Long Beach Bikeway 17
2013-01-11 · By Peter Dopulos
Long Beach Bikeway 17 is a commuter route that connects uptown to downtown, largely by traveling along Orange Avenue as it turns into Alamitos Avenue and then Shoreline Drive, eventually crossing over the Queens Way Bridge. This is not a ride for recreationalists or the faint of heart, but rather an efficient line connecting the farthest southern and northern points of the city.
The ride has an official start at 70th Street which is not designated a Bikeway but does feature plenty of bike route signs and a wide set of bike lanes along a sedate residential street. From here the ride heads south along wide painted bike lanes. Traffic is brisk through here but not too heavy. You are most likely to encounter danger form the sudden door opening as throughout this section street parking is common and used often, especially on weekends and during rush hours. Stay alert.
At 3.40 miles the route crosses Bixby Road and the bike lane in both directions disappear. The rider is faced with a narrow, bumpy road with a wall of parked cars on the right and motorists whizzing past. These conditions exist until it Orange crosses Wardlow Road and the street widens some, but the traffic is just as heavy as motorists make their way to the 405 Freeway and through the City of Signal Hill. There is also a moderate climb through here which culminates in a speedy descent if you can catch the green light at Willow Street.
The route returns to Long Beach near Pacific Coast Highway, Bikeway 1, which is also the location of the Long Beach City College’s Pacific Campus. From here the road narrows again and instead of a lane of traffic in each direction, somehow two lanes and on-street parking squeezes into his narrow strip of heavily worn roadway. For the next couple of miles the route is increasingly urban with a high volume of traffic and odd-angled traffic intersections. Also, you are no longer traveling on Orange, but instead this road has magically transformed itself in Alamitos Avenue.
At 7.86 miles the route crosses 3rd Street and through here the ride overlaps with Bikeway 10. This section is especially busy. At Ocean Boulevard despite a lack of signs, Bikeway 17 continues straight and the road changes its name yet again, this time to Shoreline Drive. As you travel downhill be ready for an easy to miss ramp at 8.31 miles that will allow you to travel along off-street bike paths. At 8.38 miles, follow the path right then cross the parking lot entrance to continue through Rainbow Lagoon Park. While this section of the route appears safe, many of the intersections with roadways, Pine Street in particular, are blind and motorists making a right turn cannot see you entering the crosswalks, be especially careful through this section. Signage may be confusing as 17 overlaps Bikeway 2 along these paths.
At 9.0 miles the route turns left and crosses Shoreline Drive. Shortly after this point the route deviates from route 2 and sends you over the Queens Way Bridge, the toughest climb of the day. Pause at the top of the protected bikeway to enjoy a panoramic view of the harbor, marina and downtown before heading down the other side of the bridge. At 9.67 the route comes to an official end. However, after that climb over the bridge, don’t you want to get a closer look at her highness, the Queen Mary? I thought so. Head straight along Queens Way Drive, which is narrow and bumpy, but generally light on traffic. As the road starts to turn right, cross the street into Harry Bridges Memorial Park and from there follow the path until you reach the Queen Mary, for an unofficial distance of 10.21 miles.
Official Distance: 9.67 miles
Unofficial Distance: 10.21 miles
Points of Interest: North Long Beach, Bixby Knolls, Signal Hill, Museum of Latin American Art, long beach Arena, pine Street, the Pike, Aquarium of the Pacific, Rainbow Harbor