Best Practices: New Green Bike Lane in Thousand Oaks

Photo: Aaron Bialick

L.A. Streetsblog has covered some of the “best practices” in bicycle and pedestrian planning in Long Beach and Santa Monica in an effort to expand the horizons of LADOT and local advocates. Apparently, the Ventura County city of Thousand Oaks needs to be added to the list.

In a recent visit, Streetsblog San Francisco editor Aaron Bialick noticed that his hometown is growing up and has some exciting new bike infrastructure of its own. Riding up to the intersection of Moorpark Road and Janss Road, Bialick noticed a new  green paint treatment on a bike lane at one of the city’s busiest intersections (pictured above.)

Kathy Lowrey, Thousand Oaks’ bicycle coordinator, explains the somewhat unique design.

The City of Thousand Oaks Bicycle Advisory Team recommended staff look into coloring existing bike lanes green throughout the City; so we knew we had the support of the local cycling community when we considered this location.  As part of the City’s Street Rehabilitation Program (which includes resurfacing and restriping various City streets) we were able to include “painting” the existing bike lane green in the striping contract.   Basically, we just filled it in with green thermoplastic (not paint).    By selecting this location we were able to make an already existing bike lane more noticeable without confusing drivers as to the purpose of the green paint.  And yes, as Aaron noted, it’s a very busy intersection!

So does it work? Bialick believes so. “The green treatment not only helps improve visibility for people on bikes to drivers,” he begins, “but when I used it, I felt it helped legitimize my place in the massive intersection.”

Although bicyclists are far fewer in number than in Santa Monica or Long Beach, the Ventura County city does have a more-than-functional network of bike lanes. The city ranked 38th on Bicycling Magazine’s list of top bike-friendly cities in the country this year.

About a year ago, Thousand Oaks also instituted a road diet on a major stretch of Avenida de los Arboles, adding bike lanes and calming traffic, though some neighbors were upset that planners also removed a stop sign in the process, because traffic was naturally slowed by the other changes made as part of the project.

For more on Thousand Oaks efforts to make the city bike friendly, visit their Bike Safe webpage.

  • Anonymous

    I wish Downtowners could only think about what is right for the bike lane and not worry about filming crews complaining about the green. I do hope to see lots more green lanes go in, especially NYC so that filming companies would in turn demand green lanes so it looks like other cities.

  • Anonymous

    I like the judicious use of the green striping in the picture. Less costly to install and maintain.

    Also, I’ve always wondered about the green paint or thermoplastic becoming hazardous in wet weather. I’ve never biked on it but it can be slippery in crosswalks when it rains, both for pedestrians and cars.

  • Shouldn’t the green paint be in the 250-foot conflict zone BEFORE the right-turn pocket, where the bike lane drops and right-turning vehicles are moving across the path of bicyclists? 

  • Dennis Hindman

    This design looks like it would exceed the level of stress that most adult cyclists can tolerate. A more comfortable approach might be to have a mixing zone where the cyclist moves into the right turn only lane to proceed through the intersection. That way they don’t have to try and manuever over into the bike lane–which would be to the left of the right-turn only lane–while looking back over their shoulder for moving traffic that is approaching from behind.

  • Dennis Hindman

    Chicago’s just released Streets For Cycling Plan 2020 maybe the most aggressive attempt yet of any major U.S. to attract cyclists from ages 8 to 80.:

    http://chicagobikes.org/pdf/2012%20Projects/ChicagoStreetsforCycling2020.pdf

    A few key points of the plan:

    100 miles of protected bike lanes (Chicago has both buffer and barrier protected as subgroups under this heading) installed by 2015. Using this definition of buffered bike lanes, then LA already has several miles of protected bike lanes installed. Chicago only had 133 miles of bike lanes when they started on this new goal in 2011.

    The completion of the plan in 2020 will put a bikeway within a 1/2 mile of every Chicagoan. Portland’s new bike plan would put bicycling facilities within 1/4 of every resident by 2030 but the city doen’t have the money to accomplish this. Meanwhile, Chicago has $40 million set-aside to complete all the projects on the plan through 2015.

    Chicago is trying to build this to accomodate riders from ages 8-80 years old. Compare that to the LA bike plan which classifies different bikeways as appropriate for various skill levels of riders. If you are a beginner you can ride over here on the path or bicycle friendly street. If your very experiencd you should have the skill level to ride on a arterial street, etc.

    Los Angeles has 2,600 miles of non-residential streets and Chicago has 1,000 miles. LA would have to install 2.6 times more bicycle infrastructure on primary streets in the same amount of time that Chicago does in order to keep pace with their rate of installations. So, if they install 20 miles next year, then LA would have to install 46 miles.

    So far, Los Angeles has had just as much success, if not more, in attracting cyclists to unprotected lanes such as 7th st and York st as Chicago has had with their barrier protected bike lanes. When Chicago gets a more complete network by 2015, i would expect their cycling rate to start to have much greater increases than that of Los Angeles since their higher quality of bicycle infrastructure installations is more appealing to a wider range of the population than what Los Angeles is now installing.

    On page 50 of the Chicago streets for cycling plan 2020 it shows a map of the planned installations for 2012-2013 and the map on page 52 shows a much more extensive network of bikeways that is built closer together in the more densely populated downtown areas.

    Since Chicago and Los Angeles both started on their new plans at about the same time it should be a fair comparison to see how much more of a impact on the cycling rate of growth a higher quality protected bicycle infrastructure can make compared to emphasizing mainly just standard unprotected lanes.

  •  I don’t think Downtowners ever worried about the film crews – that was just one op-ed in one newspaper, and as far as I can tell, it hasn’t been repeated since as an argument except by the people who were already waging the war on bikes.

  • Adamlhirsch

    This does not look like a very friendly street to cycle on. Nothing too exciting here.

  • Ubrayj02

    3 lanes of high speed car travel and a freaking stripe of paint on the ground which puts me and my baby in the way of cars making right turns?

    I appreciate the thought, but seriously, this isn’t that great. It’s like Venice Blvd – just another place for the neighbors to park their trash cans.

  • Syzlak

    I’d recommend not using the term “Best Practice” so liberally. This isn’t best practice, it’s just a plain bike lane, with an odd paint job– that’s not revolutionary by any means. 

  • Roadblock

     great point.

  • Irwinc

    Hard to tell whether this is a good design without also looking at how the right turn pocket lane crossed over to the right of bike lane. 

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