My Bicycle Route: NoHo to UCLA

My bicycle route is mainly on neighborhood streets, providing a lower-stress and more pleasant experience.

Jose Tchopourian, LADOT Bike Program.

The Los Angeles region is vast and challenging to navigate by any transportation mode. Some residents, like myself, find it more enjoyable and oftentimes faster to commute using a bicycle alone or in combination with public transit.

Before guiding you through my “hybrid commute”, which combines bicycling and transit, I would like to point you to some helpful resources for making trips by bicycle: bike maps and infrastructure, transit maps and timetables, bike rules of the road, and fun bike rides and education.

Since September, I have been commuting from my home in the NoHo Arts District to class at UCLA’s Urban Planning Department. My trip combines a bike and Metro’s underground Red Line subway. The total commute is 14 miles long and takes about 1 hour door to door.

I start my trip on the Metro Red Line at the North Hollywood station in the direction of Union Station. I ride the train two stops, departing at the Hollywood/Highland station. The train ride takes about 9 minutes. If you are riding Metro Rail with your bike, keep the following in mind: 1) use elevators or stairs to enter and exit stations 2) if the train is full, wait for the next one 3) give priority to passengers in wheelchairs, and 4) stand with your bike in the designated area for bikes, which are clearly identified with a yellow decal adjacent to the car doors.

Holding my bike while riding the Red Line Subway into Hollywood.

Holding my bike while riding the Red Line Subway into Hollywood.

The second part of my commute, an 8-mile bicycle ride, takes about 45 minutes and allows me to experience the sights and sounds of multiple neighborhoods.It is important to follow the rules of the road while operating a bicycle. Obey all traffic signals and stop signs, yield to pedestrians, and use lights to be visible at night. I find that riding predictably and communicating with other road users makes my ride safer.

The route I have selected avoids steep mountainous terrain. Instead, I experience slight inclines during my trip. In addition to elevation, I also consider the type of streets I will be using to get to my destination. Eight years of using a bicycle for moving through Los Angeles have taught me that safety comes first. Even if riding on arterial streets might bring me to my destination a few minutes earlier, I prefer to trade time saving for the lower-stress experience of riding on residential and neighborhood streets. When I do ride on arterial streets, I pick those that have bike facilities on them.

Here is my route. If you see me on the road, say hello!

If you would like to share your favorite route, send it to bike.program@lacity.org.

0 replies
  1. Per Sjofors
    Per Sjofors says:

    I bike for exercise on the streets of the Valley, and one thing I learnt is to avoid making left hand turns. They are the most dangerous thing you can do on the bike; you have to leave the relative safety of the bike lane or the right side of the street, cross one or two lanes while looking for car coming (sometimes) and remarkable high speed. On your route, I can count to at least 6 of these left hand turns. Not good. What I do, instead of making a left hand turn, I go passed the street I want to left turn into, and then make 3 right hand turns around a block to arrive at the at street. More exercise, much much safer.

    Reply
  2. Craig
    Craig says:

    Jose,

    Thank you for this post. As I’m sure you know, there is much debate about the best route for bike commuters to/from UCLA with much of the conversation dominated by advocates for use an arterial (Westwood Blvd.) Your post offers a very reasonable alternate perspective in support of routes utilizing residential streets. As a former off and on bike commuter myself over the years, I was particularly happy to read multiple, common sense recommendations such as;

    “This bicycle route navigates mostly through neighborhood streets, providing a safer and more pleasant experience.”

    “Obey all traffic signals and stop signs, yield to pedestrians, and use lights to be visible at night. I find that riding predictably and communicating with other road users makes my ride safer.”

    “Eight years of using a bicycle for moving through Los Angeles have taught me that safety comes first. Even if riding on arterial streets might bring me to my destination a few minutes earlier, I prefer to trade time saving for the lower-stress experience of riding on residential and neighborhood streets.”

    I would very much like to see other local bike advocacy groups support viewpoints such as yours more often. By doing so, I think we would all benefit with more support for biking by the general public.

    Lastly, to recognize those reading your post who more strongly favor use of arterial streets for commuting to UCLA, your point about use of arterials with bike facilities is important as well. I routinely see riders (not sure if they are going to/from the campus) around the UCLA area on arterials such as Pico or Olympic and scratch my head wondering why they don’t use Santa Monica Blvd. with its significant bike facilities.

    Reply
  3. Mike
    Mike says:

    Hello Jose,

    Over the last couple of years, my wife and I have been commuting by bicycle and Metrolink train. The health benefits alone (lack of stress sitting in traffic, daily workout, boost in energy level, etc.) are BIG motivations for us to use a bicycle and train instead of a car. We are sold on the experience with the exception that there is a large amount of congestion on the train with a bicycles. In light of this, we started advocating to Metrolink and politicians to incorporate (install) a dedicated bicycle car on every Metrolink train.

    Hopefully, through our advocacy efforts at: http://www.bikecar101.com — we can rally up enough support to motivate a change to the current status of the train system (which is randomly a bicycle car will show up on any given day). Any help on the Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s part in guiding our advocacy efforts to motivate a dedicated car on every train would be much appreciated. The Metrolink (based on a letter response that we have received) appears to think that there is not enough of a demand (bicycle commuters) to warrant such a change. We respectfully disagree with their logic.

    As you pointed out in your piece, the availability of bicycle slots is not consistent. A consistent bicycle car on every train would: (1)benefit every rider currently by relieving the confusion of availability (bike space availability) and (2)most importantly serve as a motivation for others to engage in blended commuting (bicycle + train) to and from work.

    Thank you for the wonderful post. Have a great day.

    Sincerely,

    Mike

    Reply
  4. Bryan Blumberg
    Bryan Blumberg says:

    I do not care for Carmelita Avenue in Beverly Hills. There are MORE than 20 Stop Signs. It’s very frustrating. Do you stop for every single one?

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] From the Red Line, I get off at Civic Center Station, and then bike the rest of my way to work. Like Jose mentioned in his previous My Bicycle Route post, taking your bike on the train is super […]

  2. […] Bike Blog shares a combination bike/transit route from NoHo to UCLA. And invites you to share your favorite […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *