Virginal new bike lanes on Washington, Rowena lanes are here to stay, and RIP to a 95-year old bike racer

Ran into a pleasant surprise on Monday’s ride. Or over it, more precisely.

I’ve been watching the repaving of eastbound San Vicente Blvd in Brentwood the last few weeks, anticipating the smooth asphalt and newly repainted bike lane that greeted me on my ride back from the South Bay.

What I wasn’t expecting was the new pavement I discovered when I left the Marina bike path on Washington Blvd, extending from Oxford on the west to Lincoln on the east. However, the real surprise was the virtually virginal new bike lane extending the whole way on both sides.

This on a street I ride on a regular basis, making my way a few blocks from the bike path to Abbot Kinney, as in the video below. And one where there was room to ride between the door zone and the traffic lane to the left — but which left me feeling at the mercy of speeding and/or drivers not content to share a lane that waas nearly wide enough for two cars.

Granted, I only rode it a short distance.

But for the first time ever, I didn’t feel like I had to fight for my space on the road. And riding on Washington felt, well, wonderful.

………

The results are in on last week’s prematurely called community to discuss the results of the Rowena road diet and bike lanes, just 90 days after they were installed.

Despite the usual bike hate — some from the usual quarters — word from Councilmember Tom LaBonge’s office is the road diet is here to stay, though it may see some “improvements.”

As long as he doesn’t try to improve it like he did on Spring Street, where LaBonge helped lead the Hollywood attack on the green bike lanes.

Thanks to Patrick for the heads-up.

Update: Velobakery offers a great recap of the Rowena meeting — including the observation that only one person spoke out against bike riders, despite what the other stories might have implied. Thanks to grrlyrida for the link.

Update 2: I’ve received a new PDF from CM LaBonge’s office correcting his position on crosswalks with flashing lights, and replaced the link at the top of this section with the new PDF.

Meanwhile, things may be changing in Pasadena in the wake of the recent death of Phillip O’Neill. Boyonabike reports that a new coalition has been formed to push the city to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians, and work for complete streets.

Pasadena is already one of the area’s most livable cities. Except when it comes to its streets.

If they’re smart enough to listen to the people who live and work there, it could be, as he says, the next great walkable, bikeable sity in SoCal.

………

If you haven’t read it yet, stop what you’re doing and read this viral blog advice to motorists, You’re Going to Kill Someone.

Do it now. I’ll wait.

………

Is South LA about to become bike-friendlier? Downtown’s Broadway is about to undergo a massive road diet to make room for people. Newly elected Councilmember Mike Bonin will replace outgoing Councilmember Bill Rosendahl as chair of the Transportation Committee, which should bode well for the city’s cyclists and transit users. Better Bike looks at the former Biking Black Hole’s baby steps to become bike friendlier. Burbank riders will soon get a new bike path — not lane, thank you — connecting the Lake-Alameda bike path to the Burbank Metrolink station. The LACBC invites you to an all-ages Sunday Funday ride in Long Beach this weekend. A Murrieta man is riding 10,000 miles to carry his father’s ashes to China. A Fresno writer asks why police concluded investigations based solely on the testimony of the one with the most to lose. Fresno residents say we’re the ones not sharing the road.

Bicycling’s Bod Mionske offers advice on how to take — or start — a bike traffic school. Surly suggests some things you might not need on your next ride; I’d argue that gloves matter, as anyone who’s ever had road rash on their palms could attest. The Christian Science Monitor says there’s a bike boom going on, in great length and detail. They may be right, as even Sioux Falls holds a ciclavia. Denver cyclists try out a temporary protected bike lane. Lance can’t ride the Tour anymore, but he can ride RAGBRAI. In a horrifying collision, seven bike riders are injured — three seriously enough to require life flight — when a group of 13 bicyclists on their way to Santa Monica are rear-ended by an Arkansas motorist. Dallas police are being sued for running down and killing a bike rider for not wearing a helmet. Minnesota AAA is now offering roadside assistance for bicyclists; no word on whether they oppose bike safety legislation like ours does. After his tandem is stolen, a blind New York rider is deluged with bike offers. Panic in the streets of New York, as Gothamites discover they’re at the mercy of uninsured bike share riders — and helmetless ones, too. In an apparent attempt to troll for web hits, the NY Times calls for a dialogue on bicycling and those ugly bikes clogging the streets. Meanwhile, the Times declares an end to car culture; a Houston writer says it ain’t necessarily so. Steve Martin — yes, that Steve Martin — gets his wallet back after losing it while riding in Pennsylvania. DC area Black Women Bike group raises the profile of cycling. Three years for a hit-and-run Virginia driver who had been drinking the night he killed a bike rider. Clearly, you can carry anything on a bike, even a stolen air conditioner.

How not to fix your bike. British motorists want bike riders to wear helmets and pay for the road; in other news, the bear does shit in the woods. Two UK bicyclists are killed by a truck on a roadway riders are encouraged to avoid whenever possible; they were on the first day of a cross-county bike tour. Brit bike share users may soon be able to don paper helmets. An Irish rider is nearly decapitated by a rope strung across the roadway; less a prank than an anti-bike terrorist attack. Welshman Geraint Thomas rode 90 Tour de France miles with a cracked pelvis. Why women don’t ride the Tour de France; actually, there’s another race going on right now. Remarkably, the cab driver who killed Kiwi pro cyclist Burry Stander will not face charges.

Finally, rest in peace to Gordy Shields, the record-setting 95-year old San Diego bike racer who passed away on Sunday following complications from a recent surgery. He may not have died riding, but if anyone deserves a ghost bike, that man does.

2 comments

  1. grrlyrida says:

    Hi Ted,

    I was at the Rowena meeting on Thursday. Of course what I experienced differs wildly from any of the usual suspects.
    Here’s my take on it:
    velobakery.com

  2. Vox populi says:

    RIP Gordy! One of the toughest riders of all time and a beacon for San Diego’s cycling community.

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