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Sunset at Yucca Ridge

68th Annual Conference of the
California Geographical Society
May 2-4, 2014 - Hollywood
Los Angeles City College (LACC)

Los Angeles:
A World City by Subway & Light Rail


Field Trip Information

Field trips are a favorite activity for many conferees. Many students and faculty incorporate field trips into the curriculum or course requirements. We urge you to attend as many as your schedule and budget will allow. Please consult the information below as you prepare to register for the conference. Field trips run on Friday and Sunday, before and after the main events of the conference. Field trips may last half a day, or a few hours.  This year, longer field trips will not include box lunches, but instead make a stop at a restaurant or two.  Only a few trips this year will use busses or large passenger vans.  All Metro trips will depart from the Vermont/Santa Monica station on the north end of LACC.  ALL persons must sign a liability waiver.  Persons under 18 years of age must have a liability waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian.   Descriptions follow:

Friday Field Trips

Metro Rail Transit in L.A. - Brandon Farley, Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority

See L.A. by Rail! The new multi-modal rail transportation system developing in Los Angeles echoes a proud past of intra-urban rail.  LA Metro staff will share an overview of what is on-the-ground and planned for an interconnected system of subway, light rail, commuter rail, and buses, with the node centered at Union Station.  A sample of each type of transportation and their technology will be seen, and how they interface at selected stations and public art is integrated.  Highlights will include Union Station, the 7th & Figueroa station (Red & Blue Lines), and the Chinatown station (Gold Line).  Lunch is optional on your own afterwards at nearby Olvera Street, Chinatown or Little Tokyo.  Group will depart on Friday at 8:30 AM from the Metro stop just outside the Science building at Los Angeles City College (Vermont/Santa Monica station).  The group will travel the subway to MTA headquarters at Union Station for a brief presentation followed by on-site view of rail lines and stations.  The group should return to LA City College by 1:00 PM. (5 hours maximum including non-hosted lunch option).  $10.  Capacity 30.

The Arroyo Seco and Northeast Los Angeles – Lorne Platt

The Arroyo Seco (a seasonal stream) travels through Northeast Los Angeles, from Strawberry Peak, high in the San Gabriel Mountains, to its confluence with the Los Angeles River.  It descends thousands of feet and courses past NASA/JPL, the Rose Bowl, alongside the Arroyo Parkway, through Highland Park, and ultimately to an unremarkable spot beneath two freeways and next to a Home Depot. We will look at the natural history of the Arroyo as it leaves the mountains and passes JPL.  Though our first stop is not directly next to, or in the Arroyo, we’ll discuss its origins while walking through Old Town Pasadena.  We will talk about JPL and American rocketry as rooted within the dry bed of the Arroyo.  Following this, we’ll look at the proposed ‘Cycleway’ that would have linked Pasadena with Los Angeles.  We will also have plenty of time to discuss the neighborhoods that surround the Arroyo.  We will end the tour where the Arroyo meets the Los Angeles River and have a chance to discuss the role that these two rivers have played in the development and growth of Los Angeles.  Departure from the Vermont/Santa Monica Station is at 9AM.  $10.  Capacity 20.

A Tour of Los Angeles’ Historic Core and Modern Skyline – Steve Slakey, University of LaVerne

The Historic Core developed beginning in the late 1800s and was built out by the time of the Great Depression.  It is dominated by one architectural style and a height limit of 150 feet.  The area includes the oldest (1897) continuously operating retail space in the city (Grand Central Market), the oldest remaining (1893) office building (Bradbury Building), the largest collection of movie palaces of any American City, the Jewelry District, the Oviatt Building (an Art Deco classic) and the “Host of the Coast”, the Biltmore Hotel.  After a long period of decline following World War II, the Historic Core is experiencing a revival thanks to the adaptive reuse of old office buildings into lofts, apartments and condominiums and the parallel significant increase of downtown population. New businesses now seem to appear every week.  The Modern Skyline area, generally west of the Historic Core, is characterized by a smattering of “modern” 1950s offices but dominated by International Style high rises.  Many of these are located on Bunker Hill, the site of a massive clearance redevelopment project started in the 1960s and continuing today.  The area includes several museums, Disney Hall, and the new Catholic cathedral.  Itinerary:  Red Line subway  to Pershing Square; Angels Flight; Grand Central Market; Bradbury Building; Biddy Mason Park; Spring St.; Broadway; Jewelry District; Warner Theater; Oviatt Building; Biltmore Hotel; Los Angeles Central Library; Bunker Hill  LUNCH will be available in the California Plaza.  Following lunch, the tour will continue along Grand Avenue--Disney Hall, Music Center, MOCA, and Our Lady of Angels cathedral--and conclude (if time) at Plaza de Los Angeles/Olvera Street and Union Station.  Return on Red Line to LACC.   Notes:  This tour involves about four miles of moderate walking mostly on the level with one slight grade.  There are several options for lunch (on your own).  TAP cards will be provided.  In the (unlikely) event Angels Flight will be operating, a round trip will cost 50 cents.  Tour departs from LACC at the Vermont/Santa Monica Station at 9:15 AM and is scheduled to return at 4PM.  $10.  Capacity 20 persons.

