New Road Diet Bike Lanes Striped On Northeast L.A.’s Fletcher Drive

Cyclists are riding the nearly complete bike lanes on Fletcher Drive. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Cyclists are riding the nearly complete bike lanes on Fletcher Drive. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The city of L.A. is putting the finishing touches on 0.8 miles of new bike lane on northeast L.A.’s Fletcher Drive. The new bike lanes extend from San Fernando Road to Eagle Rock Boulevard, though Fletcher Drive becomes Avenue 36 just north of the 2 Freeway. The bike lanes contribute to fairly strong NELA bike network with connections to Eagle Rock Blvd bike lanes to the north, and getting cyclists closer to the L.A. River bike path to the south.

Cyclist riding the new Fletcher Drive bike lanes
Cyclist riding the new Fletcher Drive bike lanes

City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell shared the city’s plans for Fletcher Drive improvements at community meetings in May. The project includes a road diet, conventional bike lanes, resurfacing, and two tree-lined landscaped median islands.

City workers working on Fletcher Drive median islands this morning.
City workers working on Fletcher Drive median islands this morning.

As of this morning, city crews were still working on the median islands, though the bike lanes already appear to be complete. Oddly, the lanes are striped using paint, instead of the more common and more long-lasting Department of Transportation (LADOT) standard thermoplastic markings.

For bicyclists, arguably the most welcome aspect of the project is the resurfacing. Fletcher has been resurfaced from Perlita Avenue to Avenue 32. The stretch of roadway between Avenue 32 and San Fernando Road had a series of large cracks that were damaging to bicycle tires and wheels. These hazards have been replaced by smooth asphalt.

The busiest intersection on the new project is where Fletcher Drive meets San Fernando Road
The busiest intersection on the new project is where Fletcher Drive meets San Fernando Road. The northbound Fletcher bike lane starts at the intersection.
The southbound Fletcher Drive bike lane ends at Delay Drive, well short of San Fernando Road
The end of the southbound Fletcher Drive bike lane – near Delay Drive – well short of San Fernando Road

Though overall these lanes are a welcome safety improvement, it is disappointing that the southbound bike lane stops well short of San Fernando Road, the busiest intersection located in the 0.8-mile project. The southbound bike lane ends just north of Delay Drive, more than 1/10th of a mile above San Fernando, and the street resumes its old two-car lane, no bike lane configuration. In this stretch there is no on-street parking, so it seems like merely slightly narrowing car-travel lanes would yield the minimum 4 feet needed for a curbside bike lane.

  • LAifer

    “In this stretch there is no on-street parking, so it seems like merely slightly narrowing car-travel lanes would yield the minimum 4 feet needed for a curbside bike lane.”
    Indeed. The two SB vehicle lanes on this stretch of Fletcher are a combined 26 feet in width. By the city’s own complete streets guidelines, they would be better to be about 10-11 feet wide, which leaves between 4-6 feet available for a curbside bike lane. Complete fail by the city.

  • James

    A system is only as strong as its weakest link. This is not much better than your average OCTA bike lane. If you won’t tackle intersection design then you are not serious about the bicycle as a means of transportation.

  • In this stretch there is no on-street parking, so it seems like merely slightly narrowing car-travel lanes would yield the minimum 4 feet needed for a curbside bike lane.

    No, please don’t encourage four foot bike lanes. If they don’t have the room to go with six, then they should make sure the outside lane has centered sharrows. This really shouldn’t be as bad as it might seem if the bike lane just randomly ends and becomes a travel lane as it means that bicyclists will already be on approximately the best trajectory for positioning.

  • LAguttersnipe

    Struggling to find the positives on this one. Connectivity is decent’ish, connects to lanes on Eagle Rock, and gets closer to the river path. On the other side it’s almost like LADOT is trolling us, putting concrete in to protect the drivers from each other and downgrading the quality of the paint.

  • Joe Linton

    Not quite “complete fail”… but it’s very disappointing that LADOT does bike lane projects that just kinda peter out well before the intersections where they’re really needed. It’s a failure of will I think. In Janette Sadik-Khan’s NYDOT the attitude felt like “how can we squeeze this bikeway in” and “how can we extend this bikeway a little further.” LADOT’s attitude historically would skip doing an entire mile+ long project because one block was too narrow (that’s a complete fail). They’ve gotten a little past that, but they’re still too eager willing to drop good treatments at intersections. I think we need an email/letter-writing campaign to O’Farrell to finish the job here.

  • michael macdonald

    I live right near this and am happy to have the whole project in to reduce speeding, make Fletcher better to walk on + added benefit of bike lanes that get me to Eagle Rock Brewing & a bit closer to the Bike Path, but agree on the critique of the cut-off before San Fernando: the place I always get harassed on a bike is Fletcher between Riverside & Glendale. Hope these lanes get extended, preferably buffered/protected.

  • Walt Arrrrr

    What a difference a district makes. Across the street in Cedillo’s CD1, this project would have never happened. Props to CD13’s Mitch O’Farrell for supporting safety improvements in his district.

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