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