If you haven’t ridden a bicycle to get around Irvine yet, you are missing out.
The city offers 301 miles of on-street bike lanes in addition to nearly 62 miles of off-street bikeways where cyclists don’t have to share the path with cars. The system stretches from the mountains to the coast, connecting neighborhoods with parks, shopping centers and business hubs.
“No other city in the country that I know of has a bike trail system like Irvine,” said Ken Montgomery, an avid bicyclist who serves on Irvine’s Transportation Commission. “It’s great for recreation and also great for commuting.”
The League of American Bicyclists has awarded Irvine a silver rating as a Bicycle Friendly Community, the highest ranking of any city in Orange County.
Moreover, Irvine received a bike score of 70 from walkscore.com, a group that promotes walkable neighborhoods. That’s also the highest in the county.
“Irvine’s bike trail network is so well-connected that it can be used as a commute method,” said Mark Linsenmayer, the city’s transportation director, who rides his bike to City Hall from his Villa Park home about once a week. “It’s fairly amazing for a city this size.”
“No other city in the country that I know of has a bike trail system like Irvine”
The robust bikeway network has been a major component of the city’s Master Plan, which helps make Irvine one of the best places to live in America.
“Irvine believes greatly in connectivity between all the villages and the parks,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery, 72, said he chose to stay in Irvine after retirement partly because of the city’s bikeways. He rides his bike about two hours every day — for exercise, to go shopping and more.
“It’s an important part of the city’s Master Plan,” Montgomery said. “With the combination of bike trails and bike lanes, you can get almost anywhere in the city with a bicycle.”
The city is making the bikeways even better, filling gaps so bicyclists share roads with cars as little as possible, Linsenmayer said.
One upcoming project is the extension of the Jeffrey Open Space Trail, which was built by Irvine Company and stretches 3.5 miles north of I-5 through Cypress, Woodbury and Stonegate villages.
The city will extend the popular trail south from Walnut Avenue near I-5 to Barranca Parkway, as well as build a bridge across the freeway.
Construction is expected to begin within a year.
To learn more about Irvine’s bikeways, visit cityofirvine.org/transportation/city-irvine-bikeways.