In the time of Covid, it’s very difficult to get a grasp of your surroundings as almost everything dealing with how we get around has changed.
This crisis has brought empty roads and reintroduced a number of people to cycling, but how this period will be used to forward better mobility options for the future remains to be seen.
Last Wednesday, Joe Linton from Streetsblog LA gave me a hot tip that some protected bike lane improvements had been added to Vineland Ave which sits about a mile east from my home.
The lanes extend roughly two miles from Burbank down near the LA River and Ventura Boulevard mostly on a street that used to carry the Red Car until the 1950s.
Since this was close and eager to see improvements in the area, I knew I had time to get a quick look at it all even though I didn’t have any idea about the extents of this project.
Starting from the north, the roadway was unchanged as this overly wide street has plenty of space for bike lanes with a built in buffer.
It wasn’t until over a third of a mile away that I saw my first set of bollards which only appeared near the six way intersection of Lankershim & Camarillo.
Having a buffer near the bus stop was nice, but there remains a big question why not more?
If the worry was about having to switch parking with cars, then south of Camarillo, there wouldn’t have been a problem to upgrade the street in that fashion as there’s no parking on the west side of Vineland Ave.
The most needed stretch for improvements between Riverside and Moorpark remained unchanged as cyclists avoid this block from the number of drivers who choose to cheat around traffic.
On the other side of Moorpark were a number of bollards that had been put there previously, but my interaction with newly placed ones on the west side of the road had ended long ago.
At the same time, I did notice a stretch of bollards on the east side that I made a u-turn to experience which did give the feeling of protection, enough that I wanted more.
While this is an opportunity to move forward to make Los Angeles better connected, if Vineland Ave is any indicated, we will need new leadership to inspire change.