Friday, July 25, 2008

My Humps, My Humps, My Ugly Cycling Bumps

The Militant rode on bike last night from his compound to visit an operative in West Adams (and yes, he did ride past his favorite mystery spot for the fun of it), but en route, while riding along Western Avenue, just a few feet south of Venice Blvd, on the west side (wesssoiiide!) of the street, there it is, you can't miss it (pictured right).

Now, the Militant, as well as anyone who rides a bike in this City, knows there's potholes, there's cracks, there's some fux0red-up pavement. is THIS? A mountain range? Lessee. We got the San Gabriels, The Santa Susanas, the Santa Monica mountains...and THIS! How did this happen? Plate tectonics?

Maybe they're speed bumps. If they are, they work, alright. They're great at slowing down cyclists like the Militant. Fortunately, the Militant's urban assault bicycle can take the jagged terrain. But most cyclists can't.

In all seriousness, this particular asphalt deformity is dangerous. Dangerous for cyclists, for obvious reasons. But also dangerous for motorists, who, upon driving over these, can potentially lose control and hit a cyclist, a pedestrian or another motor vehicle.

As you may or may not know, the Militant isn't into petty whining like, um, some other blogs tend to do, so, true to Militant form, he wants to get into action and find (and fight for) a solution. While riding not more than two blocks south is Councilman Herb Wesson's 10th District Field office. The Militant will contact the office and get some answers, and hopefully get that stretch of Western fixed up! Stay tuned, Angelenos!


Ed said...

WE have a similar situation here in the Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angeles. At Saticoy and Balboa, the corner is badly paved and full of water all the time. The councilperson's office tells us that this is the responsibility of the property owner, but that there is no applicable code under which the city can force him to clean it up. :(

Peter McFerrin said...

I can't tell you how many times I've nearly rear-ended somebody while traveling east on the southernmost lane of Adams as you come to the bottom of the hill at Western. The pavement is in very similar condition, launching the vehicle partially airborne and causing my anti-lock brakes to kick in on the wheels that are still on the ground. It can be rather harrowing.

I suspect that the pavement damage is due to buses and trucks. Most of those road beds were built at a time when heavy vehicles weren't nearly as, well, heavy as they are today. You can fill as many potholes and even resurface as many times as you want, but if the underlying roadbed isn't thick and solid enough the same problems will recur in the same places. Unfortunately, it would be next to impossible to do complete pavement rebuilds on some of the roads that need it most (Venice, Adams, and Wilshire come to mind).

ed, I wouldn't be surprised if Saticoy/Balboa was built over an original creek/arroyo bed. The course of the stream may have been moved to the drainage channel a block to the east but the underlying soil is still moist.