Mapping Los Angeles by Bike

Jan 17, 2010 by Lisa Newton

When I first purchased my new bike last year, naturally I started looking for places to ride it. Instinctively I presumed that because Los Angeles is so large, there would be quite a few good bike trails to take advantage of, and I was right, there are several.

Ballona Creek

Because I live on the Westside, I started here.  The first trail to get my attention was the Ballona Creek Bike Path, a dedicated, Class 1 bike trail. And what’s not to love about it–it’s a 6 mile long, segregated bike path that follows the Ballona Creek all the way to the beach–it’s perfect.

As soon as I had the first opportunity to ride the Ballona Creek bike path, I put my new folding bike in the back seat of my car and headed to Culver Blvd to find the entrance to the Ballona Creek bike trail, and thought it would be a “cake-walk” to find the trail’s entrance and exit points.

Riding the Trail

Wrong–I couldn’t find the entrance to the portion of the bike trail I was looking for.  You got it, even though I was on Culver Boulevard, smack dab where I was "supposed to be," to make a long story short, I had no idea where the trail’s entrance was.  No signs. No markers. No nothing. I looked and looked, but to no avail.

When I got back home, I looked online, and found one—yes, just one–site with some extremely basic information about its entrances and exits.

Subsequently, I’ve now ridden the trail several times, and every time I do, I enjoy it immensely as it’s just a really nice ride. But, I also couldn’t help but wonder if other people had the same issues I did in trying to find the same various entrance points that I was having so many problems locating.

My curiosity at the same time became piqued for other information about other nearby bike routes, so I looked online to find if there were more maps for other bike paths in Los Angeles.

UCLA on the Creek

Based on that, my original experience wasn’t unique.

I’ve soon come to learn that Mapping Los Angeles Bike Trails is literally in its infancy.  I recently attended a meeting of like minded people, hosted by Alex Kenefick and John Tangenberg where we could all "brainstorm" to kick-start the process of taking this project to the next level by mapping more of LA’s bike trails, routes, and rides.

But so far, nothing much has been done; and not for lack of enthusiasm among the group.

Thus I was thrust into a unique position. As the publisher of Travelin’ Local, we do a lot of mapping and geo-tagging to accompany our stories. Therefore, I decided to take matters into my own hands, and get the ball rolling to launch this mapping project:

Los Angeles by Bike

Los Angeles by Bike

First, I started a new website called Los Angeles by Bike.

In its current initial form and concept, it hosts some of the Map my Ride routes in and around Los Angeles, with more to be inserted as time goes by.  As bike riders are a close knit community–where valuable input is important among the group–Map my Ride already had several thousand Los Angeles routes; so it seemed redundant to try and reinvent the wheel. 

By using actual rider generated routes, I’m taking the Map my Ride maps to a new level–by putting them into both location and distance categories.

Second, I’ll be adding more and more of my own–and others–Los Angeles Bike Routes, Trails, and Rides, with detailed mapping, including pictures; just like this one I did of Ballona Creek:

As of now, the first entrance to the Ballona Creek Bike Trail is closed due to construction until June 2010. This date has been pushed back several times, so it might happen again. If you want to be sure about an open entrance, here’s a list with the exact location mapped on Google:

1. Duquesne Avenue – Accessible from either Culver or Jefferson, this first entrance is on the downstream side across from Culver City’s Transportation Facility. Look for the giant urn sculpture.

Also at this entrance is the “Rivers of the World” mural, created by the Ballona Creek Renaissance. It’s wonderfully colorful and a great way to start the trail.

Duquesne Avenue

2. Overland Avenue - Accessible from either Culver or Jefferson, this entrance is next to the Culver City Julian Dixon Library, where you’ll see the “Postcards from Ballona” mural at the entrance to the trail. There is a second entrance on the upstream side of Overland Avenue.

Overland Avenue

3. Ocean Drive – This entrance is located at the corner of Ocean Drive and Westwood Blvd., which is immediately south of the creek west of Overland Avenue, and crosses the creek to the bike path via the pedestrian bridge.

Ocean Ave and Westwood Blvd

4. Farragut Elementary School – Located in the far right hand corner of the parking lot to Farragut Elementary School is an entrance used mostly by students from both the elementary school and Culver City Middle School, which borders the bike path.

5. Sepulveda Boulevard – Located on both sides of Sepulveda, one side of which is an unadorned entrance and the other side is wonderful decorated metal gate with a park bench, greenery, and a garbage can. Close up photos of the gate can be seen in the map above.

Sepulveda Boulevard

6. Culver Drive and Purdue Avenue – This entrance is located on tiny Culver Drive on the north side of the creek, a block west of Sawtelle Blvd.

7. Slauson Avenue – This entrance is located where Slauson Avenue dead-ends into the creek. Bordered on one side by the Culver Slauson Recreation Center and on the other, by the Mar Vista Family Center, this entrance is great place to pack a picnic.

Slauson Avenue

8. Inglewood Avenue – Even though Inglewood Ave. only has an entrance on one side, it’s has a wonderfully embellished gate featuring rocks taken from the Ballona Creek. Located at Culver Dr., it dead ends at Inglewood Blvd., a perfect location to start your ride.

Inglewood Blvd.

9. Culver Drive – Close to the intersection of Marshall Drive and just east of Centinela Avenue, there is an entrance to Ballona. Off street parking is available if you need it.

10. Centinela Avenue – Using a similar gate featured at Inglewood, Centinela Ave. has only one entrance on the west side of the road.

11. McConnell Avenue – This entrance is located where McConnell Ave dead ends at the creek.

12. Lincoln Boulevard – There are unassuming entrances are on both sides of Lincoln Boulevard for easy access. And if you’re thinking about driving to this entrance, don’t. There’s no parking here.

13. Fiji Way – This is where the Ballona Creek Bike Path and the South Bay Bike Path meet. With paid parking available at Fisherman’s Village, this is a popular entrance for both bike paths.

Fiji Way

Here’s the map of all these entrances with pictures of each one included:

View Ballona Creek Bike Path in a larger map

And there you have it–The Ballona Creek Bike Path with both pictures and maps.

Now, let’s grab our bikes and go for a ride.

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2 Responses to “Mapping Los Angeles by Bike”

  1. Jessica says:

    Very cool Lisa – it was great to meet you at the bike mapping work group downtown a few weeks ago – nice to see what your working on – pretty rad.


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Jessica, It was good to meet you, too, Jessica.

    I love doing this kind of thing, combining the map with the photos. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

    Let’s keep working to get those bike routes mapped. :)


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