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L.A. Looks to Upgrade Forest Lawn Bike Lanes to Protected

LADOT and Councilmember Raman plan to add a mile and a half of plastic bollard protection to existing Forest Lawn Drive bike lanes; the project would reduce the number of car lanes from four to two.

9:42 AM PDT on August 10, 2023

Forest Lawn Drive in 2020. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog

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.

The L.A. City Transportation Department (LADOT) and L.A. City Councilmember Nithya Raman are seeking community input on proposed upgrades to existing bike lanes on Forest Lawn Drive. The project would add plastic bollard protection to about a mile and a half of existing buffered bike lanes. The project would reduce the number of car lanes from four to two for much of the protected bike lane stretch. Give the city your input on Forest Lawn today via LADOT's online survey.

LADOT map of planned Forest Lawn Drive safety project - via LADOT fact sheet

Forest Lawn Drive is located along the north side of Griffith Park, at the L.A./Burbank border, which follows the historic course of the L.A. River. The street is located just south of the present day river channel and parallels the nearby 134 Freeway.

The newly protected bike lanes would extend from Zoo Drive (near Travel Town) to the Warner Brothers Studios South Gate (Burbank's Avon Street).

Forest Lawn sees quite a lot of bicycling as it is a relatively flat route connecting the San Fernando Valley to Griffith Park.

Many drivers also speed on Forest Lawn, apparently in a big hurry to get to the 134 Freeway onramps. Though the street has 35 mph speed limit signs, drivers go upwards of 50 miles per hour - similar to dangerous speeding inside nearby Griffith Park.

One particularly gruesome crash death took place on that part of Forest Lawn in 2012. When retired actor/dancer Zina Bethune Feeley stepped out of her car to care for a wounded opossum in the road, she was struck by a hit-and-run driver, throwing her into the opposing traffic lane where a second driver struck her.

Streetsblog L.A. has repeatedly called for a safe protected bikeway on Forest Lawn, which should ideally continue into and through Griffith Park, which lacks all-ages bikeways, especially in flat areas where families ride together.

The current LADOT Forest Lawn proposal is a good inexpensive step in the right direction, although a more ideal facility would probably be a two-way protected bikeway on one side of the street, with actual substantial (more expensive) protection (such as concrete barriers, curbs, or metal bollards) between cyclists and cars.

LADOT added basic unprotected bike lanes on Forest Lawn circa 2009. In 2020 when a portion of the street was resurfaced, the department did a minor upgrade, adding a painted buffer stripe.

LADOT's proposed Forest Lawn Drive reconfiguration from four car lanes to two, called a road diet - via LADOT fact sheet

Per LADOT's Forest Lawn Drive project fact sheet, the city is currently doing outreach and data collection, intending to finalize the design this fall. Implementation is anticipated next Winter/Spring in coordination with planned street repaving.

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