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Worst 10-minute commute (L.A., of course)

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Worst 10-minute commute (L.A., of course)

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Old 12-09-04, 01:34 AM
  #1  
drroebuck
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From Brentwood to Westwood via Wilshire. Probably 1.5 miles each way.

Traffic was pretty light the day I took these.

Wanted captions for all the pics and wasn't sure of the best way to do it. Hope this makes sense:

# 1: After cutting through the V.A., you come up the ramp that you see in the distant left of the picture and merge into the right-most through lane of Wilshire. And by the way, as you merge left, a steady stream of cars is trying to merge across you to get on the 405 South. That's the three cars behind the UPS truck. At this point, you'd be riding right beside the Big Blue Bus.

# 2: Just after passing the 405 South onramp, you pass the first offramp from the 405. Here, you'd be between the white sedan and the white minivan. The bridge is the 405. Just beyond that is Sepulveda, and just beyond that is another onramp. The right lane here eventually goes onto the freeway, so your best bet is to stay toward the right of the # 2 lane. Note that cars exiting the freeway must merge across you yet again in order to go straight after the light. Also note that Westwood Village is to the north (left) of Wilshire, so most cars exiting the freeway are also trying to furiously merge left over four or five lanes to be able to turn left onto Veteran, Gayley or Westwood or, here, even Sepulveda.

# 3: This is just after Sepulveda. It should now be apparent why you'd stay toward the right of the second lane, as the right lane does not go through. So of course, while you're in that lane minding your own business, the last-minute a$$holes are trying desperately to get into the right lane to make the 405 North onramp. And no, that's not the same bus as before.

# 4: Just after you pass the 405 North onramp, you pass yet another 405 offramp. For added convenience, this offramp has two lanes that merge into one just after joining Wilshire. In other words, while you're making your way across two lanes to your proper place on the road, two lanes of freeway exiters are trying to deal with merging with each other while, at the same time, merging left to make their way into the village. It also just so happens that the right lane in this stretch is the best for driving, so the real aggressive ones are cutting across the grain to get to that lane. Which is right where you are. Happy trails!

# 5: Ahhhh. Safety at last. No more freeway ramps. Just four lanes of aggressive a$$holes with no room for a bike. At this point you just take the lane and ignore the honkers and hecklers. That's yet another bus.

# 6: The way home. This is heading west, just after Veteran. 405 entrance lane is simple enough. Except that from the # 2 lane, drivers can either turn right into the 405 onramp or go straight. So you take the middle of the # 2 lane and, as per usual, ignore the honkers and hecklers.

# 7: People exiting from the 405 South, just before Sepulveda. This one's really not too bad. The only problem is that you've got to stay in the # 2 lane because after Sepulveda, the two right lanes become freeway entrances.

# 8: See?

# 9: And finally, the 405 South meets Wilshire West. That's you, right between the SUV and the minivan. The SUV is trying to merge right to get to the VA. The minivan is trying to merge onto Wilshire.

Last edited by drroebuck; 12-09-04 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 12-09-04, 01:50 AM
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Fellow Bruin? Haha.....I certainly remember those fun days (84-88)commuting to school on my Urban Assault Vehicle aka Raleigh Elkhorn MTB. RIDING on Wilshire Blvd. is just a DEATH WISH! I used to cut across the VA then get on San Vicente to get to Brentwood.....much less traffic.....of course there's obviously helluvalot more traffic EVERYWHERE now.
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Old 12-09-04, 01:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Crank It Up
Fellow Bruin? Haha.....I certainly remember those fun days (84-88)commuting to school on my Urban Assault Vehicle aka Raleigh Elkhorn MTB. RIDING on Wilshire Blvd. is just a DEATH WISH! I used to cut across the VA then get on San Vicente to get to Brentwood.....much less traffic.....of course there's obviously helluvalot more traffic EVERYWHERE now.
Not a Bruin. Live in Brentwood and had a family member in UCLA Hospital for the last 6 months, so was doing that stretch over and over and over. In some weird way, I've actually grown to like it. Keeps you sharp.

