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Is Long Beach the most bike-friendly city in America?

Long Beach is drawing praise from cycling advocates and other cities for its bike-friendly agenda.

On Thursday afternoon, for instance, the city hosted a delegation from Glendale, taking the visiting officials on a bike-mounted tour of its new bike lanes. Los Angeles officials are scheduled to stop by in the next few weeks. While other cities spin their wheels, Long Beach is joining the ranks of places such as Portland, Ore., San Francisco and New York City that have made safe passage for bikes a priority, even at the expense of traffic lanes.

Long Beach has raised $17 million in state and federal grants to improve its bike system through traffic improvements, education and bike-share programs. In the next six months, the city will be resurfacing 20 miles of streets to include new bike lanes, part of a plan that includes painting and paving more than 100 miles of bike infrastructure.

In the spring, the city hopes to install traffic circles on less-traveled streets parallel to thoroughfares and designate them "bike boulevards" -- preferred routes for cyclists. Also in the works are plans to replace entire lanes of traffic with protected bikeways.

And in what's bound to be a controversial move, the city is looking at taking away prime parallel parking spots -- the ones most convenient to shops and restaurants -- and putting "bike corrals" in their place. Last summer a green-colored shared bike-car lane, called a "sharrow," was unveiled, causing a stir on Second Street in Belmont Shore. A few months later, the city unveiled a sculpture of an antique bicycle outside City Hall with a caption that read "Long Beach, the most bicycle friendly city in America."

Was that proclamation premature? Or is Long Beach on its way to becoming a haven for cyclists?

Read more about it in in The Times.

--Tony Barboza

Photo: A bicyclist rides along Second Street in Belmont Shore, where lanes were painted last summer. "Gradually over time, drivers have adjusted. They're slowing down," one cyclist said. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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It is a nice city to visit, if you don't have to drive through the city itself. They have the aquarium and a cool trade center and a harbor. It is a city that may be special, but it does look like the place where you would have a lot of bike accidents and where personal injury attorneys would develop interest and I am sure a place where the DA keeps busy. It is dangerous looking and not because of traffic, but the people that are walking down the streets.

After hours Long Beach is one of the most dangerous cities I have been too. It is plaint freaking scary. You are at risk of serious injury and it is not the kind of injury where you can call a personal injury attorney it is the kind where you call the police, because you have been beaten to death. From the times I have driven in Long Beach I can't say I have seen a lot of bike lanes or anything else that makes Long Beach bike friendly. I see a lot of low lifes and homeless people.

I don't know about Long beach, but i rode on Parkland Fl, in it is very very bike friendly.

Maybe not the most Bike friendly city in America, or the west, or the state...but no one could argue its status in Southern California where carmania is first and foremost. I respect what city of Long Beach is doing, not only in creating bike friendly streets, but pedestrian friendly walkable neighborhoods. It will experience growing pains as police, car-riding citizens, and bicyclists learned to live with each other...but as long as the city and its denizens continue to communicate, Long Beach will be the better for it.

I think oregon is the most bikes friendly area in the region.

Maybe not the most but we are getting there.

With the increase of bikes on the road, will drivers be prepared for the change? If not, they could be caught off guard and more accidents could be the result. It is great to see that more bikes are being encouraged on Long Beach roads, but how will the city’s drivers prepare for the change?

Forget Eugene and Long Beach; if you have ever been to Davis, California you will know, you are in the most bike friendly city in all of America! Bike lanes on every street, smooth curbs to ride up and down on, Bike License #s for all registrated bike owners (in case of bikes theft); enforced bike laws including, no biking under the influence (BUI), manditory bike-lights at night, and street lights specificly for bike riders.

Lastly, who on earth told you (DanaPointer) that "Cyclists tend to come from upper income brackets"? Where did you pulls that misleading static from? I live near Eagle Rock, CA (Just north of LA) and most of the cyclist I see, on a daily basis, are young kids called the "Midnight Riders", and these kids are dirt poor. I would agree that most of the cyclists depicted in the article probibly come from Upper income brackets, but to say the a majority of cyclist come from that income bracket you be unfounded; unless you can show us some certifiable research on the matter; futhermore, your not addressing the fact that there are many sub-genre within the culture of cycling.

As the city of Long Beach becomes the shining example for other cities to follow we could really see improvements soCal wide. Problem with cities like Portland from CA perspective is that it is too easy to say "it wouldn't work here", while city's like Long Beach success can't be denied by other soCal cities.

I predict property values and business in Long Beach will also benefit from these efforts, since many people who would not have considered living and visiting Long Beach before, are now tempted to go ride these exemplary streets.

Cyclists tend to come from upper income brackets, and even when not, they have disposable money due to savings on car expenses, money they can then spend at local businesses.

I believe that Eugene, Oregon actually is the most bicycle friendly but keep trying Long Beach


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