On 101010 CicLAvia: 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard
The 10-10-10 CicLAvia route includes a stretch of 4th Street from Virgil Avenue to New Hampshire Avenue. The route also includes more of 4th Street in Boyle Heights – but that’s another story.
CicLAvia participants will notice sharrows on this stretch of roadway – one of only 6 streets in Los Angeles to receive sharrow markings so far. Sharrows are a somewhat new road-marking which show where it’s safe for bicycles and cars to share the lane. The sharrows are the first phase of a project known as 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard.
Bicycle Boulevards are a fairly new type of bike facility – different from bike paths or bike lanes. A bike boulevard is a relatively quiet residential street, where traffic has been calmed, and bicyclists and pedestians are given priority. It’s a shared street – where bicycling and driving (and, of cours, walking) easily co-exist. The basic idea is that once cars are moving slower, and there’s less cut-through traffic, the street becomes safe and comfortable for bicycling. Most neighborhoods favor bike boulevards because less cut-through traffic means a quieter and safer street.
Bike boulevards are common in various cities, including Berkeley, Palo Alto, Portland, and San Luis Obispo. There are a few excellent short Streetfilms documentaries that show off these existing bicycle boulevards. Southern California’s first bicycle boulevard is under construction right now – on Vista Street in Long Beach.
The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has organized a campaign to implement the city of Los Angeles’ first bicycle boulevard on 4th Street. If you’re interested in getting involved, subscribe to the campaign’s Google group.
There’s no finalized plan for 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard yet… but there are a lot of great ideas being discussed. Here’s a rendering (by Aaron Kuehn) of the intersection of 4th Street and Catalina Street (two blocks west of the CicLAvia route) as it might look like in the future:This is an example of a diverter – a traffic calming feature where through car traffic would be forced to turn, but bicyclists and pedestrians could continue straight through.
Be sure to check out the 4th Street sharrows on 10-10-10, and, if you’re interested, get involved in the campaign for “4SBB”!!