LA Lapped Again!

Looks like the City of Angels is having a devilish time in the race to the future, as it’s been lapped yet again by its little sister on the Westside, Santa Monica.

I’ve commented before on SaMo’s slick moves on this blog—“The West Is Green” and “A Wink from the West” being but two examples—and the city shows no signs of slowing down.

It has been assiduously developing a true network of bicycle facilities on both arterials and neighborhood streets, and spiffing up older bike routes or lanes that are seeing more and more bike traffic as humanity wises up (as happens quite naturally where sensible government doesn’t get in the way by reserving streets to inefficient automobile transport). Case in point: SaMo’s 14th Street, already a bike route, recently received a paint-buffered bike lane for most of its length, making safer passage north or south for thousands of local riders, and crossing a goodly number of bike routes and lanes on the way, from Montana Avenue in the north, past California and Washington, and on into downtown. Here’s a snapshot:

In downtown itself, sharrows often occupy one or two right lanes of arterials, and left-turn pockets as well, and bike racks are spreading steadily out from Main Street and the shopping area around the Promenade to the more workaday retail blocks along Pico and other east-west boulevards. Ocean Avenue, as you saw in one of the links above, is undergoing a massive road diet and transforming into a graceful community space that happens to be a good way for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians all to find their way to or from Main Street. And Main Street itself keeps adding bike racks in a vain effort to accommodate the ever-growing number of cyclists thronging onto the now-friendly streets.

With a result that you’ve gotta love even if you’re the stereotypical stone-hearted climate-skeptical throat-bulging business drone: all those cyclists are boosting the profits of local shops, at long last swelling that almost-mythical economic “tide that floats all boats”—you know, the one that the trickle-down theory promised but never delivered.

Seems that, contrary to popular delusion, cars are so inefficient at moving large numbers of folks into limited areas that the obsession with them has been holding back economic development, draining government treasuries, and actually pushing businesses out of cities as more and more land is seized to make room for more and more motor traffic lanes and car parking spots.

Cyclists have now been shown, through careful quantitative studies, to spend more per year than motorists, though less per visit, and to require far less in infrastructure per passenger as well, making for a double win-win for cities that throw their wholehearted support behind daily urban cycling, as SaMo has.

So when will it be our turn, in LA as a whole, and specifically in Highland Park and its environs, an area chock-full of family-owned businesses that motorists speed past every day?

Are you listening, Los Angeles? When will it be our turn? We’re tired of always placing DFL in the race to a cleaner, happier, wealthier future. So step it up!

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One Comment

  1. twc
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Yes, there is an impressive amount going on in Santa Monica. Ocean Park Blvd (east of around 24th St) and the westbound side of Pearl St have also undergone road diets and been re-striped with bike lanes. It’s great.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] who stops by Santa Monica regularly on his rides, has been documenting the progress here and likes what he sees. Especially business by bike observations on Main […]

  2. […] going on here with fresh eyes, and like what they see. Recent posts on Orange 20′s blog, and Flying Pigeon’s blog, written by Richard Risemberg come to mind especially. Santa Monica, in my opinion, is the city […]

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