Bikes Lanes Installed on Winnetka Avenue

Another 4.6 miles of bike lanes have been added in Los Angeles, this time along a 2.3 mile stretch of road in the Valley.  As identified earlier this month on the LA Eco Village Blog, Winnetka Ave, from Gault Street to Nordhoff Street, now has bike lanes striped. View Larger Map.

It's 2.3 miles from Gault... Nordhoff

Called for in the 1996 LA Bike Plan, these bike lanes will help create better bicycle connectivity between the Orange Line and areas of Valley further to the north.  Not only will the bike lanes create a better connection to the Orange Line, but it will also create a closer connection to Pierce College, one of LA’s nine community colleges.  Additionally, the Pierce College station on the Orange Line is part of the Orange Line Bike Path, which extends eastward all the way to Coldwater Canyon Road in Sherman Oaks.

stretching into the distance

school-adjacent bike lanes

The Winnetka bike lanes will provide safe bicycle access to a number of vital neighborhood institutions, including the John Sutter Middle School and the Winnetka Recreation Center.

Encouraging kids to bike to school

... and to the playground

The newest draft of City Planning’s 2010 LA Bike Plan, much like the 1996 LA Bike Plan, calls for bike lanes to be extended on Winnetka from Devonshire to Ventura Blvd as part of a Citywide Bicycle Network. The present installation of bike lanes on Winnetka will only extend south to Gault Street, falling a little less than a mile short of the Pierce College Station on the Orange Line and 2 miles short of Ventura Boulevard.  Sections of road south of Gault, often called “pinch points” by transportation engineers, are currently too narrow to place bike lanes without the removal of travel lanes or parking spaces.  While the curb lane width of Winnetka Avenue to the north of Gault Street is 23 to 24 feet, the curb lane width narrows to 21 feet south of Gault Street – too narrow for parking, a bike lane, and a travel lane.

Preferred and minimum bike lane standards, straight out of the draft 2010 LA Bike Plan

In addition to narrower streets, however, LADOT would need to address problems caused by the narrow bridge spanning the LA River to the north of Pierce College Station and a narrow overpass of a railroad right-of-way to the south(one curb lane width being narrowed to 19.5 feet).  There is a project underway to widen the bridge by 2012, hopefully removing one of the largest obstacles for the continuation of bike lanes.

Notice the curb creeping in for the bridge

Hopefully, one step closer to bike lanes

The other end of Winnetka Avenue, from Nordhoff Street to Devonshire, also contains challenges to bike lane installation. Several years ago, however, a stretch of Winnetka was fitted with TANSAT signs (Tow Away No Stopping Any Time), creating a 6 lane thoroughfare without any street parking.

Curb to curb traffic lanes will need to change to fit a bike lane

Other sections of Winnetka north of Nordhoff have peak hour lanes installed, which also preclude the installation of bike lanes.  Bikeways is distressed to see this section of the street made ineligible for bike lanes, but the inclusion of this northern section of Winnetka in the 2010 LA Bike Plan gives LADOT Bike Blog hopes that priorities for this Avenue will change in the future to include bike lanes.

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12 replies
  1. Joe Linton
    Joe Linton says:

    Those minimums (from the bike plan) you show look car-centric and unsafe for bicycling and walking. Why should the “preferred” car-lane width be 12-feet? That’s a freeway width lane, designed for speeding cars. It’s unsafe! The 11-feet “minimum” is still too wide. The wider the lane, the faster cars will go.

    10 feet is plenty – per engineering specifications minimums and 10-feet has been done on plenty of streets in L.A.

    At Metro’s recent ped summit, one of the speakers mentioned a 9-foot lane width for places that are trying to promote walking and biking. It’s awful that the city is pushing so much unneeded space for cars, at the expense of the safety of more vulnerable users.

    The higher the city sets the minimum car-lane width, the more bike lane project the city will declare to be infeasible. If the city of Los Angeles is serious about implementing bicycle lanes, then the specified minimum should be no more than 10-feet.

    • ladotbikeblog
      ladotbikeblog says:

      All good points, Joe. The smaller the minimums, the more projects become viable.
      I hope you make your voice heard during the comment period and the public meetings for City Planning’s draft of the 2010 LA Bike Plan.

