BPIT’s “Top 10”: How Would You Build Bike Lanes Around NBC/Universal?

The BPIT (Bike Plan Implementation Team) has been quite the focal point of bike community controversy lately. Despite any disagreements over CEQA reivew, however, work still must be done; projects are moving forward even as we speak. In past months, projects like 7th Street and Venice Boulevard have come before the BPIT, had preliminary conceptual design work done, and were featured on the LADOT Bike Blog to get opinions of the public.

3 BPIT "Top 10" projects, spanning the Cahuenga Pass

Three more of the BPIT’s “Top 10” projects have conceptual designs, and we’d like to present them to you for your comments and opinions. How would you build bike lanes on Cahuenga Boulevard, Barham Boulevard, and Lankershim Boulevard? These three streets surround the NBC/Universal project area and can serve as a vital link of bicycle infrastructure between the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood. In fact, these projects were moved up to the BPIT’s “Top 10” to make sure the NBC/Universal project, once completed, wouldn’t preclude implementation of bike infrastructure.

Below the fold we’ll cover the particulars for each street and some preliminary design concepts for new bike lanes. As always, all of your comments here go straight to City Planning and our Bikeways Engineers.

Powerpoint

First of all, we’d like to share with you a powerpoint put together by one of our Bikeways engineers. It gives visuals for all the details we’re describing below. It also gives you a good idea of what kind of road widths we’re dealing with and what is possible for these streets.

Cahuenga Boulevard

Cahuenga Boulevard is one of the iconic Boulevards of Los Angeles, reaching over the pass of the same name to connect Hollywood to North Hollywood. In total, 3.25 miles of Cahuenga Boulevard (from Yucca Street in Hollywood to Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood) has received preliminary analysis and design for possible bike lanes. Here are the results:

Pilgrimage bridge over the 101 in Cahuenga Pass

Yucca Street to Odin Street (0.6 miles)

  • The current road is 64 feet wide with 2 lanes of traffic in either direction, street parking, and a two-way left turn lane in the center.
  • The design proposal stripes a clearly defined parking lane and narrows the lanes of travel to accommodate bike lanes without removing a travel lane.

Odin Street to Pilgrimage Bridge (0.3 miles)

  • The current road is 40 feet wide with 3 northbound lanes, 1 southbound lane, and no parking.
  • The design proposal removes one northbound lane and installs bike lanes.

Pilgrimage Bridge

  • Installed Sharrows would link the bike lanes on the two Cahuenga roadways on each respective side of the 101.

Pilgrimage Bridge to Barham Boulevard (1.2 miles)

  • The current road is 34 feet wide with 1 northbound lane, 2 southbound lanes, and no parking.
  • The design proposal removes one southbound lane and installs bike lanes.

Barham Boulevard to Lankershim Boulevard (1.1 miles)

  • The current road is 64 feet wide, with the same configuration as Cahuenga from Yucca to Odin.
  • The design proposal also establishes a defined parking lane and narrows lanes of travel to accommodate bike lanes without removing travel lanes.
  • The design proposal would also require some parking removal on this stretch near freeway ramps.

Barham Boulevard

Proposed street improvements as part of the NBC/Universal project (via Streetsblog)

This 1 mile stretch of street has garnered quite a bit of attention amongst the bike community. The NBC/Universal project calls for widening this street to mitigate traffic impacts, but without any bike lanes. As a compromise, NBC/Universal proposed building a bike lane through their property, reconnecting with Barham near Forest Lawn Drive. Bicycle advocates have pointed out that the proposed bike lane goes up a steep hill and is a needless detour from what should be a straightforward bicycle connection on Barham.

Cahuenga Boulevard to Craig Drive (0.5 miles)

  • The current road is 56 feet wide with two travel lanes in each direction, no parking, and a two-way left turn lane.
  • The design proposal removes on southbound lane to install bike lanes.

Craig Drive to Forest Lawn Drive (0.5 miles)

  • The current road is 68 feet wide with two travel lanes in each direction, no parking, and a two-way left turn lane.  There is a significant shoulder on the northbound side of the street, which has a steep uphill grade in this section.
  • The design proposal is to install bike lanes without removing travel lanes.

