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Silver Lake transportation study recommends undoing some of the Rowena road diet

Silver Lake — A transportation study has recommended eliminating bike lanes and returning one of the traffic lanes that was removed five years ago when a controversial “road diet” was implemented on a half-mile stretch of Rowena Avenue.

The proposed changes to Rowena were part of a long list of recommendations in the study, which was commissioned by Councilman David Ryu, to deal with cut-through traffic on neighboring side streets, primarily Waverly Drive and Angus Street.

So called road diets  usually involve the removal of traffic lanes to slow down motorists and improve safety. In this case, former Councilman Tom LaBonge endorsed the removal of two traffic lanes on Rowena between Hyperion Avenue and Glendale Boulevard and replacing them with bike lanes.

The Rowena road diet has been credited by many activists for reducing crashes as well as fatalities and injuries along Rowena. But many residents who live on the narrow side streets to the north and south of Rowena have complained of increased congestion and collisions as motorists seek alternatives.  R. Many cycling and transportation activists have been rallying support to protect the Rowena road diet in the wake of the new study, which was completed in May but not widely released until today.

Ryu, whose 4th Council District includes the northwestern section of Silver Lake,  emphasized that no decisions have been made about the recommendations made by the firm Kimley Horn.

“Councilmember Ryu has not taken a position on any specific recommendation. Any safety improvements from this study will only be implemented after more community discussion and public input,” said a statement issued by his office.

Here are some recommendations and options presented by the study:

Angus Street

  • Relocate the existing curb face at Angus to add sidewalk on one side of the street. This improvement would result in the elimination of on-street parking.
  • Stripe an edge-line with cross-hedge markings along Angus Street to provide a designated pedestrian realm
  • Restrict through traffic on Angus Street between Moreno Drive and Kenilworth Avenue to one-way westbound traffic; restricting right-turn movements from Morena Drive onto Angus Street at the intersection of Moreno Drive and

Rowena Avenue

  • Option 1: Remove bicycle lane striping from both directions of travel on Rowena Avenue. Repurpose this right-of-way for use as an additional eastbound travel lane. This alternative would maintain on-street parking on both sides of the street.
  • Option 2: Remove the on-street parking and bicycle lane in the eastbound travel direction only on Rowena Avenue. Re-purpose this right-of-way for use as an additional eastbound travel lane with Sharrow markings. This alternative maintains the on-street parking and the bicycle lane for the westbound direction of travel.
  • Add bulb-outs, which are expanded sidewalks, at crosswalks in certain locations Installation of pedestrian-scaled lighting.
  • Add pedestrian street crossings in two locations at Herkimer Street and Avenel Street

Waverly Drive

  • Create a continuous sidewalk along one-side of Waverly Drive.
  • Change all current on-street parking on Waverly Drive to 45-degree angled parking and add a sidewalk between the parking and the
  • curb.Close the northern portion of Rokeby Street at the intersections with Waverly Drive and Glendale Boulevard. Reconfigure the geometry to a cul-des ac.

RowenaWaverlyAngus CutThroughTrafficStudy Final (2) by TheEastsider on Scribd

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40 comments

  1. I’m not sure where the Eastsider is getting the idea that the traffic study “recommends” reversing any of the road diet. This article lists only two options for Rowena in the study, both of which involve removing one or more bicycle lanes — and incorrectly numerates them. In reality, the study gives three options.

    The *actual* Option 1 for Rowena (on page 36 of the study) is: “No roadway geometry changes would be made. Focus would be to prioritize minimal pedestrian improvements along Rowena Avenue including” crosswalk bulb-outs and additional pedestrian-scaled lighting and street crossings.

    On page 29 of the study, improvements for bicycle traffic are even contemplated: “Where feasible, focus improvements at intersections where conflict points are high. Improvements include continued bicycle striping through the intersection and high-visibility green paint.”

    Yes, the study does present those two other options that would remove one or both bicycle lanes on Rowena, but each of these options are “for consideration,” and the study doesn’t formally recommend a choice between any of the three.

    And any option that did remove bicycle lanes would be a horrible choice. In perhaps the hottest summer on record — locally and globally — we’re going to try to make it harder to move around without using fossil fuels?! I understand the impact of additional vehicles on streets like Angus and Waverly, but please don’t scapegoat bicycles for the neighborhood-destroying Waze app and the general increase of automobiles in this city. We need more bicycle lanes (hello, Glendale Blvd!), not less.

