The Infection is Spreading


The infection is spreading…and it’s good news! Since in this case it’s the infection of bicycle infrastructure, which, like the beneficial bacteria in one’s guts that people gulp down yogurt to feed, keeps the system healthy.

Last week, in Venice Beach, just around the corner from Santa Monica’s happy length of Main Street, a couple of LADOT bike corrals arrived, bracketing either end of Abbot Kinney Boulevard’s bustling little retail corridor.

They were instantly packed with bikes—which is no surprise, as the street swarms with velos day and evening, and the sidewalk bike racks are generally at capacity. Fixies, beach cruisers, and numerous city bikes spill over onto parking meters and signposts all along the street. (The city bikes are often the cheap and excellent Linus brand, purchased at the factory outlet on the boulevard itself, and available here at the Pigeon).

This was long overdue, as Santa Monica’s increasing network of bike lanes, green streets, and bike corrals is spurring ridership beyond its borders; so, even though the LADOT corrals are of a design I don’t favor, I’ll take ’em! Better too-little-too-late than nothing and never, which is what LA cyclists put up with for decades.

And LADOT is making some sort of effort to establish a connected network in Venice Beach, with striped lanes appearing on several streets leading off from Windward Circle, though the ones I’ve explored don’t go far into the neighborhoods they seem intended to serve. It took a bit of a fight to get LA’s end of Main Street there a set of proper bike lanes, but they did go in a couple of years back. Now, if the city would just stripe Venice Way to past the library, where the sharrows already on Mildred (I suggestion I made years back) would connect it to the bike lanes on West Washington and the off-road path to the Marina! This route already sees heaps of bike riders, so it needs a facility.

I must say that we are finally starting to see these efforts at creating networks, not just freestanding bits of bike stripe here and there, in other parts of the city as well. Though there are still isolated bike lanes that start and end in blank gray space on Glendale in Atwater, on Rowena, through Park La Brea, on Crescent Heights for a few hidden blocks south of Pico, etc etc, the agenda for the April 17th webinar on the second year implementation of the 2010 bike plan shows a good number of projects dedicated to connecting open-ended network segments. This is vital to enticing the more-casual rider to use a bicycle on the streets for practical purposes.

It’s that more-casual rider who is the future of cycling…and a healthy city.

That is, a city not suffering from so much gas….

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  1. […] Pigeon says the bike infrastructure infection is spreading. Meanwhile, those new green bike lanes in Santa Monica may be nice, but they’re not what cyclists […]