Progress in Pasadena

Sharrows on Mountain Avenue in PasadenaPasadena is one of LA county’s OGs, incorporated in 1886, largely, according to the city’s website, in an effort to rid the district of saloons. Quite an irony, considering that the city is now home to Craftsman Brewing (an occasional destination for the Pigeon’s famous brewery rides), not to mention an often-rowdy drinking scene on Colorado Boulevard.

Of course there’s much more to this stately old town, once a summering ground for the wealthy from all over the region and even the rest of the nation. It hosts, among others: CalTech, the Jet Propulsion Lab, the Rose Bowl, the Pasadena Museum of California Art, Castle Green, and a plethora of iconic California bungalows, including the Gamble House. It’s a surprisingly diverse city, with some poor folks cornered into its northern reaches, plenty of shaded avenues fronted by tall elegant houses, a number of Gold Line stops associated with transit-oriented developments…and now, a growing network of bicycle facilities.

Such as the one in the photo, which I snapped on Mountain at Chester, while I was riding from Sierra Madre to the Rose Bowl at the tail end of Vélo Rétro’s vintage ride last Sunday. The sharrows are accompanied by large “Share the Road” signs, which themselves sport an icon of a bicycle, just to make sure everyone gets the message.

What really pleases me about this treatment is that it is not downtown, but several blocks away, and serves a large residential neighborhood, providing a modicum of velo-mobility focussed on local travel, and therefore local businesses.

Also, the route intercepts several north/south bikeways that extend the network deeper into the residential neighborhoods and also connect more vigorous riders to downtown Pasadena itself, which hosts the national chains and larger local establishments, and which has a decent (though not great) supply of bike racks. These routes also take cyclists to the local Gold Line stations for longer journeys, extending their range to anyplace served by the Metro rail system.

Including, of course, the mighty Flying Pigeon LA bike shop! Those of you Pasadenans who want to ride but don’t have a decent city bike need only hop on the Gold Line heading downtown, get off at the Heritage Square station a few minutes down the line, and walk a block or so to the Pigeon to pick one up.

It’s good to see how all the towns and cities of our region are starting to build networks that really work for local cycling, and local economies.

Now it’s up to you. Ladies and gentlemen, start your pedals!

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