Long Beach Celebrates New Protected Bike Lanes On Artesia Boulevard

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia (center) and Vice Mayor Rex Richardson (left) tour the new Artesia Blvd protected bike lanes. Photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia (center) and Vice Mayor Rex Richardson (left, white shirt) tour the new Artesia Blvd protected bike lanes. Photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Long Beach celebrated its newest protected bike lane facility this morning. The Artesia Boulevard bike lanes extend half a mile from Atlantic Boulevard to Orange Avenue. The lanes are parking-protected, and feature green plastic reflective bollards, rubber curbs, and intermittent green pavement markings.

The majority of the new lanes are parking-protected, meaning that cyclists ride between parked cars and the sidewalk. The parked cars act as a buffer, protecting cyclists from car traffic. At approaches to intersections and at bus stops, the protection drops and there is a merge zone marked with dashed green pavement. (Not dropping the protection would require relatively expensive bikeway signals, similar to Long Beach’s Broadway/Third couplet.)

Example of unprotected merge zone at bus stops on Artesia Blvd protected bike lanes
Example of unprotected merge zone at bus stops on Artesia Blvd protected bike lanes

This morning’s festivities were attended by a crowd of about 50, including city officials, city staff, locals, and bicyclists. Vice Mayor Rex Richardson and Mayor Robert Garcia were on hand to praise the new facility, cut the ribbon, and take an introductory spin.

Garcia and Richardson cut the ribbon on the Artesia protected bike lanes
Long Beach Mayor Garcia and Vice Mayor Richardson cut the ribbon on the Artesia protected bike lanes

Long Beach aspires to be the most bicycle-friendly city in the United States. In 2011, Long Beach installed the first protected bike lanes in Southern California. The Artesia lanes mark an important expansion of Long Beach’s bicycling facilities. Though the city has bike facilities in various parts of the city, for the most part, Long Beach has concentrated facilities (and bike-share) in denser neighborhoods along the coast, especially downtown. The Artesia lanes are in North Long Beach or Uptown, a relatively population-dense neighborhood about as far from the coast as one can get in Long Beach. They will serve students bicycling to the nearby Jordan High School.

Long Beach is planning to extend protected bike lanes for the entire length of Artesia Blvd, from the city limit with Compton to the city limit with Bellflower. This first stretch was accelerated in conjunction with a Long Beach Gas and Oil utility pipeline project that meant the street was already being resurfaced.

More photos of the Artesia lanes and their celebration after the jump. 

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Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson pedals the Artesia Blvd protected lanes
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Vice Mayor Richardson praised the new lanes as part of Long Beach’s Uptown Renaissance
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The Artesia Blvd protected bike lanes include temporary signage directing drivers where to park
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The portion of Artesia Blvd west of Atlantic Blvd has “candlestick” bollard protection installed earlier this year
  • Joseph E

    Last caption, “The portion of Artesia Blvd east of Atlantic Blvd…” should read “WEST of Atlantic Blvd.” The newly added lanes are East of Atlantic, so now there are continuous buffered bike lanes all the way across the LA River, past Atlantic, to Orange Avenue. And Orange Ave is a north-south street that already has bike lanes. Atlantic also has a bike lane to the south from this location (though there is a 1/2 mile gap to the north still).
    It’s almost like a network is forming! Good work, Long Beach.

  • Peter Smith

    what are the green bollard things called? are they cement inside?

  • Dennis_Hindman

    Those are plastic flexible K71 marker posts. Also called k71 vertical delineators.

    http://www.usreflector.com/PDF%20files/catalog-2009/USreflector-Vertical-delineation-2009.pdf

  • Joe Linton

    No cement inside (they’re designed to be hit by cars and pop back up)

  • Joe Linton

    Thanks – corrected!!

  • james

    There is a lot wrong with the design of these bike lanes, most notably the pathetic intersection treatments that encourage curb hugging, cross walk use and right hook collisions. The design at intersections resembles the standard negligent bicycle lane design used in OC where the narrow bike lane sits to the right of a wide and undefined space that feels like a right hand turn lane. The width of the parking spaces becomes space for drivers to make right hand turns to the left of people on bicycles. Drivers treat this space as a right hand turn lane any expect cyclists to get on the sidewalk. How is that streetsblog could ignore this unethical and negligent design that does nothing to change the status quo at intersections where cyclists need the most help? Is it because streetsblog has a policy of treating Long Beach with kid gloves?

    I made the mistake of visiting these half asses bike lanes yesterday and found that aside from reversal of parking and bike lanes it was no different from your standard dangerous and unused highway bike lanes. Of course the few cyclists I saw all pedestrianized themselves at intersections and used the cross walk beg buttons and most rode salmon, about 3/4 on the sidewalk. I felt like I had to lane split to position myself ahead of and to the left of drivers who used the bike lane as a right hand turn lane. That is a survival strategy for dealing with bad design, disinterested law enforcement and general ignorance. It is not how a brand new bike lane should work.

    Once again Long Beach proves itself to be a city of pretense and no substance.