The beach bike path in Santa Monica. LA Observed file photo.
Author, critic and book lender David Kipen offered a couple of good, simple ideas on the LA Times op-ed page to help smooth out two minor but annoying transportation snarls in the region. One is almost kind of brilliant. Instead of making users of the Santa Monica Bay bike path detour way around Marina del Rey, operate a short bike ferry to cross the marina's channel. Charge a buck and name it for Ray Bradbury.
The Marvin Braude Bike Trail along the beach, aka “the bike path,” is the secret freeway of Los Angeles. How else can you get anywhere between Pacific Palisades and the South Bay at rush hour — all without stopping, except for Small World Books and fish tacos, if you're so inclined. There's just one hitch: A yacht channel, one you could sail a Frisbee across without half trying, bisects the path at Marina del Rey and sends riders on a detour away from the beach, back onto surface streets.
A bicycle ferry across the “Del Rey Straits” would make possible an unbroken 20-mile oceanfront bike ride between Will Rogers State Beach and Palos Verdes. All it would take is an experiment that coastal towns like Martha's Vineyard have helpfully piloted for years: a simple, Evinrude-powered bike ferry.
Even with liability insurance and dock construction costs, if you charged a dollar at peak hours, this one would surely pay for itself by Labor Day. Why not name it after Ray Bradbury — whose “Fahrenheit 451” is L.A.'s citywide Big Read pick this spring, by the way — and who went carless in L.A. long before it became a fashion statement?
Kipen also proposes a new pedestrian entrance to Dodger Stadium: Mark a walking route from the Chinatown station on the Gold Line to the bridge that crosses the Pasadena Freeway at Yale Street. Then erect a well-marked stairway up to the stadium. That way a few more fans would be encouraged to take transit to the stadium, without having to face the slow shuttle from Union Station. Call it Scullywalk, Kipen suggests.
Kipen includes a bigger potential transportation rejigger — modifying the under-construction Downtown Regional Connector route so that people in Boyle Heights (where Kipen's lending store Libros Schmibros is located) and East LA won't have to change trains to go to Union Station or Pasadena. There's a fourth proposal but it seems included just to have a fourth: Get Southern California and Northern California to jointly bid for the 2028 Olympics, if LA's 2024 bid falls flat. I guess it's tied to the high-speed rail project, and it's probably wiser not to bank on that at all.