Bicycle Coalition “Living the Dream” on 4th Street

A photo history of the efforts to make the 4th Street Bike Boulevard a reality.

Recently the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition launched a series of local campaigns designed to highlight some "best practices" in bicycle design and planning.  One of those campaigns focuses on re-engineering 4th Street as a Bike Boulevard in the Mid-Wilshire area, from where it begins on Hoover Street to where it ends on Alta Vista Blvd. at the Park LaBrea residential complex.

4th Street is already one of the more bicycle-friendly streets in Los Angeles, and many cyclists already refer to it as the 4th Street Bike Boulevard, or 4sbb for short.  For years, bicycle librarian Ingrid Peterson and a group of local advocates kept the flame alive for helping the street live up to it’s name at the website 4sbb.com, and by holding a series of much publicized rides sometimes led by local Councilman Tom LaBonge. 

The LACBC is working with a team of advocates that includes Peterson to help turn the dream into a reality.  While a Bicycle Boulevard on 4th may be in the city’s current Bike Master Plan, it’s one of the projects that exists on paper but hasn’t seen a lot of energy from the city.  The first step has been coming up with a series of short-, medium- and long-term improvements for the street to help point the city towards what they should be doing.  The second step is to build support with the residents of 4th Street so that the people demanding changes to 4th Street aren’t just the cyclists who ride it.

But what would a "new" 4th Street look like?  First off, it wouldn’t be called a Bike Boulevard, that term scares the LADOT who associate it with community backlash.  In the current draft of the new Bike Plan, the LADOT uses the term "Bike Friendly Streets," to mark the areas that used to be referred to as "future" Bike Boulevards.

The early phases of the LACBC’s campaign are to simply repave the street. While the nascent Bike Boulevard has tremendous potential, it’s also full of potholes and cracked concrete.  Check out LACBC’s Flickr page for some pictures of the problems on 4th Street.

In the longer-term the Bike Coalition is asking for a menu of treatments to the road including chokers, sharrows, bulb-outs at corners,
adding mini-parks at Catalina and installing a flashing crosswalk at
Highland.  To help make this dream a reality, they’re going to need a lot of help, both local and professional.  To find out more about their campaign, and to get the details of their August 6th planning meeting, hedad over to the recently revived Bike Coalition blog for their post introducing the Bike Boulevard Campaign.

  • Kent Strumpell

    I am especially impressed by their plans to build local community support for the project. Experience and lessons learned on this project to foster local buy-in could be directly translatable to what will be needed for many of the other roads in our city where we want to see bike facilities implemented. Local opposition to road diets and other measures to make room for bikeways is often rooted in misperceptions about the impacts and a lack of understanding of the benefits that accrue to the community. A well thought-out strategy for addressing this challenge could make a huge difference in what we are able to accomplish.

  • Thanks Damien. Hope to see people out there at our next meeting, on August 6th, 6:30pm, at Shatto Park, 3191 W 4th St, Los Angeles

  • Live the Dream

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