Column: A $2-million ‘bike lane to nowhere’ symbolizes L.A.’s outrageous dysfunction
1of18A pedestrian, flanked by a police officer, strolls in a protected bike lane on the west side of downtown Los Angeles in Los Angeles, Calif. on Tuesday, March 10, 2018. The city of Los Angeles is seeking $2 million from the American Civil Liberties Union in a bid to make a bikeway on the west side of downtown more safe. less A pedestrian, flanked by a police officer, strolls in a protected bike lane on the west side of downtown Los Angeles in Los Angeles, Calif. on Tuesday, March 10, 2018…. more Photo: Sarah Rice, Special To The Chronicle Buy photo Photo: Sarah Rice, Special To The Chronicle Image 1 of / 18 Caption Close Column: A $2-million ‘bike lane to nowhere’ symbolizes L.A.’s outrageous dysfunction 1 / 18 Back to Gallery
On the day that the city of Los Angeles launched its legal bid to acquire the last of its two remaining green lanes – a $2-million “bike lane to nowhere” that was supposed to be part of the city’s ambitious effort to build out its network of bike lanes – one of the lead attorneys on the case called it “the last great urban experiment of our time.”
The argument is not that the city should buy a bike lane to go to Disneyland, but that it should be allowed to buy one to take to the beach.
According to the ACLU, the city of Los Angeles has been trying to build “the largest green network in the United States,” since 2008, with nearly 300 miles of protected bike lanes. With each of the green lanes, the city was supposed to spend $10,000 or more and complete it in six months, instead of years. That’s a “race” to spend the least possible amount of money, the lawyers contend.
But the city has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on bike lanes that are almost as useless as a piece of plywood with an arrow on it. The most egregious example is the “Million Dollar Green.” It is a two-mile stretch of bike lane that was supposed to be completed as recently as 2015, and that is almost entirely empty of