More L.A. Bike Facilities Coming Someday Soon

Ramon Martinez demonstrates where to ride on one of the city's new sharrows on Fountain Avenue in East Hollywood

It’s another bike facilities post at L.A. Bike-0-Vill… er… I mean Eco-Village. Read below to find about some Los Angeles streets planned (and not so planned) for bike lanes and for sharrows. Coming soon to a street where you ride!

The L.A. Eco-Village blog recently covered the city of Los Angeles’ first sharrows. At the time that account was posted, the locations of the city’s six pilot streets were a tightly privileged iron-clad secret hadn’t yet been made public. Thanks to Glenn Bailey, chair of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) that list has now been circulated. I’ve listed the sharrows pilot locations below. Sharrows will be installed at all these locations over the next few weeks. Fountain and 4th (at least) are already in. Go ride ’em!

  1. Abbot Kinney Boulevard – from Venice Blvd to Main Street in Venice.
  2. Adams Boulevard – from Vermont Ave to Figueroa St in South L.A. just north of USC.
  3. Fountain Avenue – from Western Ave to Vermont Ave in East Hollywood.
  4. 4th Street – from Wilton Pl to Commonwealth Ave in Koreatown and Hancock Park.
  5. Reseda Blvd – from Vanowen St to Valerio St in Reseda.
  6. Westholme Ave – Santa Monica Blvd to Hilgard Ave in Westwood, just east of UCLA.

Here’s a google map of the sharrows locations:

BAC chair Glenn Bailey has also been thorough about getting the city’s Department of Transportation (LADOT) to share what projects they’re working on. The following bike lane projects, listed on the June 1 2010 Bikeway Engineering Report should be completed soon. This list was distributed at the June public meeting of the BAC, but doesn’t appear to be posted anywhere on the LADOT Bikeways website (including their out-of-date project list page,) nor on the LADOT’s error-prone blog. I’ve listed the bike lane projects below and included my comments. Read the full report (which includes these bike lanes, and other bike path projects) here.

Winnetka Avenue Bike Lane (Gault to Nordhoff) – Bike lanes will be installed by City crews within the next month

This 2.3 mile long project is located in the west San Fernando Valley. In the city’s 1996 Bicycle Master Plan (BMP), bike lanes were approved for 5.9 miles of Winnetka Avenue extending from Ventura Boulevard to Devonshire Street. To date (unless it happened in the last couple days), none of this bike lane has been implemented. 

Reseda Blvd. Bike Lanes (Parthenia to Devonshire) – Design plans have been signed/approved. Requires new signal plans at two intersections which are in design.

These bike lanes, also approved in the 1996 city BMP, will extend the Reseda Boulevard bike lanes where LADOT was caught lying about their published plans. In ’96, the city approved 10 miles of bike lane on Reseda; as of today six of those miles are complete, with a four-mile gap in the center. This needed and overdue project will close two more miles of that gap and make a connection to Cal State Northridge.

Rinaldi Avenue Bike Lane (Mason to Tampa) – Design is at 90% completion. Will require the West Valley District office approval before the design can be finalized. Requires new signal plans at four intersections.

This 1.3-mile project is located in the northwest San Fernando Valley, in the Porter Ranch community. The 1996 BMP designates bike lanes for Rinaldi from Desoto Ave to Laurel Canyon Blvd.  The six miles of Rinaldi from Tampa to Laurel Canyon are already completed, so this stretch completes the approved portion of Rinaldi.  

Wentworth Street (Wheatland to Foothill) – Plans have been signed/approved. Requiers [sic] one signal plan, which is in design.

This 1.3-mile project is located near the upper Tujunga Wash, just east of Hansen Dam (near the eastern end of the Hansen Dam Bike Path) in the Sunland / Tujunga community in the north San Fernando Valley. It’s a wide street with no on-street parking and existing striped fog lanes that cyclists already use, so it’s good that the space we’re using becomes officially for us. 

Wentworth Street where bike lanes are planned... er... will go in without being planned. Yay. Image from Google Maps street view - click on image to link.

The Wentworth bike lanes don’t appear in the city’s approved bike plan, so, like nearly half of the bike lanes implemented in Los Angeles, they are a great thing for bicyclists, but immune from community planning or input or notice. (I call these facilities Myras, after wonderful unapproved bike lanes appeared on Myra Avenue – explained also in the earlier article about the bike lanes on Hoover.) As Damien at Streetsblog has suggested, it would be great to get the LADOT’s justification for these. What is the formula for what traffic volume and street geometry criteria apply to these sorts of projects? It’s a great mystery where these sorts of projects will pop up. Maybe on your street next? You never know!

