Secrets Round the Corner

I can thank Pigeon Master Josef for introducing me to this quirky little shortcut that I often use now when I’m in the Pigeon’s ‘hood. He led a straggling line of us across it one night on a ride that wandered into the bed of the LA River near the 110 overpass—arriving there just after dusk, a magical time with streetlamps just lighting up and the sky still lambent with the last color of the fallen day—then doubled back to end up at Good Girl Dinette on Avenue 56, a wonderful, cyclist-friendly Vietnamese diner that has become a regular stop for me and mine.

The “Graffiti Bridge,” as I call it for reasons that the photo makes obvious, starts (if you’re heading south) with an inconspicuous little gate next to the elementary school playground just around the corner from Cypress. It crosses over the 110 freeway and the Arroyo, squeezes into an increasingly narrow walkway alongside a commercial building, and drops you off on Avenue 33 right by the Gold Line tracks. From there it’s an easy jaunt through the slowly-growing loft neighborhoods to Avenues 26, 20, 19, and 18—the last two having brand-new bike lanes, by the way, that will eventually form a “street bridge” for two segments of the LA River bike path. From there I cross over the North Broadway Viaduct to Chinatown, Roller’s Wiggle, Sunset Boulevard, and points west.

In truth, it cuts only a little distance, but adds a great deal of visual interest, shows you some largely ignored little streets, and gets you out of traffic for a couple of miles.

You do have to watch for old railroad tracks between Avenues 26 and 20, and I probably wouldn’t recommend rolling it at 2AM, but it is infinitely more interesting than tired old Figueroa is between the same two points.

Of course if Fig4All gets rolling, and holds the city to the concept of a road diet and bike lanes on North Fig, that might change…but the Graffiti Bridge will always hold a certain charm for me (yes, my tastes in charm are odd), and I am indebted to Josef and the Pigeon for showing me both this quirky shortcut and the Good Girl Dinette in just one shop ride.

In fact, check the Shop Rides page right now to see what’s scheduled next. You might discover a whole new world—maybe even in your own neighborhood!

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  1. Posted June 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    I like it. Never checked it out on the Google map but there it is: a hairline passage over the 110 just before it enters into that awful pretzel. And it offers some good exploring around that most interesting section of the avenues. Great stuff – thanks! We need a ‘wiggle’ wiki (you heard it here first! to document these faves.

  2. grrlyrida
    Posted June 22, 2012 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    I’ve been on it once. But as a woman I felt it was too isolating and unsafe.

  3. Posted June 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I am an adult male, and I think it is isolating and unsafe too! I only cross over the bridge during daylight, casually armed with a bike lock. However, it IS a great car-free cut-through, and I would be sad if I couldn’t use it anymore.

    Plus, how am I going to keep up with the latest tagging crew if I don’t read it on this bridge?

  4. Walk Eagle Rock
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    When I go from Eagle Rock to downtown LA I used to go Figueroa to San Fernando to Pasadena then down Broadway. Then I switched it up to go Figuera => San Fernando => Humboldt => Ave 18 => Spring St. My least favorite part is when I have to cross two lanes of traffic on Figueroa to make a left onto San Fernando right after a freeway exit/entrance. It can be very stressful. This bridge offers an excellent way to connect to Humboldt by avoiding the especially stressful portion of Figueroa and San Fernando. I love the bridge, and I too, as a young white male would only use this bridge during daylight. All I’ve encountered are young teen couples chatting or kissing or a group of teenage friends hanging out (maybe they’re up to no good, I don’t know, but I’ve never have a problem with them).

    It’s a huge bummer that the Humboldt is such a bumpy street, otherwise I’d really love this neat connection to reach downtown!

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  1. […] although one notes that you can’t blame all riders for the actions of a few. Richard Risemberg discovers the Graffiti Bridge. Four Santa Monica schools will take part in the Safe Routes to Schools […]

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