Thursday, January 7, 2010

Reaching Downtown LA By Bike: Attempt #1

Do me a favor and open my link to the LA County Bike Map before you start reading this, otherwise it'll probably be confusing. Okay, now zoom in on the center of the map and find Koreatown. Then, a bit to the right and down, you'll see the label for Downtown Los Angeles. So, roughly, this is what I tried to do on my bike yesterday.

You can see from the legend that the blue lines are bike paths (separated from the street), the red lines are bike lanes (in the street, marked with paint) and the green lines are "bike routes", which have bike signs and are supposed to be better than the average street to bike on. You can also see that for this trip I only have bike routes available.

So, I went east on 4th. This is fine, a nice residential street with few cars and low driving speeds. Then I went north on Reno. That worked out until I hit 3rd, which is an intimidating arterial street crossing with no crosswalk or traffic signal. I made my way east to the first light and crossed, and continued north to Beverly, which looks like this:

The City of LA calls this a "bike route". That's pretty funny.
Beverly and Occidental, Los Angeles, CA
Google Maps Street View

This stopped me in my tracks. I faced the delightful prospect of squeezing my way between the door zone (so close to a car, you'll get hit if the door opens) of a parked car, and eastbound arterial street traffic, or taking the lane and pissing off all the cars and buses behind me. Keep in mind that this stretch of Beverly is marked as a "bike route". No dice. I made my way home on Rampart (which was good) and 6th (which was okay).

Maybe next time I can find a better route . . . if such a thing exists.


  1. This is what Venice looks like, also allegedly a bike route.

  2. I noticed there are no bike paths, lanes, or routes in East LA, Monterrey Park or Huntington Park. The traffic on streets is pretty sick. Are there plans to build anything around there?
    Especially with the amount of students at ELACC and Cal State LA.

  3. The short answer to your question is I don't know :)

    Streetsblog has been covering the City of LA's new draft bike plan (and has criticized it for being too weak) but none of the places you mentioned are in the City of LA. You could email Damien Newton, the editor of Streetsblog LA, and ask him ( He might know.

    Just from looking at the map though, it seems like bike infrastructure is only taken seriously by a handful of cities in LA County.