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Joel Epstein
Joel Epstein is a senior advisor to companies, law firms, foundations and public initiatives on communications strategy, corporate social responsibility (CSR), recruiting and outreach. His writing focuses on business, politics, public transportation, education and other critical urban issues. Named 2010 Best Online Columnist by L.A. Streetsblog, Joel trained as a lawyer and policy analyst. To learn more about what Joel can do for you or your business, please contact him at

Entries by Joel Epstein

Cars Don't Shop

(0) Comments | Posted March 27, 2015 | 2:55 PM

"Cars don't shop" and "If you want a better city, build bike lanes. It's an economic development strategy."

Those were two of the takeaways from last night at the Hammer Museum in transit-friendly Westwood. The evening at the Hammer's Billy Wilder Theater featured former New York City Department...

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CicLAvia Means Business

(1) Comments | Posted March 23, 2015 | 12:22 PM

There are lots of reasons to love CicLAvia. Just ask the tens of thousands of participants who thronged to Studio City, Universal City and North Hollywood to take advantage of the car-free streets this weekend. And be sure to ask a good many store owners as well.


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Not Your Parents' LADOT

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2015 | 6:27 PM

One of the nice things about shopping for food and eating in France is that the quality is assured by rigorous government regulation. While some boulangeries are better than others, in general consumers can find a good quality baguette in any bakery.

Refreshingly, the same might be said about the...

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How's (the Trash) Business in L.A.? Picking Up

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2015 | 2:37 AM

Today, we're talking garbage. That title is a riff on the punch line of a Borscht Belt joke about a rags bottles man (junk collector). But trash in L.A. is no laughing matter. In fact, it's so serious that a team led by City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana...

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LA Metro Picks Best Candidate for Top Job

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 3:26 PM

Back in January when I got word from a reliable source that Phil Washington of the Denver Regional Transportation District was a serious contender for the top job at LA Metro, I confirmed my intel and immediately went to press. I will probably never know whether anyone at Metro or...

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Movie Night in Downtown LA

(0) Comments | Posted February 27, 2015 | 1:18 AM

Tonight was movie night in downtown LA. And what a treat it was to find a seat near the front of the grand Million Dollar Theatre for Zócalo Public Square's free screening of the 1980 classic comedy, Airplane.

The theatre, opened by Sid Grauman in 1918,...

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Integrating Shared Mobility: Transit, Bikes and Cars

(2) Comments | Posted February 23, 2015 | 7:12 PM

Another day, another excellent conference about the exciting things that are happening in Los Angeles and across the country to improve the way one gets from point A to point B.

Shared mobility, for the daily commute but also for all those hours many of us spend schlepping our kids...

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Are Bicycles Part of the Third Way in Los Angeles?

(2) Comments | Posted February 20, 2015 | 2:44 PM

This morning I attended a great panel discussion about bicycle mobility on L.A.'s Westside. The event, hosted by the Westside Urban Forum (WUF) explored how the Westside may be poised for a bicycle revolution, stoked by the updating of Metro's Westside Mobility Plan, proposals for miles of bike lanes, bike...

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LA Metro's Next CEO

(0) Comments | Posted January 22, 2015 | 7:45 PM

So who will it be? An insider from the County transportation agency? An out-of-towner who knows how to build and manage a large urban transit system? A transit rider.

I am rooting for the transplant with experience and a loaded Metro TAP card. And if he doesn't have a TAP...

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It's No Day at the Beach on Transit to Playa Vista

(1) Comments | Posted January 15, 2015 | 6:42 PM

Kudos to Los Angeles (and Mayor Eric Garcetti) for poaching another Silicon Beach icon from neighboring and increasingly no-growth Santa Monica. Los Angeles can certainly use the 400 jobs as well as the tax revenue Yahoo will bring to the largest city in the County. Still I can't help but...

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The Beverly Hills School Board Is Wasting Your Money Fighting the Subway

(0) Comments | Posted November 21, 2014 | 12:41 PM

Some days are better than others in the campaign to expand public transportation in Los Angeles. Which is why I was delighted to open an email yesterday from a woman I have never met. Mary Weiss, a Beverly Hills resident, must have read of my ongoing effort to...

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Koreatown: El Basurero

(2) Comments | Posted July 22, 2014 | 10:04 PM

You might say this is a throwaway piece. Just a little moral indignation about something I'm pretty obsessed about. It's been a little over a year since I moved to Koreatown from the Westside. Sure, there's garbage on the Westside. Just look at any bus stop and you can see...

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In Beverly Hills, Money for the Subway Doesn't Grow on Trees

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2014 | 12:18 PM

There it was on my screen. And oh, how I wish I'd written the headline: "Beverly Hills Unified's Legal Fight Against Purple Line Subway Route Paid for With School Construction Bonds."

Of course the Beverly Hills School Board was misappropriating money meant for its students to pay for...

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It's Carbon and Monoxide the Ol' Detroit Perfume

(0) Comments | Posted May 7, 2014 | 9:12 PM

It had been over 30 years since my last visit to Detroit. It was time. Ruin porn. That was the term I'd heard used to describe why tourists were now descending on buildings like the long-abandoned Michigan Central Station in Corktown. How could a city let...

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Just TAP and Spin Through the Unlocked Expo Line Turnstile

(0) Comments | Posted January 23, 2014 | 9:47 AM

Who doesn't love a good story? After all, this is Los Angeles. Take this article in a recent issue of LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's blog entitled, "Record numbers riding easy on Expo."

"The first phase of the Expo Line is getting up to speed -- six years...

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Will It Take an Earthquake to Bring the Subway to the Sea?

(4) Comments | Posted January 28, 2013 | 2:13 PM

Where are all the catastrophic earthquakes when you need one? Nineteen years ago last week, Los Angeles and much of the L.A. region were paralyzed when the Northridge earthquake decimated critical public infrastructure including sections of the Santa Monica Freeway.

Of course I am not wishing for an...

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Shanghai Is For Bikers

(3) Comments | Posted November 28, 2012 | 6:00 AM

It had been four years since I was last in China; right after the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Back then, in July and August, it was hazy, hot, and humid. Now, while the temperature was considerably cooler, the poor air quality seemed to be about the same.

Between 2008 and...

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Sunset Blvd: The Bus Not Taken

(3) Comments | Posted July 17, 2012 | 7:02 PM

This week, Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne continued his excellent series on L.A.'s boulevards with a piece on iconic Sunset Blvd. I love the piece and the way Hawthorne travels east from PCH rather than west to capture the energy and creativity of Sunset Blvd in...

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The Orange Line Extension -- Another Reason to Leave Your Car at Home

(4) Comments | Posted July 3, 2012 | 2:21 PM

A lot has been written about the Orange Line extension to Chatsworth, and this great new transit project deserves the praise. So for those who haven't ridden it yet, I'm adding my voice to the mix in the hope that it reaches some Angelenos and tourists who may...

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A Take Out Order of the Westside Subway Extension

(0) Comments | Posted June 26, 2012 | 12:57 PM

It's been a difficult time for me lately. With the Rampture upon us and street services repaving the street I live on, even though my stretch seems just fine, I have been challenged of late to see the L.A. transportation glass as mostly full. Of course there are...

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