Double Tap on Sepulveda

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There are no bike lanes in Van Nuys, from Woodman to Woodley. There are no bike lanes in North Hills. None in Panorama.  Put these three neighborhoods together and you have 265,000 people, nearly the population of Orlando, Florida. Orlando has bike lanes.  So does the city of Irvine, Pop. 266,000. But not us. We’re a colony.

Wait, a minute, what about the Orange Line? Ain’t that in Van Nuys?
Before the indigenous peoples south of Oxnard declared themselves to be Sherman Oaks, it used to be.  Now it’s an orphan.

The historic heart of the San Fernando Valley constitutes a medium-sized American city unto itself, but lacking the normal amenities found in such cities. Like say, Pittsburgh.
Then we have the nomadic tribes of the Favela, wandering their Sinai of dysfunction and dispossession from the 405 to the Wash, always on bikes.   Hundreds of them.

That’s a lot of people sharing lanes.   There are choke points, Sepulveda at Stagg being one of them.   It’s a great place to get clipped, pedaling against traffic.  At night.
Then again, it’s a great place to get clipped in broad daylight moving with the traffic flow, keeping yourself three feet from the parked cars, wearing a helmet and reflective clothing.

You don’t want to get hit twice.    Cause the first driver might not kill you. If he takes off, leaving you in the street, a second car might run over you like a speed bump, dragging your body up the block. She, too, might make a getaway, trailing sparks.   In the case of Stacy Adams, 55, neither driver rendered aid, though one of them managed to dispose of her bicycle in a spirited attempt to break the chain of evidence.

Erik Larson, the first driver, was arrested at his residence the next day.  The woman, Jenevieve Hegedus, was arrested a week later.

Cops like hit and runs.  They work them hard, they close ‘em fast.  -Michael Clayton

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The victim, one of 50 bicycle-vehicle fatalities in SoCal in 2017, has a ghost bike to mark where her body was crushed. It’ll be there for a year, and then it will be removed.

In a year’s time, Metro may raze Aetna and Bessemer street to build a maintenance yard for a light rail conversion of the Orange Line no one asked for.  I have a wee suspicion there still won’t be a bike lane on Sepulveda. There’s no money in that.  Maybe I could write a letter to the colonial bureau.

Crawl North to the Valley and While Away Your Days Remaining

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Perhaps it is fitting the state flag depicts an extinct species of grizzly: Ursos Actos Californicus, which was completely wiped out within 75 years of the discovery of gold in 1848.  The last grizzlies were seen in captivity in arranged fights to the death with bulls before wagering audiences.  Then they were no more.  We honor them in murals and as football mascots.  We’ve built a mythology around them of an untrammeled Eden.

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There are plans afoot to restore the grizzly to California, assuming the competing claims of other species and their affiliated lobbies can be satisfied, which they never will.  We fight mightily to preserve bait fish and field grouse and feral cats. But people displaced by dirt cheap illegal labor? We are pitiless.

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We applaud ourselves for our benevolence when we issue swipe cards and cheap cell phones to the dispossessed, as though this balances the scales of the injustice done to them by open borders.  We leave them to lash up their pushcarts like Conestoga wagon trains and wander through their days tracing figure eights across the street grid and sleeping in storm channels.    Our outrage, our public shaming, we reserve for those benighted rubes who have the exquisitely poor taste to call this Brazilianization of California by its rightful name.

Here in Van Nuys

Andy banishes cobwebs

Andy banishes cobwebs

You know you have a problem with pet dander in your house when you invite a friend over for a craft beer tasting,  and after an hour or so, he grabs a broom and starts swatting at the rafters.  Memphis the cat sauntering up and down the countertops like he owns the place doesn’t help.

What can I say?  In Van Nuys, we comfortable with ourselves.

A private esplanade on Valleyheart

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As bicyclists, birders and New Urbanists have long been aware,  there exists in digital space overlapping fever dreams of a Greenway along “51 miles of the LA River”.  A Google search will retrieve dozens of mock-ups.  This sublime alternative Los Angeles, we are given to expect,  is due to arrive by 2020.  Golden Road has already issued a commemorative IPA in celebration, sort of making it official.

Fifty-one miles would, by default, include the Valley.  Except that it won’t.  Unless one believes the western perimeter of the Valley is Universal City.  Cause that’s as far as the Greenway is going to extend.

Sssh. Don’t tell anyone.  People are too busy lining up for photo shoots with our money.

Besides, who bikes in the Valley?   Who walks, for that matter?

Los Angeles is spending $600 million replacing the viaduct between the Arts District and Boyle Heights with a mixed-use architectural showcase.  One block parallel to another bridge.

There are plans in motion to build a park atop the Hollywood Freeway. Price tag unknown.

The development of the Downtown to Elysian Valley segment of the Greenway, including parks, is going to run a billion dollars.

What are we getting in the Valley, west of the 170? This:

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We’ve all seen Chinatown. We know the score.

To give the appearance of inclusion in the great Greenway, several short discontiguous pathways, a half mile in length, have been scattered here and there: Radford to Whitsett, Mason to De Soto, and now the most recent: along Valleyheart, between Sepulveda and Kester.  One can’t complain as to the landscaping. It’s very nice.   But disconnected from each other and from the rest of the system, they serve no practical purpose for the general public. One cannot pedal to the Zoo, and thence down the Glendale Narrows to Downtown, as I did yesterday.

They are, in effect, taxpayer-built private esplanades for the people who live nearby.   No one else will be using them. One gets the feeling people in those neighborhoods wanted it that way.

This is our Angeleno moment: Dubai in Hollywood, Detroit in the Valley.

Speaking of Detroit, Andy Hurvitz has urban renewal schemes for parking lots up in Van Nuys:

Future Gardens of Van Nuys?

Ralphs 2.0

Would you sit here in the cool evening air? Inquiring minds wish to know.

Would you sit here in the cool evening air? Inquiring minds wish to know.

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Ralphs 1970’s-2013

The redesigned Ralph’s on Hazeltine debuted last month, cool, bright and modernist.  Gone is the asphalt parking lot, banished from view below stairs.  The front doors are pushed right up the sidewalk, the better to scoop up the foot traffic in a manner befitting….West Hollywood. Will it?  The jury is still out. Despite a take-out cafe and on-site Starbucks and a cluster of shaded tables and benches out front which all but announce: hang out here, oh ye walkers of the neighborhood, oh ye cool people of Sherman Oaks, no one appeared to be taking the store up on its offer.  Begging the question, do the yentas walk in Sherman Oaks? Do the grandkids?  Does anyone? Is it that kind of neighborhood?

Andy Hurvitz at the HereinVanNuys blog has more:  Ralph’s Sherman Oaks.