Lankershim Boulevard

bike lanes on Lankershim would connect to the North Hollywood Metro Station (via Streetsblog)

Preliminary analysis has considered 2.4 miles of bike lanes on Lankershim Boulevard between Cahuenga Boulevard and the Orange Line & Red Line Metro stations at Chandler Boulevard. Were bike lanes built on Lankershim and Cahuenga, there would be uninterrupted bicycle infrastructure from Hollywood to the end of the Orange Line in the West San Fernando Valley – over 18 miles of continuous bike lanes and bike paths.

Cahuenga Boulevard (W) to Cahuenga Boulevard (0.4 miles)

Though it sounds confusing, this is the 0.4 mile stretch of Lankershim that crosses under the 101 and over the LA River. Cahuenga Boulevard ends at Lankershim south of the LA River and starts back up on the north side of the LA River.

  • The current road is 92 feet wide with four lanes of travel in each direction, a two-way left turn lane, and no street parking.
  • The design proposal removes one lane in one direction to install bike lanes.

Cahuenga Boulevard to Magnolia Boulevard (1.7 miles)

  • The current road is 70 feet wide with two travel lanes in each direction, a two-way left turn lane, and street parking.  There are 3 proposed design options:
  • Option 1 removes street parking on one side to install bike lanes without changing the number of travel lanes.
  • Option 2 removes a travel lane in one direction to install bike lanes without removing street parking.
  • Option 3 installs Sharrows to keep both travel lanes and street parking.

Magnolia Boulevard to Chandler Boulevard (0.2 miles)

  • The current road is 78 feet wide with three northbound travel lanes, 2 southbound travel lanes, a two-way left turn lane, and street parking.  This section also has 3 design options:
  • Option 1 removes a travel lane in one direction to install bike lanes without removing any street parking.
  • Option 2 removes street parking on one side to install bike lanes without removing travel lanes.
  • Option 3 installs Sharrows to keep both travel lanes and street parking.

Your Suggestions Welcome!

So what are your thoughts on bringing bike lanes to the streets around NBC/Universal? How would you improve it? What are some problem intersections that we should be taking a closer look at? Progress made on these three bike lane projects will be reported to the BPIT at their June meeting, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated here at the LADOT Bike Blog as well.

0 replies
  1. Joseph E
    Joseph E says:

    Lankershim is too busy and fast for sharrows. And in the first section, where there are 4 lanes each way (!), one lane should be removed to make a nice, wide, buffered bike lane in each direction, with a 4 foot wide painted buffer between the car traffic lanes and the bike lane.

    In the other section, can we add a third option? Remove a car lane in EACH direction, and make cycletracks on each side, with parking moved over. This would provide the most safety and would feel much safer and more comfortable for the vast majority of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. And it would preserve most all of the parking (though right-turn pockets should be added in the parking lanes at intersections, which would take out a couple of parking spaces on some blocks)

    Having narrow, 5 foot wide bike lanes is not a great solution if there is parking on both sides. If we are going to remove a travel lane in one direction, just remove it in both directions to keep things equal.

    Reply
  2. Rick Risemberg
    Rick Risemberg says:

    Let me offer an idea for consideration….

    The descent from Mulholland to the Pilgrimage Bridge is pretty daunting, because of the merger of two lanes of fast freeway traffic coming in from the right. Your plan is to have southbound cyclists turn left onto the Pilgrimage Bridge, which I have often done but which is not generally a procedure free of stress.

    This is what you can do that will work much better than one bike lane on each curb:

    At the Barham bridge, direct southbound bicyclists to the LEFT side of Cahuenga West, onto a two-way cycletrack separated from traffic by a painted berm. This takes only slightly more room, and flows cyclists going in both directions smoothly onto the Pilgrimage bridge.

    I modified your diagram from the Powerpoint and will try to embed it here, with the direct link below in case embedding is not allowed:

    http://bicyclefixation.com/storage/cahuenga.jpg

    Reply
  3. Rick Risemberg
    Rick Risemberg says:

    And just to be clear, in the comment above, by “painted berm,” I mean a physically-raised berm that is also painted for visibility. Probably with reflective flex posts as well, or even a chainlink fence.

    Reply
  4. Eric B
    Eric B says:

    Barham seems to be a great candidate for cycle-tracks since there is so much real estate leftover in the diagrams and no curb parking. That would allow wider bike lanes and some buffer, while decreasing speeding that occurs when vehicle lanes are too wide. Given the hills, I’m sure novice bicyclists on their way to the river would appreciate some separation from fast-moving traffic.

