The Pasadena Veloway – Los Angeles, California - Atlas Obscura
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Los Angeles, California

The Pasadena Veloway

A Bicycle Path in the Sky. 

In 1897, Pasadena Mayor Horace Dobbins was struck with a can’t-miss idea: he would build an elevated toll bikeway from the Hotel Green to downtown Los Angeles. In that golden age of bicycling, the idea seemed a logical solution to the transportation problems that already plagued Southern California. Riders would pay a nickel to whisk down the wooden highway which was set to run along the Arroyo Seco, as the Arroyo Parkway does today.

Dobbins could not have foreseen that another visionary in Detroit, Michigan was developing a machine that would make his Veloway obsolete: the Model T automobile. With the rise of the car, bicycling became less popular, and in the end, only 3 miles of the bikeway were completed.

Eventually even those 3 miles of elevated paths fell victim to progress, as the Southern Pacific Railway purchased the right of way in a hostile takeover, and the bikeway was demolished.

Today however the idea of connecting Pasadena and LA by bikeway has been realized in the form of the Arroyo Seco Greenway Project. You can currently ride a piece of the way on the bottom of the cement-lined Arroyo Seco stream, though further development was halted by environmental concerns.