A Little Love for NELA

Well, good news for Highland Park cyclists again, after a bit of a dry spell: LADOT is ready to extend the York Boulevard bike lanes all the way to North Figueroa from where they currently end at Avenue 55. All they’re waiting for, according to an article in the Highland Park Patch, is for the sewer work to be finished at York and Fig, which should happen around the end of the month.

In an ideal world, these lanes would not only connect to the currently-imaginary lanes on Figueroa itself, but go beyond Fig and over the York Boulevard bridge, to the luxurious new lanes that South Pasadena recently installed on the other side of the arroyo. Interjurisdictional coordination, you know? Since few of us live our lives confined to just one city, or even one county, but cross in and out of municipalities often several times a day.

Busy bike racks at Cafe de Leche
Where the Avenue 50 bike lanes don’t connect to York
And of course, Figueroa is as deserving of bike lanes as York. It too is full of small locally-owned business that speeding car traffic sees only as a blur on the periphery. Making it easier for residents and visitors to notice and stop at the dozens of restaurants, coffeeshops, tiny groceries, party stores, and other establishments, as well as for kids to get to the schools, parks, and libraries on or within a block or two of Fig should be a priority, and these are ends that bike lanes have been proven to serve well.

Bike lanes on Fig would also make for a cyclist’s ring road around NELA, at least witha small extension of existing lanes on Cypress. Then we could begin to build an internal neighborhood network, some of which—such as the incomplete lanes on Avenue 50, which connect to neither York (at Caeé de Leche, of all places to miss!) nor Fig. They miss Fig by just a block or so, too—rather silly.

So let’s all be glad at heart that the York Boulevard lanes will move a mile closer to completion soon…but let’s not forget there’s still a lot to do before we can say that NELA has the bike network it needs to support healthier residents, more prosperous businesses, and safer streets for all who live in or come to this part of our city.

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