I’ve been down in Long Beach for most of this week. I brought my trusty TIKIT along so that I could explore the city.
My first ride was along the Los Angeles bike trail. Flying into LAX, I could see a couple of the dry river beds that crisscross the city, and that appear in many movies, typically used as part of a car chase.
Here I am riding north. You can see that the river is not dry, and the trail is well elevated and flat. There are lanes marked in both directions, as well as a wide shoulder on one side for pedestrians.
One thing I didn’t expect to see was this row of houses with horses in the backyard. From this point northward. I would see the occasional horse and rider on a dirt path paralleling the bike trail. Urban cowboys, indeed.
I was trying to get to a camera store in a neighbourhood called Bixby Knolls. Tuttle Cameras, which is an excellent place, BTW. It turns out that I ended up going a little farther north than intended, and I took an exit onto Del Amo Blvd. This road was a marked bike route, but with heavy traffic and no road markings, it was very unpleasant to ride. I figure that the only reason it was a bike route was that it had access to the river trail.
The next day, I wanted to explore a neighbourhood called Seal Beach. Riding east through downtown, I was surprised to see separated bike lanes. Note the bike signal, and the bollards and space for parked cars that separated me from traffic. Note that this is a one way street, headed down the coast.
All in all, the level of support of biking was surprising, given what one would expect from southern California, with its sprawl and emphasis on car culture. It was interesting to see the range of on street bike infrastructure, and I wonder which pieces were put in at what time. The separated bike lanes downtown looked fairly new.
I’m sure that it makes a huge difference that in the US, there has been federal funding for non-motorized transit in the last couple of highway bills. The Republicans always want to strip that part of the transportation budget, but so far it has survived.
Update: here is a fun article that talks about Long Beach’s aim to become “the most bike friendly city in America”.