Sweet New Protected Bikeway On Beautiful Rosemead Blvd in Temple City

Cyclist southbound on Temple City's Rosemead Boulevard Project. all photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Cyclist southbound on Temple City’s Rosemead Boulevard Project. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The San Gabriel Valley’s Temple City opened its excellent new Rosemead Boulevard Project on May 10, 2014. I didn’t make it out to the grand opening festivities, but I recently got a chance to bicycle there and experience the new Rosemead Blvd first hand. It’s great. All Southern California cyclists should make pilgrimages — and spend money while you’re there.


View Temple City Rosemead Blvd Project in a larger map

The project, shown in green on the above map, is on both sides of Rosemead Boulevard for its entire length through Temple City. It extends two miles from Calita Street to the railroad undercrossing near Lower Azusa Road. The area is mostly commercial strips, with some housing, apartments, and single family homes interspersed. Overall, it’s suburban, though somewhat older suburban. Most of the commercial buildings are set back far from the street; there are plenty of surface parking lots.

Rosemead Boulevard’s protected bike lanes are quite different than L.A. County’s first protected bike lanes on Third and Broadway in Downtown Long Beach; both are first class facilities, though. The Long Beach project includes bike signalization at nearly all signalized intersections; as far as I could tell, Temple City didn’t make any changes to traffic signals. Traffic signals can markedly increase costs for protected bikeways. Temple City doesn’t appear to have skimped on costs, though. The project includes extensive landscaping, and lots of curb-work, including landscaped center-median islands.

Temple City’s treatments vary a great deal. Section treatments–see images below–ranged from landscaped-island-protected bikeway to parking-protected bikeway to buffered bike lane to basic bike lane (with and without parking) to short stretches of sharrows.

The most common configuration
The best parts of the Rosemead Boulevard Project, roughly half of the mileage, had this configuration: no parking, wide bike lane – roughly 6-feet, suitable for two cyclists side-by-side – and tree-lined landscaped median protecting the bike lane from adjacent traffic lane.

Temple City 21 14May18
In the median-protected areas, there are quite a few driveways. Each driveway is marked with the bike stencil. (In Long Beach, these “conflict zones” were painted green.)
Between some islands there are on-street parking spaces.
Between some islands there are on-street parking spaces. The bikeway continues on the right of the parking, between parking and the curb. A painted buffer indicates the parked car door zone.
Similar on-street parking as the above image, but shown with parked car. These parked cars also provide protection between the bikeway and the street travel lanes.
Similar on-street parking as the above image, but shown with parked car. These parked cars also provide protection between the bikeway and the street travel lanes.
Another shot of the driveway stencil and the parking-protected bikeway.
Another shot of the driveway stencil and the parking-protected bikeway.
Stretches of the project include buffered  bike lanes.
Stretches of the project include buffered bike lanes. These were mostly shorter areas between intersections and driveways.
A few short stretches of the facility were standard "door-zone" bike lanes.
A few short stretches of the facility feature standard “door-zone” bike lanes.
Portions of the Rosemead Boulevard Project feature basic curb-adjacent bike lanes.
Portions of the Rosemead Boulevard Project feature basic curb-adjacent bike lanes. Some of these stretches look like missed opportunities. It may have been possible to move the landscaping to the left, and have the bike lane adjacent to the sidewalk, instead of to the car lanes.
In some merging zones, just before intersections, there are shared lanes, marked with sharrows. These lanes are shared by right-turning cars and bicycles proceeding straight ahead.
In some merging zones, just before intersections (signalized and unsignalized) there are shared lanes marked with sharrows. These lanes are shared by right-turning cars and bicycles proceeding straight ahead.

Below is a pair of images that show a stark contrast between Temple City and its southern neighbor, the city of Rosemead.

