WeHo maps out plans for bike lanes on Fountain, Santa Monica

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The city’s latest rendering of bike lanes on Fountain Ave.

Bike lanes are back on the city’s agenda.

The Transportation & Mobility Commission will review updates on the ongoing feasibility studies for putting protected lanes on both Fountain Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard.

Alarmed by the potential loss of already-scant parking spots and an increase in traffic, residents were wary of the plans when they were unveiled last fall.

Both plans will be reviewed by City Council next week.

FOUNTAIN

The Fountain Avenue Protected Bicycle Lanes Study was initiated on March 1, 2021, by the City Council, aims to explore the feasibility of implementing protected bike lanes along one of West Hollywood’s busiest and tightest corridors.

The first phase of the study, known as Phase 1 PS&E (Planning, Specifications, and Estimates), focuses on the design of protected bike lanes, with specific plans to reduce travel lanes from four to two and remove approximately 150 on-street parking spaces on the north side of Fountain Avenue. This phase includes an 11-month timeline, with an expected conclusion in July 2024. The construction phase is anticipated to begin in early 2025, taking another 4-6 months. The preliminary construction cost for Phase 1 is estimated to be between $5 million and $10 million.

One of the key considerations in Phase 1 is the potential access impacts, including deliveries, trash pickup, street sweeping, and parking.

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The study metrics for Phase 1 encompass several essential aspects that will be evaluated before and after construction. The analysis of potential effects on traffic patterns and congestion is central to the plan. With the reduction in the number of lanes, the study aims to understand how traffic flow might be affected. Moreover, the evaluation of parking availability and usage along Fountain Avenue and neighboring streets is critical to understanding the broader impact on the local community.

The new design aims to provide a secure environment for both cyclists and pedestrians, promoting alternative modes of transportation. Additionally, the project will calculate the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

As the study progresses to Phase 2, the focus shifts to the permanent installation of protected bike lanes and the redesign of sidewalks along Fountain Avenue. The timeline for Phase 2 spans 16 months, starting in January 2024, with potential construction beginning in Q1 or Q2 of 2026. The construction of Phase 2 is estimated to be between $30 million and $35 million.

An essential aspect of Phase 2 is the adherence to the American with Disability Act (ADA) standards. Most sidewalks along Fountain Avenue do not meet these standards, and the phase aims to rectify that. The plan includes various technical considerations such as survey/mapping, utility relocations, traffic signal design, street lighting design, signing and striping, grading, paving, and catch basin design.

SANTA MONICA

The initiative to explore protected bike lanes began in March 2022, when City Council directed staff to launch a feasibility study. The initial findings were presented to City Council on Feb. 6, leading to the directive for further exploration.

 Their directives were:

  • Western Segment Analysis: Conduct a phase 2 study, identify specific right-of-way impacts, and develop cost estimates for designing and constructing protected bike lanes.
  • Eastern Segment Analysis: Perform a block-by-block analysis to assess the feasibility of standard bike lanes instead of protected ones, including the potential transition of bike lanes onto sidewalks where there is insufficient right-of-way.
  • The comprehensive scope of work encompasses several areas:
  • Block-by-Block Analysis: A detailed review of existing street facilities, utilities, furniture, infrastructure, and right-of-way dimensions, specific to the installation of bike lanes.
  • Transportation Analysis: This includes an evaluation of traffic operations due to potential roadway/intersection modifications, considering potential traffic shifts resulting from the Fountain Avenue Protected Bike Lane project.
  • Civil Engineering Design Options: A topographic survey to gather information for developing design options and cost estimates.
  • Community Outreach: Conducting citywide outreach efforts, including online and in-person surveys, and speaking with residents, businesses, and stakeholders.
  • Documentation and Meetings: Preparing technical reports and participating in public meetings, including outreach, Bike Working Group, Commission, and City Council meetings.

