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Huge New Bike System Proves Los Angeles Really Can Change

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Los Angeles is a city on the verge of a new era—it's moving away from the car and the single-family house, and struggling to be denser, greener, more urban. It's still totally unclear whether it will be successful at any of that, but there is one very positive early indicator: biking. CicLAvia now regularly shuts down entire streets to cars and opening them to Angelenos on bikes (and foot, and stroller), the city's first protected lane is going in right now (in Northridge, no less!), and projects like MyFigueroa are remaking Autopia-esque boulevards into safe, pleasant streets for cyclists and pedestrians. Metro is finally pushing for a regional bike share program too. KPCC today has an animated map showing the growth in LA's bike infrastructure and making plain just how far the city has come in 10 years: the bike system has more than doubled since 2006, from 245 miles to 562 miles.

It wasn't a pretty picture 10 years ago—most bike infrastructure was actually concentrated in the Valley, and there were gaps all over the system.

But around 2011, LA started considering a huge new bike plan and things started to approach a tipping point: gaps began to fill in and infrastructure really started growing across the city.

Now, in 2015, the system is maturing rapidly. The Valley and and the city are knit together extremely well, and while bikers still can't get between them without heading off of a bike lane (that's what the Red Line's for!), they can still get to lots of other places.

Much of the growth is concentrated in the dense, urban core that's revealed itself in the area between Fairfax and Downtown. Intelligent density, transit expansion, and bicycle infrastructure will all go hand in hand in creating tomorrow's Los Angeles. The latest census numbers show there has been a 33 percent increase in bike commutes since 2010, and a 100 percent increase since 2000. But while 1.8 percent of men commute by bike, only 0.6 percent of women do, implying there may be some relationship between perceived safety and reliance on biking. Infrastructure growth, then, can only help: by giving cyclists safe ways to get around, more folks will (hopefully) give it a try. LA still has miles to go, but it's well on its way already. —Ian Grant
· Watch a decade of growth in LA's bike infrastructure [KPCC]
· New State Law Easing the Way For Miles of New LA Bike Lanes [Curbed LA]
· Finding Los Angeles's Dense, Urban, Transit-Riding Core [Curbed LA]