Heading southbound toward the railroad underpass at the southern end of Temple City. Extensive landscaping and curb-bike-lanes.
Heading southbound toward the railroad underpass at the southern end of Temple City. Temple City’s streetscape includes extensive landscaping – palm and sycamore trees – ample sidewalks, and curbside bike-lanes. Compare with the image below.
Just outside of Temple City, in the city of Rosemead, the street is barren and unwelcoming. The bike lanes disappear. The sidewalk is very narrow, with signage impeding wheelchairs and strollers.
Just outside of Temple City, in the city of Rosemead, the street is barren and unwelcoming. The bike lanes disappear. The sidewalk is very narrow, with sign posts (visible on the left) impeding wheelchairs and strollers. Compare with the photo directly above.
Temple City's Rosemead Blvd Project includes this sculpture of a woman riding a streetcar.
Temple City’s Rosemead Blvd Project includes this sculpture of a woman riding a streetcar.
The project includes bike parking and transit shelters.
The project includes bike parking and transit shelters.
Even with most cyclists going the correct direction, there were infrequent "salmon"
Even with most cyclists going the correct direction, there were infrequent “salmon” cyclists riding the wrong direction. This cyclist had been riding northbound in the  southbound  bikeway, then moved onto the sidewalk to avoid colliding with other cyclists. The only wrong-way cyclists I observed were going north from the dense apartment area below Broadway (and below the Eaton Wash) heading north, presumably to get to commercial areas at and near Broadway.
One thing that could help
A view of the concrete-lined Eaton Wash looking west from Rosemead Blvd. One thing that could help bicycle and pedestrian circulation (and perhaps reduce some wrong-way “salmon” riding) would be to add walk and bike paths along the Eaton Wash, which intersects the Rosemead Boulevard Project near Broadway. The creek serves as a barrier today, but could better connect bike and pedestrian circulation in the future.
Though most of the project is commercial/retail, it does include quite a few single-family homes, with driveways.
Though most of the project is through a commercial/retail corridor, it does pass by quite a few single-family homes, with driveways.
All in all, the Rosemead Boulevard Project looks great, and is a great place for bicycling.
All in all, the Rosemead Boulevard Project looks great, and is a very safe and comfortable place for bicycling.

Go ride it for yourself!

  • Marcotico

    Bike Route SR19 from Sierra Madres to Long Beach, woop woop!

  • brianmojo

    Wow! Wish we had this in LA proper.

  • james

    What sort of behavior did you observe at intersections? Did cyclists use the crosswalk or ride along side it, did they hug the curb and yield to cars turning right? I didn’t see a good photo of an intersection. Did they use a broken light up to the crosswalk? Any sort of marking indicating bicycle use or anything to encourage cyclists to stay in the bike lane? What about loop detectors? Were they used and indicated with a stencil or do the intersections use cameras to detect bicycles?

  • Joe Linton

    The intersections look like the one in the sharrow photo. There’s a dotted line marking off the right lane – in that lane there are sharrows. Cars can merge to turn right; cyclists can continue straight ahead. I was there on a Sunday afternoon, with light bike and car traffic. Cyclists just biked straight ahead – going through intersections to the left of the crosswalk. Drivers were acting pretty chill, merging in and waiting behind me when I was in the right turn lane.
    I didn’t notice loop detectors – they may use video detection – I am not sure.
    Go check it out for yourself! It’s excellent!

  • Joe Linton

    MyFigueroa should be under construction soon – and rideable winter 2015/16!

  • rakdaddy

    WANT.

  • Gezellig

    I *really* like seeing projects like this because they prove to the naysayers that good infrastructure isn’t the exclusive domain of a few urban areas or “exotic” faraway continents. Spatially, a lot of postwar America looks just like that. And can absolutely be retrofitted.

    I truly look forward to the day, though, when the first community in the US realizes that mid-block protection needs to continue into the intersection.

    http://bikeportland.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/intersection-before.png

    to this:

    http://bikeportland.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/intersection-after.png

    http://vimeo.com/nickfalbo/protectedintersection

  • Andy B from Jersey

    Yes!!! LOVE THIS!!!!