Los Angeles River Walking Tour - Meredith McKenzie of the Urban Rivers Institute

Join us for an easy and educational walk along the Los Angeles River near Elysian Valley (aka Frogtown), where the first phase of the US Army Corps of Engineers ecosystem restoration will occur. Bring your binoculars to track wildlife at this 'soft bottom' area of the River while hearing tales of the LA River's role in Los Angeles history. Highlights include a stroll along the LA River Class I Bicycle Path, river and mountain vistas from Marsh Park, and possible fish sightings. We will end the tour at the Los Feliz Cafe for some lunch (on your own - $10-15) and conversation. The group will travel by transit and bus to our tour starting point at the River. Tour departs from the Vermont/Santa Monica Station at 9AM and ends at approximately 2pm (5 hours).  $10.  Capacity 15

Metro Expo Line Tour - Perias Pillay, Southern California Transit Advocates

This Friday afternoon tour will focus on Metro's newest light rail line, the Expo Line, which opened in April 2012. It will serve as an ideal follow-up to Brandon Farley's Friday morning Metro Rail Transit Overview tour, but participation in the earlier tour is not a prerequisite. Participants will ride the Red Line subway (heavy rail) train from the Vermont/Santa Monica station (by LA City College) to the 7th Street/Metro Center station and board the Expo Line light rail train. We will ride the entire 8.6 miles of the Expo Line to Culver City. Stops include the Pico station (Staples Center and LA Live) and Expo Park/USC (several outstanding museums, a rose garden, and the famous LA Coliseum).  At the end of the line, we will visit construction of Phase 2, a project extending the Expo Line another 6.6 miles westward to Santa Monica by the end of 2015.  Tour departs from the Vermont/Santa Monica Station at 1 PM and should return by 5:00 PM. $10.  Capacity 25.

LA to the Sea via the Blue Line – Steve Koletty, East Los Angeles College

This field trip takes you on a remarkable urban transect from Downtown LA to the sea. We will ride the Blue Line Metro south from the city core to Long Beach, through light industrial and warehouse districts and ethnic communities of Watts, Compton and Rancho Dominguez.  On the way, we make a couple of brief stops including a visit to the Watts Towers.  We will be moving through a fascinating slice of the Los Angeles metropolitan region with very different neighborhoods and activity areas.  Expect dramatic changes in architectural, economic, social and cultural features of the city landscape. Our destination is the Queen City of the South Coast, Long Beach, LA’s precocious partner in the largest port complex in the country.   From downtown Long Beach, it is a short stroll south past the Long Beach Convention Center to Shoreline Village where we embark for a boat tour of the Long Beach Harbor. The cruise views the port complex with container ships from around the world docked at state-of-the-art cargo terminals, includes vistas of the picturesque shoreline of downtown Long Beach, the Queen Mary, and the offshore oil islands.  Bring water, comfortable shoes, sunscreen, camera, and lunch money.  After the cruise, lunch opportunities abound.  The group departs on Friday at 9AM from the Vermont/Santa Monica station at LACC.  We should return to the Los Angeles City College campus by 3:30 pm.  $25.  Capacity 25.

Sunday Field Trips

Eat Your Way through L.A. – Bill Selby, Santa Monica College

This all-day cultural tour will include a survey of the history, people and landscapes of many of the neighborhoods that make L.A. the most diverse city in the world. Urban and cultural geographers are welcome to share their stories that help explain how this city sheds its past and is changing fast to become even more complex. Bring some money to sample a variety of ethnic foods and snacks. The tour can be copied at:
This trip departs via charter bus at 9AM from Los Angeles City College and should return by 4 PM.  $35.  Capacity 30.

Mt Hollywood-Griffith Observatory Hike – Steve Graves, California State University, Northridge

Experience an excellent slice of Los Angeles with a trip up to Mount Hollywood and the world famous Griffith Park ObservatoryTwo options for getting to the Observatory are available.  For those who want to hike up the mountain, you can take the red line to the Hollywood/Western Metro stop where Thai Town meets Little Armenia, and we’ll traverse a couple of gritty urban blocks, through a lovely interwar neighborhood and into Ferndell Gardens, one of the southern entrances to LA’s famous Griffith Park.  It’s about one mile up to the landmark Griffith Observatory, where you can take in the best views of Los Angeles.  If you’re not up for the hike (or getting up early), then you are welcome to catch the 10 AM Observatory Shuttle Bus (DASH BUS) from the Vermont/Sunset station for a 16 minute trip to the observatory.  Once at the observatory participants can either go to the museum / planetarium (for an additional $7 fee) or continue hiking up to Mt. Hollywood (The Hollywood sign is actually on nearby Mt. Lee) where great views await, including a 360 degree panorama of the region.  Stops may include Berlin Forest and Dante’s garden.  You can take the shuttle bus back, or hike a different route back to the Hollywood/Western Metro Stop.  There are many opportunities to witness and discuss a variety of themes in urban geography, recreation geography, physical geography and ethnicity.  Bring water, comfortable shoes and sunscreen / hat.  Lunch is available at the Observatory (and other locations).  Hiking group will depart on SUNDAY at 9:00 AM from the Metro stop just outside the Science building at Los Angeles City College (Vermont/Santa Monica stop), minutes later we’ll begin the nearly hour long trek to the observatory.  We should return to the metro stop by 3PM (perhaps earlier).  (5 hours maximum, 3-6 mile hike, depending on options).  $10.  Capacity 40.

Latino LA – Cesar Espinosa – LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors

This tour will focus on the Latino influence, population, and destinations in Los Angeles.  The first stop will be McArthur Park (Central West part of LA), which at one point was a vacation destination and compared to the Champs-Élysées of Paris for its luxury hotels and shops, and now a hub for Central American immigrants.  Additional destinations include El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument (La Placita Olvera/Olvera Street) , Mariachi Plaza and the landmark Our Lady Queen of Angels church.  The tour will culminate in East Los Angeles' Whittier Blvd (Latino Walk of Fame), home to LA’s "lowrider" culture.  The tour includes on the LA Metro Red and Gold Lines as well as a two to three mile walk through the streets of East Los Angeles (please bring comfortable shoes).  5 hours maximum.  Depart from Vermont/Santa Monica Station at 9AM.  $10.  Capacity 20.




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