City of L.A.’s First Parking-Protected Bike Lanes: Reseda Boulevard

New parking-protected bike lanes on Reseda Boulevard. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
New parking-protected bike lanes on Reseda Boulevard. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Yesterday, the city of Los Angeles installed its first ever parking-protected bike lanes. They’re on Reseda Boulevard in Northridge, part of the mayor’s Great Streets Initiative.

As of this morning, the project is roughly one-quarter complete. The new protected lanes, also known as cycletracks, are mostly complete on the west side of Reseda Blvd from Plummer Street to Prairie Street. The full one-mile protected lanes will go from Plummer to Parthenia Street.

The project is expected to be completed by mid-April.

photo (52)
Standard bike lanes put cyclists between parked cars and moving cars. These protected lanes flip the parking and the bike lane, so cyclists are next to the curb, and parked cars and next to moving cars.
signs
Nearly every other pole along Reseda Boulevard features this sign explaining the new striping.

driver ladot
A few drivers parked in the nearly-completed bike lane. LADOT bicycle patrol officers were on hand to explain how the new street configuration will work.
bollard, sidewalk cyclist
In the buffer area between the bike lane and parking, there are reflective plastic bollards. Though these may appear substantial, they are designed to collapse if a car hits them. Note the sidewalk cyclist in the back left. This part of Reseda Blvd still sees a lot sidewalk cycling, legal in L.A. Some sidewalk cyclists appeared to be Cal State Northridge students; the campus is a block east.
UPS
This UPS driver was unloading parcels in the buffer area between the bike lane and the parking. When asked if he liked the new design, he stated that it was uncomfortable for the driver-side door to be so close to moving traffic. This truck (and a couple other vehicles parked briefly) left his lights blinking, though he was parked legally.
extends xxx
The protected bike lane is currently on the west side of Reseda for two long blocks south of Plummer Street. It will be extended to Parthenia Street in the next couple weeks.

See these earlier articles for more details about the project.

  • Kelley Howell

    unf, yeah. I sympathize.

  • dustinjamesfoster

    Here are some facts on protected bike lanes’ safety benefits to all road users and the vast increase of cyclist trips they induce: http://m.motherjones.com/environment/2014/09/adding-bike-lanes-reduces-traffic-delays-new-york-city

    http://usa.streetsblog.org/2016/02/08/new-evidence-that-protected-bike-lanes-get-people-cycling-more/

    https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/separated_bikelane_pdg/separatedbikelane_pdg_appendix.pdf

    Sure, many of these examples don’t happen in LA. But I urge you to look at the vast increase in cyclists (and economic development) Spring Street induced, with a slight decrease in cyclist collisions in the after period. This suggests a huge reduction in cycling collision rates.

    To tackle your discussion on density- regardless of whether the population of Los Angeles grows or doesn’t over the next 20 years doesn’t matter. It’s already one of the most densely populated cities in the country with some of the worst traffic congestion. The City therefore, with its current population, needs to find more space-efficient methods to provide mobility and access to travelers in the city. I’m unsure of your solution to solving this very real probably of ‘too much density’- but forcing people to leave, not building housing options to meet the demand for housing, and now allowing people to move to Los Angeles is impossible, illogical and illegal.

    Considering sustainability planning and encouraging cities and young people to live and work in LA- everything you deride above (mixed-use, high density, transit-oriented development, bike lanes, etc) are infrastructure and housing solutions that will lure businesses and young people to the City. I don’t speak for all millenials, but statistical polls suggest that we are less likely to drive, more likely to bike and use transit, and more focused on environmental mitigation than our previous generations. We want to live in the City that Los Angeles aspires to be.

  • SZwartz

    The point about Bike Lanes was narrowly focused on the health hazards to bicyclists when the Bike Lanes is in a heavy thoroughfare. It had nothing to do with collisions. The solution for the toxic emissions is to move Bike Lanes away from the heavily trafficked thoroughfare. The City intentionally excluded all the health data from the MP 2035. The public is entitled to all the relevant data. Parents especially need to know that certain Bike Lanes may be as bad as having their kids breather asbestos.

    Los Angeles already is the most densely populated city with about 7,000 people per sq mile. Traffic congestion is a function of how many people try to access the same place at the same time. Thus, it is poor planning to have cores of business density in the Basin. Places like Bunker Hill and Century City attrack people from a radius of 20 miles or more. It takes but a moment’s reflection to realize that central cores in the Basin will create terrible traffic congestion.