    Joseph E is spot-on for Lankershim. Going from a 9-lane road to an 8-lane road with 5′ bike lanes will not entice “interested, but concerned” bicyclists. It’s not about squeezing in lane-miles wherever we can. We need to create facilities and environments that encourage new bicyclists. If there isn’t mode shift, we’re just cramming the same number of cars into fewer lanes.

    Lankershim is an iconic diagonal street. The regular grid can handle the car traffic adequately (and probably better). The connection to the Orange Line Bike Path, LA River, and Cahuenga Pass is exactly why this should be a signature bike facility, rather than just another crammed-in lane. Both the Orange Line and LA River Paths are “8 to 80” facilities that are welcoming to all users. Their connector should be as well.

    Those sharrows options would be a disaster for multiple reasons.

    Reply
  5. Rick Risemberg
    Rick Risemberg says:

    Thinking it over, I’m definitely inclined to agree with Eric B. Eight travel lanes is a bit much, and serves only to induce more driving. Three each way should be plenty, and would allow separated cycletracks (or bus/bike lanes). Planning & DOT are probably thinking about traffic coming off the freeway, but that’s a factor for just a couple or three hours out of the twenty-four.

    Depending on the number of driveways, you could possibly eliminate the center two-way lane for part of the distance.

    How about negotiating a deal to put a Bikestation at the NoHo Red Line stop? We’ve got Red Line, Orange Line, a local bus hub, and existing bike paths there; the purpose of all this was to allow us to reduce motor vehicle miles traveled by presenting alternatives, but that won’t work without making them attractive.

    Bikestation is a private entity that may be able to provide secure bike parking, bike rental, etc at no cost to the city, and might even pay rent. It would also make people more comfortable with riding rather than driving to the “park & ride” since the open-air bike parking isn’t very secure.

    NYC discovered, when they closed similarly busy diagonal street Broadway at Times Square, that traffic did not get worse on surrounding streets, and business bloomed. What Eric suggests is far less radical. (Perhaps, though, some radical thinking is required here!)

    Repurposing expensive roads to more efficient modes that can increase passenger throughput is the goal, is it not? Not simply buttering car infrastructure with a smear of symbolic bike lanes?

    Reply
  6. Dennis Hindman
    Dennis Hindman says:

    I live on Cahuenga Blvd, between Moorpark St and Riverside Dr, and sometimes travel by bike to the Universal City subway. On my way to work in West Hills, I ride on Lankershim Blvd-to board or after departing-the Orange Line at Chandler Blvd. So I am very familiar with Lankershim Blvd/Cahuenga Blvd between the two subway stops in the Valley.

    Everything that can possibly be done seems to hinge on the LADOT street engineers bible-the CA MUTCD. This manual describles a bicycle as either a vehicle or a pedestrian and this alone indicates how diffiicult it will be to make it comfortable and safe for bicycling along several points on this roadway.

    Where Cahuenga Blvd and Lankershim Blvd split at the LA river going north is uncomfortable and difficult for people riding bicycles. Drivers heading north on Cahuenga Blvd use this as a speedway as there is nothing to slow them down. There needs to be a way to cross the right turn lanes for vehicles heading up Cahuenga Blvd without allowing the vehicles to move at the same time. Since the MUTCD considers bikes to be either vehicles or pedestrians, how about making a wait area next to the pedestrian sidewalk on the east side of the street. Then by way of the crosswalk have the bicycles transition to the bike lane on Lankershim Blvd.

    Any bike lane south of this juncture SHOULD NOT move to the left of the right turn lane that leads into the Metro parking lot. It is much more comfortable and safer if the bicycles move into the right only lane, then continue through as the light turns green. This shows where the MUTCD is absolutely wrong. You DO NOT want the bicycles to get in front of fast moving vehicles at this point. They should continue through on the far right side of the road.

    An even more difficult, uncomfortable and dangerous point is the Lankershim Blvd, Camarillo St, Vineland Ave intersection. Going north I either take control of the right turn only lane, position myself in front of the cars in the crosswalk and go when the Vinelane Ave light turns yellow or ride across on the crosswalk, hit the ped button, ride the sidewalk and head across Lankershim Blvd to get on the right side of the street to continue north. It’s difficult no matter how you try to get past this intersection.

