L.A.'s Cycling Superhighway: 115 Years Ahead of Its Time

Brian Merchant explores the fascinating history of the California Cycleway, a dedicated bicycling superhighway that was partially constructed beginning in 1897 between Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles.

"In 1897, a wealthy American businessman named Horace Dobbins began construction on a private, for-profit bicycle superhighway that would stretch from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles."

"The notion that anyone could profit off of such a venture—a bicycle toll road—seems insane now. But at the time, bicycling was a full-on fad. As in, something the rich, the hip, and the elite actually wanted to do. There were 30,000 cyclists in the Los Angeles region at the time, which was less populous then; it was home to 500,000 residents. A full 6% of Angelenos were cyclists."

"But alas, the bicycle craze was soon supplanted by the automobile craze, and the elites have never looked back. The cycleway was never completed, and was eventually abandoned. Part of the path cleared for the project was, somewhat ironically, turned into the Arroyo Seco Parkway."

Full Story: In 1897, a Bicycle Superhighway Was the Future of California Transit


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