Finally. Metro is getting out of the bike rental biz in Pasadena. A rant.

Setting up bike rental stations around Pasadena was a silly idea in the first place and as of Thursday, August 16th, the bikes and their stations are being removed. And, so far, I have not seen any of those electric scooters on the streets here in Pasadena to take the place of bikes.

Metro bikes at Del Mar rental apartments
Metro bikes lined up across from the Del Mar station. I’m willing to bet that most of the passengers who get off at Del Mar catch an elevator home–not a Metro bike. A huge apartment complex surrounds this Metro station.  You can see more of the apartments in the photo at the top of the page.

From the beginning when Metro installed bikes in downtown L.A. and I saw them at a CicLAvia bicycling event, I had questions.  The biggest was why on earth was Metro wasting public funds setting up a bike rental business when there were many private, local bike companies who could do it easily.

Gold Line Metro train at Fillmore station
In the back is a Metro Gold Line train, partially obscured by trees, speeding out of the Fillmore station. The bikes are lined up neatly in this very attractive plaza by the station.  Many people who disembark at this station go to nearby Medical Offices and I’m not sure biking is on their minds.

Metro is supposed to built tracks and trains — not worry about getting their passengers through the last mile or last block home.

two bike stations at Fillmore gold line
Before Metro installed the bike racks at the Fillmore Gold Line station, they had two places to lock up bikes instead of the dozen or so bikes now at this location.

I guess the blessing in all this is that the Metro bikes, at least in Pasadena, have failed.  Maybe that’s why private bike businesses didn’t set up rental stations before. It wasn’t a viable business. The only successful bike rental businesses I know about are at the beach.  Tourists love them.

 

Metro bike station by Pasadena City Library
These bikes adjacent to the Pasadena Central Library are the closest ones to the Memorial Park Metro station which, itself, is the closest Metro station to Old Town Pasadena. Why no bikes at Memorial Park?  (Not that it makes any difference now.)

As long as I am on the topic of Metro financial expenditures–bureaucrats spending taxpayers’ money–I like to know why Metro Link (the Inter-urban train that runs on train tracks from downtown L.A. to San Bernardino) is dueling with Metro Rail about establishing a Metro Gold Line station in Claremont, a city that Metro Link already serves. It’s a crazy duplication of effort!

Metro bike station at Hilton hotel
And talk about making no sense — a Metro bike station across the street from the Hilton hotel. Oh, please. Just how likely was it that Hilton guests were going to rent a bike and pedal around Pasadena? (Rhetorical question, of course.)  It is at least one  mile from the nearest Metro station. I really wonder if anyone did a market study before this whole bike rental biz was started!  Or did someone have an investment in a bike manufacturing company and saw a way to make some more sales?

And the last of this rant: why isn’t the Gold Line being extended beyond the Atlantic Station in East L.A.?  Anyone have an answer?


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Hollywood and Vine for stars and murals in the Red Line Metro Station

Hollywood and Vine is among the most famous intersections in the country.  Those two street names suggest glamour and glitz and movie stars.

Hollywood movie reel
Today movies are digital, but for decades  movies were photographic film on reels like these on the wall of this Metro station.

While the reality on Hollywood Blvd. above the station does not quite match that image to honor the lore the Metro turned this Red Line subway station into a work of art based on the film industry.

Here is what you can see:

Not in Kansas tile Hollywood and Vine
This tile mural tells viewers that they are “Not in Kansas” anymore. All you have to do is go upstairs to the street level to realize how very true that is.
Stars Homes Hollywood and Vine Red Line (
This tile mural reflects upon the bus tours of movie stars homes around Los Angeles. Most of the tours actually begin near the next Red Line Metro stop at Hollywood and Highland.
Palm trees Red Line Hollywood and Vine
Of course there had to be “palm trees” in the subway station.  This is Hollywood after all.

