What a street Ventura Blvd. would be with bikes.
Well it already does!
On the far western end of this Valley artery lays the only three-quarter of a mile of bike lanes on this street adjoining a business district badly in need of rejuvenation.
Now the lanes and economic situation don’t go hand in hand.
This section of Ventura Blvd. between Shoop and Fallbrook is unique in that it is the widest section of the street offering three lanes of traffic in both directions, a median, a parking lane and said bike lanes.
Also in the project area, west of Fallbrook to Woodlake, Ventura has the same configuration, but just two lanes of traffic.
It’s still pretty wide though.
Can you find a human being on Ventura? (photo: Google Maps)
Also a little factoid, it also is the only portion of Ventura that sits north of the 101 Freeway.
Go there on a typical day and you’ll see drivers zooming by in plenty of space with little to slow them down.
When you’re zipping by at 50 mph, it’s hard to stop for businesses let alone visit them.
That’s why the Reimagining Ventura Boulevard project holds so much potential.
First, they will be putting Ventura Blvd. on a road diet.
The question is how much?
The other interesting component is not just the diagonal parking, but also making drivers back in to the space.
I know. This seems weird.
Backing into a spot may not seem like the most natural thing.
At the same time, it’s powers of ten better than having to back into traffic when the diagonals are oriented the other way.
And proven to be safer too.
They will slow down traffic while also providing business with more parking, so I guess people will get a little of everything.
The one feature they are asking public input for is the placement of the bike lanes (please read the LACBC blog).
Option 1 is a parking protected lane where hopefully there will be a bollard in place to keep cars from backing up too far.
Option 2 places the lane between the parked cars and traffic.
Ventura Boulevard Option 1. (image: LACBC)
We’ve been there and done that, so you know which choice I’m backing.
Please send your comments to Cindy Suh at firstname.lastname@example.org and cc: email@example.com
My biggest concern is how the street functions for a faction I haven’t even mentioned yet: people who walk.
Technically, that’s all of us because all of us don’t stay on our bikes or in our cars unless your name is Optimus Prime.
Besides being a super wide street, you have to go quite a distance in places to cross it.
For example, if you’re inside of Hugo’s Tacos at Ventura & Royer and want to frequent the Psychic across the street, you have to walk a block down the street (five minutes), cross (one minute) and walk back another block (five minutes).
Add the return trip back and it’s at least a twenty minute commitment to have your hand read (but it’ll probably be worth it).
Not only should this street have crosswalks at every intersection, but also mid-block as well.
There should also be islands and infrastructure to buffer pedestrians as well.
The more the street looks accommodating to people who walk, then the more will use it.
People will pick up on the visual cues.
It’s interesting how things have to get so bad to open the door for something more useful to be built.
Let’s hope this is a new model for the rest of Ventura Blvd.