The Uncomfortable Relationship Between Race and Public Transit in L.A.

As part of his series about walking across Los Angeles, writer Ryan Bradley delves into the complicated and controversial relationship between race and transit in the city.
May 31, 2010, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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Los Angeles's large non-white population is also the main segment of its public transit ridership. But with a history of dedicating transit funding to white-dominated areas, the development of public transit in the city has been engulfed in controversy.

"Most everyone I've seen out walking hasn't looked like me, not just in the City of Compton (where the population is about 57 percent Latino, 40 percent black, and 1 percent white) but in the rest of Los Angeles County (where about seven out of 10 people aren't white either). To write about public transportation and walking in Los Angeles, specifically who's riding rails and buses and walking to stations and stops, I have to write about race in Los Angeles, and that can get uncomfortable real quick because, honestly, the history of Los Angeles is the history of constructing a white city in a place that isn't-never was."

Bradley discusses the conflict between the politically popular funding of rail in the city and funding buses which are used far more by a more economically insecure segment of the population.

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Published on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 in Good
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