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After years of debate, the Los Angeles City Council did something eye-opening this past August: It voted to create hundreds of miles of new protected bike lanes, shrinking some streets in the process. Considered as much a symbol as a road map, the Mobility Plan 2035 faced opposition before it even passed, with various councilmen floating amendments to remove lanes from their districts. And whatever projects do survive could take years to build; the plan has a two-decade arc, a long time to wait if you’re a cyclist trying to ride on streets dominated by aggressive, distracted, or pissed-off drivers.
Don’t get me wrong: I love cycling in L.A. Since I moved here from Pennsylvania a year ago, I’ve logged about 10,000 miles on my bike, commuting and exploring the city. Every weekday I ride 17 miles from my home in the South Bay to my office in Mid Wilshire and then back. In a car the trip is a grind, taking me about 50 minutes during rush hour. Pedaling pretty hard, I can do it in an hour. Though folks in Silver Lake and Echo Park may demur, the terrain is generally flat; hot summer days here are better than humid ones elsewhere. As for winters, did I mention I moved from Pennsylvania? […]