The Chatsworth Neighborhood Council recently passed a motion to support the installation of bike lanes on Winnetka Ave. between Nordhoff St. and Devonshire St. The project will extend existing lanes on Winnetka Ave. for 1.2 miles to the street’s terminus at Devonshire St. (one of the longest east-west bikeways in the city). Winnetka Ave. will become a north-south bike facility in the north-western San Fernando Valley, complimenting the new Orange Line Extension bike path (along Canoga Ave.), existing lanes on Wilbur Ave., and Reseda Blvd. to create a roughly 1.5 mile north-south grid. Special thanks to the Chatsworth NC, Councilman Englander (CD-12), and to everyone who came out last Wednesday night to support the project.
A Space for Bicyclists
One local bicyclist who came to support the project created a really good video that showcases his morning and evening commutes to work. The video makes it very clear that bike lanes on Winnetka Ave. will help improve the street’s safety for both bicyclists and drivers. The above video offers a glimpse of what bicycling conditions are like on the corridor in its present configuration – needless to say, less than desirable.
Our current concept calls for conventional bike lanes where on-street parking already exists (approximately from Nordhoff to Plummer). The bike lanes will replace a peak hour travel lane and have the added benefit of allowing additional full-time automobile parking. An analysis of the street’s traffic patterns revealed that even with the lane removal to accommodate bike lanes/full time parking, Winnetka Ave. will still have excess service capacity during the peak hour (basically, the street can comfortably accommodate motor vehicle traffic with two travel lanes in each direction). Where parking currently does not exist, our design concept replaces a travel lane with a buffered bike lane.
Buffered Bike Lanes
Segments of the Winnetka bike lanes (between Plummer and Devonshire) will be buffered to provide further separation between vehicles and bicyclists. According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), buffered bike lanes can also:
- Provide a greater space for bicycling without making the bike lane appear so wide that it might be mistaken for a travel lane or a parking lane.
- Encourage bicycling by contributing to the perception of safety among users of the bicycle network.
- Provide space for bicyclists to pass another bicyclist without encroaching into the adjacent motor vehicle travel lane.
Expect the new Winnetka Ave. bike lanes to go in sometime this summer. As always, leave your thoughts in the comments section below.