WeHo Celebrates Opening of Fairfax Bike Lanes on Thursday

bike laneWest Hollywood will celebrate the completion of new bicycle lanes on Fairfax Avenue with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and inaugural bike ride on Thursday.

It will begin at 11 a.m. at Hollywood Electrics, 901 Fairfax Ave. near Willoughby. The ceremony will mark the opening of a continuous link between Hollywood Boulevard and Melrose Avenue for cyclists traveling in both directions along Fairfax Avenue. After the ceremony, at 11:30 a.m., the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition will lead a “loop ride” on the new lanes.

The event will also provide an opportunity for a preview demonstration of the city’s upcoming bike share program, WeHo Pedals, which is scheduled to launch this Summer. The program and the demonstration will be operated by CycleHop,LLC. Users will be able to find bike share bicycles near transit stops, businesses and other major destinations within the City of West Hollywood. The system will also be linked to the Westside Regional Bike Share program, which includes the cities of Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, and will provide combined access to more than 1,000 bikes.

Additional information about the Fairfax Avenue bicycle lanes can be found online. More information about bicycling in West Hollywood also is available online.

  1. Randy, I was with you until you stated that “pedestrians see a few inconsiderate cyclists”……I would disagree that there are only a “few”.

    Also, your example of urban Japan, were there is absolute bicycle chaos and it is common for cyclists to use sidewalks not roads, is not something we should emulate.

    I’m gad you didn’t use Amsterdam (as many do) as another good example of urban bicycling. I’ve been to Amsterdam and it’s AWFUL there. It’s a nightmare as a pedestrian to negotiate between the surface trolleys, the cars and the bicyclists simultaneously smoking cigarettes and talking on the phone while carrying a baguette under their arm and a child in the back seat.

    No thank you.

  2. Because it is important to obtain our maximum inhalation of auto emissions, we create bike lanes in major thoroughfares where the toxic fumes are the strongest. Fairfax going north is especially good for our children as they have to peddle harder to go uphill, and thus, they have to inhale much more deeply so that they can make certain the particulate matter lodges deeply in their lungs.

    Removing travel lanes for cars on Fairfax also is a big help during rush hours as then the traffic congestion maximizes the auto emissions so that there is enough toxicity for everyone to inhale.

    In fact, perhaps we should lower the age at which children can buy cigarettes to 8 so that they can smoke and ride their bikes on Fairfax to maximize the health benefits of toxic fumes. This is only my Modest Proposal

    1. How convenient it has been for folks responsible for transportation, planning, and infrastructure to languish in their comfortable realm of politically enhanced theory without an ounce of logic, practicality or common sense. The objectives of LA and WeHo continue to be bigger, better, faster “adopt the trend of the era”. Outbuild the landscape because it will drive revenue through attracting tourism, advocate biking, dispensing with cars because it looks good in the marketing plans. Choke and ultimately destroy neighborhoods in the pursuit of an urban utopia. Chaos papered over by a glossy walkable, bikable concept. Where are the critical thinkers? Have the political chair holders simply abandoned real responsibility passing it off to robots? As depicted in Koyaanisqatsi we are out of balance

      Instead of Frank Gehry’s fantasy concepts perhaps Elon Musk could pencil out a few elementary ideas that would be useful in unsnarling our urban jungle on his lunch breaks.

  3. Karen, thank you for your thoughtful comments, and responses. You said those things better than I ever could.

    I just wanted to back up some of your points, and make some of my own, as I ride my bike all over this city.

    Willoughby is indeed a pain, with all of the stop signs (and it is a designated “bike route”). But I usually go there during rush hour, for my own safety, as SMB is too narrow (and without bike lanes) in some parts, especially between Sweetzer and Fairfax. Cyclists need to remember that they lawfully need to stop at stop signs when taking streets such as Willoughby. I learned this the hard way, many years ago, when I didn’t come to a complete stop when making a right turn from a stop sign (with no traffic present). I was ticketed. And if people don’t want bikes on SMB, then exercise some patience when following one on Willoughby, just as you should on any other street. A cyclist is only going to slow you down for so long. You’ll eventually get to a place where you can safely pass.

    Sometimes it is necessary to ride on the sidewalk, and when I do, I do it in a courteous manner. Sometimes I need to be on parts of SMB that are too narrow for me to feel safe on the road. Try riding on SMB going eastbound, just east of Sweetzer, for example. It is very frightening. And please don’t tell me that I just have to cut up or down to Norton or Willoughby. I might have some business to attend to along that stretch of the boulevard.

    I’m really, really tired of cyclists being treated like second-class citizens, simply because drivers are impatient, or pedestrians see a few inconsiderate cyclists. I’ve read from a lot of people that I shouldn’t be on the road. I’ve been told I don’t belong on the sidewalk. Then, when a designated space is made for me on the road, I’ve heard people complain about that as well. It is often self-centered. It iis not in the spirit of cooperation.

    People should admire those that are taking a car off the road, and consider how much less traffic congestion we’d all have, if more people did it. Cyclists are good for the environment. They reduce traffic congestion. They allow for more available parking. And they keep people in shape, making us an overall healthier society, which reduces our health care costs.