San Pedro Street (115th to 120th) – New bike lanes will be installed as part of the resurfacing. Plans have been signed/approved.

This 0.4-mile project is located in South Central Los Angeles. It’s another unplanned “Myra” type improvement. This is the shortest mileage project on the list and the only project outside the San Fernando Valley. I am all for a bike-friendly San Fernando Valley, but I feel some frustration that the LADOT generally proceeds with more miles of bike lane projects in more suburban areas (where roads are wider, hence the bike lane projects are easier to do with very little impact to roads’ car capacity.) This is in contrast to fewer bike lanes in more population-dense urban areas, like Eco-Village’s Koreatown neighborhood – where shorter distances between destinations make for plenty of transportation cyclists. I would urge LADOT to do bike lane projects in all L.A. neighborhoods.

(Parenthetically, the “resurfacing” thing is also interesting. H/t to Roadblock on this! The best, cheapest, easiest time to install bike lanes is when a street is resurfaced. It would be great if the city would actually make its upcoming resurfacing schedule available to the public – preferably online [like the city clerk’s council file tracking systems, RSS compatible, too, as long as I am dreaming] and preferably as far in advance as possible. Then bicyclists and other L.A. residents could correlate upcoming resurfacing with possibilities for planned and unplanned bike lanes… which are frequently ignored or missed by LADOT. I think that this street resurfacing openness could make for a very good campaign… for us cyclists to press the city to make this public information public. One proming aspect of this campaign is that resurfacing data is kept by the city’s Bureau of Street Services’ Resurfacing and Reconstruction Division, – a different department than the LADOT – so we wouldn’t need to press the LADOT for this campaign. Some of us are tired of trying to get the LADOT to be more bike-friendly or even just more open with information sharing.)

Unfortunately the sharrows and bike lane project aren’t really publicized by LADOT (though one of the sharrow project locations was announced after the fact) … which seems to me to be a mistake. Bike lanes just appear on streets like Myra with no notice, no celebration. If we don’t get the word out about these projects, then I expect that they’ll be more likely to surprise neighborhoods. Now and then, these surprises will be opposed by neighbors who react to bad process and are sometimes unable to judge the merits of the projects themselves.

I think that all the projects listed above will be great places to ride. I am happy to help get the word out about them.

13 thoughts on “More L.A. Bike Facilities Coming Someday Soon

  1. Pingback: Streetsblog Los Angeles » Today’s Headlines

  2. Thanks for getting the word out, Joe. The more information we can disseminate, the more riders we can get out on the Sharrows, the more chance the pilot project will be a success.

  3. Glen Bailey sent out an open email today to report that the Winnetka lanes are underway:

    “To City Bicycle Advisory Committee members and other interested persons:

    I am pleased to report that this past Saturday, all of the guide markings were placed on the street for the subsequent installation of the Winnetka Avenue bicycle lanes that will run 2.3 miles between Gault and Nordhoff streets in both directions. Hopefully the striping, markings, and signage will be completed by the end of this month – I will send a confirmation message once it has. My thanks to the DOT Bikeways engineers who did the design work and to the DOT staff who are doing the installation.

    For background information, Winnetka Avenue was designated in the current City Bicycle Plan (first adopted in 1996) as Class 2 bikeways (lanes) from Ventura Boulevard to Devonshire Street, a distance of six miles. Until now, not one foot of bicycle lane has been installed on Winnetka. Quite to the contrary, several years ago the northerly 1.75 mile portion from Nordhoff to Devonshire streets was converted by DOT to six lanes, replacing the planned bicycle lanes to instead accommodate curb-to-curb motor vehicles. This was done with no notification to the bicycle community, or to anyone else for that matter, and with no public hearings.

    What about the remaining two miles to the south, from Gault Street to Ventura Boulevard? Just a one mile extension would provide a connection to the Orange Line bicycle path and Busway Station and to Pierce College just south of Victory Boulevard, all important destinations. There is a narrowing of Winnetka at the Los Angeles River but that bridge is now being widened with a completion date of March 2012. I recommend that the southerly extension of the Winnetka Avenue bicycle lanes ought to be installed at the same time.

    Anyway, let’s have a celebratory 4.6 mile bicycle ride once this portion of Winnetka Avenue is completed and push for the remainder to be done a lot sooner than the fourteen years it has taken so far.


    Glenn Bailey, Chair
    Bicycle Advisory Committee
    City of Los Angeles”

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