Additive Neglect, Part Deux


I’ve written before about the City of LA’s fire-and-forget policy towards bike infrastructure, and how it throws down a stripe or two and then leaves them to fade away under the scrubbing of thousands of car tires—or ignores tree branches hanging so low over bikeways that riders are forced out into fast traffic.

It may have been as a result of that post that the branches I photographed on the York Boulevard bridge were recently trimmed…though my fervent hope is that the city remained innocently unaware of my rant and simply got around to doing what it should have done weeks earlier, trimming them out of regard for the facility’s users.

In case it’s the less desirable option—that they were responding to a public complaint— i will note another instance of such neglect, this time in the near Westside. You see it in the photo above—a barely-serviceable bike path alongside Jefferson Boulevard between National and Rodeo, overgrown with handsome but misplaced pampas grass that pushes cyclists out into high-speed traffic. The broken glass that litters the lane doesn’t help, and both those conditions should have been addressed long ago as part of a functioning civic administration.

This particular bit of road may belong to LA or to Culver City, or alternately to both—the online maps I could find were not granular enough to let me determine who owns which portion—but in any case, cities have a duty to maintain the ability to travel freely on public roads for all users, not just occupants of motor vehicles, and the malign neglect to which they subject cyclists reveals what our public so-called servants really think of us—if they remember us at all.

Add to that the engineered-to-kill unmarked mixing zones where many bike paths veer across right turn lanes with not even a hint of a marking or sign—see my article on Conflict Zones—and you could be forgiven for thinking that city administrations are acting as collective hit men for a public raging to clear the roads of anything but cars, cars, cars.

Mayors and councils make grand plans left and right, whisper sweet nothings into the future’s ear, but in the end, they’re in bed with the car-addled past they can’t let go of. If there really were an “all-powerful bike lobby,” our bodies, our neighborhoods, and our economies would be much healthier. But we can’t seem to distract our “leaders'” from the chrome tramp that’s got them by the lugnuts….

Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

5 Comments

  1. Asher
    Posted December 3, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I once dealt with ice plants blocking the roadway along Imperial Highway near LAX.

    The short of it is you have to keep calling the relevant city officials until it’s solved. They may deny responsibility, as they did in my case. Going through your councilman’s office will probably be easiest.

    In my case, the official said there was a maintenance schedule of every 4-8 weeks, but even that was an obvious lie, given how the ice plants had been there for several months or years.

    Also, feel free to pack a machete to fend off wayward foliage :).

  2. ExpoRider
    Posted December 3, 2015 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Very timely post. I drive past that location every day (on the way to my free parking at the Expo station), and I just noticed last week how that grass was obstructing the so-called bike lane.

    That is a very interesting stretch of roadway. It goes back and forth between the cities of LA and Culver City, and the exact location of the photo is within Culver City. Someone slapped a stripe on the street around a year ago, and only recently have they put up signage to identify it as a bike lane.

    You’ll also notice that there isn’t a sidewalk in the picture. The other side of the street has room for a sidewalk, but that part of the right-of-way has been blocked for years by dirt that has flowed from the adjacent lot, which has been vacant for years. They finally started developing that lot a couple months ago, and they’re completing a retaining wall now. Hopefully the sidewalk will come next. However, I have my doubts, because of the jurisdictional situation. The property is in Los Angeles, but the street is in Culver City. Will Culver City build a sidewalk that is only going to serve the City of Los Angeles? If not, they should cede this tiny slice of land to Los Angeles.

  3. Patrick
    Posted December 3, 2015 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Actually that area is the City of Los Angeles. LADOT did the striping and they added the plants for beautification. I ride it daily and saw them install everything. Culver City’s border heads north into the creek over by their Trash transfer center. That is why the parking meters end where they do on Jefferson

  4. Ben
    Posted December 3, 2015 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    I ride through that intersection every day to access the Ballona Creek path from the LA Cienega station. The whole thing is a disaster. One block from a transit station and its missing a crosswalk, the light phases are incredibly long and the design of the street encourages excessive speeding and red light running through the Expo bike path’s crossing with Jefferson. Really unfortunate that conditions are hostile there being a gateway to the Baldwin staircase, the park and Ballona Creek.

  5. Ralph
    Posted December 11, 2015 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Many cities these days have on line forms to post street problems. My city, Sunnyvale, takes care of the issues pretty quickly when notified. Especially traffic lights which don’t respond to bikes. With the leaner city staffing it is important to note the problems with roads and sidewalks as you see them. The crews on the roads see all the places but it might take a year to see all of them.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] Risemberg writes that civic leaders may or may not be out to get us through their not-so-benign neglect of already deficient bike […]

  2. By Today’s Headlines | Streetsblog Los Angeles on December 3, 2015 at 10:44 am

    […] Bike Lane Maintenance Neglected By Los Angeles Or Culver City (Flying Pigeon) […]