The VA is a godsend. If they opened the the cemetary you could cut from Brentwood all the way into the village. One can dream.
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Old 12-09-04, 03:29 AM
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LA traffic makes me giggle.
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Old 12-09-04, 04:14 AM
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The pic you took below is big problem for cyclist. Cyclist are riding on the side of the road but when this offramp approaches, two new lanes are created on the right and all of sudden cyclists will find themselves in the middle of the street.

Bad planning with no thought to cyclist in mind whatsoever.

http://www.bikeforums.net/attachment...chmentid=20262
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Old 12-09-04, 05:55 AM
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Wow. I really admire your guts. I am a Bruin and ride my bike in that general aera everyday. I would never dream of going past the 405 on wilshire. It is just suicide. I will go far out of my way to avoid it. As you know in LA if you are not doing 50 in a 35 zone then you are going too slow. Good luck to you, try to stay alive
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Old 12-09-04, 06:16 PM
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Bridge under/overpasses create problems for commuters. I live near a large college campus, on the other side of the highway near busy streets (no where near as busy as your streets, though!)

I find that most major streets have a quieter, bike-laned street next to it.

Unfortunatly, with a highway overpass the city only plans for one street to go over/under the highway, so you are forced to interact with traffic.

Almost makes you want to ride on the ridewalk or pull a big trailer so people will see you.
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Old 12-09-04, 08:29 PM
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Sorry to be off topic, but are there any bike trails or group of cyclists around the UCLA campus? Thanks.
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Old 12-09-04, 09:55 PM
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Bike trails ... not so much. Though you can get onto San Vicente and take a bike lane pretty much all the way to the beach, where there's a long strand.
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Old 12-09-04, 11:22 PM
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That depends what you mean by trails. Real Bike trials, not really. There are a slew of fire roads off of Mulholand (many, many miles of them). Some could be considered a medium XC. Definently enough miles to get plenty of exercise. Pretty good views too.
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Old 12-10-04, 12:11 AM
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Couldn't you take a better route like Santa Monica Blvd, or something like that instead of Wilshire if you think Wilshire is that bad?

Just wondering.

I used to love flying down Venice Blvd. It's a great ride.

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Old 12-10-04, 12:27 AM
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Well, I live north of Wilshire and was commuting to Westwood north of Wilshire, so to go all the way down to S.M. Blvd. just to avoid some hairyness didn't seem worth it.
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Old 12-10-04, 12:48 AM
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Huh...You said hairyness...
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Old 12-10-04, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Skull
Sorry to be off topic, but are there any bike trails or group of cyclists around the UCLA campus? Thanks.
http://www.labikepaths.com/index.html
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Old 12-11-04, 08:59 AM
  #15  
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Woah, drroebuck, that commute is totally FOCKED UP!!!

How fast are those cars going, by the way? Or are the speed limit signs just decorations? How many times do you get yelled and honked at, on average?

Man, my 7 mile commute is like walking down the driveway compared to that!
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Old 12-11-04, 09:14 AM
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Looking at traffic like that...AAAeeeiiii!!!!!!!Do they make a Hummer type bicycle for commuters?
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Old 12-11-04, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by smurfy
How fast are those cars going, by the way? Or are the speed limit signs just decorations? How many times do you get yelled and honked at, on average?
Ironically enough, the more conjested it is, the easier it is, since traffic is going much slower. But on the stretch of Wilshire that is west of the 405 (the first two pics), they can usually be going pretty damn fast. The stretch east of the 405, even when driving, is hands-down the craziest block in the city, with all the merging. Usually only get honked at or yelled at during those times when I have to take the lane. That, or they ride your ass.
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Old 12-12-04, 12:54 AM
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Yes, I've ridden this intersection, both ways, many times. By far the hairiest commuting segment of my life. I'm getting some adrenaline going remembering it.