    I wish we’d reach a point where we are a culture that appreciates this type of transportation, as is in other cities, or in Japan, where, in some places, people use bicycles as much as they do automobiles. Its just part of their culture there, and I don’t think anyone thinks twice about it. On a sidenote, they also have no vanity about what type of bicycles they ride (they all seem to ride the same type of bike), and can safely leave their bikes with only a single front wheel lock, without the fear of theft.

    Finally, I wish people would appreciate the efforts of West Hollywood for promoting this type of transportation. Beverly Hills does not. A lot of bicycle commuters would like to commute from West Hollywood to Century City, for example, and are stopped cold at Doheny, with their only option being to bike through a luxury neighborhood with a stop sign every block for 20 or more blocks. A major detour, and deterrent, for even trying. Because that city wouldn’t allow for just a few extra feet to create a bike lane.

  4. @Manny, It’s true that not everyone follows the law, but it’s not unique to bikes, and no one is suggesting not allowing car lanes because of the scofflaws. If I recall correctly I heard that 1,000 tickets were issued in a single month in our tiny city for running red lights!! That’s just the ones that got caught. People drive drunk and I see people texting and driving all the time — though that results in so many deaths and is illegal.

    Unlike the conduct I list above, riding a bicycle on sidewalks is far less likely to seriously injure or kill someone. The reason many do it is because there is so little bike infrastructure and cars travel so fast. And, as Mike Dunn notes, even the few/short bike lanes we have are still quite dangerous if they are not protected physically from cars. I’ve talked to cyclists who bike on the sidewalk because they personally have been hit and seriously injured by cars while biking. Sadly, our streets are still far too dangerous for those of us using environmentally friendly, healthy modes of transit.

    (Of course, just as some people who drive are jerks, some who bike on the sidewalks go fast / don’t carefully go around pedestrians, and are otherwise inconsiderate. Those I would judge far more harshly than those who are just trying not to die while getting from Point A to Point B, and doing so in a courteous manner. That said, let’s keep things in perspective: Driving in a dangerous manner — including texting, drinking, not yielding to peds, etc — is still exponentially more dangerous than biking like a jerk and it’s extremely common.)

    That all said, I see way more people biking in bike lanes than riding on sidewalks where they exist.

  5. @ Lynn,

    One reason many cyclists don’t ride on side streets all the time is the same reason cars don’t drive 20 mph and on side streets instead of freeways for long trips — it’s way less efficient. Bikes are already a slower mode of transportation than cars since they depend on muscle power rather than fossil fuels. Do you voluntarily add lots of time to your commute? Also, may side streets have no safe way to traverse major intersections, since they don’t have lights. They’ve installed so many stop signs on Willoughby it’s an absurd “bike route” at this point. Try stopping your car every block on 10 miles trips and you’ll get the idea. It’s worse yet for pedal-powered transit. Finally, even side streets aren’t necessarily safe from drivers as they don’t have separate bike lanes either in most of our city.

    Re: “Wishfully thinking that folks will migrate to bikes is awfully wishful.” Actually, data shows the number of cyclists going up significantly as infrastructure goes in, including in NYC and DC.

    Re: Insurance, when I ride a bike I depend on the same insurance I depend on when I hike, walk up stairs, cross the street, cook, or cartwheel — health insurance. Since I’m not maneuvering a 2 ton piece of metal, I don’t have the same level of risk of of seriously harming others or doing serious property damage, unlike cars that kill 35,000/ year and have even killed people inside buildings.

    1. Thanks Karen, actually my concern was for a well thought out bike map strategy on dedicated streets other than main thoroughfares. I was not suggesting an arbitrary switch to streets such as Willoughby as I can appreciate the obvious issues with current conditions. Biking streets may have considerable speed bumps not affecting bikes but definitely discouraging cars. Many cars currently travel the side streets dealing w multiple stop signs as a preference to traffic on main arteries. Some of this obviously contributes to unintended chaos from folks exceeding speed limits while others may simply be interested in avoiding main routes and driving respectfully. Would take a bit of thought.

      Should have better clarified the insurance comment. Yes, one’s health insurance would apply in a car or bus vs. cyclist but how about cyclists injuring pedestrians that flee, there is simply no liability on their part, even when they are the cause of a car crash. Not every cyclist is a lamb, many have blood in heir eyes and are extremely aggressive.

      While I’ve safely cycled in European cities and other towns in US, I believe LA is much more hazardous with folks lacking a real consciousness and respect for bicycles and tgeir obsessive control of the roadway. Perhaps it’s an attitudinal thing but then you may have statistics.