    Thank you to the Eastsider for at least uploading the study and providing a link to it so we can check your errors.

    • You are welcome. We provided the report so you can dig as deeply so you want and argue the merits of options and recommendations.

      • Your headline and first paragraph are flat out wrong. The report lists 4 options for Rowena, one of which is to retain the road diet. There are no recommendations, just options.

        After doing such a good job covering the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s tragedy, this misleading coverage is a real disappointment and a disservice to the community..

        • We obviously see it differently.

          • Jesus, your mischaracterization of this road study’s recommendations is very unfortunate and looks like a cynical clickbait play. You’re doing a disservice to your readers.

          • Our stories focus on the most newsworthy and interesting changes — and the potential removal of all or a portion of the road diet would be big news and have a big impact.

        • As obvious by the amount of comments already on this article, “road diet” articles get baby boomers super upset which generates tons of clicks for the eastsider. They weren’t gonna miss a chance to do a good-ol-fashion road diet clickbait story

    • This is a big problem with the bike crowd, they are anachronistic. We are already in the middle a changing over to non-polluting cars, whether electric or fuel cell hydrogen. Yet the “bike lobby” is very strongly in anti-car mode (which is the real reason, not bike riding) so as to stop carbon pollution, as in the post above.

      Hey, we have been in the process of changing over to non-polluting cars for a little while, and more and more of what is out there is that, and in time, everything out there will be that. Bikes will not be the solution to polluting cars, non-polluting technology will be and already is. But the bike lobby (which is really just a front for an anti-car lobby, which is why they don’t really care if the bike lanes are actually used) has always been focused on car pollution as if they have no idea what is going on all around them. They are living in a bygone era when there was no clean car technology, are anachronistic.

      • The U.S. government estimates that out of about 127 million cars in the U.S. this year, about 117 million are powered exclusively by fossil fuels (gasoline or diesel). And the number of alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles is not exactly projected to skyrocket: by 2050, the government estimates that conventional, fossil-fuel cars will make up 119 million of the 169 million there will be in the U.S. Similar proportions are seen for light trucks:

        Here’s the data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration:
        https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/data/browser/#/?id=49-AEO2018&cases=ref2018&sourcekey=0

        I actually think the projections for 2050 are way off. By then, the catastrophe that is climate change will be readily known by populations around the world, and its effects will have upset all sorts of estimates like these that rely on assumptions of relative stability.

        The folks living in a bygone era are the Flat Earth Society-types who refuse to accept the vast scientific consensus around human-caused climate change, and refuse to make the adaptations necessary to avoid its worst effects and have a hospitable planet to live on. If you look around the world a little, there are many other cities that have made it safe to walk, ride bicycles or scooters, or have come to provide robust public transit — to the point where it’s entirely normal and convenient to not drive. There’s no reason LA can’t do the same.

        • No other state is as advanced in moving to cars that don’t use fossil fuels than California.

          Nonetheless, no one is moving to bikes, but they are moving to electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles more slowly until more refueling stations are established.

          Your alternative to push bike lanes is a worse course for the environment. In fact, every time you manufacture a traffic jam, as these bike lanes do, you are causing MORE carbon exhaust to be spewed into the atmosphere. Cars idling and in stop and go traffic spew more emissions into the air. You are pushing to accomplish the opposite of cutting back carbon emissions! If you really care about that, the last thing you should want to do is to create traffic jams.

          You are living in fantasyland if you think cars will go away. Did you think Tesla and the others are just playing in their hobby? Did you think driverless cars were developed because we wont be continuing to use cars?

          • It’s not a binary choice: cars vs. bikes. It’s about giving people more options to move about the city. Right now the vast majority of public right of way is engineered to move cars at highway speeds. This crowds out the competition, and pushes most everyone into cars.

            Even if you don’t care about global warming, it should be clear to anyone willing to look at the situation objectively that the problem at 5pm is not bikes, or bike lanes, it’s an insane amount of cars on the road. Only way to reduce that is to level the playing field for other travel options. And since most trips are measured in blocks, not miles, we could be moving a lot more people on foot, bike, scooter, what have you.

            We’ve tried it your way for decades, widening roads, removing parking, etc. to give cars more space at times of congestion, and it’s only made matters worse.