The worst, as you say, is the wild lane-changing from motorists. They're going from the far left of Wilshire to the right to get onto the freeway, or from the far right coming from the offramp to the left on Wilshire to make a left turn (a much worse problem heading east on Wilshire, since, as you say, motorists are leaving the 405 with ambitions of making a left turn almost immediately into Westwood Village). A few times only a wave caught the attention of someone driving forty five miles an hour and merging at about twenty miles an hour laterally...

The twenty-minute or so wait at the light at Sepulveda was a welcome rest (and I usually would have to wait there) because I felt much better moving at top speed through this stretch of Wilshire.

At times other than rush hour, this street wasn't actually so bad, as I recall. When the cars were as thick as ants at a picnic, though, it was not time to daydream.

Anyway, even going from north of Wilshire to north of Wilshire on either side of the 405, I would sometimes just go down a block south to Ohio. That's a much more reasonable crossing under the 405. (That's saying something, too, because I have never avoided any other thoroughfare on which it was legal for me to ride because of fear of traffic. I would sometimes ride on the PCH south from Sunset all the way to south of the SM pier, where it becomes the 10, or ride on the PCH under the airport, to give you an idea of what I was willing to do.)

I seem to remember some other street, some side street, that passed through under the 405 between Wilshire and Sunset, too. It was hard to get to from the west side, though, if I'm even remembering this correctly.

And surely the western entrance to the cemetary is open during the day? So, there's always the option of riding through the cemetary, lifting your bike over the fence on the east side, and climbing over. In fact, you could do that on the west and east sides, if you wanted to, I'm sure.
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Old 12-12-04, 02:07 AM
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That's funny ... i just rode PCH today from West Channel to Malibu Canyon, and I may as well have been the only thing on the road, compared to this stretch of Wilshire.

I haven't investigated the cemetery yet. Obviously it's open on the Sepulveda side ... but what about the Veteran side?
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Old 12-12-04, 02:52 PM
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Find another route, dude!

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Old 12-12-04, 06:52 PM
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Meh, riding in traffic is half the fun of being a cyclist. Ha ha silly cars you can't move watch me zigzag my way through you!
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Old 12-13-04, 06:29 PM
  #22  
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Have you considered riding through these interchanges in a "vehicular manner"? From your descriptions, it appears you haven't.

#1: "At this point, you'd be riding right beside the Big Blue Bus."

There is not enough room to be riding safely beside the bus. At this
point a cyclist should be in the right tire track, having just merged
there from the center of the lane, which is the correct position
through that interchange.

#2: "Here, you'd be between the white sedan and the white minivan."

You would not be between the sedan and minivan if you were riding in
the vehicular manner! You would be behind the white sedan in his lane.
As long as that stripe to your right is solid, the farthest right you should go
is the right tire track, unless the lane is wide enough for you to share the
lane safely with a car side-by-side. But when there is a lane coming in
from the right, any closer to it than the right tire track of your lane is not
safe (you need maneuvering space on both sides).

"so your best bet is to stay toward the right of the # 2 lane"

Again, I would stay in the right tire track of the #2 lane. If
you're farther to the right in that lane then you're too close to
vehicles in the #1 lane on your right, and you're inviting motorists
behind you to pass you on your left within the #2 lane, when they
should be at least partially merging into the #3 to pass you. Riding
too far to the right also makes it appear that you're about to merge
right, which you should not be doing until the solid stripe becomes
dashed.

#3: "So of course, while you're in that lane minding your own
business, the last-minute a$$holes are trying desperately to get into
the right lane to make the 405 North onramp."


The implication of this statement is that the desperation of these
a$$holes should somehow be some kind of concern. If you're riding
visibly and predictably, there is no reason to be concerned. Relax!
Have fun!

