Of the key Beverly Drive route, “There’s not a lot of room for bikes,” Sarah said. (We know that because we ride it!) Likewise, Crescent, which connects the foothills with Civic Center and Olympic Blvd., provides a challenge because in the south it terminates at an uncontrolled intersection, which makes connectivity a challenge. Another identified route – Carmelita – likewise terminates at an uncontrolled intersection (at Wilshire in the west).
Instead of then routing it a block east to Rexford down to Olympic, the feasibility study inexplicably routes it three blocks west to Reeves. Reeves is one block east of another identified route (South Beverly); like Crescent, Reeves also terminates in an uncontrolled intersection. But Reeves & Olympic is adjacent to a problem intersection at Beverly & Olympic.
[Editorializing here: It seems that the city likes this route because Reeves could offload bike traffic from South Beverly and allow the city to entirely sidestep improvements to the latter...just like Carmelita allows the city to sidestep a real improvement to Santa Monica Boulevard.]
What People Said
About four cyclists spoke up. Kevin Burton from West Hollywood spoke about the Task Force and about regional connectivity, specifically the role of Santa Monica Boulevard in a Downtown-to-the-sea route. Both West Hollywood and Los Angeles are coordinating improvements to the corridor.
Wes observed that traffic is heavy. “I ride every day on Santa Monica, and getting onto Carmelita is a huge issue. And there are so many stop signs – and motorists don’t stop. So I take Santa Monica the whole way.” He added that it’s important to put routes near schools.
Ryan form UCLA said he’s concerned about Sunset Boulevard. “These north/south routes corridors…[what about] when they get to Sunset?” He noted that there were no sidewalks even on Sunset.
Joan, a resident, said that maybe they could expand the walkway for cyclists north of Santa Monica Boulevard? “Could we cut away the plantings and put in a bike path?” (Chair Levine commented that Santa Monica is a separate improvement plan.) She said that she could see Crescent as a bike route “but off-hours.” Beverly, she thought, was too busy.
Likewise, resident Debbie said Carmelita was suitable on the weekends, but during the week “it’s like a freeway.” Sharrows? she asked. She continued:
People don’t stop at stop signs. I don’t think they’ll respect signs on the road. Even Crescent is a dangerous street – look at the in and out near Whole Foods.
Robert said that adding bike lanes to Beverly and Crescent would slow traffic, “and that’s good,” he added, and continued:
Carmelita is like a thoroughfare, and it’s a long way from one side to the other. But as a commuter [alternative to SM Blvd.] route? Nobody will use it. I hope to see bike lanes on Beverly, Crescent, & Burton way. Hopefully SM Blvd. gets figured out…it’s more plausible than Carmelita.
One speaker suggested Gregory for an east-west route. “It’s about as long [as Charleville] with lights at intersections and much less busy.” He noted that Charleville has schools and that they’re congested at drop-off and pick-up times. “You take your life into your hands,” he added.
Clearly there were many different perspectives, but everyone agreed that traffic is a problem, many said that motorists were incorrigible, but disagreement varied on the routes according to personal experience. Most seemed to agree that cyclists have it pretty rough; even non-cycling residents said it was tough going.
Whether the city captured usable data is unclear: the presentation provided the overview (important context) but this meeting didn’t take attendees step-by-step through the possible improvements per route segment, which seems to be important to focusing input. Most attendees seemed not to have accessed the online materials, and as a result the comments weren’t particularly focused on improvements. Unlike a hands-on workshop to jog the imagination, say, there wasn’t much to really chew on: no Complete Streets-style roadway illustrations to show what a fully-accessible street would look like inclusive of bike lanes, for example.
The city will greatly benefit from focused comments, though. Consider attending the next meeting with focused comments. Please review the PowerPoint presentation, map of routes, and the Pilot program feasibility study. Forward your comments to the city and to Better Bike. This Pilot needs all the community boost it can get! Be there next Wednesday 4/25 at Public Works, 345 Foothill Blvd. in Beverly Hills. Let’s not pass up our opportunity to tell the Traffic & Parking Commission on May 9th (at City Hall) that it’s time we moved beyond our 1977-era bicycle Master plan!
Note: this Committee’s charge is limited to these five identified routes. We cover Santa Monica Boulevard separately.