Birth of a Network

Photo of recent bike lane on Crescent Heights
Just the other day, as I turned onto Crescent Heights at its southern end on my way home from the Far West Side, I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice new bike lane.

Crescent Heights is a great exercise in utility for Westside riders, since it provides a tranquil and well-paved alternative to La Cienega. La Cienega is a road you ride when you need to get to someplace on La Cienega, but the paving’s crappy, the view is dull, and the traffic frantic and loud.

Crescent Heights, two short blocks east, lets you relax as you make your way between Guthrie, two blocks north of Venice Boulevard, and Olympic in Midtown. There Crescent Heights briefly changes its name, using Carrillo and McCarthy Vista as pseudonyms for a few blocks before casting aside its disguise and continuing on as Crescent Heights again all the way to Sunset. It becomes more crowded north of Wilshire but still isn’t too bad as a north/south route, something lacking in many parts of LA.

However, the bike lane pictured ends after less than half a mile.

So I thought to myself, “Not another orphan bike lane!” It’s pretty well known now that scattershot networks don’t drive ridership the way a well-connected grid of facilities does.

So I wrote to LADOT’s bikeways bunch and asked What’s up?

Well, good news: even the LADOT gets it eventually. To quote the affable and hard-working Nate Baird:

[Crescent Heights is] a planned BFS [Bicycle-Friendly Street] up to San Vicente, with planned BFS connections at 18th St., Airdrome St., Cashio St., Whitworth Dr., and Commodore Sloat Dr. And Pico Blvd. is on the plan for bike lanes.

I believe that San Vicente has been promised bike lanes as well (which it already sports on the WeHo stretch.)

Nate did caution me that none of the cross streets is on the priority list yet—something to bring up at the next BPIT meeting perhaps—but, since LADOT has been making up for its recent decades of malign neglect as regards bicycling infrastructure, and getting pretty good at slapping paint, I’m going to be so bold as to hope we might see a connected neighborhood bike grid in the McCarthy Vista area sooner rather than later.

I wonder how far those Pico bike lanes might extend. The street is seeing medians installed right now, in that same neighborhood….

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