How does one triangulate a meeting place for a couple of dozen people in large city?
December 16, 2003 8:24 AM   Subscribe

In my effort to organize a Los Angeles MeFi Meetup, I'm confronted with the fact that this is such a spread-out metro area that finding a generally-convenient location requires some high-tech assistance. Does there exist a web service or other program to which you can enter a list of zip codes (like on the 'MeFi Users Near You' list) and find out what area is the most 'freeway close' to the largest number of people? Or do you have any other suggestions how to 'triangulate' a couple dozen people?
posted by wendell to Society & Culture (2 answers total)
Pick a spot accessible by public transportation & has parking available.
posted by riffola at 8:31 AM on December 16, 2003

The standard program for those sort of things is Microsoft MapPoint, which of course is extremely expensive and geared towards business users, although if you can find access to it, it would be the optimal solution. MapPoint has a feature where you can plot points and more importantly distances based on certain parameters, such as highway type.

The problem is that in most cities (Los Angeles included), there is no place that has good public transportation and free parking available. Some people will refuse to go to a location without free parking, or at least seriously consider not going. The other issue is where the people that take public transportation live. Odds are they are not in Orange County, which despite having good public transportation by U.S. standards (24 hour bus service, service every 10 minutes or less on key streets), is an auto-dominated environment. Of course, almost everything in Orange County, except the theme parks and the beach, has free parking.

So, if you want a place with good transit, you look to the rail system and places available from there. Pasadena, Hollywood, North Hollywood, Downtown, etc. And don't forget that if you are planning this on a workday, you'll have to take into account where people work, which is often 20, 30, or even 60 miles from where they live.
posted by calwatch at 10:48 PM on December 16, 2003

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