I forgot to post this pretty cool story by LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne about the evolution of Crenshaw Boulevard and the possible impact of its soon-to-be-built new rail line – Hawthorne’s story is part of the Times series on the Southland’s iconic boulevards. The article is worth a read. But the very best part is about the evolution from car culture to bikes, and Hawthorne’s conversation with a bunch of teenagers working on their “fixies,” or fixed-gear bikes:

The changes in Crenshaw's car culture have been dramatic, he writes. "In the 1990s, the Los Angeles Police Department cracked down on the Sunday night cruising ritual, which barely exists now. More recently, African American teenagers, like teenagers across Southern California, have traded an obsession with cars for ones with smartphones and bicycles.

"Personally I don't really want to drive that much because I don't want to pay for gas," said Terry Monday, a 17-year-old high school student.

"Me and a couple of friends, we'd rather work on our fixies," he added, referring to customizable fixed-gear bikes that have become popular among L.A. teenagers, "or spend money on clothes or on our phones."

At dusk on a recent Sunday evening, it was easy to see evidence of the shift. At the corner of Crenshaw and Imperial Highway, a gleaming burgundy Chevrolet Impala convertible carrying three middle-aged African Americans idled at a red light.

Before the light could turn, a half-dozen African American and Latino teenagers passed by on their bikes, some of which were as carefully polished as the Impala. Three more teenagers on fully detailed bikes went by, then another four, laughing as they raced east into the darkness.

Read the whole article here.



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