TOUR DU JOUR
Underground Art in L.A.
Not only does Los Angeles have a metro system, but it commissions original artwork for the 62 stations (more are on the way) and offers free guided tours.
In the Missing Persons song "Walking in L.A.," the punch line is that nobody actually walks in L.A. (not even policemen or schoolchildren, according to the band). The city has a rep for being notoriously car-centric—and that's something the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority hopes to change.
The agency sponsors a rotating series of artwork, including posters by local artists depicting L.A. neighborhoods, to liven up Metro stations and buses. On weekends, volunteer docents lead free walking tours that cover four or five stations in about two hours. Groups meet at 10 a.m., and reservations aren't necessary.
"The tour is a way that we try to get people to learn about the system and become good ambassadors for public transportation in L.A.," says Maya Emsden, deputy executive officer of Metro Creative Services. "A lot of people across the country don't realize that we have rail stations."
Participants are rewarded with a day pass (which usually costs $5) that can be used for the Metro and the bus system. Find details about the program by visiting metro.net, and use these rail and bus maps to navigate the city, car-free.