    Converting DTLA space to residential, however, makes sense. There is a minority of people who do like high rise living in an urban core. They will not make traffic congestion worse as they will either work in DLTA or drive against rush hour traffic. Personally, I love the massive medieval fortress look of de Vinci apartments.

    Mathematically, it is impossible for Los Angeles to have a functional subway light rail system. We’ve known this fact for over a century. Because rapid transit is mathematically impossible, people who live in TODs have to have cars or become a type of Urban Serf tied to their plot of land. Thus, TODs make everything much worse.

    It is important to repeat that there is a 12% vacancy rate for apartments constructed in the last decade where the equilibrium rate is 5%. (Nov 2015 HCID report to Mayor) That means people do not want more apartments. The factors which force people to leave Los Angeles are known and higher density was proven to be a major factor in the Hollywood Community Plan litigation.

    With a 12% vacancy apartment rate and a decrease in the child bearing age group, there is less demand for housing.

  • SZwartz

    The public is not being told abut the serious health risks of Bike Lanes in heavily trafficked thoroughfares. That is the same as exposing kids to asbestos and telling them that it is healthy for them to breathe in asbestos fibers.

    The City had an affirmative duty to study the health impacts of Bike Lanes in MP 2035. The City intentionally excluded the data because it did not support the City’s desire to make roads more congested by adding Bike Lanes to heavily trafficked main streets like Reseda.

    VTM is another folly, It is based on speculation rather than data. Within a short period of time, cars will be electric making pollution irrelevant and VTM a meaningless measure. We know the answer to congestion and vehicle miles — stop constructing TODs.

    If there were no Century City and no Bunker Hill, we would not have people driving in from Pomona, the north Valley to the Basin. As Los Angeles foresaw over 100 years ago, TODs would only make a few land owners wealthier to the detriment of everyone else.

    We should have sprinkled Office centers around the periphery of the urban area so that we would NOT attract thousands of cars into the Basin. Even a grade schooler can figure out that when one tries to force thousands upon thousands of people into a few small areas from the surrounding 5,000 sq miles, there is going to be a traffic nightmare.

  • dustinjamesfoster

    So there’s a few things we can agree on- DTLA should definitely have more residential units. I live and work in the Inland Empire and would also agree to the need of having a better jobs-housing balance out here on the ‘periphery’. This still doesn’t mean that developing downtown of Central LA, where our finest components of our public transportation network reside, should be discouraged.

    I love how you bring up air quality as a reason NOT to bike. Air quality sucks because there are too many emitting vehicles. Air quality will improve as more people switch to alternative forms of transportation. W are already living in a region with some of the worst respiratory illness rates already; acknowledging that studies suggest that the benefits of cycling outweigh the costs of increased respiratory illness proves that your argument is a red herring.

    Bike lanes work perfectly on those main thoroughfares you speak of as they provide humongous mobility and connectivity advantages over neighborhood streets. For instance, it’s much easier to bike down Wilshire from DT to the WS instead of riding down a bunch of bike boulevards on a circuitous bike route. These thoroughfares provide direct connections as, like automobiles and water, a cyclists will follow the path of least resistance. They’ll therefore, with protected bike lanes, induce demand for cycling on those routes anywhere between 100 and 300% (once again, I’m basing my argument on studies, not heresay).

    Providing transit to the whole Basin is not a ‘mathematical impossibility’. What math are you citing? This has already been done in the past (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Electric). The Red Car network stretched across the whole region from the Valley down to the OC and from Santa Monica east to the IE, catering to far-flung cities like Redlands, Corona, and Newport Beach. So it’s possible- especially when all cities realize the immense potential of bus rapid transit systems using lanes currently clogged by automobiles.

    The mathematical reality about Los Angeles is perfectly portrayed here by public transit expert Jarret Walker: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-theory/wp/2016/03/02/buses-and-trains-thats-what-will-solve-congestion/. There are three options he spells out, either: 1) stop growing; 2) widen streets; 3) increase walking, biking and transit. I’m fairly certain we can both agree 2 is cost-prohibitive. You might think we should do 1; actually I believe you’re suggesting nobody wants to live in TODs? Well, I’m gonna pursue 3 because I know my generation better than you. We want to use transit. We want to live in thriving sustainable communities. We don’t want to be old loners wasting away in our car.

