There’s a New Bike Path to Santa Monica

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Here’s something that was overshadowed by all of the fanfare for the opening of the Expo line extension to Santa Monica: A dedicated bike path that runs parallel to the train tracks.

The path is paved and it traverses much of the same route as the light rail. It’s now open, and Streetsblog says it has received a lot of emails singing the path’s praises.

But, unlike those train tracks, the bike path doesn’t extend to the beach.

It runs from Culver City to Palms, and then there’s a gap nearly a mile long before it picks up again at Overland Avenue (near the Westwood/Rancho Park station in West LA). From there, it continues to west to Colorado Avenue and 17th Street in Santa Monica.

LAist says to thank a “good old case of NIMBYism” for the gap, because, as Streetsblog LA has reported, “at least one resident was concerned that bike riders would use the pathway to burglarize their homes before pedaling off into the night.”

Here’s why the missing section is annoying for cyclists, as explained by LAist:

On the ground, this gap amounts to a confusing point where the path heading west from Culver City simply dead-ends at National Boulevard, with no proper connection to the path’s restart past Overland Avenue. Cyclists are spit out in one of the most confusing parts of the Westside’s grid, with little guidance and virtually no protection of guiding infrastructure.

On its website, Metro says the city is still trying to find the best route between Palms and Overland Avenue.

Streetsblog LA points out of a number of other flaws, including no bike lanes connecting to the bike path east of Stewart Street in Santa Monica, confusing signs and bumpy surfaces at intersections that are uncomfortable to ride over. One Streetsblog commenter said the path is too narrow and doesn’t leave enough space for two cyclists to ride next to each other.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a big improvement.

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