Long Beach Bikeway Route 17: Orange Avenue

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Long Beach Bikeway Route 17 is great for those cyclists traveling through the central part of town from Cal Heights all the way up to Artesia Blvd. The route officially begins between Wardlow Rd. and 36th St. and is well marked throughout the ride.

At its southern terminus, the route can be a bit daunting with fast paced motorist on your left and parked cars lined on the right. With a single lane of traffic in each direction, the posted speed limit is 35 mph, but cars are often traveling much faster than that. And when the bus passes you – whoa, there doesn’t seem to be much breathing space. These conditions prevail until you hit Bixby Rd. about .5 a mile into the route. From here, there is a painted bike lane as wide as the lane the motorists are traveling. Traffic is still brisk, but at least there is plenty of space for both riders and motorists.

Wide, spacious bike lanes continue all the way up until 53rd St. where on-street parking becomes prevalent again. Unlike the southern end of bike route 17, however, there is still a painted lane and there seems to be adequate space for parked cars, motorists and cyclists. The biggest concern here, as with much of the route, is that there are lots and lots of small roads that lead into neighborhoods and parking lots for small strip malls. Cyclists need to stay ever vigilant against the left-handed turn cutting across their path as well as motorists edging into the bike lane looking for oncoming traffic before making their right turn, often looking right past the oncoming cyclist.

While Route 17 can be a bit hazardous, it is an excellent alternative to traveling along Atlantic Avenue (not bike friendly at all) or Cherry Avenue (which is absolutely lethal). I would be hesitant to take my kids along Orange if I could help it, but for more experienced riders, this route should pose no major problems.

The official biking mileage of Route 17 comes in at 3.8 miles. This is measured form the first bikeway sign near 36th and the last sign spotted at Artesia. However, the painted bike route actually continues north all the way up to where Orange Avenue crosses into the City of Paramount near 72nd Street. Once into Paramount, Orange becomes a four lane road with no bike lane designation at all.

Heading south, Orange continues until it turns into Alamitos just past Pacific Coast Highway. Along the way cyclists pass over the 405 Freeway, through the City of and past Long Beach City College’s PCH campus. Alamitos will take you the rest of the way to the harbor, passing the Villa Riviera. From 72nd to PCH is 6.5 miles which accounts for the unofficial distance of Bike Route 17.

Long Beach Transit Bus lines 71 and 72 also Route 17 regularly for those of you looking to combine with your cycling.

Bikeway: Route 17
Streets Travelled: Orange Ave.
Official Mileage: 3.8 miles
Unofficial Mileage: 6.5 miles

Landmarks: Long Beach City College PCH Campus, Northern Long Beach, Signal Hill, Carmelitos, Cal Heights, Bixby Knolls

Connecting Routes
Long Beach Bikeway Route 60 (Carson)
Long Beach Bikeway Route 70 (Del Amo)
Long Beach Bikeway Route 1 (PCH)

About Peter Dopulos
Peter Dopulos is an avid cyclist and can often be seen riding the Long Beach Bikeways. He recently wrote a book, Where to Bike Orange County, he is also the co-host of the Long Beach radio talkshow Swoop's World and a co-founder of GreenWorld365.com.

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