            The harder you make it to get around LA outside of as car, the more people will drive. We need to provide more safe and convenient options for the short trips, while we figure out the longer trips (solutions that are decades away at best like ubiquitous mass transit, electric cars and more conglomeration of land use.)

          • We don’t have more cars on the road because we built roads, we have more cars on the road because the population has grown accordingly. Your cause and effect argument is quite biased in jumping to a false conclusion.

            We’re tried your approach of if-you-put-in-bike-lanes, people-will-scrap-their-cars-and-ride-bikes for decades now for 15 years or more since the lane went in on Sunset Blvd. It has now been shown to be a complete failure. Despite bikes lanes all over, it is rare to see a bike rider using them, and certainly not any number of any significance whatsoever.

            They have been in place for many years, and they have failed miserably. Your argument is already proven wrong. Other than a few locations where it is nice to go for a pleasure ride, it is rare to see a bike rider in the bike lanes. You need to come to terms with the fact that your experiment and assertions have run their course and have failed.

      • Tom. You are living in a bygone era if you think cars alone are the solution. Cars are responsible for killing hundreds of people in this city each year. Weird thing to be cheerleading for less saftey for bikers, pedestrians, and other drivers, but u do u bro.

        • I live on a (formerly) quiet street without sidewalks. It now has high traffic levels with cars avoiding the road diet put on a nearby arterial street If shifting traffic to my street is a design to avoid/reduce “killing hundreds of people in this city each year”, then the design is severely flawed.

          I don’t blame Waze; it is used to ameliorate the true problem – road diets.

        • Buster, your argument only supported what I said: These bike lanes have never been about bikes, they have been nothing but a tool to exploit in order to thwart cars and bludgeon people out of them. And now, years later, this has been proved to be a complete failure, just about no one uses them, and it has brought great troubles to the surrounding areas, including to pedestrians, especially on the cut-through streets.

          And this lobby keeps changing it argument as its previous one is shown to be false. It has morphed to carbon emissions when it originally was argued that people wanted to ride bikes but were not being allowed to. It has most recently morphed to worries about pedestrians. The only one thing consistent in this push is “we hate cars — and don’t have any consistent reason why.”

          And as for the statistics, even without checking them, you automatically blame cars. Those statistics simply say cars were involved, not that they caused the problem. If someone jumps out five feet in front of a car coming down the road at 25 mph and gets hit, it isn’t the car’s fault, it is the fault of the pedestrian jumping in front of it. And look at those pedestrian figures over years, and you will see more now, because we have a generation out there that pays no attention when walking into the street, has no idea what is going on around them, maybe because they never walked to places on their own when they grew up, they were driven everywhere, they never learned what they should have way back at kindergarten age.

          And how many of those “cars” you blame were actually trucks delivering everything needed in Los Angeles? Are we going to eliminate trucks too, and if so, how will the stores have anything in them to sell?

          The point is, when you take statistics completely out of context, they have no meaning, details make all the difference to your presumptions about them.

      • The problems that cars pose to the environment is only half of the issue that “non drivers” have with cars. I’m delighted that cars are becoming more sustainable; but there are still other problems that have resulted from a city and nation that is almost completely dependent on automotive travel.

        The other big issue… cars are #2 on the list of why hundreds of thousands of Americans visit the hospital every single year. It doesn’t matter if the car is powered by 100 gallons of tar or a bag of marshmallows, it’s still a thousand pound metal object operating at dangerous speeds, in most cases only a few feet away from where people should be WALKING.

      • What does your anti-car lobby gain from being anti-car? Are they profiting off of it somehow? What is their end goal?

        Such a strange angle to take here, yet this “they’re anti-car!” thing has persisted. I just don’t understand it.

  2. Seems to me that if they are trying to address the issues that have been created with the Rowena Road diet, once you do Option 1, you don’t need to undermine the other small streets, you don’t need to eliminate any street parking for the people living up on Angus, you don’t need closure of streets or other modifications for Waverly.

    All those problems were caused by the road diet, if you eliminate the road diet, as per Option 1, you eliminate all those problems. All those problems were predicted, but those opposing the road diet were shouted down at every step by an overly aggressive and assertive bike lobby (which is really just an anti-car lobby using bikes as a tool).