 

WHotel Hollywood and Vine
In the last decade or so Hollywood has become a very much nicer place to live and visit. The W hotel is just one example of the renewal of Hollywood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Strolling along the Rivo Canal on Naples Island Long Beach

A Gondola, plumeria, kayakers, drought tolerant plantings and a Captain Morgan statue — all along the Rivo Canal that cuts through the man-made Naples Island in Alamitos Bay in Long Beach.

Rivo canal Long Beach Naples Island
Naples is a man-made island with a canals running through it. The canals are lined with very expensive homes.

My intention was to escape the 95 degree F (35C) heat in the Los Angeles foothills where I live.  But it turned out to be not much of an escape: it warmed up and became muggy in Long Beach, too.

Here is some of what I saw.  It was a mix of this and that.

Kayaking in canal Naples Long Beach CA
This family was out for a Saturday morning cruise around the island. Kayaks and paddleboards are for rent on the beach at nearby Belmont Shore.
Diver in canal Long Beach CA
This diver was planning a prolonged dive. Maybe to repair something underwater?
Plumeria blossoms Long Beach CA
Many gardens along the canals used to be filled with tropical plants, like this white Plumeria. Drought tolerant plants have replaced many of the plantings, but the Plumeria trees persist. Love them!
drought tolerant plants Naples Island Long Beach (
I love this mix of drought tolerant plants. You can see more at my website Hot Gardens.
garden ornaments drought tolerant plants plumeria
Years ago the tiny gardens along the canal were filled with tropical plants. In this one small patch most of the plants are drought tolerant ones, except for the pink plumeria. I liked the little boy statue hidden among the plants and the Statue of Liberty behind .
figs Long Beach CA
In the mix of gardens along the walkway beside the canal I came across a fig tree. These figs are not ripe yet.
Captain Morgan statue Naples Long Beach CA
Beach homes used to be “unserious” and people placed silly ornaments and statues around them. At least one homeowner continues this tradition of silliness with this Captain Morgan statue.  The last time I walked along this area there was also a Bob’s Big Boy statue on another dock, but it seems to have vanished.

See the Lotus Festival and dragon boat races in Echo Park

Lotus blossom echo park lake
According to a story that has been around for decades the evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson planted the lotus in Echo Park lake in the early 20th Century.  The church she founded, the Angelus Temple, is across the street from the park. The lotus had died out a few years ago, so the L.A. Parks Dept. replanted them. 

Changes at the Lotus Festival this year: many more vendor booths in Echo Park and fewer dragon boats racing. dragon racers lotus festival 2018

And it appears that the Los Angeles Parks Dept. has replanted lotus in other parts of the lake than the northern edge.

Here is some of what I saw:

Chinese lanterns lotus festival echo park los angeles
Colorful lanterns represented China, the sponsoring country of the Echo Park Lotus Festival for 2018.
Dragon race sign lotus festival 2018
The sign announcing the location for the dragon boat races.
dragon racers lotus festival 2018
There were only these two dragon boats racing on Saturday. Perhaps others will race on Sunday. Dragon boat races have become a popular event at festivals around Southern California.
Swan paddle boats echo park lake los angeles
I noticed that now all the pedal boats are swan boats. They are available to rent year round.

 

Chinese dancers lotus festival 2018
Each year a different Asian country becomes the sponsor of this event. This year the sponsoring country was China and these are some of the performers.
red umbrella lotus festival echo park los angeles
The clothing and umbrella of these two women echoed the colors of the flowers on this plant in the lake.
pandas by childrens stage lotus festival
Panda characters with woman at the lotus festival in front of the children’s stage.

 

umbrella booth lotus festival
The City of L.A. provided tents for vendors. I liked this display of umbrellas, although the booth was primarily selling women’s clothing.
turtles in echo park lake
There were far more turtles visible than ducks. I wonder if there is some sort of turtle control for the lake? Or duck control?