    This is how you do a protected cycletrack! Excellent! No “throwing out of the rules of the road” and excellent sightlines.

    My only very small grip is the concrete cycletrack bed (bump, bump, bump, bump). If you ride a roadbike with small tires this can get VERY annoying.

    A bigger grip is the bicycle racks. PULLEASE! Stop all you “designer types” from trying to reinvent the bike rack. The inverted “U” rack is where its at. Those racks don’t meet APBP Guidlines and the look like they would scratch the crap out of your bike. I would never lock up to that “rack”.

  • Gezellig

    Yeah, this is an unquestionably awesome development and a major improvement! Though I do think the concrete is a drawback.

    The only other things I think that remain for future consideration would be:

    –> protected intersections for seamless protection the whole route
    –> continuously painted lane for greater visibility. This is especially important at driveways.
    –> designing the cycletrack in a way that intuitively indicates it has priority over cars in driveways à la that Markenlei vid:

    http://youtu.be/6imqI8VfwNo

    I realize, though, that that would (probably?) require more money and time to reconfigure driveways whereas what they did on Rosemead is an understandably easier modular add-to solution to the side of the exisiting infra.

    Still, really cool stuff and I hope more places follow suit!

  • Pretty amazing, can we get something like this in Berkeley or the East Bay, please? I just added this to Google Maps for them.

  • The racks may be costly but encourage people to remember they could ride, too.

    I prefer the racks that look like bikes, those are cool and kids play with them like they are riding a bike, subliminal messaging at its best!

  • Sean P

    As someone who grew up in Temple City, this is very frustrating. Rosemead Blvd is the busiest roadway between the 10 freeway and Pasadena. The traffic is unbearable about 6 hours out of the day and now there are even fewer lanes. Rosemead used to be an important bicycle route (my mom and uncle used to ride Rosemead all the way to Seal Beach) but it isn’t any longer. There are rarely bicyclists on the road unless they are going to school, and even that number is declining. Since there are usually even fewer pedestrians than bicyclists they should have just combined the sidewalk into a sidewalk/bike path. I predict there will be more bicycle deaths in coming years due to increasingly impatient drivers.

  • Nice job overall. As a bikeway designer and workshop presenter (just did one for Metro yesterday, co-leading an on-bike teaching tour in Long Beach tomorrow), I look forward to hearing more about how well it operates from both a comfort and safety perspective.

    One design issue worth noting: the passenger-side door zone of the floating parking spaces overlaps half of the bikeway width. Although a caption says, “[a] painted buffer indicates the parked car door zone”, that buffer is only about half the door width so 1/3 or more of the unmarked width is also door zone.

    That said, right-side doors are less likely to open than the driver’s, because often the driver is the only occupant. Also, the injury is unlikely to be fatal — even if you’re tossed off the bike to the side if the handlebar tip is stopped, you won’t be struck by a following vehicle as in the Dana Laird crash several years ago in Cambridge, MA.

    Still, wherever feasible I’d suggest 3.5 feet minimum for a true door zone buffer — on either side.

    John Ciccarelli
    Bicycle Solutions — Planning, Design, Parking/Storage, Education/Training, Expert Witness
    San Francisco

  • j1998

    exactly where are there fewer lanes on Rosemead. There are still two lanes in each direction…In addition, cycling is NOT declining.

  • Alex Brideau III

    Agreed that a painted lane (especially in potential conflict areas) would be an improvement. The sharrows by themselves help, but paint would really add to their visibility.

    I also like the landscaped buffer with it’s nod toward functioning as a bioswale. My hope is that the landscaped areas won’t leach soil onto the bikeway during heavy rains as the soil level appears to be roughly level with the bikeway.

    As a bike owner who rarely bikes (you could call me “semi-interested but concerned”), this is an example of an infrastructure improvement that would be likely to get me to bike more … assuming this was closer to my neighborhood.

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