We spent a long weekend in Southern California recently, and while I didn’t expect to blog about it, I can’t resist.
First: Land of crazy speed limits.
We were astonished at the streets and the speed limits. Neighborhood streets (probably classified as collectors, but with many driveways) at 40mph! Arterials at 45mph! I tried, and I just couldn’t drive that fast. It didn’t feel safe. I have no doubt, however, that with practice I’d become habituated to it, and keep up. The streets were wide and open, but not only are they designed to encourage driving fast, the speed limits are overriding our instincts about safety.
Second: A complete network of separated infrastructure (but not for bikes).
We were staying in Alta Loma. I don’t know Southern California geography all that well, but it’s near Claremont, between the 210 freeway and the mountains. This is horse country. Most houses are on half acre lots, and the lots are designed for keeping horses. When my relatives moved out there 30 years ago, there wasn’t much there, aside from the houses and horses. Now it’s built up as suburbia. There are still horses, although not as many as before. (I’ll note here that I keep a horse in a similar neighborhood here in Kirkland near Bridle Trails.)
Here is the interesting thing: there is a complete network of bridle paths through the town. Every house has access to the bridle path out the back (like an alley) and there are bridle paths along the larger streets, separated by a curb and a fence. Typically there was a bridle path on one side and a sidewalk on the other. I did not note horse access to any shopping areas (not that I did any shopping), but there was nice off-street access to a local park with an equestrian facility.
Every house has direct access to this safe facility for riding a horse.
Every street has a safe place to ride a horse.
Because, duh, horses can’t share space with cars. That wouldn’t be safe.