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Eyes on the Street: New Green Bike Lane Merge Zones on Vineland Avenue

4:12 PM PST on March 2, 2016

New green bike lane merge zones on Vineland Avenue just south of the 134 Freeway. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
New green merge zones on Vineland Avenue at the 134/170 Freeways. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The Vineland Avenue bike lanes got a little greener this week. The L.A. Department of Transportation (LADOT) gave several merge zones a coat of "fresh Kermit."

The Vineland Avenue bike lanes run from Ventura Boulevard to Burbank Boulevard in the southeast San Fernando Valley neighborhoods of Studio City, North Hollywood, and Toluca Lake - just east of the North Hollywood Red Line Station. There have been some issues with these lanes in the past, especially in the freeway-infested area where the 101, 134, and 170 Freeways intersect. In a 6-block stretch, between Aqua Vista Street and Hortense Street, the Vineland lanes cross two freeway on-ramps and two freeway off-ramps, with three additional freeway ramps just a block or two away on Moorpark Street and Riverside Drive. Drivers merge into the bike lane and drive in it for blocks before turning; this results in clogging the bike lane, generally at commute hours.

According to Streetsblog reader Melissa Federowicz, LADOT had recently experimented, apparently unsuccessfully, with installing plastic bollards. This week the bollards came out and green paint went in. 

The green merge zones are all intermittent treatments in areas where drivers merge to the right to get on to freeways, either at freeway on-ramps or at streets leading to nearby ramps.

Vineland bike lane southbound immediately north of the 101 Freeway
Vineland bike lane southbound immediately north of the 101 Freeway
Vineland bike lane intermittent green merge zone at Moorpark Street
The same Vineland green bike lane merge zone view north from Moorpark Street

Even with the bike lanes and merge zones, some cyclists preferred to avoid the car traffic and ride on the sidewalk.

Sidewalk cyclist headed north on Vineland at Riverside Drive

The heavily car-trafficked area remains generally unfriendly to pedestrians and cyclists.

Pedestrian crossing mid-block between Riverside and Moorpark
Despite a removed crosswalk leg, pedestrian and cyclist crossing Vineland at Moorpark. This four-way intersection only has three crosswalks; the north crosswalk leg has been erased, presumably to make way for more drivers turning left from eastbound Moorpark onto northbound Vineland.

Even with the very visible green markings, many cars still merge right early, driving more than a block in the bike lane before turning right.

Driver taking the green Vineland bike lane at Landale Street, a full block before turning right at Riverside Drive
This driver is legally merging at the start of the dashed-green merge zone

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