    That is, choosing Option 1 does not simply solve the Rowena problem (and that problem also largely shuts down the entire Hyperion Corridor at rush hour), but that also solves the problem on the other streets without them having to suffer alternative issues of no parking, or not being able to get out of the neighborhood in the direction they are wanting to go (instead would have to go to Griffith Park Blvd and then around on Rowena — adding more traffic to Rowena), etc.

    That is, Option 1 is the least disruptive way to solve the problem all around — the road diet created the problems, eliminating it solves the problems without alternative disruption. Although I don’t understand how, if you eliminate the bike lane on both sides, you gain a lane only eastbound rather than both directions as it used to be. I guess they prefer to continue with the center non-lane for a left turn, rather than use the space they would now have to have a left turn lane only at the intersections.

    As for bulb outs, they are stupid BS, a fad, a big waste of money.

    • There’s no pedestrians in that photo either, should we eliminate the sidewalks?

    • Bulb outs beside providing crossing pedestrians visibility at a great distance cut down the street crossing distance which cuts the time that pedestrians are in the street to the benefit of both themselves and the automobiles using the road.

  3. Oh, and I note the complete accuracy of the photo with this story — not a single bike rider along that entire stretch of Rowena – just like always.

    This many years later, and it still is rare to see a bike rider (note, just “a” bike rider, much less a even bunch of them). There just is no honest way — HONEST — to argue these bike lanes are reasonable. They say seeing is believing, and what we have seen here is a compete failure of the bike lanes to attract bike riders, all they have done is serve to create manufactured traffic jams whose intent is to thwart cars, but that thwarting has failed.

    People don’t want to be riding their bikes to do everything, they might once in a while go for a pleasure ride but that’s about it. There is not going to be a mass move to riding bikes. But I’m sure we will get a loud and vociferous argument anyway, and no more honest than the last time. The bike are now proven to be a serous failure, just about no one is using them, and just listen to all the problems through the neighborhood because of them.

    The bike/anti-car lobby has had it’s chance, it’s had a long run of several years of test, and it has failed miserably, no one wants to bike and this has created havoc on the entire surrounding area all down the Hyperion corridor. They should feel completely discredited and recognize they were wrong. But I’m sure now we will here the complete failure is to blame on this and that, they will still tell us everyone wants to ride a bike, when the reason it failed is because it is a bad, unworkable and unrealistic idea that the population has already shown by not biking that it does not want.

    • https://www.theeastsiderla.com/2013/03/councilman-labonge-takes-a-spin-on-new-silver-lake-bike-lane/

      Tom Labonge used the bike lane at least once for this photo shoot with his grand children….
      People like this always will use smiling children to push their agenda. Thanks Tom every time I drive/crawl down Rowena ave “I speak your name”

    • Hi Tom, I just wanted to weigh in as someone who doesn’t own a car and in fact does bike everywhere in LA. Bike lanes like the one on Rowena make the difference between feeling safe on my rides versus feeling terrified that I will be hit by passing cars, often going too fast and driven by people looking down at their phones. Just like the switch to less polluting cars happens slowly, the switch to getting more bikers on the streets also happens slowly—but I’m part of the evidence that it is happening.

    • Funny how folks point to a totally unusable, disconnected bike lane as proof why we should.load more cars on the roads. All while opposing a comprehensive multimodal transportation strategy. The boomers in this town are so lame.

    • Hey Tom, I couldn’t help but notice there are exactly six cars driving along Rowena in that photo. By your logic, why would the road need to be expanded if only six cars are using it at a time?

  4. Some key points about the study – 1) It indisputably shows that Rowena is now much safer than before it was reconfigured. 2) It DOES NOT SHOW CAUSALITY between the lane reconfiguation and cut-through traffic 3) Inexplicably, though the study shows Rowena has been a huge safety success, it offers several options to undo it 4) The first option it offers is the only one that will increase safety on Rowena – by leaving the current configuration intact and adding addtional safety measures 5) There is no justification for any of the other recommendations other than political ones.

    • That’s a very optimistic reading on the report’s data. It’s so easy to cherry-pick just the data points that support a “much safer” argument. According to the data (ALL of the data) it is NOT much safer. At best the change is marginal, and there no comparators of what the average speed is now on the “cut-through” side streets. How much speed increase is there from “before” the road diet: DATA UNAVAILABLE.

      If you think the difference between being struck by a car at 36 MPH as opposed to 39 MPH is “HUGE” I’m sure there’s some crash test dummies that can decide whether that proves out or not; I think we already know the answer.

