Next Phase of 4th Street Transformation on the Horizon

Living blocks away from 4th Street biased me from Day One. I became even more attached to this priority project when I helped mark our second round of sharrows from Wilton Place to Cochran Avenue. Personal prejudices aside, this future bicycle boulevard (called a “Bicycle Friendly Street” in the LA Bike Plan) has remained at the forefront of bike plan implementation discussions for good reason – as one of the most direct, low volume connections across the City.


Bicyclists on 4th Street during last summer's Tour LaBonge

A Bicycle Friendly Street on 4th Street is one of the priority projects for the Bike Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) and has long been a dream of both the LACBC and CD 4 Council Member Tom LaBonge. To roll out the next phase of bicycle improvements for 4th Street, we here at the LADOT Bike Program have begun community outreach efforts to determine the most efficient use of available bicycle infrastructure funds. 4th Street already has sharrows for over 3 miles from Cochran Ave to Hoover St. It also has new bike-sensitive loop detectors which can pick up the wheel of a bicycle at each stoplight. If you’re unsure of where to place your bike to activate the signal, check out our previous post here.

4th Street Map – Existing Conditions

4th Street "Bicycle Friendly Street" Existing Conditions

The link below has a high-res PDF version of this map

To better facilitate discussions, I wanted to map the current conditions of 4th Street. This map (also cross-posted in the “Project Documents” section of the BPIT Page) identifies each intersection control with a color-coded palette representing the ease of crossing for bicyclists on 4th Street. To better prioritize intersection improvements, I also show other designated Bicycle Friendly Streets from the 2010 Bike Plan that intersect with 4th Street. Prioritizing more intensive treatments at these intersections pay double dividends because they improve bicycling conditions on two Bicycle Friendly Streets rather than just one.

Moving Forward

4th Street is our first Bicycle Friendly Street pilot project, and will include a large amount of community outreach. Staff is currently developing concept designs for various treatments, and the next step will be to obtain community support for specific projects before moving forward with final design of the first round of treatments. In the future, we plan to make similar maps for other bike-friendly streets to enhance our outreach efforts for other Bicycle Friendly Streets.

0 replies
  1. Dennis Hindman
    Dennis Hindman says:

    I’m more excited about the possibilities with 4th street than any other project on the near horizon, and I don’t even use it as I live in the San Fernando Valley. I continue to believe that we must show a large increase in ridership from these projects to get continued support for funding from City Council. Getting a useful street for bicycle commuting to downtown–in one of the most densely populated areas– to have traffic calming measures is a great way to achieve this.

    While doing the sharrows pilot study, I noticed Fourth St semms to have a wider range of bicycling demographics than I am used to seeing on my daily commute across the Valley. I saw bicyclists ranging from the founder of the Bicycle Kitchen working as a bicycle messenger, to a lady riding her upright style bike with a front basket.

    Just after the sharrows were implemented I suggested that they would be much more visible to drivers if the contrast were increased by laying them on a black painted background. I got this idea from seeing a sharrow painted over with black paint on Reseda Blvd. I was told by two LADOT bikeways staff that this was not allowed by regulations as it would be considered altering the roadway. Well it turns out San Francisco has done exactly what I suggested, only they used green paint for the background.

    Once again another major city is doing what Los Angeles claims that they cannot.

    There is another blog post about Roundabouts from “A view from the cycle path…”. Financially this is a design that is well out of reach for Los Angeles currently. I am just trying to stimulate ideas of what can be achieved in safety by showing state of the art in bikeways design.

    • matthew
      matthew says:

      I live a half block north of 4th Street on Van Ness Ave. I welcome the 4th St BB. I welcome roundabouts too. If only my bicycle functioned…

  2. Brian Hsu
    Brian Hsu says:

    As someone who lives a stone’s throw from this part of 4th St, and has biked its full length a good number of times, I’m very excited to hear that further changes are coming.

    Unfortunately, I’ve also begun to doubt that the sharrows have done much good at all. I tend to use 5th St fairly often as well, and I do think that on both streets I’ve had just as many close calls with motorists, and been aggressively run off the road just as many times, sharrows be damned. We’ve still got a long way to go.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Here LADOT announces the project on its website (May 2011): 4th Street… Bicycle Friendly Street … will include a large amount of community outreach. Staff is currently developing concept designs for various treatments, and the next step will be to obtain community support for specific projects before moving forward with final design of the first round of treatments. […]

  2. […] Hills, I found myself riding a relatively car-free route that lead from 8th Street, up to the future bike boulevard on 4th, then back down to 7th, which will soon feature bike lanes itself for most of it’s […]

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