The city of Los Angeles will receive its first parking-protected bike lanes this weekend. The new parking-protected lanes are part of a Great Streets upgrade to Reseda Boulevard in Northridge. They will extend one mile from Parthenia Street to Plummer Street, replacing existing conventional bike lanes. If readers are unfamiliar with parking-protected bike lanes, also called cycle tracks, this Portland video can help.
At a community meeting last night, Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch Englander expressed his enthusiasm for Reseda Boulevard’s new street design, stating, “Wait ’til you see the striping, it’s never been done before in Los Angeles.” Englander, responding to a common critique, added, “People say that the Valley is always last. Here, we’re first!”
Councilmember Englander explained that the new street design had grown out of the Northridge Vision Plan. The plan, adopted in 2013, calls for improving “the Reseda Boulevard area traffic flow so that it is a safer environment for vehicles and a pedestrian/ bicycle-friendly environment for shoppers, students, and tourists.”
Englander stressed the new striping as a safety improvement. According to the city’s Transportation Department (LADOT), this portion of Reseda Blvd had 209 car crashes reported over the past five years. LADOT has done baseline surveys before implementing street improvements, and will be returning to record post-improvement behavior in early 2016.
Englander seized the opportunity to advance Reseda Boulevard upgrades under Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets initiative. In June, 2014, Mayor Garcetti chose Northridge’s Reseda Boulevard as the site to announce his first fifteen priority areas, including Reseda, targeted for Great Streets improvements.
Englander announced that the current phase of street improvements will be completed by April 14, the same day that Garcetti will deliver his State of the City address at the Valley Performing Arts Center at California State University Northridge. That event will include a walking tour of the new Reseda Boulevard improvements. Englander stated that this will be the first time a Los Angeles mayor has chosen to make his State of the City speech in the San Fernando Valley.
Englander, Garcetti, and LADOT took advantage of the timing of already scheduled repaving of this section of Reseda Boulevard. Last weekend, the city resurfaced the stretch of Reseda Boulevard from Nordhoff Street to Plummer Street. This weekend, the resurfacing continues southward to Parthenia Street. LADOT anticipates completing the protected bike lane striping above Nordhoff this weekend, and, by April 14, will extend the striping south, add green paving in merge and conflict zones, and add new sidewalk and streetscape features.
The re-striping is a very low-cost version of protected bike lanes. Other local protected bike lanes have included more extensive signal upgrades (Long Beach), landscaping (Temple City), and full-on complete streets curb work (MyFigueroa). Piggy-backed onto existing already-budgeted resurfacing, the Reseda Boulevard striping will be effectively nearly free, though there are city staff time costs for redesign, outreach, evaluation, and education.