Just Over the Border

While LA frets and yammers through endless meetings with NIMBYs who view bike lanes with as much disdain as they do facts, just over the border from Highland Park, in South Pasadena, the county’s most charming little town is steadily putting in cycling infrastructure.

The photo shows a Metro bike rack by the Gold Line’s Mission Station, but city-supplied racks are starting to bloom on sidewalks here and there—beginning with one in front of the Trader Joe’s—and more are on the way. According to Samuel Zneimer for the City Manager’s office, “The City realizes the importance of having bicycle parking near business so that bicyclists can park their bicycles securely and patronize the establishments,” and racks will be showing up all over the little town soon.

A nascent bikeways network is growing too. I reported on this blog when Pasadena Avenue was not only repaved but gained bike lanes from the York Boulevard bridge to the Gold Line tracks. Soon after, lanes showed up on leafy Central Avenue, and then on the spur of Pasadena Avenue from the Gold Line tracks to where it swerves and becomes Mission Street.

Oddly enough, lawns did not wither and die, children did not suddenly vomit blood, no plagues of locusts appeared, Satan did not rise fuming out of cracks in the asphalt, and no merchants shuttered their doors and trudged despondently into poverty.

Everyone is doing just fine, those pesky cyclists cruising up and down Mission keep stopping to spend money, and the administration is planning to do lots more to allow and encourage residents and hungry visitors to ride in their city.

I have to admit I was skeptical when I saw South Pasadena’s extensive bike plan, but, despite its tiny budget, the town is moving forward with it. It’s quite a relief to arrive there after riding the gantlet of bleak lanes and screaming traffic that is Figueroa. I just hope that someday soon I won’t have to feel that relief, and that maybe I might be detained by the sheer charm of what Figueroa could be with some traffic calming, a couple of bike lanes, and a human-friendly streetscape.

I do end up at Café de Leche, on the York Boulevard bike lanes, often enough. But more of my folding green falls out of the wallet on Mission Street, just over the border.

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