  2. Guinness
    Guinness says:

    I am planning on commuting with my bicycle from woodland hills to porter ranch area.

    I am confused also with the “bike route” definition. Normally if i drive, I just take desoto ave north and east on devonshire until I hit Wilbur.

    I see desoto has a “bike route” sign but there are no bike lanes. Can someone explain to me how it could be a bike route without lanes?

    There is a long stretch of bike lanes on victory blvd and on devonshire which is GREAT but is there any bike lanes going north/south?

    Today I saw this post and checked out the winnetka ave has a bike lane but it ends on nordoff . . . where do i go from here to reach devonshire?

    Can anyone help me with my commute?!

    I did order a bike map from the city but I heard they are outdated.
    Thanks in advance.

    • ladotbikeblog
      ladotbikeblog says:

      Thanks for the comment, Guinnesss.

      A “bike route”, as defined by City Planning’s 2010 draft LA Bike Plan, is:

      Bicycle Route – A shared roadway specifically identified for use by bicyclists, providing a superior route based on traffic volumes and speeds, street width, directness, and/or cross-street priority, denoted by signs only. Caltrans refers to this facility as a Class III Bikeway – “Provides for shared use with pedestrian or motor vehicle traffic.”

      By nature, “bike routes” don’t have lanes. If they did, they would cease to be “bike routes” and would instead be called “bike lanes”.

      For north/south bike lanes in the Valley, Winnetka, Reseda, Balboa, Woodley, and Laurel Canyon all have bike lanes, though none are complete north/south connections yet. For east/west bike lanes, in addition to Victory(the Orange Line Busway bike path) and Devonshire, Rinaldi, Plummer, and Riverside also have bike lanes, though only the Orange Line Busway bike path is a complete east/west connection currently. In the east valley, there’s also a long stretch of bike lanes along Glenoaks.

      While the Winnetka bike lanes currently end at Nordhoff, Winnetka does become a bike route once it intersects with Plummer.

      A good map for bike infrastructure is the LA Metro Bike Map. While it doesn’t contain the Winnetka bike lanes, the new San Pedro bike lanes, or LADOT’s pilot sharrows, it’s the most up to date. LADOT is currently updating our own LA bike map, and we hope to have it available soon.

      Also, requesting bike maps from LADOT is free. We mail them out to you gratis.

      Best of luck on your commute. With 11 miles each way, you’ll be in phenomenal shape.

  3. Guinness
    Guinness says:

    Thank you ladotbikeblog! All was very useful information. I can’t wait to start biking next week 🙂

    I think winnetkah would be the best for me to commute. Victory East to Winnetkah North, Devonshire East!

    Oh and I did request a map online a month ago and never received it. I called and requested it by phone today so that one should arrive soon . . i hope!

  4. Guinness
    Guinness says:

    Asking a near by bicycle shop is a great idea. The google maps is terrible. I’ve done it a few times but each time they take me in direction I don’t even know! I think I’ll stick to the winnetkah streets for now. Thanks for all the suggestions.

    You have no idea what I went through yesterday. My bicycle was stolen when i returned home on Wednesday. That same night, i found my bike on craigslist. Did an sting operation with the help of topanga police and by the end of the day, got my bike back and they arrested 2 guys! crazy right?!

    i also got my doggyride in the mail finally so I’m off biking on the roads of SFV come Monday! woo hoo! “Drivers please don’t hit us!!!!”

  5. jeshii
    jeshii says:

    So I was riding on Winnetka today between Nordhoff and Victory and I noticed that the new, wider bridge is done! But I am concerned about the 3 lane “anti-gridlock zone” style configuration that has been put in. Is this temporary? What’s the status of the bike lanes between Vanowen and Victory?


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] educate the community on the benefits of a road diet on Main Street.  After the brouhaha over the road diet and bike lanes on Winnetka Avenue in the Valley this fall, the LADOT Bike Program redoubled our efforts to reach out to […]

  2. […] a battle of biking infrastructure, LADOT stripes new bike lanes on Winnetka; Santa Monica counters with bike lanes on Arizona and raises by throwing down sharrows […]

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