At Strathmore and Westwood, It’s UCLA’s Bike Box

Bike Box!

Bike Box! Photo:## a Green Commuter##

Drivers and cyclists riding east on Strathmore in Westwood have experienced something new the last several weeks. The Strathmore bike lane has been painted green and just before the intersection at Westwood, the lane extends in front of the mixed use travel lane creating Los Angeles’ first green painted bike box.

A bike box, formally known as an advanced stop line, is an intersection safety  design to prevent bicycle/car collisions, especially “right hooks” between drivers turning right and bicyclists going straight. It is a green box on the road with a white bicycle symbol inside.

Dave Karwaski, of UCLA’s Transportation division, explains that even though UCLA has to follow the same rules as everyone else when it comes to road design, that it controls the public roads that run through campus and can place down state approved engineering designs even if they aren’t already in LADOT’s tool kit. This isn’t the first time that UCLA has been making space for cyclists before LADOT, in 2008 Sharrows appeared on Westwood Boulevard on the UCLA campus nearly two and a half years before LADOT began its “pilot program.”

So, why Strathmore?

“You have the right of way to look at the roadway…to look at the canvas to reconfigure it. At Strathmore we could do that for bikes and still maintain the intersection for vehicle traffic,” explains Karwaski. “Many cyclists use Strathmore because it connects to West Village, where thousands of students live, and the center of campus.”

Karwaski credits not just UCLA administrators for the focus on bicycling and pedestrian safety on campus. While the campus has pushed the envelope in the past and plans more Sharrows and bike lanes in the near future; Karwaski gives some credit to the professors and researchers for creating a campus environment where such changes are possible. Public health professor Richard Jackson, who’s research ties together public health and transportation choices, is one example of the research at UCLA influencing the college’s physical space.

Usually, when a new roadway design appears, there are complaints from road users that the new designs are confusing. While Karwaski reports that the response is “generally positive,” UCLA’s “Be a Green Commuter” website offers a guide for novices on using the Bike Box. At Streetfilms, Clarence Eckerson shot a short series on Bike Boxes in New York City and Portland and the Portland Department of Transportation has their own brochure. The Streetfilms are both embedded after the jump.


Another Wonderful Long Beach First: Protected Bike Lanes

The city of Long Beach is Southern California’s undisputed leader in innovative infrastructure for safe and convenient bicycling.  They’re at it again this Saturday, April 23rd 2011, when they unveil the first genuine protected bike lanes west of New York City. Opening festivities are from 11am to 2pm at the The Promenade – one block east of Pine Avenue. […]

Economics Professor Takes Aim at Bike Lanes at City Watch

In last Friday’s City Watch, Cato Institute Adjunct Scholar and economics professor at Cal State University Northridge Dr. Shirley V. Svorny penned, People Who Want More Bike Lanes Need a Reality Check, an attack on on another City Watch piece, What a Difference a Few Years Makes, by Stephen Box.  Box’s piece celebrated the passing […]

If L.A. Is Going to Invest in Bike Lanes, Then Do It Right!

Bike Lanes are a deterrent for me to ride in and I oftentimes cringe when I hear people blindly supporting them without asking for enhanced safety standards and regulations. So when the LA Draft Bike Plan proposes Bike Lanes and Paths all over the city without taking into consideration what the people want, it upsets […]

The Case Against Bike Paths

(Anyone who was at last December’s Bike Meeting in City Hall witnessed a mini-shouting match between Enci Box and Councilman Tom LaBonge over whether or not there are "bike facilities" in LaBonge’s district.  Enci contends that a bike path is not a real facility, and she elaborates and explains that point here.  – DN) Cyclists […]