Eyes on the Street: Side Effect of the 405 Widening, Better Bike Lanes on the Westside

Photo: ##http://plixi.com/p/68056903##Rach Stevenson/TwitPic##
Photo: ##http://plixi.com/p/68056903##Rach Stevenson/TwitPic##

We’ve spent a lot of blog space questioning the value of the mammoth I-405 Widening Project, but the project has brought some good news to cyclists on the Westside.  Via twitter, Rach Stevenson announced that the southbound bike lane on Ohio Boulevard by the V.A.’s office has been restriped and moved out of the gutter.  Before this welcome change, Biking In L.A. referred to this bike lane as “the worst bike lane on the Westside.”

The reason we haven’t heard of this project from LADOT before, is that it’s not their project.  Caltrans and Metro are completing I-405 widening project, and must take care of any local street changes needed to accommodate the widening.  The plans, including the bike lane change on Ohio Ave.  Essentially, wherever the I-405 changes impact a roadway, they’re responsible for that street as well.  In some cases this means adding bike lanes in addition to whatever reconfiguration or construction is called for.  This will mostly effect Sepulveda Drive, where parts of the I-405 expansion will overtake some of the Sepulveda ROW.  Because these are city controlled streets, LADOT Geometrics had to approve the plans, but they were not in charge of the project.

When new bike lanes come to Sepulveda Boulevard, Streetsblog will be there to ride them and give a full report.

  • Because the 405 only affects one side of Ohio, the northern (west-bound) side of Ohio is untouched, regarding bike lanes at least. Since Caltrans did half of Ohio, maybe LADOT could step up and put a lane on the other side.

  • It’s not on our schedule, but I’ll see about feasibility.

  • Rach, there is actually a bikeway on the other side. The sidewalk is actually a Class 1 bike path, even though the faded markings and inadequate signage tend to hide the fact. And even though pedestrians on the sidewalk seem unaware of it, and you have to face all the usual problems of sidewalk riding — including the high risk of right hooks at the entrance to the VA grounds.

    I often use it, since my standard route involves turning into the VA there, rather than crossing the entrance. But most cyclists do ride in the street there, despite the bad pavement and impatient buzzing drivers.

  • Yes, the bikeway is on the sidewalk along Ohio there, where it ends without warning past Sawtelle in front of the apartment buildings.

  • Allan

    I’m convinced! Let’s have freeway widening everywhere!

    3 cheers for more cars!

  • Eric W

    The unimproved westbound path would be an excellent place to DIY Bike Path signs and rake up those leaves. Esp an arrow for the exit!

    If LADOT is going to improve this – extend the lane with sharrows to the end of Ohio at Westgate Ave. It’s a popular route, and almost connects with Santa Monica Broadway lane for travel to Westwood/UCLA. I advise new riders to continue South to Idaho, then West to Centenila, then West onto the bike lane on Broadway. The adventurous can take Santa Monica with lots of fast traffic and a midblock left turn.

    More path can be found along the park on the Sepulveda side and an entire other secret path from Constitution to Church lane along the West side of the 405 (starts opposite the entrance to the VA cemetery) That one is also under construction but is a great alternate for a short stretch as Church loops back under the 405 in about 1/2 mile.

    EricW

  • The most recent draft of the LA Bike Plan has Ohio Ave as part of the Green Bikeway Network at the 405 and in the Neighborhood Bikeway Network further away from the 405. On the NBN sections, that could include bike lanes or bike friendly streets.

  • Mihai Peteu

    The bike lane should exist on both sides of the street. A class 1 path is useless if it’s on the sidewalk, and for that short of a distance. You have to merge with traffic eventually, so what’s the point.

    I’ve been yelled at by a westbound driver who told me to get on the sidewalk in that area, and they pointed at the stupid signs to make his point. Those “Bike Path” signs pointing to the sidewalk should be taken down.

    I was also excited about seeing the newly striped bike lane, but after the addition of cones in the last couple of weeks, riding Eastbound on Ohio has been a video game.

  • @ Mihai – You should send a notice to City Planning requesting a change or make your concerns heard at the joint PLUM/T-Committee hearing that will be held for the Bike Plan. While the hearing isn’t yet scheduled, it should be some time in February. There are still chances to tweak the bike plan before it goes to full City Council.

  • I’ve noticed now that temporary concrete barriers on the southern side of Ohio (eastbound traffic) are next to the bike lane, essentially meaning that the bike lane that was once out of the curb is now next to a big concrete barrier.

    I’m wondering if when construction is completed if the eastbound bike lane will be moved back to the original location, in the gutter and next to the curb, or will it continue as it is (presumably without the concrete barriers)?

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