Thoughts on ThinkBike L.A.: 2 – Pacoima

On September 22-23 2011, Dutch bicycle facility designers came to L.A. and worked with Angelenos to create great designs. The event was covered at LADOT, and L.A. Streetsblog, but the coverage didn’t include too much in the way of sharing actual designs, like S.F. Streetsblog coverage of their ThinkBike did. I figured that I would do a series of three posts (1 – Downtown, 2 – Pacoima, 3 – South L.A.) showing off more of the great work. The designs are posted at LADOT, but they’re big pdfs, difficult to search, find, and share. I’ve broken them out into place-specific entries and tried to run a lot of images and text, to make this excellent work more findable. In addition, I’ve done a fourth blog post about the overall process, which I did find a bit disappointing.


The Pacoima ThinkBike team included folks from LA BAC, LACBC, LADOT, and Pacoima Beautiful. The pdf of their full slide show is on-line at LADOT.

ThinkBike Pacoima team focus: Van Nuys Blvd and Pierce St

The Pacoima ThinkBike focus was specifically on Van Nuys Boulevard (and the parallel Pierce Street) in the North San Fernando Valley communities of Pacoima and Arleta. Historically, Pacoima was the only neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley where African-Americans could own property. Today these neighborhoods are population-dense primarily Latino and working class, with relatively large numbers of folks who don’t have access to a car, hence many residents get around by transit, walking and bicycling. 

Van Nuys is relatively wide arterial. In the area studied, its width ranges from 74-feet to 80-feet. ThinkBike looked at Van Nuys Blvd re-configurations that were relatively easy, and ones that would require removal of car capacity. I’ve included only the 74-foot roadway configurations here, but the full presentation includes the 80-foot section, too.

ThinkBike proposed cross-section for Van Nuys Blvd, option 1

The first option, relatively quick, inexpensive and easy. It basically slims down existing lanes, without removing any car lanes or any parking, and adds five-foot wide bike lanes. This corresponds to what’s already been approved in the 2010 city Bike Plan and would require only the cost of re-striping (generally around $25,000 per mile, and generally covered in the LADOT Bikeways existing budget without seeking outside funding.) Let’s do it!!!!

ThinkBike proposed cross-section for Van Nuys Blvd, option 2

The second option for Van Nuys Boulevard includes removing parking on one side of the street and adding two protected bike lanes (similar to the ones in downtown Long Beach.) This would be an excellent treatment, though it would potentially benefit from some sort of additional (Measure R? grant?) funding that the city could pursue, especially for bike signalization.

ThinkBike proposed cross-section for Van Nuys Blvd, option 2

The third ThinkBike option for Van Nuys Blvd is awesome! It’s labeled “Dream Big” because it really takes local majority transportation patterns into account – prioritizing transit, bicycling and walking. The design removes two car travel lanes and all on-street parking to make room for dedicated bus lanes and protected bike lanes! Not only would this be great for bicycling and transit, but it also greatly narrows the street crossing distance for pedestrians. The bus lanes would be in the center of the roadway, which would minimize conflict with the protected bike lanes along the edge.

The ThinkBike team also looked at Pierce Street, which is a quieter mostly residential street that parallels Van Nuys Blvd a block or two to the southeast. The team realized that, with bike/ped crossings under the 5 Freeway and over the Pacoima Wash, Pierce Street already has the built-in diverters that prevent cut-through car traffic and make Bicycle Boulevards successful and safe.

The team recommended a series of additional features to be added to Pierce Street. Here are some ThinkBike planned features for Pierce:

ThinkBike recommended treatments for Pierce Street Bicycle Boulevard

ThinkBike planned for traffic circles at these intersections:

  • Pierce Street and Telfair Avenue
  • Pierce Street and Herrick Avenue

Additionally, the ThinkBike team recommended traffic calming and crosswalk treatments on Pierce Street at schools, parks and public housing.

Additional ThinkBike recommended treatments for Pierce Street Bicycle Boulevard

In addition, the team planned refuge medians for safer bike and ped crossings at:

  • Pierce Street and Woodman Avenue
  • Pierce Street and Arleta Avenue

Overall, the Pacoima ThinkBike team planned for a great mix of some relatively quick and easy features and some that make a few years to implement. Great work!

See the full pdf of the Pacoima ThinkBike presentation at LADOT website. See also the other ThinkBike posts: 1 – Downtown L.A., 3 – South L.A., and 4 – Process.

One thought on “Thoughts on ThinkBike L.A.: 2 – Pacoima

  1. Pingback: Felony charges in SaMo road rage after all, and I nearly run down a seemingly semi-suicidal cyclist « BikingInLA

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