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Eyes on the Street: Short Leland Way Protected Bikeway in Burbank

Burbank’s Leland Way protected bike lanes – photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog

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This article supported by Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney as part of a general sponsorship package. All opinions in the article are that of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of LABA. Click on the ad for more information.

In late 2020, the city of Burbank opened a short two-way protected bike facility on Leland Way, extending 0.25-mile between Leland's two intersections with Broadway. The bikeway is part of the city's Leland Way Streetscape Project.

Map of Leland Way Streetscape project via city of Burbank
Map of Leland Way Streetscape project via city of Burbank
Map of Leland Way Streetscape project via city of Burbank

The short bike facility doesn't really connect with any other bikeways. According to accounts at the Burbank Leader, Sun Sentinel, and a 2017 city presentation, the bikeway was an aesthetic response to residents' concerns about graffiti and drag racing. These became more of a concern after the Metro and Caltrans $1.3+ million 5 Freeway widening project capped the Burbank Western Channel that used to run along the southwest side of the street. Freeway expansion resulted in Leland receiving a much taller sound wall much closer to the single family homes that line the northeast side of the street.

Leland Way in 2008, via Google Street View
Burbank's Leland Way in 2008, via Google Street View. Behind the fence on the left is the open concrete-lined channel of the Burbank Western Wash.
Leland Way in 2008, via Google Street View
Burbank's Leland Way in 2018, via Google Street View
Burbank's Leland Way in 2018, via Google Street View
Burbank's Leland Way in 2018, via Google Street View
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Burbank's Leland Way this morning
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The city converted Leland to a one-way street, retained car parking on just the residential side, and added landscaping and the bikeway on the other side.

Burbank has existing bikeways along portions of the Burbank Western Channel (also called the Burbank Western Wash), both downstream and upstream of Leland. It was always going to be very difficult to connect up these bikeways due to the obstacles of the freeway and railroad tracks.

The Leland Way bikeway isn't much. Streetsblog didn't observe any cyclists (or even pedestrians) using the facility this morning. But it is perhaps a somewhat instructive example of how bikeways - along with landscaping - can help to improve otherwise inhospitable spaces, including along freeway sound walls.

North end of Burbank's Leland Way bikeway
North end of Burbank's Leland Way bikeway
North end of Burbank's Leland Way bikeway
South end of the Leland Way protected bikeway
South end of the Leland Way protected bikeway
South end of the Leland Way protected bikeway

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