Beverly Hills Takes Up Bicycle Question with an Impact on WeHo

beverly hills, santa monica boulevard, bicycle
A rendering of a separate bike lane plan proposed for Santa Monica Boulevard.

The Beverly Hills City Council is considering a renovation of Santa Monica Boulevard that will have an impact on whether residents of West Hollywood and areas to the east will be able to easily and safely bike to the beach.

According to a city staff report, the boulevard, which was ceded to Beverly Hills by the State of California in 2004, requires major repairs to its drainage system and pavement. The project is estimated to cost $27 to $29 million. Beverly Hills hopes to begin work on the 1.8 mile boulevard this Spring. It expects the reconstruction project to take 14 months. In West Hollywood Santa Monica Boulevard is populated with stores and restaurants and bars and has wide sidewalks to encourage pedestrian traffic. In Beverly Hills the boulevard lies just north of the city’s central business district and south of a residential neighborhood and lacks sidewalks or other pedestrian amenities.

One issue the Council will consider is whether to make bicycle travel easier and safer. The staff report notes that state law requires a driver to give three feet clearance when passing a bicyclist, and a bicyclist typically rides about 2 feet from the edge of the road. When one considers the width of a bike’s handle bars, the report says a passing vehicle must be at least six feet from the curb. Given that traffic lanes from Doheny Drive to Canon Drive are 15 feet wide, drivers generally won’t have to merge left into another lane to pass a bicyclist. But from Canon Drive to Wilshire Boulevard on the west, the eastbound curb lane is only 12 feet wide. That means large cars and trucks and buses will have to merge left to safely pass a cyclist.

A number of people have petitioned the Beverly Hills Council to consider creating separate bike lanes, with some suggested that they be physically separated from traffic, as is the case on major avenues in New York City. The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is urging its supporters to attend the council meeting to show their support for bike lanes. The Council will meet at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Beverly Hills City Hall, which is at 455 N. Rexford Dr.

West Hollywood’s City Council has been considering a bicycle sharing program that would allow riders to rent bicycles stationed in public places. One option under consider is allying with an effort already underway in Santa Monica, which means residents of both cities could rent bikes in either place and drop them off in the other.


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Mark Elliot
Guest

Beverly Hills City Council actually softened their resistance to expansion of the boulevard, with a decision to stripe (or not) bicycle lanes deferred several months into the design phase. But we call this a win because the language from the Council dais evolved (less hostility to cycling); concession that we may need a foot or more to get the safe boulevard we need; and just the fact that the lanes opportunity is still alive!

Read our recap: http://betterbike.org/2015/01/news-flash-lanes/

mike dunn
Guest
mike dunn

Randy, that dirt road is far safer than any bike lane. Even if Santa Monica Bl. is improved white, green or what ever color of lines is not going to insure anyones safety. Then factor in a transit bus which is eight and a half feet wide excluding the outside mirrors, a ten foot wide traffic lane is to narrow.

Randy Matthews
Guest

I suspect this won’t go through. Beverly Hills bureaucrats seem to care very little about people who commute through their city (even if they are commuting to Beverly Hills to work at a low-paying blue collar job), as displayed by their fierce opposition to the subway. It would be nice if each city in the Los Angeles area could view us all as one community, and recognize that this would improve the quality of life for a lot of people. I bike everywhere, and biking through Beverly Hills is a joke. One has to choose between biking down a rocky… Read more »

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

With the increased militarization of police departments the possibility of seeing Sherman tanks in the near future is a distinct possibility.

matt
Guest

Jesus Christ, 15 feet wide? What are people driving through Bevery Hills, a fleet of Sherman tanks?

Rudolf Martin
Guest
Rudolf Martin

Wait, I thought WE were the creative city!