Monday, September 24, 2012

Hello Suburbia!

Summer is over... Waaahhhh!!!! *sob sob sob*

I flew from Chicago back to California yesterday. For the next few days I am staying in the charming suburb in which I grew up and my parents still live. This Bay Area town has changed quite a bit since I lived here. While it's always been a middle-class community, it now caters to a higher income level than I will ever likely achieve.

The charming and pleasant Diablo Valley
I blame Chicago for aiding in my gaining of 5 pounds over the summer. So many gatherings, festivals, food, and beer, beer, and more beer! So now that I'm headed back to LA where the pressure to be thin and "fit in" in Hollywood is so strong, I've decided that I need to get my ass back in gear.* I read something about the Bar Method and guess what?! There's a studio just 1.4 miles from my parents' place. Because it was so close, I chose to ride my bike. Just when I thought LA was the worst possible place ride a bike, I forgot to look at my sweet, happy, picturesque home town. I was actually shaking for the 10 minute ride being so nervous about the 6-lane roads and car-centric strip malls. I rode in the middle of the road for the most part. There was only one other biker that I saw and a pathetic attempt at bike infrastructure (sharrows, in my opinion, don't count). So, suburbia, you provided a great childhood, but only by car.
Luckily, Main Street isn't so bad.

*I actually have never felt pressure to be thin in LA, but it seems like that might be the case based on the US Weekly magazines that I read from the oversized mail drop in the hallway of my apartment building before my neighbor picks up her mail. However, I am now apart from my beloved manfriend (hence the earlier sobs) and must also be a super hot mama for the man without whose support I could never get through grad school.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

How can we activate escalators?

If you're like me, an I'm-almost-about-to-be-late-but-if-I-powerwalk-and-and-make-some-strategic-jay-walking-decisions-I'll-make-it-right-on-time type of person, then you loath escalators. Usually it's faster to take the stairs, which makes no sense because an escalator is a moving staircase! It does a majority of the work for you, yet most people let technology do all the work for their bodies.

I see people hustle through the "L" platforms and rush through the pedway, but soon as they step onto an escalator, all movement stops. They just stand there. And stand and stand and wait and stand and wait until they have reached the top where they realize their legs can magically move again! This is not only a public health concern, but making me late! And a lot of people don't even have the respect to stand to the right of the escalator allowing those that choose to use their magic, muscle-powered legs and butts to walk past them on the left (whether they don't know to let people pass on the left or just don't care is beyond me).

So what about making it easier for people? I wrote an article last year about how point of decision prompts increase the usage of stairs instead of elevators. Why not use the same idea for escalators? Here's a fast and simple idea to increase movement on escalators:

I took this photo the other day and Nordstrom Rack on a power lunch shopping run (although it ended up being just window power shopping because I had to remind myself that I should not be spending student loan money on discount shoes). It irked me that I had to wait behind other bargain hunters, who clearly were power shopping like myself, but froze once on the escalator. With just a little spray paint and some stencils, would these signs get people moving?