Bike lanes on 1st Street in Boyle Heights / Credit: Erick Huerta

Boyle Heights Beat surveyed 53 Boyle Heights residents last summer to find out how people get around the neighborhood and the city.

The survey results show how important public transportation ””especially the new Gold Line ”” is to Boyle Heights. Still, the preferred mode of transportation is the car.

Reporters conducted the survey at the Farmer’s Market in Mariachi Plaza. More than 50 percent of those surveyed use a car to get around the neighborhood. Fifteen percent use the Metro, while 13 percent use bikes and 13 percent use buses. Two percent said they get around on foot.

Of those surveyed, 61 percent said they travel daily outside of Boyle Heights, while 31 percent travel outside the community weekly. The remaining 8 percent travel outside the community once a month or less.

When asked about the usefulness of the Mariachi Plaza Gold Line stop, responses were evenly divided. One third responded that it was useful for commuting needs; one third responded that it was somewhat useful, and one third responded that it wasn’t useful at all.

Just over half said they were not affected by cuts in bus service, while 28 percent said they were somewhat affected. Twenty-one percent said that the cuts in bus service have negatively affected their commutes because of longer wait times.

Thirty-five percent said they spent between 30 minutes and an hour commuting. Of those who get around by car, most say it’s for convenience.
Some said that the downturn in the economy had changed the way that they move around the city. Guierellma Gonzalez, 39, said she uses the Metro and the bus now because “gas is very expensive.” Olga Garcia said she has become “more mindful now, and I started riding my bike.”

Seven of those surveyed indicated they would use bikes more often if there were more bike lanes. Kristopher Fortin, 23, says he uses the Metro and his bike to get around, but would like to see more bike lanes because “it’s safer for bikes.” He would also like to see “improvements to roads” because the condition of many streets ruins the wheels of bicycles.

More information on the Eastside Access Project can be found at MTA’s website.

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