The Silverlake-Atwater Express

LADOT just released a pretty good online map showing both present and proposed bikeways, so I looked up an area I ride through all the time, and which sorely needs some bike infrastructure. This is the stretch of LA between East Hollywood and Atwater, which includes the north side of Silverlake, and which I traverse at least once a week, on my way to South Pasadena for coffee with Vélo Rétro, or when I’m going to visit Flying Pigeon LA.

I was pleased to see that Hyperion, Rowena, Glendale, and Fletcher will all be graced with bike lanes, as there’s already a lot of velocipedal traffic in the area. It’s also populated largely with the sorts of stores that benefit a great deal from encouraging cycling, ie, smaller neighborhood establishments offering services, dining, or easily portable items that don’t require a bakfiets to bring home by human power. (If you do need to carry larger items, and don’t wish to condemn yourself to driving, you can of course obtain a fine bakfiets from Flying Pigeon LA! Christianas, Gazelles, and more….)

And Atwater, once a ‘hood that could have most charitably been described as “sleepy,” is turning into a happening place, with interesting stores, bistros and coffeehouses, and a slew of new LADOT bike racks that are seeing a good bit of use. It’s a short hop along the LA River’s new Elysian Valley bike path to or from Riverside & Figueroa, in the Pigeon’s neighborhood. You can also roll on to the city of Glendale or over to Fletcher and the east side of Highland Park. The new lanes will connect with existing bicycle facilities on Myra, Sunset, the Los Angeles River to Burbank, and west Fountain.

Proof Bakery in Atwater
Since the other end of Hyperion is firmly planted in Silverlake, with its hordes of cyclists, and then continues to become Fountain, which takes you within spitting distance of the Bicycle District at Hel-Mel, you can see that this is a route that will be carrying a lot of cyclists back and forth.

Bike lanes on Hyperion will help–especially if LA is smart enough to put a road diet there, as I hear is in the works for Rowena. Traffic moves too fast along Hyperion, and the lack of left turn bays makes for plenty of car-on-car violence, which I have witnessed on occasion myself.

But more than that, we need some careful thought on the north end of the Glendale-Hyperion bridge. There’s a nasty merge with cars coming off the 5 Freeway as the road drops into Atwater, leaving cyclists to work their way across two lanes of cars whose drivers’ minds are still in the fast lane. And on the southbound side cyclists again need to cross two lanes of drivers who are revving up to enter the freeway if they want to pedal over the bridge to Silverlake and Hollywood.

Daunting merge as Glendale-Hyperion bridge descends into Atwater
Some carefully thought-out transition markings may be needed here–or even (gasp!) a stop sign to put the brakes on freeway-frenzied motorists.

Good stuff happening soon–but we need to make sure we do it right!

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  1. Posted December 21, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    We’re just down to the right of that merge (Greensward and Glendale) and flying down Hyperion during high traffic periods is downright frightening. Many times I can’t even merge over the Glendale lanes in time to make it to our street, having to roll further up to Hollydale. There have been a couple of nasty car accidents in just the 9 months we’ve lived on Glendale, and I see close calls between cyclists and motorists all the time.

    Anything that the LADOT does here has to be an improvement.

  2. Posted December 28, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    definitely need some careful thought on the north end of the Glendale-Hyperion bridge, weird merging here.
    I get to this area from the South East by coasting down stadium way and turning left on riverside drive – we really need better loops at that intersection (stadium and riverside) to detect bikes and change the light, i have to run the red unless a car shows up

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