manhattan and remember how I can do six hours of walking and not notice a thing. That makes a couple mile walk seem like a leisurely stroll around the block.
Laurie Lande April 04, 2012 at 05:06 PM
@Vanessa- As a former New Yorker I often wonder why people here dont walk more. Very good point about reminding us that our city is small enough to walk through and if we were in Manhattan we'd be walking much more.

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