Southern California environment news and trends

WalkScore rates the most bike-friendly cities in America

Photo by Gary Rides Bikes via Flickr Creative Commons

Santa Monica is a bicycle-friendly town.

In case you missed it, today (May 17) is Bike to Work Day in Los Angeles (the day is celebrated nationally tomorrow by the League of American Bicyclists). In recognition of the day, L.A. County MTA is offering free rides on trains and busses to riders with their bikes and/or bike helmets.

With May being National Bike Month and all, website Walkscore has upgraded their services to include "Bike Score," rankings of the 10 most bike-friendly cities in America and Canada.

A review of the ranked American cities finds that only San Francisco made the top 10 to represent California, coming in a very respectable third in the rankings.

As reported by Treehugger, scores were “based on the availability of bike infrastructure (lanes and trails), the hilliness of the area, destinations and road connectivity, and the number of bike commuters.”

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LA cyclists ride free on Bike To Work Day

San Franciscans Alter Commute On 15th Annual Bike To Work Day

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In case you missed it, the League of American Bicyclists declared May 2012 as National Bike Month. Dubbed “an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride,” the month is being highlighted by National Bike To Work Week (May 14 – 18), which culminates with National Bike To Work Day on Friday, May 18.

Locally, the L.A. County MTA is offering free rides on Metro buses and trains to cyclists who bring their bike and/or bike helmet with them on Thursday, May 17.

According to the San Fernando Sun, Culver CityBus, DowneyLINK, Glendale Beeline, LADOT, Montebello Bus Lines, Norwalk Transit, Pasadena ARTS, Santa Clarita Transit and Torrance Transit will also be offering free rides to commuters with a bike and/or bike helmet (although if you’re riding a bike on Southland streets, you should really be wearing a helmet. If you’re under 17, wearing a helmet is the law in California). Metro will be co-sponsoring 80 bicycle “pit stops” throughout L.A. County where riders can fuel up on snacks and the occasional giveaways (find exact locations here).

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10 deals and freebies for pedaling during Bike to Work Week

Time to dust off that rusty bike in the garage. Bike to Work Week returns next week — and from May 16th – 21st, the city will be spinning in a whirlwind of pedal-friendly events, giveaways, and promotions. Whether a cycling newbie or a bicycling pro, Bike to Work Week has lots of incentives to get you out of the car and on eco-friendlier human-powered two-wheelers. Start by taking advantage of these 10 deals:

1. Get a free lunch and a chance to win a bike and other prizes by starting your Bike to Work Week celebrations a few days early at Compton BikeFest 2011. You can take advantage of a free bike checkup and repair, then listen to music entertainment, watch bike tricks in the bike rodeo and skills area, and take a safety ride with C.I.C.L.E. All that happens Sat., May 14 from 9 am to 1 pm at Gonzales Park, 1101 W. Cressey St., Compton. Pre-register by calling El Nido Family Centers at 310-223-0707 for your free lunch!

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5 discounts and deals for traveling green in Los Angeles

gettingonmetro 5 discounts for traveling green in Los Angeles

With the gas and parking prices these days, getting around by bike, bus, rail, and your own two feet can save you quite a bit of money in Los Angeles. If you need a good green deal to get you thinking outside the car, start by hitting up these five spots for eco-friendly discounts and freebies.

1. 20% off locavore-friendly cookingHomegirl Café cooks up contemporary Latina fare — some made with produce grown in the Cafe’s own garden — while giving formerly gang-involved women job training and education. Show your Metro pass, rail ticket, or TAP card and get 20% off your meal.

2. Free green spa giftWillow Spa — a Santa Monica relaxation spot that offers facials and treatments with organic products — has a program called Walk to Willow on Thursdays. Simply walk to the spa, let the desk know when you check in that you did so, and get a free green gift from another local green business after your treatment.

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Will Wilshire bus-only lanes get more Angelenos riding Metro?

metrobusad Morning greens:

The Metro 720 and I have been fast friends since the line launched back in 2000. Compared to the local buses I’d been used to, the Rapid was a speed monster. Back then, a new Metro 720 bus showed up every 10 minutes or so to pick me up from my apartment in Miracle Mile, holding yellow lights and speeding down Wilshire Blvd., making only a few stops at major intersections before dropping me off a few blocks from my cubicle on Bunker Hill. Since my job got me a free Metro pass for not driving to work, taking the 720 was a no brainer.

Fast forward 11 years, and traffic in L.A.’s gotten a lot worse. I now work from home, but I take the 720 from time to time — which still flies down Wilshire — if it’s close to midnight. I exaggerate a little — but frequent riders know that the Rapid bus is anything but rapid during rush hour, when it has to hobbles along with the rest of the slow-moving cars on Wilshire, slowly inching forward in the daily traffic jams.

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