Thursday, June 11, 2009

Los Angeles Bike Lanes

Los Angeles city planning officials are now accepting suggestions for previously proposed bike lanes plan.  The deadline to submit any and all suggestions is June 12.

I had a chance to quickly peruse the proposed plan and one thing jumped out at me; a large stretch of Santa Monica Blvd (the portion south of Doheny Blvd and north of Avenue of the Stars) has been designated as a "proposed but currently infeasible" bike lane.  Now, anyone who has been stuck in gridlock on this part of Santa Monica Blvd has surely noticed the large expanse of land located on the western border of Santa Monica Blvd.  Predominantly grass with a dirt path along with some trees, this area has plenty of space to accommodate 2 meager bike lanes (4 feet in width probably) going opposite directions. Many bike commuters already use this stretch of Santa Monica Blvd, choosing to perilously weave in and out of traffic. 

Those against a bike lane will point to the fact LA already lacks parks, why pave over this area in order to put in a bike lane.  Putting a bike lane here isn't a case of paving over Canal St. Martin in order to make a bike lane.  For all I can tell this area is hardly ever used except for the jogger, wandering tourist, or periodic art show.  Has anyone ever seen someone sitting on the grass?  A protected bike lane would leave most of this area intact.

What I think is happening here is the NIMBY phenomenon.  Just as Beverly Hills residents have impeded the expansion of  LA's budding metro, now we have these same residents preventing a simple bike lane from being put on Santa Monica.  Sadly, I don't this think will change until a cyclist gets in a bad spill on this stretch of road.  Or maybe our ineffectual Mayor will follow his New York counterpart's example.


  1. Beverly Hills wants cyclists to all fall off the face of the Earth. All bike routes or lanes that touch their border die on contact. They have zero acomodations for cycling, and as a large chunk in the middle of everything, impose a serious roadblock to progress. I think one of these days critical mass needs to make a visit to nimby land.

  2. I second the critical mass call. Preferably during the heart of rush hour.

  3. Now that I see all these accounts of BH hating on cyclists, my personal experience starts to make more sense: