LADOT Ready to Embrace “Floating” Bike Lanes for Westwood, But Is West L.A.?

Technically, tonight's community meeting is on all of these projects. However five of them are expected to draw more attention than the others.

Tonight, city officials with LADOT and City Planning will present the environmental documents for five Bike Plan projects in West Los Angeles. Highlighting the list of projects is a proposal by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) to restripe 1.6 miles of Westwood Boulevard between National Boulevard and Santa Monica Avenue to create a “floating” bike lane in each direction. LADOT has said they would back such a plan if there were community support.

The proposed floating bike lane for Westwood between National and Santa Monica Boulevards. Image by LACBC via ## Park Online##

Basically, if a floating bike lane were installed, the city paint what would at first glance appear to be multiple bike lanes. During different periods of the day, the street configuration would change. For example, during off-peak hours there would be car parking along each curb, then a bike lane, then two mixed use travel lanes and a turn lane, then another bike lane, parking, and the alternate curb. At rush hour, there would be two lanes in one direction and one in the other (it changes pending which rush hour) with a turn lane and bike lanes hugging the curb.

For more information on how floating bike lanes work, read this case study from San Francisco. It states that the design, while not perfect, generally works.

While not perfect, with its slightly confusing, unorthodox design, it successfully accommodates cyclists, part-time on-street parking, and motorists needing additional capacity during peak hours. It does so with minimal signs, leading one to conclude that while the design is unorthodox, it uses fairly predictable road-user behavior to its advantage. Cyclists naturally tend to stay to the right, and motorists will use a space even if it is not clearly for their use if traffic congestion reaches certain levels and the space is reasonably accommodating.

Following 150 riders attending the Ride Westwood! ride and rally the previous Saturday, the LACBC’s Eric Bruins attended the Westside Neighborhood Council meeting on Valentine’s Day to press for the “floating bike lanes.” In advance of his meeting, some on the Council circulated a letter deriding the plan, encouraging attendance and even stating that “even the local cyclists find the proposal unworkable.” More of the letter is available at Biking in L.A.

Despite the email blast, Rancho Park Online reported that most of the people in attendance that spoke were in favor of the proposed changes. Conversely, most of those on the Neighborhood Council were skeptical.

Several of the Neighborhood Council members are also members of Neighbors for Smart Rail, which has taken its case against the Expo Line and supported lawsuits alleging that city environmental studies for the Expo Bike Path were flawed.

Against this backdrop, the city holds a community meeting on the Bike Plan tonight at 11214 West Exposition Boulevard at 6:00 p.m. In January, it announced that it would abandon the EIR process for 39.5 miles of bike lanes that will cause a change in existing traffic patterns. Because of a change in state law, a full Environmental Impact Report isn’t necessary for these bicycle projects provided some study and outreach is completed.

  • Anonymous

    Well, at least its egalitarian in that it will confuse both cyclists and drivers.

  • Mike

    I’m going to this meeting tonight on the West LA Bike Plan, but, to be honest, I’m still not sure what I’m going to say yet.  As a cyclist I recognize the need to have some north/south bike lane into the Westside.  But I know that the people in my Wilshire Blvd office that live in the Valley, San Pedro, or OC have to drive, and it is going to cripple traffic on the Westside.  It would be different if there were parking near the offramps and some sort of bike share to take you from the offramp to Wilshire, but, as it stands, and considering that they’re going to put a bus lane in on Wilshire, it will lead to Carmageddon.

  • Irwinc

    There is a clear solution that won’t confuse anyone… eliminate street parking on Westwood Blvd between Pico and Olympic.

    The road is not wide enough here to be wasted on parking. The best solution here is to keep the 1 general traffic lane and convert the current parking lane (and peak hour general traffic lane) to a bike/bus combo lane. There is enough bus traffic on Westwood Blvd to justify a full 16 hour bus lane. I’m ok with street parking here from 9pm to 5 am.

  • Probably not a good idea in a city where drivers still have difficulty understanding sharrows and road signs indicating “Bikes may use entire lane”. Though it might not be cheap, I think a potential solution here would be to implement overhead signage similar to what they use for reversible traffic lanes.

  • And meanwhile Mark Lacter at LA Observed rails against bike lanes.

    This guy also loves the idea of driverless car and sneers at the subway extension…

  • The NoHo Lankershim meeting was exactly the same: Everyone in the audience for bike lanes and everyone on the council “skeptical.”

  • Dennis Hindman

    The Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council voted unanimously (10 votes) tonight for putting bike lanes on Vineland Ave (not on the bike plan) instead of Lankershim Blvd. To quote the chairperson “Let me make this clear, we are not against bike lanes, we are concerned where the bike lanes are put.”

  • I dont like it.

    I dont understand the T shaped lines at all.

    Also, it sets bad precedent. You know that bile lane cars are driving in to turn early? This sort of says “drive in the bike lane when convenient!”

  • Dylan

    As someone who bikes on Westwood several times a week, I will be happy if anything gets done. The Neighborhood Council people seem determined that doing nothing is the best plan. Anything that makes my ride more tolerable will be fine.

  • Dennis Hindman

    They also did not want bike lanes on Cahuenga Blvd, even though someone on their safety committee was trying to get that street lowered below a highway classification to try and lower the amount of traffic. Hmmm, don’t you think bike lanes would do that? Naw, you wouldn’t want them terrorizing the neighborhood.

    I must have really impressed them with my 2-minute impassioned comments about the outrageousness of having the public being able to decide on whether there are safety improvements made for cycling on a street and yet they are not allowed to decide the level of safety for motorized transportation or pedestrians. I went on to say that the rate at which people get maimed or killed while riding a bicycle may be decided as if we are in a coliseum in ancient Rome with the public voting thumbs up or thumbs down.

    You could hear crickets after I was finished. This must have been very persuasive, afterall they were unanimous in their votes.

  • The T-shaped lines delineate the parking spaces during the hours when curbside parking is permitted. These markings already appear in the curbside lanes on major boulevards (Wilshire, Olympic, etc.) where off-peak parking is permitted.

    Here’s what it looks like in action, in off-peak mode. Looking at this image, I can kind of see how a driver might be tempted to use the extra-wide off-peak bike lane if traffic is queued up. Most people would probably be able to figure it out, though there might be an adjustment period involved.

  • BC

    In the San Francisco case study photograph, the top of the T shaped lines are toward the curbs, but in the LACBC drawing, it’s the opposite.  Why is that?

  • Different cities mark parking spaces in different ways. Some have an inward-pointing T, some an outward-pointing T, some a forward- or backward-pointing T, some have a cross. It’s likely that LADOT would simply choose to mark the parking spaces however it normally does on every other street. The LACBC drawing looks like it’s just using a generic example to illustrate the concept, in which case it would be best not to worry about it too much at this point.

  •  @twitter-84007946:disqus  what the drawing indicates to me is that one should park to the left of the bike lane running along the curb.

  • Well, the drivers in the photo from San Francisco seem to get the message that they need to park against the curb. I have a feeling that if the parking spaces are marked in a manner that’s similar to other streets around LA — and thus familiar to local drivers — most people will know what to do. Again, the LACBC drawing is just using generic examples of road markings to show how the space would be allocated; it’s not creating a final, precise, detailed striping plan for Westwood Blvd.

  • Msmith

    Since every lane is a bike lane, why bother with all the advocacy, why don’t cyclists take up the whole lane ALL THE TIME along these corridors and continue to do so until they put in adequate bike lanes?? 

  • Thinking_Ape

    I take the right southbound lane when I bike home everyday, but this is about expanding access to people who don’t feel comfortable doing that.

  • Alex Brideau III

    Just stumbled upon this page at random after quite a while. I think I’d prefer to see a permanent (wide) bike lane at the curb with a secondary curb and part-time parking providing a buffer for the bike lane. This would allow a permanent bike presence as well as part-time parking while using street markings with which Angelenos are should already be familiar.


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