      What you may not know is how that huge speed reduction was determined?.. Well, they slowed traffic down to a crawl twice a weekday, and then averaged the results over 24-hours! No one thought maybe we should look at the average speed incrementally, like rush-hour vs, non-rush hour… But that would prove that the ready-fire-aim decision to put the road diet in in the first place actually doesn’t slow anything at the time the young woman was run down… The impetus for this whole thing. No one said “Hey, do you think crosswalks and better lighting along that stretch of Rowena might be a better solution that doesn’t just move the problem from one street to another?

  5. The road diet on Rowena, with the accompanying bike lanes, was not installed to aid bicyclists — the Rowena bike lanes go from nowhere to nowhere. The road diet’s purpose was to stop motorists from using Rowena like a high-speed freeway, which resulted in several pedestrian deaths.

    If you put back both lanes, you have to do something to prevent motorists from doing 50 on that stretch. I suggest stop signs at every intersection. That seems to have helped the same issue (including pedestrian deaths) on West Silver Lake Drive.

    • Motorists were not doing 50 mph before the bike lanes — the anti-car lobby here says that about every last street in Los Angeles, although normally say 60 mph. That kind of speeding happened even less frequently than people ride bikes.

      But yes, you are right, the bike lanes were never pushed for the purpose of bicycling, that was always a dishonest assertion they made not a lot different from the tactics used by Trump. This anti-car lobby has always used the approach that Trump is now famous and reviled for. And as they keep morphing their reasons for bike lanes, just like Trump always does, they only continue that tactical approach.

  6. According to traffic studies, before the Rowena road diet, the “average” speed on Rowena was 40 mph, 5 mph above the speed limit. There were lots of cars going much faster than that. So sorry, some cars were actually doing 50 mph on Rowena.

    I live on a narrow street in Silver Lake where there’s parking on both sides with room for only one car to come through between them at a time. Last year, a car drove so fast down this street that the driver hit several cars, turned the car over and finally crashed into a tree, killing himself. To create that amount of damage on a narrow side street, he must have been doing 50 mph. Thank God there weren’t pedestrian or children in his way that weren’t taken out as “collateral damage.”

    So if drivers are doing 50 mph on the narrow side streets, they’re doing 50 mph on the major streets unless something stops them from doing so. I regularly see people on Silver Lake Boulevard going much faster than the 35 mph speed limit.

    Silver Lake has huge amount of pedestrian traffic, both around the lake and on the side streets where people go out for a walk, often with their children. The number of pedestrians I see walking in this neighborhood as significantly increased over the last 10 years. These people should not be endangered because some people want to drive like irresponsible maniacs through our neighborhood.

  7. Why can’t the city just put speed bumps on the side streets, if cut through traffic is the issue?

  8. The road diet on rowena was a bad move. All it does not is cause more traffic.

  9. This headline is incorrect. Page 28 of the document provides recommendations — and the report does NOT recommend removing the bike lane. It says to ADD bike lane striping through intersections with green paint.

  10. please please please get rid of the rowena road diet…….it has made life for us silverlakers much worse. the traffic around silver lake has become a nightmare and the road diet just adds to the frustration especially since it is remarkable to actually see a biker on it. the other terrible thing is all the people that cutting us off on Glendale Blvd as we wait to patiently enter Rowena. ROAD DIET GO AWAY!!!!!

  11. I just want to say I heartily agree with Tom’s arguments and represent the 99.99 percent of residents who do not travel the city primarily by bike. I want to suggest that it is not so much an anti-car lobby, but the pro-development lobby which is exploiting biking proponents. In the US, almost everything comes down to money. Developers can reap huge profits tearing down single family homes and small apartment complexes, often rent controlled, and replacing them with Huge projects, priced well above what average LA residents can afford. Like the one proposed for the edge of Chinatown. They claim increased density will reduce pollution and save the planet. It is important for them to reduce cars, and especially parking, to make room for their mega projects. Actually, they increase congestion and pollution, as many studies have shown. Also, they increase total population. People do not abandon the subarbs for these developments. And those who can afford single family homes move out to where they are available. This increases population, driving, congestion and pollution. Just the opposite of what most of those who support road diets, etc. claim they want! Also, since all local officials depend on developers as their primary source of campaign funds, until we have an alternate way of funding local campaigns, such as public funding, local officials will always do the bidding of the developers.

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