The population-dense central neighborhoods of Los Angeles, though relatively popular for bicycling, lack bicycle facilities. In general, citywide, bicycling has been a very low priority for the City of Los Angeles’ Transportation Department (LADOT), but LADOT, under pressure from L.A.’s cycling communities, is beginning to implement a few long-overdue facilities in central L.A.
LAEV recently reported on the new First Street lanes (first bike lanes in Boyle Heights) and the new Seventh Street bike lanes (first bike lanes in Koreatown, Westlake and Downtown L.A.) Today, I got a chance to ride the new bike lanes on Cahuenga Boulevard. These are the first bike lanes in Hollywood.
Cahuenga is actually a Tongva (Native American) place name, recognizable as they generally end in some form of “-ngna” (examples: Topanga, Tujunga, Cucamonga.) Cahuenga Boulevard parallels the 101 Freeway over the Cahuenga Pass, connecting the central city (Hollywood) with the San Fernando Valley (North Hollywood.) The Cahuenga Boulevard bike lanes run north-south a few blocks east of the Hollywood Bowl. The new lanes extend six-tenths of a mile on Cahuenga Boulevard from Odin Street (just south of the John Anson Ford Theater and the historic Pilgrimage Bridge) to Yucca Street (a block north of Hollywood Boulevard.)
The northern portion of the lanes is in the beginnings of the Hollywood Hills, not too steep, but starting to get there. It’s both hilly, and trafficked by a lot of cars getting on and off the 101 Freeway. The southern portion gets flatter and, at least anecdotally – today, has a lot more bicycle activity. Plenty of cyclists use Yucca Street and Franklin Avenue as relatively quiet east-west routes. I didn’t encounter any cyclists on Cahuenga north of the 101, but in about 20 minutes on a Saturday afternoon, I saw more than a half dozen on Cahuenga at Franklin or below.