    Reply
  7. Michael Clarke
    Michael Clarke says:

    I use cahuenga east and barham 3-4 times a week on my way to work from westchester to Burbank. I hook onto cahuenga from highland by going under the 101 via odin. I almost never use chahuenga west. I am usually on cahuenga east and barham around 530am. obviously I have very few issues with the roads due to the time of the morning I use them. but there’s a reason I don’t use cahuenga west. it is terrible for bikes and cars. and taking a lane of away from the cars will only anger the motorists and make things more dangerous for cyclist.

    I would suggest trying to make the most of cahuenga east. it seems to be the road less traveled by cars and has lots of room for bike lanes. the problem then is how to get bike traffic down to lankershim. they would have to cross the 101 at barham.

    barham seems to have few problems currently and plenty of room except some spots going towards the 101 moving away from warner bros. some movement of the car lanes and bike lane striping would seem doable.

    I use a completely different route returning to westchester mainly because hollywood is dangerous.

    Reply
  8. Dennis Hindman
    Dennis Hindman says:

    Some pluses and minuses of taking away car parking or a travel lane on Lankershim Blvd:

    Potential increased traffic congestion from eliminating a travel lane would likely only happen in a fraction of the hours of a day. Excessive car speeds are a danger for a much greater proportion of the day. Since cars and motorcycles are by far the fastest vehicles on the road, doesn’t it make more sense to slow them down somewhat for safety, rather than scaring off or impeding pedestrians and cyclists who are the most vunerable and slowest?

    Drivers have increased their travel speeds to 40+ miles an hour for most of the day on the arterial streets in the San Fernando Valley, creating a much higher probability of death to a pedestrian or bicyclist in a collision with a car, compared to an impact at 30 miles an hour. Drivers are very well protected from life threatening injury in a collision at 40 miles an hour in most cases, as a result of modern safety design of cars. As far as I can tell pedestrians and cyclists have not gotten any significant crash protection to coincide with these increased speeds and automobile safety improvements.

    Taking a lane away would likely reduce automobile speeds, where as eliminating parking on one side would not. This speed reduction would improve safety for bicyclists, pedestrians and also drivers throughout the day.

    Motorized vehicle speed reduction would also make bicycling more competitive with cars for travel time to reach a destination, such as the two subways in the valley. One of the main drawing points for cycling would be it’s use for reaching major mass transit stops and Lankershim Blvd is the most direct north/south connection to the two subways, along with the Orange Line. As an example of this potential, several cities in the Netherlands have thousands of parked bicycles at major train stops. The car parking spaces at the two valley subway stations have already reached maximum capacity and a bicyclist will have a potential speed advantage over cars, for short distances, to catch a train, if given encouragement through safer street design that also slows motorized vehicles.

    Slower speeds would also encourage more bicycling as it somewhat improves the situation subjectively for potential cyclists. The number one reason given to me for not cycling is it’s perceived as dangerous on the arterial streets due to the speed of the cars, and isn’t one of the main points of putting in bicycle lanes to increase the amount cycling? More cycling would in turn offset some of the potential loss of throughput for cars on Lankershim Blvd.

    Taking away parking on one side of the street would cause several safety changes such as taking away the potential dooring problem for bicycling on one side of the street. This would also remove the safety advantage of the spaced out parked cars being used as bollards for cyclists to shield themselves when speeding cars are heard approaching from behind, creating a more comfortable bicycle ride.

    There are several businesses along this stretch of Lankershim Blvd that would likely object to having parking taken away on their side of the street. Some do not have easy access for the customers other than a few on street parking spaces.

    Reply
  9. mrsman
    mrsman says:

    Lankershim is a very busy commercial street. The section between the LA River and Burbank Blvd needs at least two lanes in each direction, especially at rush hour.

    At the same time, sacrificing one lane of parking would cause a negative impact on businesses in the area.

    An idea that may work are floating bike lanes.

    http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/bikesafe/case_studies/casestudy.cfm?CS_NUM=206

    Essentially, the floating bike lane is an experimental design that is used to combine a bike lane with a rush hour lane. Bike to the left of parked cars for most of the day. Bike to the right of moving cars during rush hour, when parking restrictions are in force.

