With the gas and parking prices these days, getting around by bike, bus, rail, and your own two feet can save you quite a bit of money in Los Angeles. If you need a good green deal to get you thinking outside the car, start by hitting up these five spots for eco-friendly discounts and freebies.
1. 20% off locavore-friendly cooking. Homegirl Café cooks up contemporary Latina fare — some made with produce grown in the Cafe’s own garden — while giving formerly gang-involved women job training and education. Show your Metro pass, rail ticket, or TAP card and get 20% off your meal.
2. Free green spa gift. Willow Spa — a Santa Monica relaxation spot that offers facials and treatments with organic products — has a program called Walk to Willow on Thursdays. Simply walk to the spa, let the desk know when you check in that you did so, and get a free green gift from another local green business after your treatment.
Missed all the Earth Day festivals a couple weeks ago? You’re getting your second chance to celebrate green with Santa Monica Festival this weekend. Now in its 20th year, the free annual event has become a “unique intersection of art and the environment” according to its city planners — and the packed event schedule seems to live up to that promise.
Stop by Clover Park at 2600 Ocean Park Blvd. in Santa Monica this Sat., May 7 from 11 am to 6 pm and take advantage of the many green events, workshops, deals and freebies. Here are the top 10 ideas to get the most out of the festival:
1. Valet your bike, free. Avoid traffic and parking hassles by pedaling to the festival instead. Coast to the corner of 25th St. at Ocean Park Blvd., and you’ll get free city valet service for your bike.
2. Bag a free reusable bag. Stop by the City of Santa Monica’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment booth and sign a pledge to BYO bag — and you’ll get a free handcrafted bag made by L.A. veterans. You’ll get free materials to further embellish the bag at the booth — and even get to take part in a photo collage celebrating your new sustainable ways.
The Metro 720 and I have been fast friends since the line launched back in 2000. Compared to the local buses I’d been used to, the Rapid was a speed monster. Back then, a new Metro 720 bus showed up every 10 minutes or so to pick me up from my apartment in Miracle Mile, holding yellow lights and speeding down Wilshire Blvd., making only a few stops at major intersections before dropping me off a few blocks from my cubicle on Bunker Hill. Since my job got me a free Metro pass for not driving to work, taking the 720 was a no brainer.
Fast forward 11 years, and traffic in L.A.’s gotten a lot worse. I now work from home, but I take the 720 from time to time — which still flies down Wilshire — if it’s close to midnight. I exaggerate a little — but frequent riders know that the Rapid bus is anything but rapid during rush hour, when it has to hobbles along with the rest of the slow-moving cars on Wilshire, slowly inching forward in the daily traffic jams.
Biked the whole CicLAvia route on April 10? Then you’ll likely remember cruising down 7th Street, a business street many cyclists use to commute to work. Come October, that street will become more bike-friendly 24-7, thanks to a road diet aimed at giving L.A. bicyclists more space.
From Catalina Street in Koreatown to Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles, 2.2 miles of bicycle lanes will be painted, giving cyclists more room and visibility. That room will come from cars, who’ll see their driving space reduced from two lanes down to one lane going each way. Street parking will be retained.
“There are so many workers and low income cyclists that bike up and down 7th currently, because it’s a really important connection between McArthur Park to Koreatown to downtown LA where a lot of folks will go to work,” says Allison Mannos, urban strategy director at Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, a local nonprofit that’s working with the City of Los Angeles on this and other bike-friendly projects. “And it’s nice because it parallels major travel portals like Wilshire, but there’s much less traffic.”
Wish your favorite coffee shop had a bicycle rack right out front? Just request one from the city by filling out the handy online Sidewalk Bicycle Rack Request Form. Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s bicycle program installs about 400 bike racks a year by following up on these requests — though right now, new rack installations are on a temporary hold while the department waits for a new order of bike racks to arrive.
“If everything goes well, we could have them in a month, month and a half,” says Michelle Mowery, LA DOT’s Bike Program Senior Coordinator. You don’t need to wait to put your rack request in though. Mowery says her current wait list is only about a dozen requests long. Once the new racks arrive, the city will start going through that wait list, adding on to the 4000 or so bike racks already installed throughout the city.