Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Will Sunset Boulevard bike lanes go green?

How about this shade of green?

SILVER LAKE —   Some Silver Lake residents would like to see  an approximately three-mile stretch of  bike lanes that run along Sunset Boulevard through Silver Lake and Echo Park painted a bright shade of green to increase the visibility of the lanes and cyclists. This week, the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council‘s Transportation & Public Works Committee voted in favor of forming a working group to look at the idea of the green lanes, which would stretch from Fountain Avenue on the west and to Beaudry Avenue on the east.

A proposed motion says:

The goal is to ensure that bicyclists are safer where they are likely to mix with heavy auto traffic. The bright green painted bike lanes will remind motorists that they are to share city streets. Bicyclists will feel safer in highlighted lanes.

Painting pavement green is not a new idea. There are already green bike lanes in Boyle Heights and Downtown, and  the pavement at Silver Lake’s Polka Dot Plaza is also painted green (though the dots are on hiatus at the moment.)   But perhaps design-minded Silver Lake residents have other bike lane colors in mind?

The full neighborhood council must still weigh in on the matter before the working group can start working on the project.

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  1. This needs to be cycletracked, the green will be an improvement(if it ever happends(probably not)) but this bike lane is quite dangerous, from Sanborn to the 99 cent store is a shitshow with people looking for parking and opening their doors and the bike lane is really narrow. I find myself having to ride either on the left line or even outside of the bike lane because of all the hazards. The only proper solution is a cycle track, separate the parking from the bike lane.

    We should just complete redo sunset, from DTLA to vermont, cycletrack, bus only lane and car lane.

    • I agree that rather than spending the paint on this already existing lane, the thing that should be done at some point is to give the lane a bit more space. And this spine of Sunset from Sanborn to Grand, is so important to the bus system as a whole that it really ought to get a better bus lane.

      But that requires making some decisions – is the express lane just for the 704 and the Dodgers bus, or do the 2 and 4 get to use it also? If they do, then we need bays for the 2 and 4 to pull out at all the local stops, so they don’t block the express buses. If they don’t, then the majority of buses that use the street will still have to fight with cars. I’m not sure how well bays can be accommodated on center lane bus lanes, and curb lane bus lanes will require removing a lot of parking for those bays, and will need some sort of interesting design choices to allow for bike lanes (as well as right turns, and parking cars).

      At any rate, I applaud the neighborhood council for thinking about this, but any worthwhile project here is going to be a really long term one that involves a lot of difficult design decisions, especially since Sunset is also the one route that cars can use conveniently in this area as well.

      • But Kenny isn’t that why over 100 years ago cities like Chicago, NY, London and Paris began separating rail from surface traffic? Since the 30’s and again just 2 years ago LA shot itself in the foot by having a chance to build or speed up the building of rail this time in the form of Measure J and allowed it to fail. It’ll be another 20 years of increased traffic congestion and 20 years of more whining by car drivers talking about “well if we had a …..”

  2. seems worth mentioning, that downtown LA has already gone through this. and had to re-paint the bike lanes after film and tv producers complained hot it ruined any ability to transport downtown LA into another location.

    just food for thought, Silverlake / Echo Park… pick the right paint from the beginning

    • They ended up repainting those bike lanes green. They’re green right now. Also, if a special effects person can’t change the color of a green strip of paint, then they suck.

  3. I applaud this, too, though I think it’s more important to repaint the parking strip to be directly next to traffic and move the bike lane inside towards the curb. It’s not that hard. Then it doesn’t even need to be painted green. Oh, and please patch the cracks in the gutter portion of the street!

    • Carsmakepeoplestupid

      Physically moving the cars over isn’t that hard, you are correct. But putting Sunset on a road diet, which would have to happen to create more space, would be. This seems like a good start.

      • How is that a road diet? We’re taking about swapping the location of two existing lanes, not taking up any more traffic lanes. If anything, it’ll help speed traffic up not having to look out for bikes when you pull in and out to park.

        • Carsmakepeoplestupid

          Logistically by placing the bike lane closer to the curb and switching out the parked car lane you would have to take away space from the two vehicle lanes in some way. Car doors would now have to be opened on both sides and you would need more space to safely do this. Unless you want to keep bikes in the door zone now just on the right side of the car instead of the left side which seems counterproductive. We could make the lanes narrower or just take out the left turn lanes. But why not just put Sunset on a road diet, have one all day car travel lane, one peak hour bus only lane, place bikes at the curb and move parked cars over?

