Another 4.6 miles of bike lanes have been added in Los Angeles, this time along a 2.3 mile stretch of road in the Valley. As identified earlier this month on the LA Eco Village Blog, Winnetka Ave, from Gault Street to Nordhoff Street, now has bike lanes striped. View Larger Map.
Called for in the 1996 LA Bike Plan, these bike lanes will help create better bicycle connectivity between the Orange Line and areas of Valley further to the north. Not only will the bike lanes create a better connection to the Orange Line, but it will also create a closer connection to Pierce College, one of LA’s nine community colleges. Additionally, the Pierce College station on the Orange Line is part of the Orange Line Bike Path, which extends eastward all the way to Coldwater Canyon Road in Sherman Oaks.
The Winnetka bike lanes will provide safe bicycle access to a number of vital neighborhood institutions, including the John Sutter Middle School and the Winnetka Recreation Center.
The newest draft of City Planning’s 2010 LA Bike Plan, much like the 1996 LA Bike Plan, calls for bike lanes to be extended on Winnetka from Devonshire to Ventura Blvd as part of a Citywide Bicycle Network. The present installation of bike lanes on Winnetka will only extend south to Gault Street, falling a little less than a mile short of the Pierce College Station on the Orange Line and 2 miles short of Ventura Boulevard. Sections of road south of Gault, often called “pinch points” by transportation engineers, are currently too narrow to place bike lanes without the removal of travel lanes or parking spaces. While the curb lane width of Winnetka Avenue to the north of Gault Street is 23 to 24 feet, the curb lane width narrows to 21 feet south of Gault Street – too narrow for parking, a bike lane, and a travel lane.
In addition to narrower streets, however, LADOT would need to address problems caused by the narrow bridge spanning the LA River to the north of Pierce College Station and a narrow overpass of a railroad right-of-way to the south(one curb lane width being narrowed to 19.5 feet). There is a project underway to widen the bridge by 2012, hopefully removing one of the largest obstacles for the continuation of bike lanes.
The other end of Winnetka Avenue, from Nordhoff Street to Devonshire, also contains challenges to bike lane installation. Several years ago, however, a stretch of Winnetka was fitted with TANSAT signs (Tow Away No Stopping Any Time), creating a 6 lane thoroughfare without any street parking.
Other sections of Winnetka north of Nordhoff have peak hour lanes installed, which also preclude the installation of bike lanes. Bikeways is distressed to see this section of the street made ineligible for bike lanes, but the inclusion of this northern section of Winnetka in the 2010 LA Bike Plan gives LADOT Bike Blog hopes that priorities for this Avenue will change in the future to include bike lanes.