West Hollywood and L.A. Celebrate New Fairfax Avenue Bike Lanes

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West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister cuts the ribbon on Fairfax Avenue’s new bike lanes. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The cities of West Hollywood and Los Angeles celebrated the grand opening of a collaborative project yesterday: 1.2 miles of bike lanes on Fairfax Avenue. The new bike lanes extend from Melrose Avenue to Hollywood Boulevard. The northern end of the lanes were striped by the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) in 2014. That facility was extended southward this year, through the cities of both L.A. and West Hollywood.

The lanes were championed by the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition, which lead a celebratory lap after yesterday’s ribbon-cutting.

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West Hollywood Councilmember Lindsey Horvath, a self proclaimed “car-free millennial,” rides a West Hollywood bike-share bike on the celebratory tour of the new Fairfax Avenue bike lanes.

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West Hollywood Councilmember Horvath speaking to a crowd of around 60 assembled to celebrate the Fairfax bike lanes
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L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz, a former West Hollywood City Councilmember, also celebrated the new bike lanes, despite opposing similar safety enhancements for Westwood Boulevard
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Councilmember Koretz took a ride on the new bike lanes
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Unfortunately, even with an escort of County Sheriffs, this tow truck – license 51151F1 – was blocking the cyclists inaugural ride in the new lanes

Even with the excellent new lanes and with bike-share expected to open in West Hollywood in July, the relatively population-dense West Hollywood and Hollywood areas feature very few bicycling facilities.

  • D G Spencer Ludgate

    I bike regularly on Fairfax. I feel that these lanes and the ones further north installed by the city of Los Angeles are criminal. These are very bad door-zone bike lanes. There was no need to put them in. The ones below Santa Monica have the buffer on the wrong side. The ones above Santa Monica are more narrow. Doesn’t the city of West Hollywood remember that a cyclist died in a dooring on Fairfax north of Santa Monica? Why build infrastructure that puts cyclists in that danger?

  • Dennis_Hindman

    There was a reduction in bicycle involved collisions and severe bicycling injuries after over 190 miles of mainly door-zone bike lanes were installed in the city of Los Angeles in fiscal years 2012-2014. This occurred while there was likely a significant increase in the number of people bicycling on the roads.

    First 11 months of the year LAPD reported collision data:

    ______Bicycle Collisions____
    ______Compared to________Total Bicycling
    ______Previous Year_______Severe Injuries
    2007_____+36__________________59
    2008____+211__________________88
    2009____+318__________________97
    2010____+184_________________100
    2011____+113_________________104
    2012____+150_________________108
    2013_____+37__________________97
    2014____-126__________________83
    2015____-117__________________85

    The need to put these bike lanes in was to improve the safety of bicycling on roads. That seems to have accomplished that goal. If these additional 190 miles of bike lanes had no effect, or increased the overall risk of a collision while bicycling on the roads in Los Angeles, then the number of reported bicycle collisions should have risen as the number of bicycle riders increased. In fact, the number of reported bicycle collisions decreased as the volume of bicycle riders increased.

  • Joe Commuter

    Even if they aren’t ideal, this marks an improvement for several reasons. Narrowing or eliminating traffic lanes slows cars down. Slower cars mean that should a collision between a bike and a car occur that the severity will not be as bad.

    Also, while you may not like it, I imagine most people would rather be buffered from moving traffic than from a parked car (whether this perception is “rational” or not is a different question), and a result people are more likely to bike than if there were no bike lane or if bike lane had cyclists closer to moving traffic. The more people bike, the safer conditions become as everyone gets more used to seeing bicyclists (“safety in numbers”).

    Three lanes of traffic is unquestionably more dangerous for bikes than two lanes of traffic. “There was no need to put them in.” I disagree with that statement. There are a lot of realities that suggest putting these lanes in was better than doing nothing (which was the major alternative). Obviously you don’t need to be convinced to ride a bike, but a lot of other people will only do so when they feel safe, this increases the number of people who feel safe riding on Fairfax.

  • User_1

    “Man these new bike lanes are great!” said the driver from J D Club Services & Towing.

    At least Councilmember Koretz got a bit of a taste of how hazard it is to ride a bike in his hood. Probably the last time you’ll catch him on a bike!

  • michael macdonald

    Just because you see no personal benefit as an experienced rider does not mean that there was “no need to put them in.” I rode on these lanes yesterday and found them to be a big upgrade in both safety and comfort from the previous condition of Fairfax. I suspect many others will too.

  • Alex Brideau III

    I’d prefer to see the parking and bikelanes swapped so that the parking buffers bike riders from the moving vehicles, but at least this is a start.

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