  6. Again we see this stupid idea of painting a white line in the street and calling it a Bike Lane. It’s no safer than if the bike riders and motor vehicles share the right lane. In fact it mandates the bike rider to cycle closer to the parked autos where drivers of those autos open their doors without looking into the path of the so called safe bike rider. As a former RTD / MTA Road Supervisor I can attest to the fact the one of the major causes of accidents I investigated were drivers of parked autos opening their doors into the side of passing buses. And on only one occasion I can recall the front of the bus hit the autos door. In most cases the drivers door was opened into the side of the bus behind the buses rear doors. Nice little painted lines will not protect bike riders, it only gives them a false since of security. I observed a much smarter answer to the bike lane problem. In Honolulu on King St. they built bike lanes except said bike lane is separated from traffic. They took the parking lane, made it the bike lane and then installed a small concrete divider with parking on the other side. One traffic lane was lost, almost the same as our current bike lanes, but the bike riders are separated from traffic by not only the small divider but also the parked autos.

  7. Get rid of all on street parking from non residential streets. Simple. Cars parked cost everyone in public subsidies, traffic delays, danger to cars and cyclists, etc..

    All arterial streets should be parking free – more room for cars, buses, trains (if we ever get them in WeHo), cyclists, sidewalk widening, etc..

  8. @karen O’Keefe…..How about bike lanes serving to eliminating bicycles on sidewalks, not just “reduce” as you say.

    I often tell bicyclists, as they speed by me on the sidewalk, that they should be riding in the bike lane just a few feet away. That request never goes over very well.

    Considering how many bicyclists refuse to use bike lanes and, as in the case of San Vicente Blvd, how empty some bike lanes are, I can’t help to think that the construction of bike lanes is a boondoggle.

    But what I really want to think is that the construction of bike lanes does indeed encourage bicycling and make it safer. But I also hope that bike lanes will keep bikes off our sidewalks for the safety of pedestrians as well……So far that hasn’t been the case.

  9. Whatever was wrong with the simple and safe idea of encouraging cyclists to travel east/west and north/south on neighborhood streets rather than main thoroughfares? Seems like it would be safe for the cyclist, not having to choke on exhaust fumes and quiet for the neighborhood. Why anyone would want to go head to head with cars, buses and other lunatic jaywalkers and skate boarders is beyond me. Squeezing lanes of traffic is also beyond comprehension. Just close your eyes and hope god the best. LOL.

    Wishfully thinking that folks will migrate to bikes is awfully wishful. Personally, I would like to keep my body and soul in one piece. BTW do cyclists carry accident insurance or do they just depend on the insurance of the car or bus that slams them?

  10. These bike lanes are a great addition to our city to make it easier to use a healthy, fun, and environmentally friendly mode of transportation.

    They’re a great win for cyclists for obvious reasons, for pedestrians because they will reduce the number of bikes on the sidewalks, and also cars by reducing conflicts where a single lane is shared by cars and bikes.

    We still have a long way to go to make this a bike friendly city, though. Despite many, many miles of roads — and many thousands of square feet devoted to car storage — in our 1.9 square miles, this is one of only two North/South bike lanes in the city (the other is San Vicente), and we have yet to have an East/West bike bike lane east of Kings Road.

    Re: USC Trojan: If you are for bike safety, you should support efforts to keep cyclists safe, including bike lanes, of which we have precisely 0 before this one on the central/east side of our city. I live right by the bike lane and occasionally drive or passenger, though I mostly bike/walk/take transit. The third lane was a problem. It was only a few blocks and therefore it caused cars to move in and out of the lane as the road first expanded and then condensed again. Unsafe lane changes are among the most common causes of crashes.

    Fifty three percent of American adults would like to bike more, and of them, about 54% reported they are worried about being hit by a car or truck. Forty-six percent said they would be more likely to ride if they could bike in areas physically separated from traffic.

    Bike lanes allow more people to feel safe biking — and reduce the risk to those of us already doing so. This is important for individuals’, communities’, and our planet’s health. Our weather is perfect for biking and walking, yet a huge amount of trips are taken short distances that could be easily walked.

  11. And there goes our rush hour third lane. I’m all for Bicycle safety, but in a city with such congestion issues, surely removing lanes isn’t the answer? I often wonder why there seems to be a desire to combat traffic and congestion by reducing drive-able area. If we were building desired public transportation at the same rate we are reducing drive-able area (or slowing it down) that would be one thing, but were not. This is not NYC where there is a plethora of transportation options for people to take. This is exactly why so many millennials (and now everyone else) uses driving apps like Waze, which re-route people down residential roads. Because our only solution towards traffic congestion seems to be to limit drive-able area and slow people down further (speed bumps ect).

    Here’s one possible idea (which admittedly would take time). If we cant extend our subway/metro grid, and sure as heck wont provide another highway, why not slowly phase in larger set backs for properties, so that roads can later expand? Just theorizing ideas to help congestion, not make it worse.

  12. What WeHo, now free sliders, DJ’s, art installation, speeches, celebrities and and a zillion dollar parking garage that doesn’t work for the bike lane opening???? Whoops, forget that last one.

  13. This will be interesting. The biggest hurdles are avoiding increased injuries and deaths to cyclists and avoiding traffic congestion which is so bad that it harms business. These two goals are like a teeter-totter. As we make Bike Lanes safer, we usually make congestion worse which deters drivers from frequenting businesses.

    There is another aspect which will be interesting. Bikes do not disappear at Melrose. What is the impact of cyclists pn traffic congestion if considerably more cyclists use this strip between Hollywood and Melrose.

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