    …oh, and the Vinci apartments are hideous.

  • SZwartz

    The mathematically impossibility was proven over 100 years ago. Math and Los Angeles’ topography have not changed in the last century. Manhattan is still a narrow rectangle and Los Angeles is still a huge circular urban area.
    http://bit.ly/cJh5BP 1915 Study of Street Traffic Conditions in the City of Los Angeles

    As far as I am concerned personally, I do not mind constructing subways although subterranean high speed bus ways would be far more user friendly. The problems with subways and light rail above ground is the construction of high density projects within 1/2 mile the the rail line. I know that subways are horribly expensive to construct and that most people avoid subways when they can, nonetheless high speed subterranean travel has its benefits. We need to recognize, however, that riding the subway should be free, but that is a subject for another comment.

    Because no fixed rail system can ever be a primary means of transportation in Los Angeles, constructing density near the rail line is folly. Virtually everyone who lives in a mixed-use project needs to own cars. Since 2000, it has been known that people who live in TODs own cars and do not use mass transit as a primary means of transportation in a large circular geographic area. Again, because it is mathematically impossible for fixed-rail transit to serve a huge circular metropolitan area, people need to own cars or become Urban Serfs tied to their little part of town.

    The Red Car system disappeared because it was dysfunctional. It grew out of the horse drawn trolleys of the late 1800’s when LA was small and there was no alternative to getting around Los Angeles and surrounding cities. Compared to autos, the Red Car System was slow, dirty, dangerous, and uncomfortable. There was no conspiracy to get rid of the Red Car system just as there was no conspiracy to get rid of horse drawn carriages.

    The City had a legal duty to explore the adverse health consequences of Bike Lanes on major thoroughfares. The City refused to study the situation because the councilmembers knew that the overwhelming majority of Angelenos would reject the idea of having their children ride and deeply inhale toxic fumes just as they would object to asbestos falling from the ceilings in classrooms onto their children’s desks.

    However, a crucial part of MP 2035 was to make traffic congestion so bad that people would presumably use mass transit. That required “Road Diets” on major streets, Garcetti and the others knew that when parents learned about the serious health risks to their children, they would oppose Bike Lanes in major thoroughfares. In fact, those parents who did understand the drawbacks to these particular Bike Lanes had their councilmmember, Paul Koretz, vote against MP 2035 in order to have the Bike Lanes removed.

    Perhaps you think that concealing the fact that the city is unnecessarily exposing children to high levels of carcinogens is for the overall good. That is the same approach industry took with asbestos and cigarettes.

  • Mntnbiker747

    This week I had the displeasure of driving up Reseda Blvd. from Vanowen to Nordhoff at about 3:30 PM in bumper to bumper traffic the whole damn way and all I could do was curse the bloody idiots that thought to sacrifice an entire traffic lane for a completely unused bike lane.
    What an absolute waste of money on so many levels. Anyone who had anything to do with getting this pushed through should be fired post haste.

  • You should have ridden your bike instead.

  • Mntnbiker747

    As evidenced by the total lack of riders I saw yesterday during rush hour: NO ONE WANTS THE BIKE LANE. What was the logic here – if you build it, they will come? What lunacy to sacrifice an entire traffic lane so that a small handful of cyclist can ride in the street. Considering the lack of pedestrians on the sidewalk, it would be far more practical and more safe to put the cyclist there. Most of the illegals ride there anyway because so much less dangerous. Christ, those poor bastards risked life and limb to get here, but when it comes to riding in the street, that’s far too risky!
    The traffic that is slowed for lack of the third lane adds to a loss of productivity as people are late for appointments and arrive late, or not at all for work, class, deliveries, doctor appointments, etc. The longer cars sit in traffic, the more pollutants in the air for us ALL to breathe.
    I wish I could see you and the utter IDIOTS who implemented this so that I could shout in your face what SFV residents think of you: absolute morons who can only be held up as shining examples of government incompetence.
    Monkeys could do your job, but robots more likely replace you and I will cheer the day they do.

  • Pam Jonery

    Zing! LOL considering your name, Mntnbiker747, you should be more sympathetic to the idea of good safe bike lanes! If there were a comprehensive network of them, it might encourage more people to ride instead of using their cars for short journeys.

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