Long Beach: Plans Move Forward on Los Cerritos/Bixby Knolls Bike Infrastructure

Bixby Knolls/Los Cerritos are getting closer to the reality of Long Beach’s master bike plan making tangible changes to the northern neighborhoods. And rightfully so: Pacific Avenue is a main arterial for those on two wheels and the bike lane proposed on San Antonio will connect those to Pacific Avenue from the north.

Proposed roundabout at Pacific, Country Club, & 36th. Photo courtesy of Bike Long Beach. Click on the image for a larger version.

The plans have been delayed mainly due to community dissension and planning issues. The former is a given with such projects: at a meeting earlier this month, motorists expressed concerns about the loss of parking, the inability to make turns at proposed signals, and the insertion of two roundabouts (one at Pacific & Bixby and the other at the tri-section of Pacific, Country Club Drive, and 36th).

City Traffic Engineer Dave Roseman said that, although the concerns of citizens are of course considered, the ultimate goal is pedestrian, cyclist, and motorist safety.

The roundabouts installed throughout Belmont and Bluff Heights have proven mightily effective, with traffic not only flowing more fluidly but accidents reduced by a staggering 80%. The proposed roundabouts are aimed to do the same as studies have repeatedly shown that unnecessary stop signs and traffic signals actually increase danger amongst everyone on the road, be they motorists or otherwise.

This is not to say they entirely ignored what many motorists complained about. The signal proposed at Wardlow and Pacific–to be finished soon–initially called for a right-turn only clause for southbound Pacific traffic. There was a rather large outcry over this and the signal has become entirely traditional with no turn prohibitions.

When expressed concerns about bicyclists having to jockey with left-turning traffic–beforehand, the right-only clause permitted cyclists to easily continue heading south on Pacific–Roseman expressed little concern in return.

“I don’t believe that cyclists will have to dodge left-turn traffic as cyclists and motorists approach the intersection,” Roseman explained. “There is very little southbound traffic making lefts at the intersection now because it is such a difficult turn to make so most traffic already makes a right. If there will be any merging or jockeying of traffic and cyclists it may be between cyclists wishing to head straight south and motorists moving to the right to make right turns to head across the tracks–and most cyclists are very familiar with that type of merging traffic and generally cyclists are well seen by motorists since they are slowing to make a right.”

In order to save money, some of the design work–mainly the traffic signals–is currently being completed by city engineers rather than being entirely conferred onto a consultant.

The plan is expected to be completed by early 2014.


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