#4: "In other words, while you're making your way across two lanes to
your proper place on the road, ..."


"Your 'proper place' on the road"? Where would that be? Off to the
right, out of the way of motorists? This is a great example of cyclist
inferiority language - a product of cyclist inferiority thinking. As
long as you think of yourself as inferior on the road, then it will
remain impossible for you to get comfortable riding through these
interchanges.

And the cyclist in the photo is merging right across those two lanes
far too early! He had to cross a solid stripe in order to do it.
What's the hurry? His "proper place" is to continue in the right tire
track of the #3 lane (soon to become #2) at least until the point where
the solid stripe on his right becomes dashed, and then begin to start
the process of merging right, perhaps not until the #1 and #2 meld
into one lane and his #3 becomes #2, depending on merging traffic to his
right. He should start the merge by looking back over his right shoulder,
possibly also signaling a right turn with his right arm, if necessary, and
then waiting until a motorist explicitly gives him the right-of-way,
by slowing down and also possibly by waving or nodding his head.

#5: "Just four lanes of aggressive a$$holes with no room for a bike."

No room for a bike?

"At this point you just take the lane and ignore the honkers and
hecklers."


Exactly. So what's the problem? How is that "no room for a bike?"
There is PLENTY of room for a bike - you have the WHOLE LANE!

I suggest you brush up on your legal rights, starting with a careful
reading of CA VC 21202.


21202. (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

(2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

(3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

(4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.


http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21202.htm


Pay extra close attention to all the exceptions. In particular, note
that there is no obligation to stay to the right if the lane is not wide
enough for a car and bike to safely share the lane side-by-side, which
is clearly the case in this example.


#7: "The only problem is that you've got to stay in the # 2 lane
because after Sepulveda, the two right lanes become freeway entrances."


It is only a "problem" to stay in the #2 lane if you believe something
like: "a cyclist's 'proper place' is riding against the curb." But if you
believe that, you probably should not be riding on these roads.


#9: "That's you, right between the SUV and the minivan."

It might be "you", but it's not a cyclist riding in the vehicular manner.
Such a cyclist would be in the right tire track behind, or in front of,
the SUV.

Now would be a good time to put the book Effective Cycling by John Forester
on your Christmas wish list...

Serge
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Old 12-13-04, 06:36 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by charlesw
Unfortunatly, with a highway overpass the city only plans for one street to go over/under the highway, so you are forced to interact with traffic.
Forced to interact with traffic? You should be interacting with traffic constantly when riding on the road! Don't be afraid to "interact". Right further to the left - make sure they see you and that your positioning makes your intention obvious. Unless you're preparing to turn right, you should not be riding too far to the right.

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Old 12-13-04, 07:59 PM
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Serge ----

You took much of my description way too literally. If I was some timid little biker afraid of traffic, would I even be bothering with the craziest 1/4 mile in this city? Probably not. Phrases like "beside the bus" or "between the sedan and minivan" are to give the reader an idea of where you'd be in that situation. Obviously I'm going to take the lane whenever necessary, such as when there's not enough room for both a bike and a car. Obviously I'm not going to try to cut between two cars that are merging into each other.

The point of the post was to show the irony of how such a short commute could be so insane. Onramp after offramp after onramp, hordes of big blocks of steel and glass merging across each other at ridiculous speeds ... no matter how you ride, it's not ideal for a bike (or car, for that matter).
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Old 12-14-04, 12:33 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by drroebuck
You took much of my description way too literally.
Perhaps. But I don't think so. I think you don't realize how much your description indicates how you think about cycling in traffic, and how different it is from the kind of thinking I'm trying to convey.

If I was some timid little biker afraid of traffic, would I ...
You, on the other hand, apparently did not read my post very carefully. No where did I say that you were "some timid little biker afraid of traffic", or anything like that. Nor did I mean to imply as much. On the contrary, you are clearly a very experienced and skilled cyclist.

