My friend Militant Angeleno posted a light-spirited comment to my last post that was actually not far off the mark. He in response to my current mileage totals on The Phoenix, he wrote:
“Admit it, you just took that westside job in order to rack up miles on your velo-odometer!”
He’s onto something there. While the initial thought of car commuting along the hellishly and moltenly slow freeway route of the 101 south to the 110 south to the 10 west to the 405 south from Silver Lake to Westchester proved disconcerting at best, my inner cyclist was looking at the 26-mile surface street roundtrip and saying cha-CHING! Not just for the mileage boost I’d be getting but also because between points A and B lies the crosstown length of 4th Street which is increasingly becoming known among us two-wheeler types as 4th Street Bike Boulevard (or 4SBB for short), in part due to the dedicated effort and nurturing by my friend and urban cyclist extraordinare Ingrid Peterson.
For years cyclists have been using 4th Street because it is convenient and less utilized by vehicles than some of the other east/west roadways and now the next step is to get aspects implemented that make it even more bike friendly.
A huge hurdle was made when after Ingrid had a chance encounter with Councilman Tom LaBonge at a bike shop and preached upon him the gospel of the bike boulevard model, he and his people organized a group ridethat took place last month.
A favorite feature currently in place along 4SBB is at the intersection of 4th and Normandie and they are pretty much the only ones I know of in use in the city. I used the westbound one Friday on my way to work at 8:10 a.m. and then the eastbound one on my way home that evening at 6:35 (click to doublify the images below; and my bike commute is about an hour, which is the same amount of time it took in my truck, minus the gas and plus the calorie burn):
Please L.A. can we have some more!? Anyone on a bike who’s ever been stuck at the mercy of a long and lonely intersection only to eventually dismount and walk over to push the pedestrian version knows how marvelous and empowering these simple call buttons can be.