Picture Me Rollin’: Using Skates for the First/Last Mile to Transit

Here at LADOT, we support and encourage active transportation in all shapes and forms such as walking, jogging, cycling, skating, or whatever best fits your interests. This time around, we are shifting gears from talking about our beloved two-wheeled vehicle to (re)introduce a mode transportation and recreation that seems long forgotten, but is still alive and kicking: skates!

Sidewalk Bike Parking 20th Birthday

Author of this post, Braulio, enjoys the roll from Metro’s Expo Line to his class at USC.

Who said inline skates and roller skates were a thing of the past? Believe it or not, people still skate around for recreational purposes, and some even utilize them as a mode of transportation. You can find most inline and roller skaters along one of L.A.’s piers rolling up and down the coast and taking advantage of Southern California’s sunny days. However, there are a few people who also use their skates to  reach less leisurely destinations like school, work, or shops. These people demonstrate that skates are a convenient and fast way to complete short trips. When adding public transportation to the mix, the average skater can reach virtually any destination they can think of!

In its 2014 First Last Mile Strategic Plan, the Los Angeles County Regional Transportation Authority (Metro), in collaboration with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), breaks down a person’s trip on public transportation into three components: the first mile the person travels to reach the transit stop, the transit trip itself, and the last mile the person traverses to get to their final destination. This Plan identifies skates as an active transportation option with the second greatest reach, after riding a bicycle, in terms of travel speed and effort required.

Metro Access Sheds

Access sheds to transit using different modes of active transportation as described in Metro and SCAG’s First Last Mile Strategic Plan.

Words of Advice for Rolling in the City

Not only are skates a big aid in expanding the reach of the public transportation system, but they also are a great way to maintain a healthy body and a healthy mind. If you decide to take your skates around the streets of our City, here are a few tips to help you stay safe and enjoy yourself:

  • Always wear protective gear. A helmet is a must when rolling through the streets. If you have not used your skates in a while, wear wrist guards and knee and elbow pads to prevent unwanted scars and scrapes. When skating at night, wear lights and reflective bands to make yourself visible for people driving cars, riding bicycles, and other users of the road. Keep in mind that most people don’t expect people to be inline or roller skating for transportation, so they will not notice you unless you are wearing appropriate clothing and gear.
  • Watch out for different types of surfaces on the streets, patches, and irregularities on the sidewalk. The smallest dent in the sidewalk or pebble can cause you to fall or trip, especially if you’re traveling at a low speed. Any surface other than a smooth road or sidewalk will give you a little challenging, depending on your level of experience skating, so keep an eye out for these changes as you go.
  • Change into shoes before and after boarding the train or the bus. Do not wear your skates while riding the bus or train. Benches at bus stops and train stations come in handy to accommodate this critical part of your trip. Fortunately, the City has provided benches and public seating near transit almost everywhere.
  • Roll out in a group for extra fun. If you’re interested in skating as part of a group, even if you’d like to embark on your own adventures afterward, you should check out the Los Angeles Friday Night Skate. The Skate gathers about 40-80 people to skate the night away around Hollywood, Downtown, or Santa Monica depending on the week. Organizers of the group skate play different genres of music along the way to energize everyone, encourage active transportation enthusiasts meet, and provide opportunities for skaters to explore their City.
38th BMW Berlin Marathon Inline Skating

Inline skaters competing in the 38th BERLIN HALFMARATHON Inline Skating, the largest halfmarathon in Germany and one of the fastest in the world. (Photo Courtesy Flickr User Adam Lederer)

1 reply
  1. Bobby Peppey
    Bobby Peppey says:

    Especially be careful around LADOT traffic engineers, they are liable to remove a crosswalk when you aren’t looking because the LADOT’s traffic engineers CLAIM THAT A STREET IS 60% SAFER WITHOUT CROSSWALKS according to studies they have done. This was told to us by one of them recently while standing next to Rowena Avenue where he was contemplating removing one of those pesky crosswalks.


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