Come the Evolution

Bikes parked in front of cafe in South PasadenaLooks like bicycling and its benefits are popping up in every corner of the region. While Los Angeles lumbers majestically and slowly on, like the stereotypical dinosaur, the nimble little cities scurrying around its feet are developing the successes of the future.

We’ve frequently mentioned Santa Monica and Long Beach (and, on the flip side, the evolutionary dead end of Beverly Hills), but we haven’t said enough about little South Pasadena, out here in NELA Land.

It’s all of three and a half square miles, and can’t have too much of a budget—but it’s apparently not got its brain in its tail, since bicycle infrastructure is spreading steadily there, breeding community spirit and healthy businesses.

Bike lanes now grace two parts of Pasadena Avenue and much of El Centro, and there are plans for much more, and the city’s distinctive new green post-and-ring bike racks are starting to appear. The city’s always had a lot of roadies passing through, but now more everyday cyclists are showing up and stopping for a bite or browse. I’m generally there once a week, and it’s been gratifying to watch it grow. Yesterday there were four or five bikes besides mine lined up before Buster’s Coffee (including a Brompton), as well as the three others across the street , which you see in the photo.

When I wrote to the little city’s administration a few months ago commenting on the paucity of bike racks, I received a personal reply outlining the steps SP is taking to boost bike parking along Mission Street, including a link to the ambitious bike plan—a document which, judging from its download speed, would be nearly as large as the city itself were it printed out!

I’m looking forward to seeing it come to life.

Evolution is a beautiful thing to watch.

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