Posted in Around Town

I’ll Never Take the Bus to Monty’s

Another Pasadena institution is on the way out…Monty’s Steak House is closing (via LA Observed). I love the *idea* of a place like Monty’s, all retro and naugahyde and red meat is good for you. But Monty’s didn’t float my boat. It was a little too expensive and not special enough to justify the expense. Still, I hate to see that wonderful signage go. Looks like Grandview Palace will go along with it—that’s a bummer. I love the fish tank decor, and what’s more, they deliver to my neighborhood! (Meanwhile, Rick’s is hanging on by a thread, with no word on a new location.)

The closing of Monty’s must be related to the South Fair Oaks Innovation Corridor. The rumor is that medical offices will go up in that choice location–the southeast corner of Fair Oaks Ave. and California Blvd. Perhaps the new building (please, God, don’t let it be too ugly) will house a cardiologist or two to treat those who frequented Monty’s (seen in situ here–thanks maasgarid).

My most recent encounter with Monty’s was observing it while sitting on Fair Oaks Avenue. Tried to drive in that vicinity lately? Not pretty at lunch time. Not pretty at pick-up-kids-from-school time, or 5:00 pm quitting time. I was southbound on Fair Oaks just north of California and watched the light change three times before I made it through the intersection. Does someone really expect me to do this by bus?

Yes. Pasadena’s city planners operate under the utopian urban development philosophy that believes long-time drivers will willingly give up their cars in an effort to replicate Manhattan in Southern California (a New York with better weather—nice idea). So the utopians offer these options to get me out of my car. But I think carbon monoxide fumes have gotten to their heads: some people will get out of their cars but most won’t.

I’m something of a utopian myself, and an environmentalist, but those are my higher selves. The truth is I’m a public transportation dilettante. I want to get out of my car, but who has the time? I take the bus when I consciously choose to take extra time to travel, leading to an immediate feeling of self-righteous superiority over the car-laden masses. Riding the bus is less stressful than driving, but only if I’m not on a schedule. If I need to get somewhere fast and/or on-time, I tend to get in my car. This tendency is not good for the environment. I’m still running internal combustion engine 2.0 (with requisite catalytic converter).

What will it take to wrest people like me from my beat up Subaru? Wi-fi on the bus is great idea. Bart has it.

I generally try to read on the bus, but a lot of times I end up looking out the window and letting my mind gloat float. This apparently unproductive activity may not in fact be a waste of time: Team Banzai proposes that the best ideas are born in three places: the bus, the bath and the bed. I’m a big fan of Buckaroo Banzai, so props to the good professor for recognizing that innovative ideas come from a relaxed and receptive brain. Here’s a link to an abstract which also posits that you might have your best ideas when you’re not trying to have them. It’s called “infraconscious mentation.” I think the city hall utopians should use this as part of their marketing scheme to get folks out of their cars. Parking meters on South Lake Avenue will not do the trick.

People will choose their cars and the traffic for much longer than the utopian urban planners expect. And by the way, just how do those planners get around?

My pledge to you, dear reader, is that I will choose alternative transportation from time to time, and you’ll be the first to know of my sufferings adventures.

UPDATE: Well, Pasadena City Council hasn’t forgotten the beleaguered drivers of this town. They just voted to spend $2,450,000 to buy 600 parking spaces at the Del Mar Gold Line station. Thanks to Todd Ruiz for the heads up.

* * * * *

Congratulations to Pasadena Weekly‘s Kevin Urich who was recognized by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Kevin tied for the top spot in media criticism among smaller weekly papers. Way to watchdog, Kev! He’s splitting the $300 prize with a reporter from North Carolina. Think he’ll blow it on a final dinner at Monty’s? Think he’ll take the bus, or drive?


This is a personal blog. Expect a potpourri of stuff.

9 thoughts on “I’ll Never Take the Bus to Monty’s

  1. This planner typically walks to work and all meetings, takes the bus occsaionally but the move to city hall has shortened my trip, or when in a rush, rides my bike. I drive only when I am leaving town – my car is 4 years old with less than 26,000 miles on it.

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