Eyes on the Street: DIY Maintenance On Lincoln Blvd Under Culver Bridge
Editor’s note: The Department of Do-It-Yourself works in strange and mysterious ways. Today we run a guest post by cyclist Eric Weinstein who may or may not have been part of Dept. of DIY’s westside cycling division’s Lincoln Boulevard sand removal effort last week.
You’ll probably never notice.
Last Friday night a very small crew of people made one of Lincoln Boulevard’s many choke points safer for bikes.
There are a lot of these really bad spots around. Lincoln is not really a pleasant place to ride a bike in general, but sometimes it is the only plausible route, because of the geography. There are few roads up the bluff into Westchester. Lincoln is the north-south road connection between Venice and LAX, so you kinda have to cycle here. It’s a couple of miles west to the beach bike path. It’s equally a couple miles east to the Sepulveda Boulevard bike lanes (from Westchester to Jefferson.) A couple miles out of the way on a bike is a long way to go around.
Just north of the entrances to the Ballona Creek Bike Path, there’s a narrow place under the bridge for Culver Boulevard [Google street view]. It’s narrow, and just hidden by a bend in the road, but quite passable to the daring or practiced. Unfortunately, the sand under the bridge has washed down into the shoulder in recent rains, blocking it to cyclists. You can’t ride on sand. So, for a cyclist, it’s another place you have to take the lane for a few feet to get under the bridge, sometimes merging into fast traffic. It’s always difficult when the cars are moving so much faster than bikes. At times, it’s a bit dangerous.
So, with some shovels, and a couple orange cones, the crew moved the sand off the shoulder.
Took a while to get it all off the road and make a smooth ridable surface. This makes a much, much safer passage for bikes. And, for good measure, overhanging brush was trimmed out of the bike lane further south.
Cyclists, the passage is again clear.
Yeah, yeah. It’s really a Caltrans job to maintain this road. But where are they? It has been blocked for weeks. Busy building something, somewhere, no doubt. There’s a bigger fix in the works as a “follow on” project to the potential Ballona bridge widening project. But this maintenance problem cried out to be fixed. Why wait? So, we just assembled our collective good, got some shovels, and fixed it ourselves. It felt really satisfying to fix that dangerous bit of roadway for cycling.
Probably we should all think of some useful bike building activities to do.
There is something to be said for sitting in meetings, advocating for more bike lanes. Without public support we will not get very many more bike lanes.
Most bike infrastructure, though, has less effort put into maintenance than most users like. Last week, instead of complaining we did something. So there’s also something to be said for just going out and making, improving, or fixing DIY style. Surely, you can think of a place on your bike route that could use a little bike love?
It rained again, so there’s probably more sand back on Lincoln Boulevard! Trim back the bushes that are in the way, or a dab of lane paint. Maybe even add a directional sign, or two, for cycling visitors?
Our transportation world needs more bike stuff! Go out and do it!