Saturday, October 5, 2013

The worst street in LA


I've been riding the sidewalk a lot more over the past few weeks. I rarely do because I like to keep up the proper bicycle presence in everyones' minds but there are a few roads out there that are "unsafe at any speed." One of these is Los Feliz Blvd in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles that follows the southern boundary of Griffith Park (that big park of the west). 

Actually, there are two quite different faces to Los Feliz Blvd. One during rush hour, the other not - parking restrictions in the third lane being the key to the difference. When cars are allowed to park on the side of the road they block the third lane but leave a nice make-shift bike lane which can really be great to ride and especially fun when passing auto congestion. But during rush hours there are no parked cars to block that lane from use and that's when it gets really sketchy. 

The road surface along the shoulder in either direction is terrible - bumps and holes and wobbles. Actually, there really is no shoulder to speak of. There's space for a car and then there's the gutter. And the cars drive like bats-out-of-hell-fast through there.

My sidewalk time started on Friday the 13th of last month. I've been riding out that direction several times since then. But that day was particularly bad. And I didn't want to push the buttons of superstition so I steered far clear of that gauntlet and rode the sidewalk.

Unfortunately, that sidewalk is no great ride, either - 2 miles of blind driveways exiting from apartment complexes, cracked pavers, and only about half of the street crossings have ramps to roll smoothly across the transitions. 

The nice thing about sidewalk riding, though, and what I've been reminded of because of my recent experiences with it, is that it slows you down again to really see how the bicycle is different from the car - or more importantly, how bicycle-life is different from car-life. It can be nice to go pedestrianly slow and not be concerned with any rush, to take one's time and still enjoy the ride, the travel, the life that we are living here and now, even as we commute…

4 comments:

A Midnight Rider said...

Sometimes we have to ride the sidewalks. Going slow is becoming more and more the norm for me.

mindful mule said...

Thanks, Midnight. As long as we keep rolling, slow is just fine with me.

@PasadenaCyclist said...

I used to live about 3/4 mile from there, down Griffith Park Blvd. I couldn't agree with your concerns more. That is some tough riding. Prudence is the better part of valor in that part of town. Get back on the streets when you get closer to Pasadena.

mindful mule said...

Thanks, @PC. One of the things I look forward to out there while riding or sidewalk-riding Los Feliz Bl is the LA River Bike Path where all your (bicycle) troubles melt away...