    So for Lankershim: (going from west to east)

    A floating lane southbound, a regular lane southbound, a left turn lane, two northbound regular lanes, a bike lane northbound, and a northbound parking lane.

    These floating lanes may also be utilized for some of the other projects, like 7th Street or Venice, where a conventional road diet may not work during rush hours.

    Reply
  10. Dennis Hindman
    Dennis Hindman says:

    Alternate parking removal along both sides of Lankershim Blvd. This will create a Chicane effect which wil slow cars down to 30 miles an hour while keeping the volume of car lanes the same. This will help overcome business owners resistance to having their parking removed on their side of the street. The bicyles not moving in a straight line would be a minor problem.

    Here is a short StreetsFilm video that explains what a Chicane is:

    http://www.streetfilms.org/category/traffic-calming/

    Reply
  11. Paul Garrison
    Paul Garrison says:

    I may be too late, but my only suggestion is for the Cahuenga to Magnolia section. Please do not go for Option 3.

    That section of road is my worst in my commute to Santa Monica. Drivers feel it’s a highway. In fact, that’s the one section of road that at times had made me get back in my car.

    Thanks for what you’re doing.
    Paul

    Reply
  12. John Alsop
    John Alsop says:

    I just had to ride north and south through this the past two days, and it was unsettling. This thread looks kind of old, but obviously nothing has happened yet, so I will throw this out there:

    How about a signal that can be triggered by a cyclist that warns drivers of their presence? You could put LED signs throughout all the worst parts of the road and either have a button that cyclists could press or by some other triggering device. Especially before major curves in the road.
    The signs could go off for a set amount of time or have something that can specifically track each person throughout the section to have the lights lit up for only the length of time it takes them to get through.

    The sign could just be a simple picture of a bike with the words “sharing road” flashing above it when triggered.

    Ideally I would see this included with another option including a dedicated bike lane, but this seems like it could be done easily and quickly.

    Reply
  13. Scott Santoro
    Scott Santoro says:

    I think the solution for a bike path through the Cahuenga path requires something much more extensive (and expensive) but ultimately safety has to come into play. Hell, at the moment, there’s not even sidewalks through much of it. I live off Woodrow Wilson in the Hollywood Hills and could walk or bike to the Hollywood Bowl if I wanted to live to tell about it. I suggest a sidewalk/bike path system that may be elevated at times to cross over roadways that could connect to Mulholland and avoiding all dangerous intersections (which would be all of them). There are so few routes through the hills for cars, and none for bikes or walkers, so a big solution here should be offered up. I can see a series of light bridges, hugging the hillsides, swooping over intersections (with pathways in and out for those who need to get on/off) like a mini-bike/pedestrian freeway.

    Reply
  14. David K
    David K says:

    The Cahuenga pass is an important, historical route that goes back to the late 1800’s. A little bit of searching will turn up images of bicycle riders crossing the pass over 100 years ago, when it was just a dirt road. Sadly, it is nearly impossible to travel this route today by bike or on foot, and I to me this is really a sad commentary on L.A.’s car culture. I’ll leave it to others to debate the specifics of which plan is best — my wish is simply that SOME route be provided soon, so I can finally bike between the Valley and Hollywood without risking my life. The Cahuenga East and West frontage roads are atrociously narrow and dangerous for the bike rider. If this was northern California or Oregon or Washington, this would have been remedied long ago. Please, do something soon!

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] addition to the bike lane projects on Lankershim, Barham, and Cahuenga around the NBC/Universal project, the BAC Planning Subcommittee also addressed the contentious […]

  2. […] The NoHo Metro Station is also a hub of bike infrastructure in the Valley.  The Orange Line Bikeway and the Chandler Boulevard bike path are both accessible from the NoHo station as are the bike lanes on Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Riverside Drive, and Colfax Avenue.  This extensive network could soon be connected to Hollywood with bike lanes on Lankershim Boulevard and Cahuenga Boulevard.  We’re still taking suggestions on how best to design these bike lanes, so feel free to make your voice heard. […]

  3. […] afternoon to discuss issues including the Exposition bikeway, sharrows on Westwood Blvd, and the L.A. River Bike Path and other proposed bike lanes around the NBC/Universal […]

  4. […] How Would You Design Bike Lanes Around NBC Universal (LADOT Bike Blog) […]

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