Let’s play that little game to see whether you can spot what’s wrong with the pictures below:
Did you figure it out? I thought not, so I’ll give you the answer:
They weren’t taken here in Northeast LA.
In fact, they weren’t taken anywhere in the City of Los Angeles. I shot them a few days ago on the City of Santa Monica’s Main Street.
Loads of bikes, locked to loads of bike racks, in front of shops, bars, and restaurants crowded with loads of happy people. (In fact, despite a plenitude of racks, there still weren’t enough for all the bike traffic.)
Santa Monica’s portion of Main Street was blessed with a road diet several years ago, and it shows: people are riding their bikes everywhere, most of them people who are not “CYCLISTS.” Rather, they are regular folks who have discovered–thanks to their city’s infrastructure improvements, which are really modest in cost though great in effect–that the bicycle provides an effective and joyful, as well as efficient, way to do their shopping, dining, and commuting.
And so they crowd into Main Street on their bikes, engendering a cacophony of conversation, happy laughter, and cash register bells. Even on rainy days, as I have often noted!
To be sure, LA has just put its own portion of Main Street, south of SaMo, on a road diet, and Venice’s Abbott Kinney has sharrows and plenty of racks, as well as plenty of bicyle riders. But Los Angeles is really playing catch-up here–especially in light of SaMo’s sudden flood of sharrows, bike lanes, road diets, and new parking racks–not to mention two Bike Centers!–in its own downtown, just north of the Main Street strip.
Imagine this sort of development in NELA, along Figueroa and York! How street life and commerce would grow, and jobs come out of the woodwork, and neighborhoods bloom!
Fortunately, Pigeon Master Josef is working on that–drop by and chat him up about Fig4All.
And his influence reaches far: on the day I snapped those pix, I saw a box-front cargo trike amble past the window of the diner where I sat, no doubt rolling homeward from the Sunday farmers market a few blocks north. Most likely found its way there from NELA!