The 720 Bike Map
(by Mihai Peteu)
The MTA rapid on Wilshire is one of the most heavily used bus routes in the city of Los Angeles. After staring at the 720 Timetable + Route(PDF) dozens of times, it became pretty clear that there’s no reason why the bikeways in the city can’t be modeled after where I, a cyclist, want to go on a daily basis. Not the slow, residential route, but the quickest, major thoroughfare route. I find it funny that so much money continues to be earmarked for drawing up the bestest LA Bike Plan possible, when we could easily look at the MTA maps which are most likely modeled after where people want to go.
I’m sure MTA does population density studies, why replicate all that work? Let’s put our LADOT thinking caps on. One of the reasons, I assume, is to keep cyclists away from the sacred major thoroughfare pavement that God has given to Cars. Well, I have bidness to attend to, I deserve the same or better pathway than a car, since, after all, hands down, I am the most efficient vehicle out there on the street.
I have taken this bus many times over the past 5 years. I used to jot down timepoints in a small notebook during my cross town commute from downtown to Santa Monica. I can state with certainty that the 720 or the 920 is *rarely* faster than a healthy cyclist on a decent bike. Which is why I find the term “rapid” bus hilarious. Anyone with a shred of common sense will immediately realize the deplorable state of public transportation in this city. The solution is very simple. Enable cyclists to get all over town as efficiently and as safely as possible, even if it means giving them priority over other forms of motorized transport (*gasp!*).
Here’s the full
720 map on Google Maps. Imagine riding from where Sunset Drive begins, all the way until hits the PCH. Or taking Vermont from Griffith Park, all the way to San Pedro. There’s nothing stopping you from doing that now, of course - I am imagining these treks without the usual near-death experiences. Wouldn’t it be nice if all those streets had bike lanes or sharrows and decent pavement quality, no threat of grates or parked cars in the rightmost lane?? Etc etc.
How do we accomplish this? Well, the bus-only lane can be reinstated, where cars would only be allowed to drive in the rightmost lane when turning right. And guess who else would have the privilege of riding in this lane? Bikes! It might not be the best solution since buses are known to damage pavement more quickly than the average car, but it’s an idea worth mentioning. What would be better? Bike lane plus buffer zone? Physical boundary separating bikes from cars? Use that comment box below if you have a better idea!
Transforming major streets in LA into bike-friendly pathways may sound crazy, borderline radical, especially if you call yourself a “driver”. But it has to happen, otherwise LA will become an even shittier place to live in. For the sci-fi heads, imagine a darker, grimier, more hectic version of Mega-City One.