Establishment Libertarianism finds the frequent bus.

Reason Magazine, which is gung-ho on food trucks but hostile towards the mass transit and zoning policy that creates the sort of neighborhoods in which food trucks thrive, recently moved into a new headquarters. The building is in a little finger of City of Los Angeles proper that pokes the enclave of Culver City.

It is a ridiculously transit-accessible site. The building sits across from the turnback for LA Metro route 108, which runs 15-minute headways or better all day. It’s a busy enough route to justify an express overlay, the 358, although the peak-direction-only service isn’t particularly useful to Reason workers. It’s also a short, 3-minute walk from the Route 110, as well as several Culver City Bus routes, which are somewhat less frequent. Both Metro routes provide easy connections to the Blue Line light rail.

Availability doesn’t necessarily mean usage, however. You have to wonder if bus riding at Reason might fall into that nebulous category of “things you can do, but probably shouldn’t, since it might be looked down upon by your superiors.” But it is still interesting regardless. The establishment L’s seem to have generally done a better job than the R’s at attracting younger folks into the fold, as well as convincing their elders to dress in a manner approximating what they think younger folks dress like (witness the continuing adventures of The Jacket, the sentient lifeform which uses the body of Nick Gillespie as its host). While a location in Santa Clarita or Mission Viejo would be more in keeping with the Cox/O’Toole values often espoused by the publication, it’s also a bear of a commute for the 25-35 year old who just isn’t interested in living in those places, period. And so it comes to pass that Reason Magazine is now located across the street from a bus layover point.

Kind of sweet, really.

6 thoughts on “Establishment Libertarianism finds the frequent bus.”

  1. “It’s also a short, 3-minute walk”

    Nobody walks in LA!

    (Really, they don’t — people will get in their car and drive one or two blocks)

  2. A few corrections, from somebody who interned for Reason for a few months:

    1. Reason magazine is headquartered in DC, not LA (LA is more for the Reason Foundation, I believe). It’s in a prewar building north of Dupont Circle, and everybody in the office either walks or takes transit to work – there is only one parking space and when I worked there a few years ago it was used by Katie, the office manager – none of the magazine or TV people drove. In fact, I remember Matt telling me a story about how he was at a dinner party with a bunch of liberals and he found it ironic that everyone there drove to work but him. (Of course, not everyone who writes for Reason works at the DC office…Jacob Sullum lives in Dallas, and Jesse Walker lives in/near Baltimore…although Jesse is very friendly to “market urbanism.”)

    2. Nick Gillespie is the only one forcing Nick Gillespie to wear The Jacket – definitely not an imposition by the youngs.

    3. I think people at the magazine are warming up to the idea of transit and urbanism. The magazine recently published an article attacking streetcars but praising European-style light rail, which was a very welcome surprise. And when I was there I managed to get in a few blog posts (example) and even a (very) short magazine piece with a “market urbanist” message.

    They definitely haven’t fully embraced it – I remember Nick killed a blog post I wrote that was friendly towards NYC’s congestion pricing scheme (well, he didn’t kill it so much as re-write it to make it anti-congestion pricing…my editor at the time [the interns had rotating editors…Michael was that week] sent it to Nick to look over because I think he knew that Nick wouldn’t like it), and’s interview with Shoup focused a lot on the benefits to drivers – but change is in the air. I’ll be very surprised if there’s another generation of Wendell Cox/Randal O’Toole types at the big name libertarian thinktanks.

  3. Of course that connection to the Blue Line light rail is in South Central LA, and is a good hour away during rush hour. People from outside the LA region fail to understand the vastness of the city. The main transit center for Culver City is a walk underneath the freeway and not very pleasant. The real benefit to this is access to the 405, and access to the beach cities. Not to get stereotypical here but a lot of young professional people from out of state move to the Beach Cities (Manhattan, Hermosa, Redondo) and make the commute from their tiny apartments there.

    The Reason offices are not within walking distance of much, and although within biking distance of the coastal cities it is still much faster to drive, even during rush hour, as long as you don’t mind dealing with Eastern-type speeds. The problem with out of staters is they are imposing Midwestern and Southern peak hour highway speeds on LA’s underbuilt freeway system. The freeway speeds in LA during the peak are comparable to those in DC, Philadelphia, or New York. The issue is that people travel for much longer distances than those cities.

  4. Stephen, thanks for the info. I think you’re right that there will not be another generation as vitriolic as Wendell and Randall, but that impulse – “the free market is good except when it leads to density” – is going to be with us for awhile. I’m usually a fan of Joel Kotkin’s stuff but here he is protesting upzoning near subway stations which is just beyond the pale.

  5. Didn’t Reason used to be in Santa Monica? Maybe they saw Expo Phase 2 LRT construction out the window and moved away in a panic 😉

    Stephen, many people in transit, like Jarrett Walker, have pretty low opinions of streetcars as functional transportation as well. As Cap’n Transit has pointed out, the thing to watch out for with Reason is the bait-n-switch: they are happy to argue against streetcars and in favor of LRT, but if there’s no streetcar, they’ll argue against LRT and in favor of a bus; if there’s no LRT, they’ll argue against the bus too.

  6. Naw Matt, Reason will never be fully against the bus. The bus provides justification for bus lanes, and once you’ve built bus lanes it’s just common sense that you should open them up to toll-paying SOVs – variably priced, of course – at which point you’ve just convinced the transit agency to fund your HOT lanes.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I am fully in favor of managed lanes and variable tolling as a policy matter. I’m just not a super huge fan of “argue the secondary consideration as if it were the primary consideration, because it’s more palatable than the actual primary” as a debate tactic. The nonprofit arm of Reason had a very earnest study in which they proposed exactly this as THE mass transit solution for Tampa-St Pete.

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