And not the tight as in the good tight, as in the oh-shit-I-can-lose-a-limb-kind of tight.
I think the tightness of the streets combined with sidewalks is just one of those things that make it difficult to bike.
I wish there was simple signage that told drivers to simply expect bicyclists. Expect, expect, expect. Acculturate, acculturate, acculturate. To...biking as a legitimate form of transport on the street.
I've divided this post into 4 sections based on the sections of the city I passed through yesterday: Lakewood, CSULB, Cambodia Town in Long Beach, and Bixby Knolls.
Here's a map of the spots, I took my shots.
Ver Lakewood, Long Beach en un mapa más grande
Now that I've been commuter-biking for over 3 years now, I've learned the "easy streets" to take. Easy streets being the streets with a lower volume of traffic, generally, the two-way, residential streets. Unless those easy streets are dark and or bumpy (as in Westwood), to avoid any hassle, I will usually opt for that.
However, most people do not do what I do. Out of convenience, personal safety, they will take the main, busy streets --- usually riding on sidewalks.
Inevitably, in Lakewood and Long Beach, bicyclists will run into streets that have no room for bikes at all (less you want to take the lane and have a line of 10 cars breathing on your back at 40 mph), as is the case on Carson Street in Lakewood and Anaheim St. in Central and Eastside Long Beach.
In Lakewood, there's Carson Street, which actually has a bike lane around the Long Beach City College area, but offers not much else to the West of that approaching Lakewood. To the West of that is a tight sidewalk and 3 lanes for cars to run at least 40-50 mph.
Check out how little room there is for any bicycle to fit; believe it or not, but this street actually leads into a bike path, though many pedestrians at LBCC do not seem to know what the markings of the bike path mean.
Carson & Obispo, Lakewood, CA
Meanwhile at CSULB, what I've been annoyed at is three specific things: a) the non-biking friendly entrance/exit on Bellflower b) the tightness of the lanes on Beach Boulevard (see below), and c) the sidewalk near the Liberal Arts buildings that makes it tight and awkward to move in with a bike (see below)
Ver mapa más grande
b) CSULB on Beach Blvd. towards Bellflower Blvd.
c) CSULB on Beach Blvd. towards Bellflower Blvd.
Poorly designed narrow sidewalk with just one slight opening. Upon getting to that opening, I have to ride all the way left to the end of it.
Instead of just hoping into the gravel, to get to the Liberal Arts buildings. Entering this sidewalk, I can ride down that curb and jack up my wheels, or inconveniently lift my bike up. More a pet peeve than a hazard, but nonetheless, one little thing that goes to distance and discourage people from biking.
3) Cambodia Town in Long Beach
Meanwhile, down in Long Beach, Cambodia Town in particular, a business district tapped for biking, is just a series of one tight corner and sidewalk after another.
This is a district with big dreams.
But the reality is: car traffic will squeeze the hell out of you.
There isn't an intersection where I'm not looking over my shoulder hoping someone in the right lane isn't going to get impatient and run me over.
Anaheim St. & Loma St.
Anaheim & Walnut St.
Additionally, on this rainy Wednesday afternoon, within the hours of 3PM - 4PM that I was biking and stopping to take pictures, I noticed around 10 bicyclists getting by on very slim sidewalks. Demand is there, infrastructure is not.
The man below actually got off the sidewalk because my bike laying flat on this pole, actually blocked his way as you can see in the picture below this.
Anaheim & Raymond, Long Beach, CA
Anaheim & Junipero, Long Beach, CA
4) Bixby Knolls
Lastly, Orange St. in Bixby Knolls is supposed to be bike friendly with 2-way one-lane traffic. But riding down this street, I'm scared of popping a tire and getting doored by unsuspecting parkees.