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L.A.'s Newest Bike Path Has Nearly A Mile Gap Thanks To Westside NIMBYs

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When Cheviot Hills residents first got wind that Metro's Expo Line was going to be built through their neighborhood, they did the only reasonable thing you can expect the Westside’s landed gentry to do: form a coalition with a title like “Neighbors for Smart Rail” and try to litigate it out of existence.

Their case against the rail line ultimately failed after the California Supreme Court dismissed it in 2013. But the good neighbors quickly turned their attention to blocking other parts of the impending transit apocalypse. Chiefly, the bike path that would roughly parallel the train line and provide people with a car-free bike path connecting Culver City to Santa Monica was unacceptable to them.

Here they were more successful, and, thanks to their ability to stall progress with litigation, when the Expo Bike Path opens later this year it will do so with a 0.7-mile gap through Cheviot Hills and Rancho Park.

The reasons are long and complicated, and Streetsblog Los Angeles does a relatively good job of working through the nuances of disrupted construction contracts. But ultimately it comes down to a good old case of NIMBYism.

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At least one resident claimed the bike path would be used by biking burglars, who would raid the good neighbors’ homes before silently pedaling away, probably carrying a 60-inch TV on their handlebars.

On the ground, this gap amounts to a confusing point where the path heading west from Culver City simply dead-ends at National Boulevard, with no proper connection to the path's restart past Overland Avenue. Cyclists are spit out in one of the most confusing parts of the Westside's grid, with little guidance and virtually no protection of guiding infrastructure.

To remedy the gap, L.A. Councilman Paul Koretz, the city’s Bureau of Engineering (BOE), and the Department of Transportation (LADOT), will be holding a public meeting this Wednesday to discuss alternatives to the Cheviot Hills segment.

The vision is for a “Westside Greenway” that provides people with a safe place to ride their bikes without having to worry about cars passing a bit too close.

The meeting will take place at the Palms-Ranco Park Branch Library, on January 13th from 6-8 p.m. If you have a stake in seeing the path completed you should turn out, because goodness knows there will be lots there who want it stopped.