 

 

 

Dogtown food truck lotus festival
I love the colors on this hot dog/sausage food truck parked nearby the Echo Park cafe. “Dogtown”, of course, is the name given to a skateboard culture in So. Cal. back in the 1970s and 1980s. 

The Pacific-Asia Museum appears almost abandoned

Pacific Asia Museum Pasadena California (Wandering through the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, I wondered about the details of the agreement that handed this museum over to University of Southern California. I read that the historic building, the Asian and Pacific island art collections, plus the meager endowment went to USC several years ago, but did the museum Trustees set any requirements for continuing use of the building?

When I visited last evening I saw exhibits that were odd and skimpy–as if the movers had not quite yet finished the job of clearing out everything in the museum.  Perhaps the Trustees asked that the building continue to be used as a museum and now USC is doing it in a very minimalist way.

And then there were the 3 galleries of California paintings.  It’s altogether curious, particularly in light of the fact that Pasadena Museum of California Art next door is closing down. Is the Pacific Asia Museum going to pick up the mantle of a California art exhibition space?  I would hope so. PMCA was one of the best and most interesting art museums in Southern California in my opinion! Anyway…here is some of what I saw:

Pacific Asia Museum doors
I love the colors of the doors and tables in the courtyard. They are near a small fountain in the Chinese style.
Pacific Asia Museum courtyard (
The courtyard on the interior of this building, which was originally constructed as a home in an old Chinese style, is still beautiful.
Indian art Pacific Asia Museum
The card explaining this sculpture declares that it is a symbol of wisdom and compassion. Hmmm…maybe there is another interpretation.
Gerald Rahm paintingA Gerald Rahm painting of Southern California beachfront homes. I guess California faces the Pacific so it qualifies as part of the Pacific Asia art world.
Jim McVicker painting
This painting of Trinidad Bay by Jim McVicker was in one of the three galleries filled with California beach/ocean paintings.

The South Pasadena July 4th Parade is an All-American event

Boy Scouts lead South Pasadena 4th parade
This troop of Boy Scouts lead the parade, and there were other troops plus Girl Scouts and even Summer Reading Groups in the South Pasadena 4th of July parade.  More kids than adults parading along Mission Street.

The South Pasadena celebration of the Fourth of July traditionally starts with a pancake breakfast, followed by a parade, and then in the evening, fireworks.

Uncle Sam played by Michael Sanford
Michael Sanford played Uncle Sam this year.

And there is always an “Uncle Sam” character in the parade. This year was no different.

No evidence of the hilarious #secondcivilwar that had dominated Twitter on July 2nd and 3rd. Just family fun. The most political thing I saw were dignitaries in 2 cars carrying signs reading “Families Belong Together”

Here is what else I saw at the South Pasadena Fourth of July parade.

Tubas in Minuteman Band
The Minuteman Band followed right behind the Boy Scouts . It’s a volunteer group of all ages.
Pretty lttle patriot
Dressed for the occasion.  Oh…except for the shoe!
Families watching South Pasadena July 4th parade
This group was fairly typical of the parade goers along Mission Street.
4 seniors watching South Pasadena parade
Some very senior citizens were out to enjoy the parade, too.
Patriotic cylist South Pasadena parade
Not everyone in the parade was part of an affiliated group. This guy just rolled along on his own, clearly dressed for the event.
Rose Parade Float South Pasadena 2019
We got a sneak peek at the design for South Pasadena’s Rose Parade Float for January 2019.
Families Belong together in old woody
An old woody with a “Families Belong Together” poster on the side. A car club’s vehicles made up a big part of the parade.

 

Orchard Supply motorized vehicles
The local Orchard Supply hardware store turned out on 3 motorized vehicles of some sort. Very loud but apparently they were electric not gas powered.
Vintage Police patrol wagon 4th parade (
Another vehicle courtesy the local car club. This was not the end of the parade.  The final spot went, as always, to the horsemen and horsewomen from the Arroyo Seco Stables.