New bike lanes, new benefits


With the recent addition of bike lanes along densely populated Foothill Boulevard, local officials advise motorists to drive cautiously while encouraging cyclists to use the new bike lanes in La Crescenta.

“There’s no special rule. There’s just the rules that cyclists would normally use when driving on the street,” said Robert Thomas of the Crescenta Valley Town Council. “Motorists have to watch out when they’re turning right.”

Thomas added that since the lanes intersect all minor and major streets, “Motorists must be cautious when turning right on all intersections along Foothill Boulevard. Bicyclists can easily be in the ‘blind spot’ of a vehicle, so the motorist should turn their head to cover the blind spot before executing the right turn.”

The bike lanes are marked by solid white lanes that are broken or dotted about 100 feet before all intersections on Foothill Boulevard. This is to allow vehicles to make a right turn. This is when motorists have to be especially cautious, said Thomas.

The new bike lanes run on both sides of the entire length of Foothill Boulevard, in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, from Briggs Avenue to the east to Pennsylvania Avenue at the west.

Plans are underway to connect the bike lanes to neighboring communities La Cañada Flintridge and Glendale.

“We will be having our first meeting [with them] this month. It is a desire of the Metropolitan Transit District to establish a comprehensive Bike Lane Master Plan,” said Thomas. “We anticipate success in connecting the La Crescenta bike lane along Foothill Boulevard with our neighboring cities. It just takes time.”

It took about one year to see the county’s bike lanes become a reality, said Paul Rabinov, CVTC representative for the Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy Advisory Board. “During this time numerous meetings were held with C.V. Town Council members, Supervisor Antonovich’s office and L.A. County Department of Public Works, as well as communications with the L.A. Metropolitan Transit Authority.”

Funding came from Los Angeles County. Having been installed this year, the lanes mark a new addition to the community. According to Thomas, the recent repaving of county roads was a perfect time to urge the county to add the lanes. “[The council said] now would be an opportune time to provide our community with bike lanes at relatively no cost,” said Thomas. “The county liked the idea and made it happen.”

Other officials are pleased with the addition. “I’m very excited to have them. I think people are actually driving a little bit slower which is really great,” said Cheryl Davis, president of the CVTC.

Rabinov shared his personal observations during the recent town council meeting and gave insight as to the benefits of having bike lanes.

“We are so thankful and excited. La Crescenta is very happy to have bike lanes. I’ve seen more people using the street cycling than I ever have in the past,” he said.

Rabinov noted that motorists drive more cautiously and, as a cyclist himself, said that it is more comfortable now to ride on Foothill Boulevard. He added that people seem more relaxed when walking on the boulevard due to the greater distance between vehicles and the sidewalk.

He added that he sees the bike lanes as representing an “evolution in our community.” “They mark a larger movement throughout the entire country where stakeholders are looking at alternative modes of transportation along with methods to improve their communities.”