Long Beach Bikeway Route 27: Bellflower Boulevard
2010-04-09 · By Peter Dopulos
Long Beach Bikeway Route 27 is an efficient route that takes cyclists from Heartwell Park to Atherton (Long Beach Bikeway Route 30) or unofficially to Bellflower Boulevard’s end at Loynes Drive (Bikeway Route 10).
For almost its entire length, Bikeway 27 is a spacious bike lane that is often wider than the car lanes — especially along the northern section. Overall, it’s a safe bike path with only a few sections that require “extra” vigilance because of the surrounding traffic.
As I did with Route 29, I picked up Bikeway 27 coming off of Route 60 (Carson) and turned south. The first sign I saw indicating the beginning of the route was at Route 56 (Conant) and this first unmarked section accounted for .5 miles of unofficial distance.
This first length of the bike route leads cyclists through a major corridor of neighborhoods. The traffic is brisk but with the wide bike lanes and a complete lack of on-street parking, the traffic is hardly noticeable. From Carson to the 405 Freeway underpass, the greatest concern for bike travelers is keeping an eye out for motorists who might be making a right turn through the bike lane.
Next up along Bikeway 27 is the intersection of Willow, the 405 and Los Coyotes Diagonal — a seething mass of steel and rubber combined with frenetic energy. The intersection feels tense with an undercurrent of road rage waiting to burst out. In both directions, traffic really picks up in overall volume. Cyclists will need to be hyper-vigilant as cars shoot the lights and jockey for position to get in the correct lane, often waiting until the last minute to do so. Those traveling northbound, need to be extra careful as the entrance to the 405 Freeway is two lanes wide and fast-paced. Do not expect motorists to be looking for you! Without a doubt this whole section—all one-tenth of a mile—is the most dangerous part of Bikeway 27.
Once on the other side of the freeway, Route 27 shunts cyclists onto the access road which parallels Bellflower Boulevard. It’s a safe place to ride, since the road opens up to three lanes as it passes Los Altos Center. Once past Stearns Street, Route 27 traverses a busy stretch of road with parked cars taking up the bike lane and plenty of unaware motorists throwing open car doors.
Thankfully, it doesn’t take long to ride past the commercial center where Bikeway 27 again dips into an access road until it comes to an official end at Atherton Street. (Official distance of 2.5 miles.)
From this point, the idea is that students/faculty traveling to Cal State Long Beach will turn left on Long Beach Bikeway Route 30 to complete their trip to school.
Cyclists who would like to keep riding can continue on Bellflower. But be warned, it’s a steady climb on a fast-paced section of three-lane road—and there is no more bike lane. Instead, this section seems reserved for parked cars and the traffic is hectic for bikes riders crossing 7th Street. However, cyclists that brave through will be rewarded with two choices: turn left or right to plot a course along Route 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) or stay on course and head towards Route 10.
For those that continue forward, traffic flow becomes more sedate on the other side of Pacific Coast Highway. The road is wide, cycling is smooth, and it’s mostly downhill until Bellflower comes to an end at Loynes Drive, dropping cyclists off onto Bikeway 10.
I see Long Beach Bikeway Route 27 as a major cycling artery for the Eastside of Long Beach. The bike path connects the Colorado Lagoon to Cal State Long Beach, and rides through residential sections until it finishes up at Heartwell Park or carries cyclists on into Lakewood. Bikeway 27 is a good safe route, that only requires an extra bit of alertness around the 405.
Bikeway: Route 27
Streets Traveled: Bellflower Boulevard
Official Mileage: 2.5 miles
Unofficial Mileage: 4.4 miles