A couple of night ago, Gina and I saw this charming bike pile as we walked down Wilshire on our way to local spaghetti, so I had her snap it with her iPhone:
Family of bikes on the Miracle Mile. Photo ©Gina Risemberg 2013
There, right in the middle of the Miracle Mile, two kids’ bikes and two grown-up velos, locked to one of the numerous racks I’ve nagged DOT into putting in here, with the crew no doubt huddled round burgers, pie, or pasta somewhere nearby.
No doubt they had also pedaled together on the sidewalk to arrive there. Wilshire is one of the least comfortable streets to ride on in the city, with narrow lanes, fast (and often arrogant) traffic, and plenty of potholes—though the latter have been eliminated on the mile recently. (The job was just the usual asphalt splash-&-mash, so we’ll see how long it lasts….) Around half of the grown-up riders I see are on the sidewalks, which are fortunately fairly wide.
I’d guess this family rode up one of the side streets, possibly from Park La Brea a block away—PLB is an old Le Corbusier style “radiant city” style gated collection of towers and townhouses, and has its own internal network of painted bike lanes.
As I’ve said, I see more and more people riding bikes in the ‘hood—few of them branded as “cyclists.” Usually folks wearing street clothes, riding fixies, hybrids, cruisers, and a few city bikes. And one well-dressed fellow around my age on a Brompton. More baskets than helmets, for sure.
We would see many more such folks if there were safe and welcoming lanes of any sort along this most central of Los Angeles’s boulevards! Wilshire, of all streets, should be more than a storm drain for noisy metal.
When we have the sort of facilities in a street such as Wilshire that would let this family, with their two little children, ride along it without retreating to the sidewalk, then we’ll know we finally have a grown-up city—one that takes care of its kids.
And we’ll have a real boom in business, and in conviviality, and in love of our giant village, if we ever get there.
But I think we’re getting there!