Eyes on the Street: Oh, Wilbur…

All pictures by Glenn Bailey
Traveling Southbound on Wilbur
Have you ever tried to brake on pine needles?

If the newly-restriped .3 mile area of Wilbur Avenue was supposed to be a compromise between the LADOT, City Council Office, advocates of fast moving car traffic, bicyclists and residents, it appears the LADOT put the politics of the situation over the road diet ahead of responsible engineering.

Glenn Bailey, a mayoral appointee to the city’s bike advisory committee, snaps these three pictures of the restriped area, each of which presents its own problems.

The first picture is clearly the oddest.  Bailey snapped this picture of a “cars in the right hand lane must turn right,” which makes little sense as the “right hand lane” is supposed to be a bike lane.  If cyclists are proceeding south and motor vehicles are required to turn right from their lane across the path of cyclists, this is inherently dangerous and a potential liability for the City.

The second picture places the bike lane on the other side of the right-hand turn lane, which is inconsistent with the first photo.  To make matters worse, there is no signage designating the turn lane at the next intersection.

Last, we’ve already noted that the new bike lanes have been moved to the gutter, are covered in slippery pine needles, and that nobody is taking responsibility for keeping the lanes clean andsafe.  That situation remains unchanged.  To make matters worse, the “Mayall Merge” that Don Ward refers to in his videos is a high-speed merge.  When you combine high speed cars and bikes that lose control on the pine needles, what was once a “road diet” becomes a death trap waiting to happen.

  • Odd that such a risk-averse agency would create a situation for which the city faces so much potential liability. Now every cyclist who is injured riding on Wilbur Avenue will have an almost unbeatable case against the city for deliberately making the street more dangerous, gift wrapped courtesy of LADOT and the L.A. City Council.

  • Glenn Bailey

    I am not a traffic engineer but someone who is should have field checked this entire  Wilbur Avenue installation before it was re-opened to public use.

    The broken stripe (merge) bicycle lane southbound at Devonshire Street (pictured above) is approximately seven feet wide, several feet shy of the required lane width for motor vehicles.  So the alternative for right turning vehicles is to do so from the lane to the LEFT of bicyclists. 

    DOT just informed me they will be removing the “Right Turn Only” sign at Devonshire but that will not solve an inherently unsafe design problem.

    In contrast, the approach to Lassen Street IS properly designed with the bicycle lane to the left of the right turn only lane (pictured above).  What’s missing is a “Right Lane Must Turn Right” sign, like the one a half mile up the road.

  • Joe Dunavan

    As I cyclist I would rather there be no bike lane at all then a dangerous bike lane. I think this lane now creates a bike ghetto where in the eyes of the law the bikes must be rather then in a safe placement on the road. now if they can add year around ice under those pine needles wilbur will be just as dangerous to cyclists as a “Blind” curve in Culver City. 

  • Joe Dunavan

    In addition, can we please re-stripe Wilbur a few more times. Just to make it fun?

  • Ehm, picture one is a standard treatment. Right lane must turn right. The lane closest to the curb must turn right. Thats always the case. The dashed line indicates the merging area. Look closely at a picture, cars fit to the right of the stopped vehicles to make a right turn.

    That gutter lane looks terrible and does not appear to meet Caltrans standards.

  • Actually, 7 feet is enough for a car. Thats what parking lanes are striped for. Look at the picture, a car fits to the right of the stopped cars.

    The reason they went with the dashed treatment is because it’s not wide enough for a turn lane AND a bike lane.

  • Neroden

    OK, where’s the Department of DIY?

  • Neroden

    For a moving car, 9 feet is the standard (and I do mean the OLD standard, the late-19th / early-20th century one) because it gives a foot wiggle-room on either side.

  • Bill Fergusen

    You can directly blame MITCH ENGLANDER for this boon doggle. He used Wilbur as an opportunity to appease the frothing mob of monied voters and speeders in Porter Ranch who hated the fact that the road diet slowed them down to an engineered 40 MPH. Englander himself is a commuter on that street his home in Porter Ranch to the CD12 office at Nordhoff and Wilbur. The damned fools re-paved the street twice in less than a year. Talk about idiots. Great way to start your City Council term Englander, by wasting upwards of 100k of taxpayer money.

    By the way since these dummies re-paved the street there have been 3 major crashes at the corner on Devonshire. You can see the new damage to the wall on the corner and all the debris from the crumpled cars. Nice job Englander!

  • Neroden, right, for a moving car. Cars making a right turn arent moving quickly, so 7 feet is enough. If your car can fit in a parking spot at the mall, it can fit in the right turn area. It just has to be done at 5mph, not 50mph…exactly what should happen when turning.

  • Glenn Bailey

    Actually seven feet is the MINIMUM for parking spaces, EIGHT  FEET is the preferred width.  Just exactly how are the many trucks, buses, etc. that are wider than seven feet going to use this merge lane safely?  Can we expect tires rubbing against the curb?  That’s just brilliant….

  • Glenn Bailey

    By parking space width, I am referring to parking lanes on streets, not in shopping malls…..