Freeway Biking in L.A.

The freeway: now with bicycles…  Enjoy this video of bike riders weaving through the city’s gridlocked super highways. [Metblogs]

Following the comment thread of the Metblogs post, I came upon this very interesting discussion about the origin of L.A.’s (and America’s) first freeway as a … wait for it … bikeway.

Said commenter LA City Nerd:

Just to let you know…

The original "freeway" — the Pasadena Fwy/Arroyo Seco Parkway — was originally a "bikeway" from Pasadena into Downtown. The elevated, wooden structure was dismantled as the project proved less desirable than a roadway, which it later became.

Angelenos had it right when they started; things just don’t always pan out as they plan them…

Elaborated commenter Lamapnerd:

Horace M. Dobbins’ California Cycleway Company was formed in 1897 with the intention of building an elevated wooden cycleway from Padaena to downtown Los Angeles.

The company acquired a 6 mile right-of-way from the Green Hotel in Pasadena to Avenue 54 in Highland Park, but only the first 1 1/4 miles of the cycleway, running from the Green Hotel to near the Raymond Hotel in South Pasadena, was ever built.

That first leg opened on New Year’s Day, 1900. It followed the path of what today is Edmonson Alley, between Fair Oaks and Raymond Avenue, with a toll booth in Pasadena’s Central Park.

The project stalled in 1901, as the cycling craze of the 1890s came to an end. The Pacific Electric Railway sealed the Cycleway’s doom, when it acquired the Pasadena & Los Angeles Railway’s existing electric railway, and built its own more direct Pasadena Short Line. Before the end of the decade, Dobbins’ Cycleway was dismantled and sold for lumber.

Another Dobbins venture, the Pasadena Rapid Transit Company, acquired the right-of-way for a streetcar route, but that plan never came to fruition, either.