Sunday April 10, 2016
9am, Downtown Long Beach
Last week, I drove in downtown Long Beach for the first time. I’ve been there on a class field trip from UHP 101 before, but we travelled by bus and by foot. As a pedestrian, I remember that the place was confusing, but I pegged that to me seeing downtown Long Beach for the first time, so of course I would feel confused. As a driver, I felt lost. As I was driving down 7th street, the street turned into the type of road I feared: one-way. One-way streets were the reason why I was afraid to drive in Los Angeles, but here I was in Long Beach experiencing it without being prepared for it. I think I slowed down 20mph.
I went to downtown because I had a volunteer event there, and when I was going go back to campus, I thought I could just go back the same way I came, not remembering that the streets were one way. Of course, I ended up lost. I wandered into neighborhoods, hoping I could find a place to temporarily park. Surprisingly, all available parking spaces were filled. Having to look around, I did notice the stark contrasts between wealthier houses and the not-so-wealthy, just a street apart, like Professor Smith showed. Finally, I parked in a disabled parking space, so that I could use the GPS and get back.
One thing that I did kind of like in downtown was how straight the streets were. I was actually surprised that they were straight, since Professor Smith said straight streets like these were usually for the suburban space. These were nice blocks in which I knew that turning left three times would bring me back to the first street I was in before, and I could see really far down on a street. It was interesting, but kind of boring to drive on, once I was getting the hang of one-way streets. Otherwise, the first time I drove there, I was grateful.