What are some cities/neighborhoods to live in that are bike commutable (<45 minutes) to 24th and Olympic (Santa Monica)?
August 21, 2012 8:52 AM   Subscribe

What are some cities/neighborhoods to live in that are bike commutable (<45 minutes) to 24th and Olympic in Santa Monica? Are there any specific trails or routes I should be paying attention when hunting for housing? Any specific intersections to be avoided?

I'll be returning to the Los Angeles area later this year, and having had Marina Del Rey -> [Santa Monica, Pasadena] and Pasadena -> [Pasadena, Torrance, El Segundo] commutes, I'm keenly aware and beginning to agonize over my get-to-work strategy. This time, I'm planning on letting work be my center of gravity, and allowing housing selection to come as a consequence.

Notes on constraints
  • I currently bike commute, but in a lightly travelled (although plenty bike-hostile) town 7 miles one way with a short high grade hill at the end. This takes me 40 minutes up, and 30 down.
  • The bulk of my current route is along a (poorly maintained, but lane-marked) bike route with the remainder being side streets, hence, I do not have very much experience with urban cycling, so this might be a reasonable chance for you to interject anything you've found broadly useful biking in LA as well.
  • My bike is a hybrid and I will rarely exceed 18mph.
  • I will be renting.
  • Budget is a consideration, but not a hard limit.
  • My arrival times are flexible.
Almost all of my westside experience involved stop and go'ing my way in my car along the arterials (Lincoln still figures prominently in my nightmares) so I'm hoping to draw on some practical experience for a less stressful reunion.
posted by minedev to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Yes, Lincoln is terrible on a bike. Neighborhoods that are 45 minutes from Olympic and 24th would be Venice, Marina Del Rey, West L.A., Culver City and Palms. Renting in Santa Monica would be easiest but most expensive. Venice Blvd is a very good east-west corridor for bikes. You could take that to Beethoven and take that north then cut through the residential area to Walgrove Ave which has a bike lane beginning at the Santa Monica airport. Once you get to Pico you have to contend with 20th St traffic for the freeway onramps. Alternatively you could use 11th or 14th as a north-south street instead of 20th. If you live too far north of Venice Blvd to use it, then Ohio or Arizona are good east-west corridors. Don't forget that googlemaps has a Bicycle mode showing bike lanes and recommended streets for cycling.
posted by conrad53 at 10:15 AM on August 21, 2012

Best answer: I'm not sure how long it is since you last lived in LA, but Santa Monica is currently going all-out on trying to be bike-friendly. They are adding bike lanes all over the place, including re-working certain streets to be explicitly shared bike/car roads. Here's a useful bike map of Santa Monica.

If I were you, I would be looking in Santa Monica as a best case, probably down by the beach between Wilshire and Montana for the easiest commute and great neighborhood. Cycling in from West LA just over the eastern Santa Monica border would be easy too.

Finally, welcome to the neighborhood! I work just 2 blocks away from you. Its a great spot right now, with a ton of lunchtime food trucks every day on Pennsylvania between 26th and Stewart.
posted by Joh at 10:21 AM on August 21, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks Conrad. That kind of freeway transit is exactly what I needed. Also, I hadn't heard of Palms before so I can add it into my search terms.

Thanks Joh. It's been about 3 years since greater Los Angeles, and 6 years since Marina/Santa Monica. I don't recall very much bike traffic, but I'm reasonably sure that I developed extensive skills in memory deletion when it comes to commuting. Wilshire and Montana does look pretty ideal actually, although that would be more of a run or walk commute likely. Certainly something worth dreaming about.

I briefly worked at the old Yahoo Center in that area, so I have some sense of how walkable it is. I don't remember much in the way of lunch options, so it's good to hear that that is not true anymore.

Looking forward to coming back and staying out of my car to the extent possible.
posted by minedev at 11:29 AM on August 21, 2012

Best answer: From a coworker of mine who commutes to Santa Monica from Culver City:

"I nearly agree with the response from conrad53, except he fails to mention the up-hill grade of that bike lane heading north, alongside the Santa Monica Airport. Some people don't mind but it's a fairly long, steep hill.

Also, there is a new Santa Monica bike center on 2nd/Colorado w/ showers & towel service, lockers, and secure bike parking :)

Mar Vista is another neighborhood that's closer to Santa Monica than Culver City."
posted by estherbester at 2:24 PM on August 21, 2012

Best answer: I would definitely look around in Santa Monica proper just on the chance that you'll find something you like. I'd also open up you're search a little farther west to Westwood and maybe Century City. The north-south traffic is crummy always, the east-west is usually only bad rush hour, and then it's so bad that you'll just be blowing by everyone stuck sitting in their cars. I have a co-worker that just started bike-commuting from Sepulveda and Santa Monica to Lincoln and Broadway and he loves it. A benefit is that with that direction you are riding mostly downhill to work (so you're not super sweaty on arrival) and uphill on the way home (so you can relieve some stress), if that's important.
posted by dogwalker at 9:51 PM on August 21, 2012

Response by poster: Alright. I've got a cheat sheet for when I begin to scour Craigslist. Pass on my thanks to your coworker.

General gradient is something I hadn't thought about. I have the wrong direction working for me currently, and it would be a good idea to generally try to place the uphills on the return segment. I'll try to track down a topo as I don't recall a tremendous amount of variation until you start getting further north. Maybe a general west-to-east rise as well... Good food for thought.

Santa Monica itself is definitely ideal from this perspective, although that will probably turn into a run/walk commute rather than a bike ride. I just remember being a bit scarred by my search 6 years ago.
posted by minedev at 11:31 AM on August 22, 2012

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