When California almost built a bicycle superhighway
Copenhagen has been hailed for its so-called bicycle superhighways, started in 2012.
But a Southern Californian had the idea more than a century earlier.
It was this week in 1900 that saw the opening of the California Cycleway, an elevated wooden path designed to link Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles.
At the time, commuters slogged along rutted roads between the suburbs and downtown, where most of the jobs were.
Dan Koeppel, a Los Angeles-based writer who has researched the cycleway, said it offered an alternative that combined the cutting-edge bicycle with a novel idea — rapid transit.
“It really was visionary,” he said.
Conceived by Horace Dobbins, a millionaire businessman and later mayor of Pasadena, the nine-mile route was to soar up to 50 feet along the Arroyo Seco river valley. The toll was 10 cents.
On New Year’s Day, the first portion opened to great fanfare, prompting news reports as far as England.