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05/05/2010: "Lost in Space...."
The Southern California Association of Governments (infelicitously known as SCAG) is proposing a series of "improvements" (oh, dangerous word in traffic engineering circles!) to La Cienega Boulevard where it crosses Baldwin Hills.

Naturally, bicycles are left out of it...though in one PDF they ask for comments on bike/ped issues, in another they dismiss the possibility of including any accommodation for the only individual travel mode that would actually reduce the congestion they're concerned about.

The road is horrible: designed as a half-assed freeway, it is wide, and speeds are very high along it. Though this is their excuse for not considering bicycle access, it remains to my mind the very reason to do so, as bicyclists can and do use it, though most uncomfortably.

It is very wide, with many lanes, so there's room; traffic is fast (and usually quite stupid), so there's need.

There is a major family park (Kenneth Hahn) right at the summit, and there were plans for a bike path through this park, which SCAG feels is impractical because the path would have to traverse working oil fields to get there. But why would it? Most of La Cienega in this area is bordered not by homes and businesses but by dirt slopes and shoulders--there would easily be room for bike lanes or even path alongside the worst (fastest) stretches...if there were will.

If the road's going to be reconfigured anyway, it wouldn't cost much to make room for bikes on this, one of only two passes over the Baldwin Hills. (The other is La Brea, which is nearly as bad and considerably steeper and farther east.)

And while we're at it, let's get rid of two traffic lanes and put in a light-rail line, yeah! If you're talking about moving more people, then get serious about it. This would join the Expo Line now being built to the existing Green Line by the airport. Bikes and trains: the truly efficient and clean ways to get around a big place like LA!

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