However, the language you chose, and I pointed out nine examples (so it was no fluke), and the lack of alarm you expressed at how that one cyclist on the mountain bike in your photo is crossing the two lanes, indicates that there is still room for even a better understanding of the proper lane usage by a cyclist in this type of traffic. However, if you're not open to such a consideration, my point is moot.

Phrases like "beside the bus" or "between the sedan and minivan" are to give the reader an idea of where you'd be in that situation.
But they also indicate where YOU, the writer of those words, think a cyclist SHOULD be in those situations. It's a sneak peak at how your mind works, at least with respect to a cyclist's place in traffic. The fact that you came up with the phrase "no room for a bike" to describe a road with FOUR lanes speaks volumes. You (along with most cyclists) have apparently accepted the anti-cyclist propoganda that ideally a cyclist is somehow better off out of the way to the right, in a bike lane, or even better, in a bike path completely separate from the roads that "are designed for cars". I reject this notion, and it is a belief that is core to my thinking as a cyclist: cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of vehicles, and should ride and be treated accordingly. Riding in shoulders and bike lanes and generally off to the right, whether there is a good reason to do so or not, is not riding consistently with our proper place on the road (not to mention that it makes us less visible and less predictable, hence less safe).

Obviously I'm going to take the lane whenever necessary, such as when there's not enough room for both a bike and a car.
Again your words evoke a view of cyclists having an inferior place on the roads. Consider the similar phrase: "Obviously, I'm going to take a seat in the front of the bus whenever necessary, such as when there are no more seats or standing room in the back of the bus".

You've got it backwards, my friend. Consider using the full lane as your normal mode of operation, and moving over to the right to let cars pass as the exception. I know you currently do not think of it that way, for the same mind could not also conjure a phrase such as "I'm going to take the lane whenever necessary". Why limit use of the full lane to only "whenever necessary"? How about using the full lane except when necessary and safe to let motorists pass? It might seem like a subtle difference, but I assure you it's a fundamentally different way to think and feel about your role in traffic as a cyclist, and makes a profound difference in how you ride in traffic (and how you write about riding in traffic).

Obviously I'm not going to try to cut between two cars that are merging into each other.
Obviously. But if you think that's what I was saying you might do, then either I did not express myself as clearly as I thought I did, or you did not read my words carefully, or a little of both. I've reread my post and I honestly don't see why you felt the need to clarify this obvious point. Of course, I'm biased, so perhaps I missed it. But if you would carefully reread the post and reconsider whether you really had to point this out to me, I would appreciate it. If you still think you did, I would really like to know what it was that I said that made you think I felt you might "try to cut between two cars tha are merging into each other".

My point is that even if you can't see any cars coming, you shouldn't be crossing a solid stripe and cutting across two lanes almost perpendicularly at that point. Have you tried staying in that #3 lane until the point where the #1 and #2 merge? Even with no traffic there on your right? If you think about traffic the way I'm trying to describe it to you, you won't feel compelled to get to that right side as soon as possible. Relax. Enjoy it. You have the lane, take your time merging to the right, one lane at a time, signalling, making sure you are granted the right-of-way, before you move to the right. Don't worry about traffic coming up behind you in your lane, and stay in the middle of the lane, at least in the right tire track, to prevent them from trying to do an unsafe in-lane pass of you. If they honk, smile and wave at them. Blowing a kiss works wonders. I'm not kidding. It softens even taxi and truck drivers.

The point of the post was to show the irony of how such a short commute could be so insane. Onramp after offramp after onramp, hordes of big blocks of steel and glass merging across each other at ridiculous speeds ... no matter how you ride, it's not ideal for a bike (or car, for that matter).
Yes, I understood the point of your post. The point of my post, which I don't think you understood, was that despite how insane and non-ideal this short commute is, by riding in the "vehicular manner" more consistently, you should be able to get through it with more comfort than you currently do, given the language you choose to describe it.

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