  4. It is a great idea if done properly but we still need to get other cyclists to accept that lights and brakes are not optional.
    It chafes me more than a double century that we continually have to deal with the fixie bike ninjas who think that aggravating people is going to somehow get our city to provide more services to cyclists.

    • Yes, because cyclists are the only people who break traffic laws, ever. Their right to safe passage on the road is contingent on every single one of them behaving like angels, absolutely!

  5. lets see if we can make it through this post without saying the secret word.

  6. It’s a start. At least this is on the NEW Silver Lake Council’s radar.

  7. Meh, I think the green lanes are overrated… how about just lowering the speed limit to 25mph and re-syncing the lights a bit so traffic flows less like a highway and more like a street.

    • Unfortunately the city is limited by state law to only reducing the speed limit to within 5 MPH of what cars travel along Sunset during non-rush hour times, and not accounting for traffic light slowdowns. It’s rather bizarre, imho, but that’s where we’re stuck. Frankly, given how slow Sunset tends to move through the junction, it probably could be limited to 30 MPH in that stretch, but I’m not sure that areas like Mohawk Bend, the Cut, or the stretch across Silverlake Blvd are slow enough for the city to be able to slow down a significant stretch of this road.

      To everyone else talking down cycletracks, with the lanes in between street parking and sidewalks, it certainly would reduce the number of people opening doors into the bike lane, since every car has a driver but not every car has passengers. It also would shift people’s perceptions of the bike lane, since it’d go from a haphazard, barely marked strip of roadway alongside car traffic, to its own set-aside space which would cause people to be a bit more cautious getting in and out of their cars.

      Regardless, there’s no perfect solution here. Everything will have drawbacks. That said, it sure would be nice to see the city taking a more proactive role in supporting the multi-modal means by which Angelenos are accessing our rights-of-way, rather than focusing nearly exclusively on cars.

      • Yeah, I’ve heard that before. But it would seem that more progressive cities have found ways around that… you don’t see 35mph speed limits as much on major commercial boulevards in Santa Monica, Pasadena, Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, etc.

        Also, is that metric based on LOS? I had read that there’s a bill that recently passed in Sacramento (SB375 I believe) to give cities more leeway in how they plan streets. Either way, planning traffic speed like this seems very narrow minded and counterintuitive approach to livable communities and urban growth… especially along densely populated mass transit corridors, like Sunset.

        Oh and I’m all for cycle tracks… hopefully the Figueroa ones being planned are successful enough to serve as a model for a few more of our iconic streets.

  8. Somewhat off-topic but not totally irrelevant: it’s frustrating that so much of Sunset as it winds it’s way through Silver Lake seems so run-down and shabby. The lack of trees, the crumbling sidewalks, the auto-body shops, etc.

    A green-demarcated cycle lane would be a start, but someone with vision (and money) really needs to reinvent this stretch of L.A.

    I know plenty of people like this area as it is (“funky”) – and I sure as hell don’t want to turn it into WeHo (ugh) – but there’s gotta be a way to make the stretch more inviting for pedestrians and less visually shitty. And the SLNC doesn’t seem to help – they veto everything and we end up with the shit-show that is the Bates Motel and the hells-ugly $1 Car wash on Descanso.

    Light-rail running the length of sunset from downtown into Hollywood would be a killer idea. Probably won’t happen in my lifetime but damn, isn’t there some rich fucker out there who can get this moving? I would, but I already have a full-time job and can barely find enough time to keep up with Game of Thrones!

  9. Why bother? Bicyclists already are given the right to ride their bikes in the middle of the street.

  10. I wish cyclists would take the appropriate responsibility for their own safety, and that of others. As a pedestrian in SL I have been threatened more often by cyclists: riding on sidewalks, running stop signs, generally not paying attention; than by drivers. While driving I find cyclists in SL/EP to be extremely reckless: in black at night, no reflectors/lights, headphones on (wtf!). Please cyclists, exercise some common sense.

    • Wow, you must never walk around the neighborhood than… exactly how many pedestrians have been killed by cyclists in Silver Lake or Echo Park? How many maimed and paralyzed? How many cyclists have crashed straight into buildings, knocking down walls, telephone poles, utility boxes, thousands of dollars in damage? Oh, that’s right none… but follow the news and you’ll see that motorists are doing this kinda stuff every few weeks. Meanwhile, countries that calm traffic speeds and build better infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians have a tiny fraction of the accidents per capita that we do. This isn’t rocket science, you design streets for speeding and people die.

  11. Green w/ polkadots

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