January 21, 2017 was the largest ridership day in LA Metro history thanks to the inaugural Women’s March, which brought an estimated 750,000 people downtown. Faced with various road closures, many participants opted to take Metro to Pershing Square instead of driving — and dealt with jam-packed trains and long lines at fare vending machines as a result.
Organizers are expecting another large turnout for the 2018 march on Saturday, January 20. Based on their experiences getting to the Women’s March last year, will people again pack public transit to DTLA? Or, will we see an increase in traffic congestion as marchers switch to driving, like in the second phase of “Carmageddon?”
Be flexible and prepared to use more than one mode for arriving.
- For many people, taking one of the five Metro rail lines that go to DTLA will continue to be their best option, even with anticipated crowding and delays. Metro has a quick video with a few tips for making your trip by rail a little easier: Buy your TAP card early, load at least $3.50 on your card in advance, and get to your station early.
- You may find it easier to use rideshare such as Uber or Lyft. The Women’s March recommends getting dropped off at 7th and Olive, but it may be easier for your driver to navigate streets at the periphery of the event (8th or 9th and Olive, for example).
- If crowding makes your trip difficult, you can always walk (or march!) for part of it. Try Flower Street for the Expo and Blue lines, and Wilshire Boulevard for the Purple and Red lines. To get to the Gold Line from Grand Park, follow Temple Street and Los Angeles Street to Union Station — no rail transfers required!
Bicycling is a good option downtown.
- Once downtown, you may find it easier to take Metro Bike Share than to walk longer distances. Get the app ahead of time to see what stations have bikes available.
- Or, take your own bike! 7th Street west from Koreatown, and Olive Street and Grand Avenue south from Exposition Park, all have bike lanes heading toward Pershing Square.
Don’t forget the bus!
- The Source’s article on this year’s Women’s March lists all the bus routes that will get you close to the starting point.
- The article also provides information on West Hollywood’s free shuttle to the Red line Hollywood/Highland Station.
Stay in the know.
- Keep in touch with LADOT to see what streets are closed.
- Check in on Metro’s Twitter account and The Source to see service updates.
Keep an open mind.
- Think of the Women’s March as an “open streets” event, and take the opportunity to dust off your bike and ride downtown.
- Lots of people try walking or biking to CicLAvia events around town — here’s another opportunity to try it out!
The 2018 Women’s March will likely again bring large crowds downtown and test the capacity of LA’s transportation system. With some planning, however, you can make your trip to Pershing Square a little bit more convenient and comfortable for yourself and your fellow marchers.