These are the potential impacts:

  • Transit Stops and Operations:
    The implementation of protected bike lanes along Santa Monica Boulevard may have ramifications on existing transit stops, such as Metro, Cityline, and Pickup Line. These impacts could necessitate adjustments to stop locations or designs to ensure seamless integration with the new bike lanes. Operational considerations may include changes in bus schedules, routes, or passenger boarding and alighting processes.
  • Loading Zones and Deliveries
    Loading zones are vital for delivery services like UPS, FedEx, USPS, and Amazon. The feasibility study includes an analysis of how the construction of bike lanes might affect these zones. This could involve relocating loading zones or redesigning them to accommodate both bikes and delivery vehicles, which may impact delivery times and operational logistics.
  • On-Street Parking
    The transformation of existing on-street parking spaces into bike lanes might reduce parking availability for residents and visitors. This reduction may necessitate reevaluation of parking strategies, including the potential development of alternative parking solutions or the redesign of remaining on-street parking to optimize space.
  • Public Art Display
    Santa Monica Boulevard’s western segment features public art displays in the medians. The feasibility study considers how bike lanes might impact these displays, such as potential relocation or alteration of the art pieces. This could influence the aesthetic appeal of the area and require collaboration with local artists and cultural organizations.
  • Outdoor Dining
    With the increasing popularity of outdoor dining, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the study acknowledges that the potential removal of on-street parking spaces to make way for bike lanes may limit outdoor dining options in the public right-of-way. This has led to the temporary suspension of outdoor dining permit applications on the eastern segment of the boulevard, requiring careful consideration of the needs of restaurant owners and patrons.
  • Alternative Transportation
    The feasibility study explores the impact on scooters, dockless mobility devices, and robotic personal delivery devices. The integration of bike lanes may affect the existing pathways and regulations governing these alternative modes of transportation, necessitating clear guidelines to ensure safety and efficiency.
  • ADA Parking and Accessibility
    Ensuring accessibility for all citizens is paramount. The study examines how bike lanes may affect ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) parking and overall accessibility. This includes evaluating potential changes to parking spaces, curb ramps, crosswalks, and other accessibility features, ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations.
  • Rideshare Drop-Off/Pick-Up Zones and Charging Stations
    Rideshare services and electric vehicle charging stations are integral to modern urban transportation. The feasibility study considers how bike lanes might affect designated drop-off/pick-up zones and on-street charging stations, requiring potential redesign or relocation to accommodate new traffic patterns.
  • Street Maintenance
    Street maintenance, including trash pick-up and street cleaning, may be affected by the introduction of bike lanes. The study analyzes potential changes to maintenance routines and equipment, ensuring that the implementation of bike lanes does not hinder essential city services.

 

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About Larry Block
Larry is a West Hollywood resident and business owner of the BlockParty and YMLA stores. He has served the City of West Hollywood as the Chairman of Disability Advisory Board and the Public Facilities Commission. He is also a founding partner and contributor to Boystown Media.

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[…] may be bitterly divided over whether Fountain Avenue and/or Santa Monica Boulevard should be torn up to make room for bike lanes, but Mayor Pro Tem John Erickson has a shrewd idea that will make cyclists happy without pissing […]

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[…] major upheaval of Fountain Avenue looms on the horizon, but exactly what this vital West Hollywood corridor will look in the future […]

mike
mike
8 months ago

It will make Santa Monica boulevard safer from the drunk drivers.

mike
mike
8 months ago

Love it

Mart V
Mart V
9 months ago

You remember when they spent millions to add a bicycle lane on SMB, along with other so-called improvements? Each day, I see perhaps 1-3 people using those lanes when I go out driving or walking. Why waste millions of dollars and cut down on lanes on the only street in WeHo that actually works? Why can’t bicyclists just bike down a few blocks onto SMB? IF they even use the bike lanes instead of the sidewalks. One of the dummest ideas I’ve heard living here for 30 years!

JCB
JCB
9 months ago
Reply to  Mart V

I use the bike lanes on SMB daily. Sorry you don’t consider me a real person.

Matt U
Matt U
8 months ago
Reply to  JCB
  • We spent $1billion on the 405 expansion, which only made traffic worse in the five years since. Perhaps you should moan and complain about that wasteful spending instead of a few million.
  • You mean the painted bike lanes with no barrier separating human beings on two wheels from impatient, distracted idiots in 3,000 ton metal boxes? I wonder why so few cyclists use those bike lanes.
  • Perhaps they might ride on the sidewalks because they’re more concerned about their very lives, than your convenience.

