Moorpark’s Fail of a Bike Lane

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A chain is as strong as its weakest link.

I’m sure you don’t pay me to pump out cliches, but then again, I’m not getting paid either.

If the goal is to have a functional bike network that’s well connected because half-assing it, even for a little bit doesn’t work.

I’ve mentioned this before on Riverside just east of Laurel Canyon where the this long stretch of bike lanes are funneled into sharrows in an unelegant and dangerous fashion when a women absent-mindedly merged into our group (of course, she said she was on medication).

 

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Two cyclists got hit by a driver on this awkward merge on Riverside Dr.

 

The hope is that we’ve learned from our mistakes and will make the next iterations of bike infrastructure improvements smarter and dare I ask useful?

Bike lanes on Ventura Blvd. would seem like a great place for them, but even after a highly successful CicLAvia which was most likely the greatest business day in Studio City history, the best the Mobility Plan can offer is sharrows on this iconic street.

When cycling east-west across the valley, Moorpark has been one of my alternatives on the east side of the 405.

It’s a more of a residential street that feels like whose speeds are more controlled (but not great) and is not that out of the way with a substantial portion lying just a block north of Ventura in the Sherman Oaks area.

 

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How the narrowed part of Moorpark looked before construction.

 

The hope has been to have one continuous stretch of bike lanes from Van Nuys Blvd. to Lankershim and seeing how segments have been added piecemeal has given me hope.

I’ve casually kept an eye on the repaving between Woodman and Hazeltine as this half mile section was the shoddiest portion of Moorpark.

The repaving might have been done about a year ago, but the striping feels more recent.

 

Bike lanes were first added on the Hazeltine side, but my recent experience on the completion of this stretch left me dumbfounded.

Heading west across Woodman, you’re forced into sharing the lane with a car as one of the apartment complex’s parking lot juts out severely reducing the width of the road.

 

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Looking westbound on Moorpark just past Woodman.

 

At the same time, the adjoining sidewalk has been added, most likely due to ADA requirements which noticeably thin Moorpark more than previously constructed.

The even bigger problem came from following the rules as starting from a dead stop at the red light, a couple of drivers honked at me because I obviously can’t accelerate as fast as a car.

Not a pleasant experience.

I was not prepared to document this as on this rare occasion, I didn’t have my video camera charged, so I went back to take some shots.

Unfortunately, heading back the other way wasn’t all that much safer as the bike lane terminates and you’re funneled into a non-sharrowed lane abruptly.

 

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Biking east, you can see the lane end as you merge into traffic.

 

The only thing to “aide” you in this space is one of those never taken seriously Share the Road signs.

If the city was serious about Vision Zero, they would have eliminated the parking to the right and used that real estate to put bike lanes on both sides of the street.

But that would cost five parking spaces which could never be allowed.

I made my return westbound after traffic had passed, but even though I knew it was clear, I knew I didn’t have a lot of time to snap away.

Bottom line, if I have to ride along a stretch of bike lanes where even 1% of it I feel like my life is in danger, you’re damn right I’m going to avoid it.

You wouldn’t build a bridge if there was a five foot gap in it?

I understand adding the sidewalk and the problem presented by the apartments, but is just getting rid of five parking spots shouldn’t be too much to ask.

On paper this may look like we’re adding miles of bike lanes, but when you create impediments like these, you’re creating blockages not pathways for cyclists.

 

  • Joe Linton

    While it’s OK to be critical of poor facilities, I think it can lead to inaction on the city staff’s part. They can sit on their hands and say “why do partial bike lanes? cyclists are just gonna complain.” Instead of giving them an out “that would cost five parking spaces which could never be allowed”, I suggest making your ask boldly: please L.A., remove these half-dozen parking spaces so this facility will actually make people safer! LADOT did it on Reseda Boulevard (after advocates pushed/begged) https://labikas.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/recent-san-fernando-valley-bike-lanes-plummer-and-reseda/ so they can do it where there’s demand.

    • I should look into this further, but the solution that would serve all is reconfiguring other parts of Moorpark to allow diagonal parking. Even eliminating the spots on that one block, you could come out overall ahead if they made this change.

  • jennix

    Property owners are the highest form of life in California, and that may never change. When a locality determines a new road alignment/right of way, they have to go through extensive machinations to condemn property by eminent domain to widen the alignment.

    They’re never going to enter an eminent domain process for bike lanes. Sad fact of life.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    The governor of California recently proposed additional taxes on gasoline and vehicle registration to go towards roads throughout the state. This is the equivalent of $500 million per year for the city of Los Angeles. Which is about 50% more than the upcoming $1 billion in sales tax to be devoted to transportation in the city of LA, That is about $350 for every man, woman or child.. There would be enough money for the city of LA to build cycle tracks to the equivalent quality that there is in the Netherlands.Green asphalt? No problem. Ped/cyclist tunnels and bridges? A piece of cake. New curbs and sidewalks? That will be a standard operating procedure.every time the street is repaved.