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In 1897, a Bicycle Superhighway Was the Future of California Transit

Yasha Wallin

In 1897, a wealthy American businessman named Horace Dobbins began construction on a private, for-profit bicycle superhighway that would stretch from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles. It may seem like a preposterous notion now—everyone knows Angelenos don't get out of their cars—but at the time, amidst the height of a pre-automobile worldwide cycling boom, the idea attracted the attention of some hugely powerful players. And it almost got built.

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  • Annelise Meyer

    A surprising and interesting article, thanks!

  • Zachary Slobig

    Hey Angelenos: Is that true that you never get out of your cars?

    • Celia Rand

      Nope, never do. There's even a drive thru Coffee Bean & Tealeaf on the way to work! (Oh yeah, I do get out when I arrive at work!)

    • Liz Dwyer

      Also, you do have to get out of your car to go stand in line at the taco truck. No drive-thrus for those yet!

    • Liz Dwyer

      This is a popular but untrue myth. I took the bus--which was packed every day with other Angelenos--or walked every day last week.