Some Good Bike News from Northeast L.A.

Riders in the new York Boulevard bike lanes

Los Angeles’ York Boulevard gained 1.3 miles of brand new bike lanes last week. The eastern end of of the lanes is in Highland Park; the western end is in Eagle Rock. Both of those are communities in the city of Los Angeles, in the Northeast Los Angeles area, just south of Occidental College. The week also included the opening of the newest stretch of the L.A. River Bike Path, also in NELA, in the Elysian Valley community.

York Boulevard is a former streetcar right-of-way, with Main-Street-type zero-lot-line walkability. The city approved a bike corral for York Boulevard at Avenue 50 (in front of Cafe de Leche), but the project hasn’t been implemented yet. York Boulevard bike lanes are one of the “Four Corners” bike lanes that are part of the C.I.C.L.E. NELA campaign which pushed for lanes on York, Eagle Rock, Colorado, and Figueroa. The campaign is more-or-less inactive right now – but if you’re interested in more bike facilities in NELA, I suggest signing up for the google group.

The bike lanes start/end at Avenue 55:

Bike lanes starting on York Boulevard at Avenue 55.

and extend to Eagle Rock Boulevard which has bike lanes of its own:

York Boulevard bike lanes starting at Eagle Rock Boulevard (photo taken from ERB facing east on York)

Unfortunately, as can be seen in the above photo some of the Main Street character of York is being dismantled. The recent strip mall development just east of Eagle Rock Blvd has wrong-headedly widened York. The car-centric strip mall features two drive-throughs (get your latte and your prozac while keeping your car engine running) and enough car parking for a large symphony orchestra.

The city’s draft 5-year Bike Facility Implementation Plan includes implementing an additional 0.79 miles of bike lane on York – from Avenue 56 to Figueroa. It’s listed in plan year “2010” which means they’re kinda gonna get started this year and should be finished by 2012.

There were plenty of cyclists out using the lanes on an overcast (very lightly rainy) Sunday afternoon today. I counted just over a dozen cyclists on York during my half-hour reconnaisance there:

Rider on York Blvd in Eagle Rock

About half of cyclists I witnessed were riding on the sidewalk:

Sidewalk rider on York Boulevard near Avenue 50

Also, in the greater North East Los Angeles area, there are new bike lanes on Marengo Avenue in the city of South Pasadena:

Bike lanes on Marengo Avenue in South Pasadena

I confess that I just chanced upon these, and don’t know much about them. According to this document, they extend from Mission Street (at Garfield Park) to the southern city boundary of Alhambra Road. Marengo is a very pleasant residential street lined with mature trees. Great to stumble upon new bike lanes there.

Thanks to waltarrrrrrrr at 90042 for tipping me off to these via HLP90042 on Twitter! Looks like he was tipped off by devonthedame‘s tweet.

17 thoughts on “Some Good Bike News from Northeast L.A.

  1. This is pretty awesome, and it affects my daily bike commute.

    Before I would take Eagle Rock Blvd, and then bike along Occidental College before hopping to Ave 50, but now I have an alternative option.


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  3. If the road were repaved (heading East on this portion of the york bike lane if I remember correctly is bumpy) and the lanes were painted (green red or blue. I think in the US green is our color of choice) it would have a big impact I think. I felt really safe on this portion of York when the bike lane wasn’t there and I can imagine the paint and a smoother surface would increase subjective safety and increase ridership on this street by attracting some people who don’t ride out of fear.

  4. Thanks for posting Joe!

    I’d like to also warn riders to be wary of that door zone. I find myself dodging doors on York nearly every time I ride. That’s the only drawback I can think of with bike lanes -a false sense of security.

  5. Pingback: New Bike Lanes on York Blvd. « 90042

  6. waltarrrrr, it isn’t a false sense of security, it is subjective safety– “do I personally feel safe riding in the bike lane”. These bike lanes are not necessary at all since the car lane was wide enough to ride side-by-side with cars without trouble. However, the bike lane: designates space to cyclists, makes them feel as though they should belong on the street, adds visibility to cycling, and adds a degree of ‘subjective’ safety to riders– they feel more safe despite there just being some paint on the ground.

    Arguments against adding bike infrastructure is ‘it will add a false sense of security’. Most infrastructure doesn’t make cycling more dangerous but perhaps a cyclist feels more safe than they are in actuality, they have a higher degree of ‘subjective safety’. The biggest reason why more people don’t cycle is subjective safety. Most of our roads are more ‘physically’ safe than people perceive but they don’t ride because they don’t feel safe (subjective safety).

    So, yes door zone bike lanes aren’t the best (though they do have them in the Netherlands sometimes as a last resort due to limited space), but hopefully more people will enjoy them because of increased subjective safety. Sorry, I just want to clarify that ‘false sense of security’ isn’t the only way to phrase the situation. My hope is that bike lane on York => more subjective safety => more people ride => more visibility => more safety in numbers => more physical and subjective safety (motorists are more aware and cyclists feel safer with their own space).

  7. I think that the safety in numbers effect is huge, and that the dooring risk is real… and, subjectively, I think that drivers expect bicyclists more and respect them more in places where the infrastructure actually tells the drivers that bikes belong.

    I don’t think that bike lanes’ safety is entirely subjective. There’s a Cambridge, MA study that shows that they do – objectively – result in: safer behavior for both cyclists and drivers. see

  8. These look like minimum standard door zone bike lanes, with a 12′ BL stripe and a 7′ edge stripe. Here’s what this looks like when car doors open into it:

    Here is what a minimum standard bike lane should look like. Stripes at 15′ and 11′ from the curb with a buffer zone demarcating the door zone:

    This entire publicly available FaceBook album may be of interest:

    ALso note that the cyclist who is furthest right would not have time to react to a door that opened right as he passed, so even though the door zone seems placid, that can change at any moment. Many cyclists don’t even bother to look for car doors as they ride in the door zone:

  9. Well, I look forward to using these tomorrow (Tues.) on my regular South Pasadena run.

    Never felt insecure on York, which I ride usually once a week (and have for years), but they lanes will tie in nicely with the bike corral if it’s ever actually built, and will help draw the more timid onto the street, as others noted above.

  10. walkeaglerock, the false sense of security aspect was from my own personal experiences having been seriously doored while in the Sunset Blvd. bike lane. The comment was also meant as a heads-up to cyclists using the new bike lane to stay vigilant when riding and beware that the new lanes on York don’t clear car doors.

    The lanes are totally welcomed. It helps tremendously with getting bikes in the street where they belong.

    For the record, I prefer sharrows to segregated lanes because bicycles in California have the right to the entire lane to start with.

  11. I am sorry to hear about your dooring incident, waltarrrrr. I don’t deny that dooring is a danger. I hope the bike lanes bring more good than bad, I look forward to riding them.

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  15. Pingback: Eyes on the Street: New Bike Lanes On York In Eagle Rock – Streetsblog Los Angeles

  16. Pingback: Eyes on the Street: New Bike Lanes on York in Eagle Rock – Streetsblog Los Angeles

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