Wilmington, the Bike Lane Capital of California, Ha-ha

I am in hiatus at the moment, and have been wanting to post for the longest on events here in Compton.

However, my writing efforts are focused on a bigger project at the moment, and only my most immediate gutteral reactions that masquerade as blog posts can be posted only because they don't take as much time as my other posts.

Anywho, the reason I am writing is in response to an article by veteran bicycling advocate Joe Linton celebrating Wilmington as the city with the most concentrated bike lane network.

I feel very connected to Wilmington being that I used to visit my then-girlfriend, now-wife quite often BY BIKE from Long Beach and now visit my wife's family quite often.

I don't really have a negative response to Joe's article, just a few observations:

  • Those bike lanes that made it the densest network in the state really did appear overnight (or over a weekend in either 2012 or 2013).  I appreciate Joe's story of how LADOT basically worked it in, when all along I thought it was the work of some activist group.  My wife's family who lives on one of those streets were surprised that one day they couldn't park on the curb as usual, by the time the cones were gone, there was fresh paint and to my unexpected delight, bike lanes.
  • As Joe mentioned in his post, it is still somewhat hard getting INTO the city either from Carson on the North or Long Beach on the East.  I've seen plenty of bicyclists on PCH, the main East-West thoroughfare in Wilmington, and it really feels dangerous.  I've only biked with my wife on this street once.  On the sidewalk.  For what its worth, PCH never really seems to be in gridlock for car traffic or anything, unless of course they shut down a North-South street like Avalon for a traveling fair or something.
  • I vaguely remember my wife or saying something that there used to be a lot of people biking to high school.  Students don't bike because their bikes get stolen, last I heard.
Here are some other observations that I think might impede usage of bikes in Wilmington (and therefore bike lanes)
  • When I haven't seen the fixies, a lot of the male teenagers skateboard --- probably much cheaper and easier to control
  • It feels like the vehicle of choice is the work truck.  Besides the Port of LA, there are not a lot of jobs within the city itself.
  • Most kids and young adults who can get around like hanging in towns adjacent and outside of the city.  Rancho Palos Verdes has the [cheap on Tuesdays] movie theater, Torrance has the malls, eateries.  There isn't much of interest for the native Wilmingtonians other than the occasional Gus' Burgers, Tres Cochinitos, or Red West Pizza outing.
  • Cultural activities?  Not a ton load.  The most I've seen centers around Banning Park and school festivals.
  • The businesses (99 Cents store, Food4Less, churches) don't really have bike facilities.
I agree with Joe that the bike lanes are only a good thing for the community, but it seems like it will be a ground zero area to test the adage "if you build it, they will come."

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