Springin’ into action on the Metro’s Orange Line Bicycle Path

Mar 19, 2009 by Lisa Newton

With the hint of spring in the air last weekend, I decided to ride a bike trail I’ve had my eye on, the Metro Orange Line Bicycle Path.

After having gone through a major clean-up effort, the Orange Line Trail looks great, and rides even better.

I didn’t ride the entire trail, but entered it via the intersection of Oxnard and Van Nuys. Almost all of this part of the trail is labeled a Class I bike trail, a completely separated bi-directional right of way designated for bicycles. The trail is smooth and flat, making for a seamless ride; however, there are rips in the seams, due to the many starts and stops at each major street crossing, of which there are many.

In my ride, I encountered one major problem—signage, or a lack thereof, especially in this particular section of the bicycle path near the Los Angeles River, where the Class I trail turns into a Class II bike trail, a striped lane for one-way bike travel on a roadway.

Unfortunately, there are no directional signs of where to go to continue on the intended trail, so it’s easy to get confused. This left me with one choice, to keep riding with the hope that the Class II trail would lead back to its intended course, along the bus route.

I was right; the Class I trail restarted several blocks down the road. But no sooner did I reach the path’s end and as I resumed my trek back, the signage issue became even more of a problem.

Upon starting this trail, I thought getting lost wasn’t even a possibility or I would have taken my map. After about 20 minutes of riding, fortunately, I found my way out of what was a maze of bike paths at the time. I had no idea bike trails could be so prevalent!

After returning home, I reviewed the map, and apparently on my way back, I took the wrong fork in the bike path, which led me astray to the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area. On a different day, I would have loved to spend more time there, but on this day, I had to be somewhere in the afternoon, so getting lost wasn’t on my agenda. Indeed, when is it ever?

It’s incumbent that the LA Department of Transportation, show bicycle riders the same set of criteria and respect that they afford automobile drivers by providing proper signage.

Supply the proper information so bicycle riders know where to go to reach their intended destinations.

Safety first isn’t just a slogan to bandy about when convenient.

Here’s a slice of Los Angeles courtesy of the Metro Orange Line Bicycle Path:

This is another part of the Los Angeles River. It looks quite different here than it did closer to Griffith Park.

A wonderful family friendly painted brick mural I liked.

I encountered this bike rider both coming and going. She appeared to be at least 70 years old, and because she was riding her bike for at least 40 minutes, I’d say she’s in pretty good shape. You go girl………………..:)

As I approached this gentleman, I was trying to figure out what he was doing. Upon closer inspection, he is transporting empty bottles and cans to be sold at a local recycling center.

In Los Angeles, collecting recyclables is a mini-industry. Although it isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s green and eco-friendly.

The economics of recycling is increasing favorably, scouring garbage cans for recyclables, bagging them up, and taking them to a local recycling center is becoming popular. I’m not certain how much money one can make through this endeavor, but it’s obvious this guy is taking it very seriously.

All in all, I enjoyed the ride, and even though getting a little lost was an issue. I looked at it as an extra 20 minutes of exercise, and a worthwhile cause for advocacy.

Speaking of exercise, how are you going to enjoy the first day of spring on Saturday? If you’re going to take your bike out of mothballs, grab your camera, and share Spring into 2009.

I can’t wait to see what spring looks while you’re Travelin’ Local wherever you may live in the world.

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Encino, Metro, San Fernando Valley, SoCal

6 Responses to “Springin’ into action on the Metro’s Orange Line Bicycle Path”

  1. Diane C. says:

    So glad to see bike paths springing up around the valley where I lived for decades. I Love the picture of the active mature lady on the three-wheeler…very inspiring!

    Diane C.’s last blog post..What’s Blooming at Tohono Chul


  2. Urban Panther says:

    Saturday is the first day of Spring? So it is! Okay, the plan is to start the day off in our hot tub, in the first day of Spring sunshine, with our espressos. Then, after a leisurely breakfast, we will wander around The Market downtown, with my daughter and her boyfriend, and then likely go to a nice cafe for lunch. And if it’s warm enough, hopefully outside on a patio with a beer.

    Urban Panther’s last blog post..How watching movies will help me win!


  3. D. Travis North says:

    We studied the LA River in school (Landscape Architecture bleeds into the engineering world a lot). It’s a very interesting treatment of the river, but I also feel that it’s a little sad. That picture above is certainly more appealing than the shots you took near Griffith Park…but it still seems sad.

    When I do my Philly Photo Tour, I’ll have to get some shots of Kelly Drive – Philly’s most popular biking/running area. It’s beautiful.

    D. Travis North’s last blog post..Wired’s First Look at Strobist ‘Open Source’ Flash


  4. David says:

    Travis, being a Southern California local, and a real estate investor, developer, and urban enthusiast, I understand your sentiments exactly.

    On the one hand, the Los Angeles river was never much to be proud of; on the other hand, what and how Lisa is approaching its current transformation and history–via photographs and writing–helps me to at least give it more appreciation then I ever did.

    For what it’s worth–I think that it’s now on my and others radar. That can only be a good thing.

    I’d be interested what your landscape architecture class came up with as to a point of view regarding the LA River. Because it’s interesting how perspectives and reality can clash at points in time.


  5. bikinginla says:

    Great photos. I’ve wanted to ride the Orange Line bike path, but haven’t made it out to the Valley with my bike yet. This is what they need to do with the Expo Line, providing a clear bikeway from the coast to Downtown, if the Expo Construction Authority would just get their heads out of their collective (deleted).

    bikinginla’s last blog post..Senate District 26 Candidate Statements: Curren Price


  6. LisaNewton says:

    @ Diane C. I agree. When I past her the first time, I said “Hello,” but when I past her the second time, I said, “Way to go,” hoping I would be able to do that at her age.

    @ Urban Panther I hope to be sitting down, enjoying a glass of wine after taking a few pictures for the Spring into 2009 group. I love it when spring is in the air.

    @ D. Travis North I agree. I felt the sadness of the river as I took the shot. In some places, the “river” looks no bigger than a ditch, and I’ve seen many of these in rural Ohio.

    I look forward to seeing your Philly tour……………….:)

    @ David For some reason, the Los Angeles River has fascinated since I moved here. Maybe it’s because I’m from the East Coast where the term “river” means something totally different. I hope my readers don’t get tired of seeing the LA river because I’m sure I’ll be back.

    @ bikinginla I agree. I’d love a bike route that went from the ocean to downtown. I’ll have to check out the Expo Line. I’m just beginning my bike adventures in LA.


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