Drivers in Los Angeles spend an average of 90 hours a year stuck in traffic. But back in the 1890s, California imagined a different future for the city’s streets.
The state planned to build a for-profit, six-mile bike-only highway only for bikes that would stretch from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles. It was the brainchild of Pasadena resident Horace Dobbins, who began construction after city approval in 1897.
Three years later, it opened as an elevated tollway that collected 10 cents per biker, or about $2.50 in today’s money.
Only 1.3 miles of the cycleway were actually built. The city tore it down a decade later since it never made a profit.
The cycleway may sound like a far-fetched idea today, but at the time, most Americans moved through cities by foot, historian and authorPeter Norton told Business Insider. City folk weren’t yet sure if they should adopt cars.