The Nextdoor online communities in Venice and Mar Vista have been abuzz with tales of carmageddon in Mar Vista after the Great Streets trial project was installed. Posters complained of horrendous traffic delays of 10, 15, even 30 minutes with the impeding doom that it brings. I ride there almost every day and while there were some increased delays, my personal experience was very different. So I decided to document the situation and separate fact from fiction.
It took me a bit to love Venice, having moved out here in love and to share my life with an amazing woman. To get to know the area, I joined online message boards such as NextDoor, where discussions about cyclists on the road inevitably ends up focusing on those two-wheeled scofflaws with little respect for the law. So I decided to go undercover and catch them in the act over a course of a day.
Why do drivers' heads explode whenever they see a cyclist breaking the law? I can't remember the last time I saw a post on the net about a driver behaving badly, but when a cyclist does people freak out. The reality is that cyclists aren't any different than drivers.
One of my favorite things about being in love and living with an incredible woman is cooking dinner every night for her so after a long day of work she can just relax and chill. But lots of my friends ask how in the world I can do all my shopping for groceries and such without a car. It's easy...ł
A driver passes me too closely, runs into me, and then threatens to kick my ass. Yet another asshat driver in Venice with a reckless disregard for my safety.
If you ride your bike at night, you should be using lights -- and I've got some great suggestions. Once you get them, you should feel safe and not be subjected to (potential) victim blaming by the ignorant.
When you ride in LA (or anywhere), you are acutely aware of distracted drivers on their cell phones. That's an annoyance, but what truly upsets me while riding is when impatient drivers have a reckless disregard for my safety. This is such a case and it was probably the closest pass I've ever experienced from a car.
For many reasons, living in Venice is a wonderful thing. Of course you have the great weather and the beach, but it is potentially among the most bikeable and walkable communities in Los Angeles. I say potentially, because it most certainly can be better. And I have a car vs. bike honking video to prove it...
Nick Ambert, who has created cool Metro fantasy maps in the past, has created a cool video showing what LA's rail system will look like if Measure M passes in November 2016.
Another case study in how the streets are stacked against pedestrians, even in one of the most walkable areas in Los Angeles.
Playa Vista is booming thanks to what is being called Silicon Valley South. New developments have bike lanes on most of the streets, which makes traveling by two wheels much more approachable for many. However, it's kind of an island, as getting there safely from nearby bike paths is quite the challenge.
The city council recently approved the LA Mobility Plan 2035, which aims to make the streets safer for everyone. It's a positive step for the region, yet the auto-centric fear mongering and naysaying is in full force. But the fact is, people will ride (and walk) if the infrastructure is there.
Over time, I'm realizing how much pedestrians in LA are truly second-class citizens compared to cars. Before moving here, I'd often heard a mythology about how respectful cars are towards pedestrians here. But it's false. So much is stacked against an enjoyable pedestrian experience, it's incredible.
Unless you walk a lot, you probably don't realize how often pedestrians are at a disadvantage for getting around compared to drivers in cars. But the fact is, if you do walk, you'll run into situations time after time after time where pedestrians must go out of their way when cars don't.
I'm so happy I moved to Venice to be with the one I love and it's generally great out here. But opportunistic crime is a big issue here and it didn't take long to become a victim of a bike theft -- something that's all too common in the area.