Regulars to this here L.A. Metblog know that for better or worse a lotta my posts have something to do with me two-wheeling it around town. This is because I do a fair amount of that activity and as such enjoy promoting its possibilities and defending its viability.
One of the most exciting things for me as a bike geek is to discover new routes and connectors that will help get me from start to finish safer and saner — especially during my work commutes to and from Silver Lake and Westchester — and when I find a new one I like to share it.
So without much more of a preamble if’n you’re interested, head over to the other side of the jump where I give the down low on South Crescent Heights Boulevard.
If it hadn’t been for a new dentist and a visit to his office on Wilshire west of Fairfax a couple weeks ago, it could’ve been a long time until I discovered the two-mile amazingly bike-friendly stretch (googlized at right; click to embiggify) of South Crescent Heights Boulevard from Carthay Circle through South Carthay ending at Guthrie Avenue a short block east of La Cienega behind the Kaiser Permanente complex in a community called Faircrest Heights (though “Flats” would be more appropriate). I’m sure this conduit has been common knowledge among cyclists in the area long before I was a gleam in my father’s eye, but for me going north or south north and south on Redondo Boulevard to the east for most of the past six months I’ve been making this commute I’ve had little need for anything else.
Here’s what’s so great:
- It offers an adjacent alternative to gut-wrenching gridlocked bike hell bastard La Cienega Boulevard that’s like night and day, baby. Night. And. Day.
- It’s flatter than Redondo (which is pretty flat but does get briefly uppity northbound between Pico and San Vicente boulevards.
- It’s wiiiiide — especially along the last mile or so south of Pico. Seriously, not only is the traffic lane spacious enough to leave cyclists a nice buffer between them and moving cars, but there’s a double yellow center lane, meaning left turns into driveways are taken out of the traffic flow. See?
- The pavement’s in fine condition, it’s nicely calm and visually engaging with trees and wonderfully stylish duplexes giving way south to well maintained single-family homes that boast lots of plaster and very little stucco. Mmmmmm, purty.
- Best of all, with a right on Guthrie and a cross (at the light) of crazy La Cienega Boulevard then a little ziggage and zaggage south and westward on side streets or your choosing, and you’ll find yourself westbound on Venice Boulevard having not only avoided the stressmaking onramps to the 10 Freeway, but also the nasty intersection of La Cienega and Venice.
The only drawbacks are that as an alternative to often crammed La Cienega, southbound drivers will load Crescent Heights up in the mornings, backing things up at Pico and at Guthrie. And on the north end where it’s narrower and curving, especially between Wilshire and Olympic boulevards, there’s some vehicle proximity issues while in motion to be extra careful around. Plus there’s on-street parking from top to bottom so keeping a vigil against doors opening into you is a must.
Whether you do a lot of biking or are just thinking about maybe starting out someday. Incorporating South Crescent Heights Boulevard into your commute or cruise will show you how nice it can be to bike in this city.