Where Oh Where Has My Bike Lane Gone…?

slpath.jpgIn a previous decade or two I might have made a kneejerk of myself slamming aspects of a civic improvement that I found lacking (Pershing Square comes to mind). But being well into middle age now, I opt (mostly) to spare the world my huffing and puffing and instead try to present my aggravation more diplomatically and with an eye toward encouraging an illuminating discourse.

So, for example, instead of getting my bike commuter’s dander up and hypothetically asking something like “Why the hell did the city take the bike lane out when putting in the fancy new pedestrian trail along the west side of the Silver Lake reservoir?” now in my eldering wisdom I’m more likely to pose my inquiry as “Might I kindly inquire why consideration wasn’t given to replacing the removed bike lane or incorporating a replacement into the final plans for the lovely crushed-granite and tree-lined walking/jogging path so beautifully rendered and faithfully executed.”

I have no doubt that the path itself is a vast upgrade to the previous unfriendly environment along that stretch and especially up and over Armstrong Avenue to Silver Lake Boulevard, which was just plain inhospitable. But whereas anyone on two feet can now stride along in relative safety of the 12-foot wide trail along West Silver Lake Drive, its gravel surface seems designed to be rough on narrow roadbike tires and thus those of us on two wheels are now forced to hug the gleaming new curb as Hummers and such can barely squeeze between us and the yellow line in the traffic lane now made too narrow to support safe cycling.

There is a comprehensive article posted on Park2ParkLA.com written early in 2004 that elaborates on the plans, including a future path along the winding Silver Lake Boulevard section. Here’s hoping cyclists aren’t forsaken on that far busier side, too.

Before and after images from park2parkla.com

3 Replies to “Where Oh Where Has My Bike Lane Gone…?”

  1. Just take the lane and let the motorists get mad that the City didn’t provide you a bike lane so that you could get out of their way. The lane’s really just a help to them; you have the right to the road either way. -e;

  2. Preaching to the choir, Reverend Eric. Didn’t mean to imply I ride subordinately to autos. Certainly I don’t. The lane may merely be symbolic to you, but what bugs me most is that it was there and then sacrificed to give pedestrians a 12-foot wide gravel path. This may have been discussed in the extensive planning stages, but I don’t get why they couldn’t give the peds nine feet of trail and make the other three into a bike lane?

  3. I agree about the bike mess. Worse, they haven’t restriped the lanes so soutbound still has a jumbo sized lane while northbound (next to path) is very tight. And a fair number of runners choose to run in the street instead of the path. A 9/3 walk/bike ratio would have been much better. BTW, the crushed granite rocks ;). Dries up quickly after rain and no mess.

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