Border Crossings

As Rod Stewart sang ages ago, “Every picture tells a story, don’t it?” And two pictures can tell a hell of a story…as you’ll see below.

Here is Santa Monica’s treatment of Ocean Park Boulevard, which they call a “Complete Green Street”:

And here’s a new bike lane on LA’s Jefferson Boulevard near Baldwin Hills:

But the photos don’t tell the whole story, for while the bike lane in LA looks a bit forlorn in comparison to its glamorous and affable Westside cousin, it’s a bit more diligent a piece of infrastructure than you might suspect at first glance. In fact, it surprised me, for, as I rode along it, the road changed jurisdiction, crossing the border into Culver City—and so did the bike lane, seamlessly!

It encompasses the area where Christine Dahab crashed into a group of night riding cyclists who were waiting in the parking lane for some friends to come down from the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, and where pedestrians crossing from their parked cars have had too many close calls.

I suspect that this lane was promoted by Culver City, as almost every reference I could find to it online is from that little town, and mentions “the cooperation of the City of Los Angeles.”

That’s right, flying in the face of a grand old Los Angeles County tradition, the “disappearing bike lane.” In fact, all sorts of strange things happen at our city’s borders.

After all, I regularly ride down a street that is divided between Los Angeles and Beverly Hills along its centerline, and of which one side is smoothly paved while on the opposing side traffic lurches over post-apocalyptic cracks, ruts, and potholes.

And here in NE Los Angeles, we have the York Avenue bike lanes stopping at Figueroa, with a gap of at least half a mile before South Pasadena’s bike lane starts at the continuation of York (under a different name) just beyond the bridge.

But…it looks as though Los Angeles and Beverly Hills may (however grudgingly) cooperate on the bike lanes proposed for Burton Way, another street which is longitudinally bisected by the line between those two cities. And in the same area, Los Angeles and West Hollywood appear to be coordinating the bike lanes on San Vicente, which plunges from one town to the other at Beverly Boulevard. (However…WeHo’s lanes are done, and I haven’t noticed any new paint on the asphalt in LA’s portion yet. They’re in the bike plan; they’re just not on the ground yet.)

My own opinion is that interjurisdictional projects ought to get priority, so that we don’t end up with yet more disconnected scattershot not-quite-networks in our region. After all, people move seamlessly between cities here, and so should infrastructure, including bike infrastructure.

But in any case, it’s starting to happen. LA County’s towns are finally learning to “play well with others,” it seems.

I guess there’s hope!

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