Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Oh give me a home....

Every time I either drive or fly in and out of Los Angeles I think about moving. I grew up in a small town and being surrounded by so many people and so much stuff can be kind of clausterphobic. Plus it's hard to imagine having a family here. And houses cost a LOT of money. So I was interested when Barry Ritholtz (an investment professional cum financial blogger) commented on a site at Forbes about where Americans are moving (using IRS data).

(Look, people move to LA from the east coast and then from LA to the South and the west coast).

This tool would be a great compliment to Richard Florida's "Who's Your City" website (and book too, although I haven't read it). Choosing where to live is a multi-dimensional problem that is hard to contemplate. These sites are a great start.

Somewhat randomly the Wikipedia entry on Who's Your City says that my boy Tim Harford has been critical of the book. This couldn't be verified because Wikipedia's source was an article in Canadian Geographer (which I don't have access to) and the only mention I could find was Tim referencing Florida's work.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Book Report: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest finale of Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy and my 13th book of the year. A great book but bittersweet because of Larsson's premature death from a heart attack. Mostly the same characters as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire. Start reading now!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Book Report: The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl Who Played With Fire, book two of Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy. I finished this book on a bus/train ride from San Luis Obispo to Union Station (Amtrak!). Then I took the FlyAway Shuttle from Union Station to LAX. Fun!

View Bus/Train Fun! in a larger map

I want to FlyAway

At one point I thought I had posted about a trip I took on the Metro from Pasadena to El Segundo but it's still sitting in my 'not completed' file. That trip consisted of the Gold Line, Red Line, Blue Line, to the Green. Which was cool because I got to go through Union Station, the 7th Street Metro Center, and the Rosa Parks station. The uncool part was that it took about 1.5 hours and required a separate ticket for each hop (although now I find out they have day passes). Obligatory Metro link.

Today I had a similar mission: get from downtown to the SouthBay. I could have done a similar trip but I wanted to try something I had only read about called the FlyAway bus service. It is operated by Los Angeles Regional Airports and consists of shuttles that go from all the regions airports to Union Station and other population centers. My experience was great. I asked some very nice people at Union Station where the kiosk was and after a short walk and seven dollars I had a ticket in my hand. Buses leave every half hour and although the driver told us that the trip would be longer because it was rush hour it only ended up taking about 35 minutes (and even went over my second favorite interchange: 110 south to 105 west carpool lane - booyah!). I waited longer for my friends to pick me up at the Southwest terminal.

Map of where the FlyAway kiosk is:

View Los Angeles Union Station in a larger map

Also here's are a couple of ideas: how about taking and rating all the different transportation agencies in Southern California? Or how about some enterprising young programmer puts a database together of all the timetables of said agencies along with the cost for different hops and transfers and walking times, uses a little Dijkstra magic, and figures out routes that are either cheapest or fastest (or better yet let you weight each). Kind of like the Metro Trip Planner but cool and useful. Has GoogleMaps done this yet? Actually, can I have that job? Thanks...

Stupid video link even though the stupid record company won't allow embeds