Rowena’s on a Diet–New bike lanes on Rowena Blvd.

I received an email from Alek Bartrosouf of the LA County Bike Coalition stating that Rowena Blvd., one of the more notorious stretches of fast moving traffic in Silverlake, had undergone a road diet.  Anytime I hear the word diet I imagine everything I love to eat and yet I’m not supposed to eat – chocolate and peanut butter…together…in a pie….made with sugar, butter, cream, whole milk and lots of egg yolks is at the top of that list.  And then I realize that most diets don’t work – they’re temporary.  If you want to make a positive, permanent change, you have to change your entire lifestyle.  You change it a little at a time, but you keep moving.  And, you can still have chocolate and peanut butter in a pie (because, of course, they go great together) and anything else you like – you just watch the amounts and don’t revert to the old lifestyle that was putting you in a bad place.  So where is this rambling going?  Well, when I received the email from Alek, I had to experience the road for myself. I hopped on my purple Bridgestone and took a sightseeing trip to Rowena.

Enjoying the new bike lanes

Enjoying the new bike lanes

Riding my bike in the new lanes, I noticed the difference immediately. I no longer had to look constantly over my shoulder watching for cars that, previously, would try to crowd me into the door zone. I had a smile on my face as I zipped by cars stalled behind a moving van. I felt like the new diet was working.  Then I came to Lakewood and the lane abruptly ended…as did my enthusiasm.  I felt like I had broken my diet – again – and the change was only temporary.  The new bike lane is only a half mile and connects to… well… it doesn’t connect to anything. This is one of the major problems with the new lanes. The bike lanes are nestled between two corridors of fast moving traffic: Hyperion to the west and the remaining Rowena to the east with the same two-lane, highway speed – the mad dash of cars getting to the SR2 or to the I-5 on-ramps.IMG_0040

Is this a temporary thing – a diet where I’m enthused at the beginning, only to be disappointed later on?  Nope.  I decided that it’s a positive change in the right direction. It’s a lifestyle change – done slowly, but still a move forward.  So, I have two suggestions that can make this street safer. First, there needs to be a crosswalk at the corner of Herkimer where Blair restaurant resides.

needs a crosswalk

needs a crosswalk

While I was there, several others including myself, walked across Rowena, which stopped traffic. Last year a woman was killed while trying to cross that same area. The closest crosswalks are 0.6 miles going east on Rowena or 0.2 miles going west toward Hyperion. Walk to a crosswalk and then walk back down the opposite side of the street to the same spot?  That’s too far for most people.  Second, on the south side bike lane after West Silverlake Drive there are cracks in the pavement large enough to grab a wheel and send you flying over your handlebars.  They need to be filled.

watch for the cracks

watch for the cracks

So, after my sightseeing trip, I saw how much safer Rowena is with a bike lane.  So far the diet is working, and LADOT just needs to continue making gradual, positive changes so that cars and bikes can share the road safely.

Of course, after the ride I was hungry, and I couldn’t stop thinking of chocolate and peanut butter, so I came home and made this:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Piephoto courtesy of Pasquale Lombardo

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
photo courtesy of Pasquale Lombardo

A Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie. It’s a layer of baked oreo cookie crumbs followed by a rich layer of chocolate and peanut butter mousse. What makes this special are the two stars chocolate and peanut butter. Opt for a higher end belgian dark chocolate and a lower end peanut butter. I prefer Skippy. This pie works well with a peanut butter that includes sugar. I’ve tried it with natural, freshly pureed peanut butter and it wasn’t as flavorful. You can use it, but the flavor doesn’t pop.  A topping of fresh creme chantilly and bittersweet chocolate shavings compliments its richness and adds extra texture.

I didn’t eat the entire thing, I watched the portions.

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