Crosstown Connection

A few months ago, I wrote on this blog about plans to rebuild the Glendale-Hyperion bridge between Silverlake and Atwater—a bridge that many cyclists already use though it is not very bike friendly. In particular, the transition from the bridge itself to surface street as you approach Atwater can be daunting, as you see in the photo below—suddenly you’re riding with two lanes of fast traffic on either side, with cars flying downhill from the bridge on your left, and cars zipping in from a freeway onramp on your right. (Pedestrians have it just as bad, as the sidewalk simply ends in the middle of four lanes of traffic, sans crosswalk!)

LADOT is noncommital about what can be done there—except to say that since the project was approved before the current bike plan, bike lanes can’t be built into it until “sometime after”—to quote Tim Fremaux, “The only way to get bike lanes on Hyperion is to road diet it, and we can’t do that until the bridge project is done and some time after that”—but I want to raise the issue again, since everything in LA seems to take a long time. Especially if it’s for cycling. something&mdsh; a well-marked transition lane and standard “Watch for Bicyclists” signs such as you see on the Pasadena Avenue approach to the Broadway bridge near Chinatown—something at least is needed here.

Another issue is the choke point at the Waverly bridge, which you see in the photo below.

There are currently sharrows marking a bike route along Fountain from West Hollywood to Vermont. I have often suggested that the bike route should be continued along Fountain into Silverlake (where the street changes its name to Hyperion), and thence across the bridge into Atwater. This would not only connect to a road diet proposed for Rowena; it would also give a nice connecting endpoint to the lanes already in place on Myra, leading to King Middle School, as well as the long-established bike lanes on Sunset. In other words, a the beginning of a real bikeway network.

By backtracking from the bridge at the Atwater end, you can even get on the Los Angeles River bicycle path. (The bridge project may in fact improve river access somewhat, according to Fremaux.)

Getting any kind of bicycle facility through the Waverly underpass will be difficult–or would have been, under the old rules, which forbade sharrows except where there is curbside parking. (The underpass cannot be widened under the terms of the current proposal.)

But things have changed since I last badgered LADOT about this very useful snippet of bikeway. The current California Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) now states:

02a The Shared Lane Marking may be placed on roadways that have a speed limit above 35 mph, where there is bicycle travel and there is no marked bicycle lane or shared-use path and the right-hand traffic lane is too narrow to allow automobiles to safely pass bicyclists.


05 If used on a street without on-street parking that has an outside travel lane that is less than 14 feet wide, the centers of the Shared Lane Markings should be at least 4 feet from the face of the curb, or from the edge of the pavement where there is no curb.

Which means that we can ask for a sharrowed bike route if nothing else, and expect to get it. No traffic lanes taken, so no renegotiation of set-in-stone permits and contracts required. Bikes will, after all, be allowed to share the road on the new bridge as they are on all other streets and roads in the US and most of the world. And motorists will simply be reminded of a current and longstanding legal obligation and responsibility that they all too often ignore.

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One Comment

  1. Posted June 4, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Good sleuthing on the MUTCD, Rick. I ride this route a fair bit too (having taken a renewed interest in the Northeast ) and I can attest that this is uncomfortable cycling at best. Sharrows would help, at least.
    The York Avenue bridge and this case suggest that we’ll have a lot of retrofitting to undertake in order to knit a whole from the disparate parts of our subregion. Not simply functionally but thematically, too, if we’re to regain a holism lost after the freeways and the flood channels carved it up.

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