I try to pump sunshine. I know that progress in the cycling world is slow, but I’m in it for the long haul.
When the new buffered bike lanes appeared on Vineland about four months ago, I was a tad snarky. Deep down, everyone is waiting for those Lankershim lanes to magically appear, but at some point, you have to accept that Santa isn’t real.
My primary issue awhile back was connectivity. Oh, how naive I was.
Last Wednesday, I took a look at the new extended parking lot and bike path east of the NoHo Red Line Station because I’m a nerd for all things cycling.
I marveled at all the empty spots, its pristine nature and the shock from the lot being fully carpeted, but at some point the wonderness wore off and to work I must go.
I NEVER take the Vineland Bike Lanes in the morning, but since I was right there, Mr. CiclaValley realized he was in need of content. It was a little before 8 o’clock in the morning, so I was going to feel the street’s wrath in full effect. The fun began right off the bat.
In my first section between Chandler and Magnolia, I was forced into the buffered section to avoid the asphalt section where they must have filmed the moon landing.
Things seemed to calm down right before Riverside Dr., but once I passed that street, it was on! Everyone starts jockeying for position to get onto the freeway from here and you see drivers inching out considering cutting through on the bike lane.
The absolute worst section was crossing Moorpark where the bike lane is just considered, “paint by the drivers”. Not even David Blaine could make it disappear so elegantly:
It’s one thing being forced into traffic, but who wants to fight across a lane of traffic to ride in the buffered area where other cars try to cut into the onramp at the last second? Not a parent who wants to live.
Just down the road, I was about to turn off of Vineland by making a left onto Ventura. The bike lane was closed, but at least someone had the wherewithal to place signage.
In actuality, this was a blessing in disguise because it gave me reason to merge into traffic early. Still, getting to the left across two lanes is a high intensity move that pits you with eager drivers that want to merge. No bueno.
Vineland & Bluffside
I’m sure you will hear complaints about how cyclists don’t use these lanes, but can you blame them? You would think the buffered zone would provide added comfort, but in this circumstance whether there is an added level of safety is questionable.
If you’re going to give bikes extra space, then there needs to be some physical separation, like bollards or concrete blocks, to discourage cars from cutting through your lane.
The crossover at the Hollywood Freeway onramp also has it’s design challenges because it assumes there will never be high volume traffic merging at one point.
Overall, these lanes do cyclists disservice. They will continue to be underused, not improve the level of service and a waste of resources that could have been better spent elsewhere.
Progress can be slow in the 818, but sometimes it remains in a standstill.