Long Beach Signs On To Some Good Ideas

4_6_10_reed_signs.jpgPhoto: Drew Reed/LA Loyalist

A month ago, I had a few ideas
about how Long Beach could go about improving its budding network of
numbered bikeways. As it turned out, a few of the suggestions I made
are slowly beginning to appear on the street lights and signposts of
Long Beach. Is this a happy coincidence, or has the City of Long Beach drawn some inspiration from the pages of Streetsblog?

No
matter why they’re here, the newer signs include more frequent use of
arrows to indicate where a route goes or junctions with another route,
as well as a few new signs indicating actual destinations. Though most
of the bikeway signs remain as a simple logo and number, the new arrow
or destination signs are certainly helpful. Well, except for when the
signs are incorrect. For instance, the sign at Atherton and Palo Verde
(pictured above) claims to lead riders to "Bellflower", yet following
the route takes you to neither Bellflower Blvd. nor the city of
Bellflower. Oops! Maybe if they flipped the arrow, the sign would be
more accurate.

In many cases, the routes seem to have been selected to coincide
with roads that either have adequate bike lanes or ample space for
bikes. But there are a few notable exceptions. Peter Dopulos, in his
continuing quest to ride every numbered route in Long Beach, points out
that riding over the southern end of the Orange Ave./Route 17 path can
be quite unpleasant at times. But by far the worst is Route 1, which follows PCH through the infamous Traffic Circle.
If the bike routes could be coupled with comprehensive road
improvements, they would become even more effective. It would be a
difficult thing to do, but now that LB’s decision makers are reading
Streetsblog, at least there’s hope.

  • I’m concerned about the old bike route signs on streets that really have no traffic calming or other bike-friendly features (I’m looking in your direction Pacific Coast Highway).

    Long Beach should step up its game on PCH or take the signs down. Three lanes in each direction, no bike lane and fast-moving traffic don’t exactly add up to an ideal cycling experience.

    The bike lane on Atherton is great, I only wish I could take it all the way across the city (through the circle and over to PCH on the other side) and hop on the Blue Line. The sidewalks on PCH are often tiny anyway. You’d probably have to take a traffic or parking lane in each direction for a wider sidewalk and a bike lane.

    I won’t be shedding any tears over the lost motor vehicle capacity . . .

  • Joseph E

    Chewie, the crazy thing about PCH is that a long stretch of it has 2 travel lanes and a third lane on each side. The third lane is parking most of the day but a travel lane during rush hour. In practice, you can never drive for more than a block or two in the right lane without running into a parked car, during rush hour. And since you can’t park in the morning or evening, the parking isn’t very useful, except for short trips during mid-day or late at night.

    I think we could take that lane for wider sidewalks plus a bike lane, without impacting traffic, because the current situation probably makes traffic worse.

    However, it might make more sense to redesignate one of the smaller parallel streets as the bike route, at least until we have the political will to rebuild PCH. 15th street would make a great bike boulevard; it already is blocked to car traffic but has a path at the old Pacific Electric Right-of-Way. We still need a bike path father west, over the LA River, but 15th would get you across half of the city, just 2 blocks south of PCH.

  • Chewie, PCH may still be owned by Caltrans. There is a National Bike Route system being set up with the Adventure Cycling Association and the American Association of State Highway Officials. If this stretch of PCH is chosen to be part of a National Bike Route, you might see a sign like this:
    http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/nbrn/usbikewaysystem.cfm

    More info at
    http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/nbrn/usbikewaysystem.cfm

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