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08/15/2010: "Show Me the Way to go Home...."
When we visited Portland last spring, I was pleased by the highly effective wayfinding the city had added to its bike route networks. As you see below, it not only designates the route itself, but indicates destinations ahead of you and on cross routes, as well distance and estimated time to them:

Wayfinding in Portland

We found this most useful on a little 55-mile jaunt we made with Portland acquaintances during our stay, since we lost our guides in the wilds of North Portland, and had to find our way back alone in a city neither of us knew. (They had suffered two flat tires while we were ahead of them and just out of earshot)

More recently, wife Gina was in San Francisco on a business trip and photographed this sign, which, though kindly, provides considerably less information than Portland's:

Wayfinding in San Francisco

I guess bicycle infrastructure must get worse as you go south, because you all know what we get here in Los Angeles: a paltry green rectangle with the words "Bike Route" on it, usually hanging crookedly behind a drooping branch somewhere. Not even worth photographing....

This in spite of LA being a far larger and more complex city than our northern neighbors, one with streets that appear and disappear almost whimsically, and with vast distances for cyclists to traverse.

You'd think that in the second-biggest city in the country, one with an economy that outstrips several states and a few small countries, we could do better....

Sure, LADOT mentions "wayfinding" as a category in its endless studies on how we can reinvent the wheels already in daily use in other towns...but it's famous for footdragging.

So don't just suck it up: get involved! Contact LACBC, LADOT, and your city council members and ask them: Why don't we sign up LA for the future?

Remember, representative government is based on citizen complaints. Be the squeaky wheel!

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