An Opportunity for a Real Network Now

Well, here’s a pleasant surprise, even if it is conditional…a road diet, with bike lanes, on Rowena, just across the river from Flying Pigeon:

New bike lane on RowenaThis one was actually driven by the high motorist crash rate on the road, as well as the relatively high number of cyclists using it. It will someday connect to an eventual bike lane on Fletcher…at least if LADOT maps a couple of years old are to be believed. (Part of Fletcher is being repaved now; this would be a perfect time to indulge in a restripe job that opens the road to many more users!)

What it will not connect to is a bike lane on Hyperion, the street that connects the northern portion of Silver Lake to the Sunset Boulevard strip, and to Hollywood. Because there isn’t one. This, even though Hyperion (after it changes its name to Fountain) becomes a designated bike route marked by sharrows from Vermont westwards.

Now, Hyperion, like Fletcher, seems to be marked on the 2010 Bicycle Master Plan map for some future lanes…but neither shows up in the lists of projects for the first couple of years, or in the list of projects needing environmental review. (This list is meaningless now, as bicycle facilities are no longer subject to EIR/EIS analysis.)

Yet this would be a route that serves a large population of cyclists. Fountain/Hyperion connects several bike lanes already—the ones on Myra, Griffith Park, and Sunset. It just doesn’t do it comfortably or safely. Yet people still ride on this street, because it serves dozens and dozens of destinations, from markets to bistros to bars to hardware stores and gyms, as well as thousands of houses and apartments.

Furthermore, continuing bike lanes over the Glendale-Hyperion bridge to Atwater Village would connect yet another neighborhood rich in housing and retail with Silver Lake and Hollywood, as well as facilitiate a connection to whatever Glendale plans to do with its own portion of the street.

Yet it was only a couple of years ago—after passage of the 2010 bike plan showing the bridge as recipient of bike lanes—that an LADOT engineer told me that administrative obstacles precluded any accommodation of bikes on that bridge. (One such obstacle vanished when the state changed the rules regarding sharrows to allow them even where there isn’t curbside parking…such as through the Waverly underpass, a choke point on the approach to the bridge itself.)

In other words, I fear that a line on the map might never become a line on the asphalt, and that the city will continue to pursue the “low-hanging fruit” (how many times have I heard LADOT staff say that in meetings!), while this more-nutritious but harder to reach fruit withers and spoils.

Too many bike lanes serve no destinations, because they were installed where it was easy to do so. Fountain/Hyperion should be a priority because it would serve so many neighborhoods, so many businesses, so many cyclists.

Especially now that Rowena has gained bike lanes unexpectedly soon.

There should be a meeting of the Bicycle Plan Implementation Team in April. I’ll mention it here. These meetings are open to all, so come on in if you’re free and have your say!

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