Long Beach Bikeways: Route 56, Conant Street

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Long Beach Bikeway Route 56 is a pleasant ride. I have often complained about a lack of east-west bike routes on the northern end of town. I actually started riding Conant Street as a way to get from the Bixby Knolls/Cal Heights area to El Dorado Park with my kids.

Getting around the airport can be tough. Carson Street (Long Beach Bikeway Route 60) is far too busy and as a parent, it’s just plain nerve racking, especially the section between Lakewood Boulevard and Cherry Street. It has been improved with the recently installed section along Douglas Park, but my son had a crash on the path that nearly took him into oncoming traffic on Carson. Nightmare.

On the west end, Route 56 officially starts/ends at Conant and Clark (Long beach Bikeway 23). The route takes you through a pleasant, well maintained neighborhood. Signs along the way are very clearly marked along the wide, grassy, meridian that separates east-west traffic. With plenty of stop signs, motorists are traveling through their own neighborhoods at slow speeds. I have found them to be very courteous and aware. Although Bikeway 56 has no painted bike lane, this is a very safe route and one that I take my kids on often.

On the east end, I couldn’t find a sign designating the beginning / end of Route 56. The first sign on this end is right at San Anseline which is just west of Woodruff. This distance, from Clark to Woodruff, accounts for the official distance of 1.3 miles. If however, you were to continue eastward, Conant ends at Los Coyotes Diagonal, which seems to me a more natural terminus and would bring the unofficial mileage up to 1.6 miles.

Conant and Clark mark the official western end. However, for those looking to travel further west, Conant continues on past Veteran’s Stadium and Boeing until it dead ends in Douglas Park. If you want to reach the Cal Heights area, turn right at Worsham drive, which is one block past Lakewood, then left on Cover Street.

Traveling through Douglas Park is a pleasant ride. Soon to be an industrial park, the developers have done a fine job in making the roads visually interesting with a great sculpture in the middle of the turn about and white roses lining the center of the road. However, I can’t help but think they missed an opportunity to make the streets just a bit wider and paint bike lanes. Riding through Douglas Park is much more enjoyable than riding a parallel course along Carson (Long Beach Bikeway Route 60), especially since the Carson path suddenly ends at the golf course and you find yourself riding an ill-maintained and narrow city sidewalk with high-speed traffic whizzing by.

Cover passes along Long Beach Airport’s northwest runway so don’t be alarmed when you see giant C-17’s taking off overhead. Cover takes you to Cherry Avenue, which is best to avoid by turning left onto Industry Avenue, and then a quick right on Bixby Road. Bixby takes you through Cal Heights, Bixby Knolls, over Atlantic Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard, until it ends at Los Cerritos Park in Virginia Country Club.

Riding from Cherry to Los Coyotes Diagonal accounts for the unofficial mileage, of 3.7 miles.

Bikeway: Route 56

Streets travelled: Conant St.

Official Mileage: 1.3 miles

Unofficial Mileage: 3.7

Landmarks along the Bikeway: Route 56 takes you near or past: Long Beach Airport, Veteran’s Stadium, Long Beach City College.

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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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