Expo Bike Lanes, Smooth and Flat…for the Most Part

Vermont Station, looking west today...

In October, the day after CicLAvia, I pedaled west from Downtown to the Westside on Exposition Blvd. to test the bike lane that run parallel to Phase I of the Expo Line.  I was surprised by the absolutely terrible state of the road and the impact it had on the quality of the ride.  Less than two months later, the city repaved a lot of the route.  Details of the repaving can be found on the Bureau of Street Services website.  For a chart of what segments of the route were repaved, see the chart at the bottom of this article.

While I’ve ridden on the route once since then, I didn’t have my camera with to do a story.  However, Greg Spotts with the Mayor’s Office was kind enough to provide a couple of pictures he took while visiting the site and we’ve included those with this article.

The route is a lot easier and smoother than it was before with some areas still having spotty road conditions.  The repaved areas are smooth, even in the parts of the road where the repainted bike lanes are partially in the gutter.  Spotts explains that blocks paved in concrete weren’t eligible for resurfacing when the road was repaved.  So while the conditions are improved, the project doesn’t feel completely completed just yet.

Catalina Street, looking west and looking nice. Photo: Gregg Spotts
I wasn't able to find the exact location again, but given the rough location of "West of La Brea" this area was not repaved. Prior to the November resurfacing by BSS, most of Expo Blvd looked like this, in that new asphalt on the south side of the street was joined with existing concrete or asphalt on the south side.

The bad news is while the route is much improved, the absolute worst parts of the route in my experience were/are the concrete areas of the roadway.  The picture to the right was taken just west of La Brea in October, which is part of the roadway that was not repaved.

The other knock on the resurfacing is that while the pavement conditions are improved, the “gutter bike lanes” issue also remains where the portion of the roadway used as a gutter seems to be included as part of the bike lane in areas where the street doesn’t have automobile parking.  (See picture above.)

The repaving was completed at the direction of the Mayor’s new Transportation Project Delivery Team, the same group being partially funded through Measure R dollars.  Last fall they toured the Expo Phase 1 alignment and came away with a similar view of the road that I did.  In September they talked to the Bureau of Street Services to evaluate the pavement condition of Jefferson Blvd from Hauser to La Cienega and Exposition Boulevard North Roadway from USC to La Brea.

“The Mayor believes that improvements in public transportation must be coupled with attractive and up-to-date road conditions for all modes of commuters,” writes Deputy Mayor for Transportation, Borja Leon.

So that’s the good news, that the dissapointing ride on Exposition Boulevard is much improved from my bumpy ride three months ago when I wrote my review.  If my first ride on the lanes was now instead of then, my review certainly wouldn’t have been as harsh as t was then, but as I said above.  The route is improved, but it doesn’t feel quite complete yet.

  • Irwinc

    The gutter bike lane is still unfortunate but we’ll gladly take the new smooth surface. 

  • Joe B

    The brand new door zone bike lane on Catalina is a bit of a disappointment as well. 

  • where are there bike lanes on Catalina (Street or Island?)

  • Greg

    Wooohooo!  We got the minimum!  Great job guys!

    A 5 ft Bike lane is the minimum with a gutter.  Way to push the envelope for alternative transportation!

  • Door zone bike lanes don’t bother me nearly as much as gutter bike lanes. Gutter bike lanes may as well not be. I’d much rather take the lane than ride in the gutter. Door zone bike lanes are still some much needed space and way better than trying to take the lane on a two lane with parking street.


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