Mart V, please try to think more critically about issues like these.

John McCormick
John McCormick
9 months ago

Ok City Council members, you want a feasibility study on 5B? Block parking on the North side of Fountain for 30 days, 24/7. Let’s see how your constituents react because they don’t know the real impact until they live this questionable idea. Let’s see where 150 cars go each night.

Josh
Josh
9 months ago

Seriously, remove a lane and remove parking even on the one street that actually moves?! We need to vote out the city council.

Last edited 9 months ago by Josh
Mischa
Mischa
9 months ago

I’d rather we focus on beautifying West Hollywood and figuring out how to move traffic efficiently thru the City. We need parking structures to accommodate our visitors and shoppers. We need more outdoor space for al fresco dining and drinking. We need more police for safety and security. And, we need more cleaning of this City. It smells of sweat, urine, and rot. Let’s clean it up and do better for our businesses and visitors, not to mention, ourselves.

JCB
JCB
9 months ago
Reply to  Mischa

LOL wider roads and more parking garages, sounds super sustainable.

mike
mike
8 months ago
Reply to  JCB

SMB needs protected bike lanes too. I would use them. I almost got hit twice riding my bike on Santa Monica boulevard. So I gave it up riding on this street but will return if there are protected bike lanes. This is good news.

Matt U
Matt U
8 months ago
Reply to  Mischa

I think WeHo would be a lot more beautiful with a lot less cars.

  • Less air pollution: less soot, brake dust, and carcinogens caking onto every outdoor surface, and dusting the inside of our lungs.
  • Less space for cars, more space for people. Outdoor space for al fresco dining and drinking, perhaps?
Seeking Credible Expertise
Seeking Credible Expertise
9 months ago

Individuals proposing significant changes such as this appear to lack any holistic view of transportation and infrastructure in the city on many levels. One can’t design projects such as this in a vacuum. It would be good to know who is the top dog in the City overseeing such a project?
Looking for expertise from the Transportation and Mobility Commission is largely a fools errand.

JCB
JCB
9 months ago

This is part of an entire westside of LA bike network…

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
9 months ago

Bike lanes in New York City are very dangerous for pedestrians who mindlessly cross them to get to the street, which is where they think they are supposed to stop and look both ways. They are not thinking of bicycle lanes. And bicyclists who can be incredibly entitled, arrogant and passive-aggressive seem to enjoy their privilege to almost run somebody down and give the unsuspecting pedestrian the middle finger as they do it.

John H.
John H.
9 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

You sound like the arrogant & ignorant one when it comes to this topic. Vehicle drivers are the worst of anyone when it comes to commuting. Having been born and raised here, I’ve experienced about half a century of traversing this region in cars, busses, trains, subways, on foot and on bicycles. The latter (bicycles— especially e-bikes) are necessary if we have any hope of making this city more viable in general, for many positive reasons.

Peter
Peter
9 months ago

As a cyclist I am in complete support of moving this overdue project moving forward. It has to become commonplace for us to bike in this city. Why is Denmark with its cold weather the biking capital of the world. California should have that title. This is a good start.

Last edited 9 months ago by Peter
Low Rider
Low Rider
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter

I’m also a cyclist and would never ride on LA streets. You’d have to have a death wish.

This city is nothing like Copenhagen. That’s a silly comparison.

John H.
John H.
9 months ago
Reply to  Low Rider

That’s a “low” response, particularly from a bicycle rider. If you aren’t helping improve this matter, you’re (yes)… part of the problem!

JCB
JCB
9 months ago
Reply to  Low Rider

This city could be like Copenhagen unless you’re lazy

John H.
John H.
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter

I agree with you, completely.

pat russell
pat russell
9 months ago

So delivery vans will have to park in one of the traffic lanes to make their deliveries. I live on Fountain and I can tell you it’s going to get ugly…..

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