Pasadena: Clean up your act.
This week, as I was riding in the bike lane on Sierra Madre Blvd in Pasadena, I noticed a distinct difference between the condition of the pavement in the car lanes and the bike lane. As the City of Pasadena readied this street for the annual Rose Parade, it had apparently swept the gravel and debris from the automobile lanes, no doubt making it easier for parade floats and marching bands, but it had left the bike lanes on both sides of the street a mess of sand, gravel, rocks, and other road debris. At first I thought this might simply have been a case of the sand blowing to the side of the road from the turbulence of car traffic, but two observations convinced me this was an intentional failure of the city to clean the bike lanes. First, the traffic lanes were completely free of any road debris whatsoever. Second, the line of heavy debris coincided exactly with the edge of the bike lane the entire length of the street, as shown in the photo (above). The unmistakeable pattern of debris strongly indicates that the city swept the streets and intentionally avoided sweeping the bike lanes.
This is more than just an aesthetic issue, it is a safety issue and an economic issue as well. Trying to avoid slipping on loose sand or getting a flat tire on a rock or broken glass on debris like this may force bicyclists to swerve into the fast-moving automobile traffic. I also question the economic wisdom of avoiding sweeping the entire street. Why only sweep part of the street, leaving the rest of it loaded with debris? Doesn’t the city just make more work for itself with a job half-done?
Whether the city’s public works department realizes it or not, they sent bicyclists an unambiguous message: you don’t matter. Despite paying taxes for public services like everyone else, bicyclists get the back side of the city’s hand when it comes to the maintenance of bike lanes and other bicycle infrastructure.
Pasadena: clean up your act.