But bike lanes on freeways are, fortunately, rare. Nevertheless, freeways affect cycling profoundly—as they do most other aspects of urban life.
Directly, freeways spill stressful noise and lung-clotting pollution well beyond the scraggly ivy decorating their channels. But the indirect effects can be worse: because freeways, contrary to what most people believe, are congestion generators.
Yes, if you build them, they will come—hordes of them, in cars, clogging feeder roads, requiring cities to widen arterial streets, filling the new wide lanes with stressful drivers rushing and roaring about, brushing back pedestrians, crushing cyclists, and destroying communities.
And the freeways themselves, with their wide and looming masses, block streets, cut neighborhoods asunder, and force everyone—but most of all cyclists and walkers—far out of their way to go short distances.
This is why the growing movement to dismantle freeways and build civility back into our cities needs support. While burgs as disparate as Seoul, San Francisco, Portland, and Milwaukee have torn down freeways and found that, contrary to "gut feelings," congestion lessened, while economies and street life bloomed, and people became happier, healthier, and more prosperous.
But "gut feelings" and persistent though empty cars-first philosophies still rule the day, with transportation agencies using outdated figures, untested assumptions, and even outright lies to promote more freeway projects.
That is what is happening in Los Angeles, as CalTrans and Metro strive to push through plans to extend and expand the notorious I-710/SR-710 freeway complex in the eastern part of the county, using traffic from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as an excuse.
If you want to learn in detail why this is a unworthy, and perhaps even a profoundly immoral, endeavor, and if you want to discover alternatives that would do the freeway's job more efficiently and less expensively, without flooding the region with traffic, smog, and stress, read the following article on our sister publication, Sustainable City News:
Beyond Freeways: Commerce, Community, and Contention along Los Angeles's 710 Corridor
This battle, which has raged on and off for sixty years, is reaching a climax. What happens next could determine development patterns here, and perhaps all over the country, for generations to come.
It's a long, four-part article, but it's worth an hour of your time. Even if you never get on a freeway in your daily life.
Richard Risemberg on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 20:56:05 -0800 [link]
And Flying Pigeon LA muses on the Strange Changes exposed by South Pasadena's shenanigans on its end of the York Boulevard bridge.
Richard Risemberg on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 16:42:59 -0800 [link]
While over at Flying Pigeon LA, I look at the new lanes on NELA's York Boulevard and give a shout-out to LADOT: Now You're Talking!, as a real network starts to take shape in Highland Park.
Richard Risemberg on Thu, 17 Apr 2014 00:51:27 -0800 [link]
On Orange 20's blog, CicLAvia, Ciclovía, gives readers a little preview of the event and reaches into the past for a short history of Open Streets programs.
And at Flying Pigeon LA, I just luxuriate in the Afterglow of having ridden the route for the pure pleasure of it, minus camera and notebook….
Richard Risemberg on Wed, 09 Apr 2014 22:53:42 -0800 [link]
- Three red light runners, sailing blithely through intersections at busy streets. One of them wasn't even preserving momentum, but gunned it from a dead stop, cellphone jammed in her elegant ear, well after the light had changed.
- Cars double parked on a narrow residential street that doubles as a collector, because it has traffic signals at the arterials it crosses. (This is Martel, for you locals, a street where I repeatedly catch up to those simpletons who drag-race from stop sign to stop sign, getting nowhere fast.)
- And, on quiet little Fourth Street, a moron encased in an expensive SUV again drag racing from stop sign to stop sign, though intersections are barely a hundred yards apart on Fourth—then blasting the horn at a couple of sedans that were slow crossing Highland, where traffic was jammed because the police were clearing up a three-car crash.
- Said three-car crash, which, as near as I could judge from a glance as I passed, probably happened when yet another drooling fool tried to pass on the right and hit a parked car. Highland sees routine speeding, often over sixty miles per hour.
Richard Risemberg on Tue, 08 Apr 2014 17:28:06 -0800 [link]
Meanwhile, Flying Pigeon LA how a little Network Elegance would do a lot to make LA more bikeable—and maybe better-off as well.
Richard Risemberg on Wed, 02 Apr 2014 23:24:45 -0800 [link]
And the Miracle Mile is home to Bicycle Fixation!
Not to mention several important art galleries and the world-class Los Angeles County Museum of Art. So, in conjunction with the Mid-City West Community Council, I've help persuade a number of galleries that are normally closed on Sundays to open for the event, and prepared a map to be given out at MCWCC's table in front of the Urban Light installation at LACMA's BP Grand Entrance.
You can lock up your bike in the pedestrian zone that begins at Curson and enjoy the galleries on your own, or you can join me for a guided tour leaving from the MCWCC table at 1PM.
Click on the image of the flyer below of a printable PDF of the map:
Click image for printable PDF
Richard Risemberg on Tue, 01 Apr 2014 02:57:55 -0800 [link]
Meanwhile, over at Flying Pigeon LA< it's time to look at The Two Figueroas, as separate sections of this long, long street face disparate fates, with the glitzier MyFigueroa project looking as though it will sail ahead, while workaday Fig4All still founders.
Richard Risemberg on Wed, 26 Mar 2014 22:06:13 -0800 [link]
On the way back I had to stop in Downtown to drop off a kitchen knife at Ross Cutlery, and heading west form there I decided to take busy Wilshire Boulevard from around Vermont back to my home turf. And despite Wilshire being presently rather unfriendly to bicyclists—narrow lanes, heavy traffic, impatient drivers—nearly every sidewalk bike rack along those four or five miles was full. Not a few parking meter poles hosted bikes as well.
And Wilshire will become a little more friendly to velos, at least during rush hour, when the BRT lanes open soon. These will be rush-hour-only bus lanes (Metro's Rapids carry 25% more people along the corridor morning and evening than all the private cars combined)—and they will be open to cyclists.
As it was, the construction zones, where a lane or two was dug up or occupied by heavy equipment, sported "Bicycles May Use Full Lane" signs, a definite step forward that the city decided to take only a short while ago.
Looks as though cycling in LA is becoming normal, in spite of difficult conditions and a half-hearted officialdom.
Feels pretty good!
Richard Risemberg on Wed, 26 Mar 2014 18:37:25 -0800 [link]