New Bike Lanes on Huntington Drive in El Sereno

Posted on 07/02/2012


New bike lanes on Huntington Drive in El Sereno

The city of Los Angeles Department of Transportation recently installed new bike lanes on Huntington Drive in the eastside L.A. neighborhood of El Sereno. The Huntington bike lanes are 2.1 miles long. They extend from Esmerelda Street (a couple blocks east of where Soto Street ends) to Maycrest Avenue. Maycrest is the intersection immediately west of the city of L.A. border with the city of Alhambra, about four blocks from where Huntington Drive enters the city of South Pasadena.

The Huntington bike lanes were approved in the city’s 2010 bike plan, though there they are listed from Monterey Road to “450′ east of Westmont Drive”, which is more-or-less where the current project ends at Maycrest Avenue. The city’s 5-Year Implementation Strategy approved prompt bike lane implementation on Huntington Drive from “Alhambra City Limit” to Collis Avenue. (The 5-Year document also shows a bike-friendly street from Soto to Collis – but this isn’t clear to me, unless it’s Huntington South, which doesn’t make too much sense either – I am not going to dwell on it here.) So, by going all the way to Esmerelda Street (west of both planned limits – Collis Avenue and Monterey Road) the city did a few extra blocks on the west end of the project.

Huntington Drive is a fairly wide street; I am pretty sure it’s an old streetcar right-of-way. Car drivers treat it as a sort of mini-freeway. In the commercial stretch from around Eastern Avenue to around Van Horne Avenue (where I think a median rail station probably was – that, and/or a former boulevard street with parallel frontage streets) it’s even wider. There are curb lanes that are, I’d guess 30-40-feet wide, used for diagonal parking (which needs, what, ~15-20 feet?) – lots of excess asphalt.

In that commercial stretch, there’s a huge buffer between the bike lane and the curb. I spotted some cyclists avoiding the actual striped bike lane and just riding in the massive buffer – probably because it’s further from the speeding cars in their lanes:

Cyclist riding in the huge buffer to the right of the westbound Huntington Drive bike lane, near Tampico Avenue

I suspect that Huntington Drive might have the dubious distinction of having either the city’s or the world’s largest buffer on a buffered bike lane. Any one out there know of buffers bigger than ~30 feet?

Though the new bike lanes are an improvement, all this space cries out for a more robust treatment in the long run. My guess would be something along the lines of massive sidewalks (with mini-parks, dining areas, maybe mercado stalls) and protected bike lanes.

During a brief visit last week, there were definitely a few folks using the new lanes, and also plenty of sidewalk cyclists, mostly in the commercial area:

Sidewalk cyclists on Huntington Drive

Thanks to Mayor Villaraigosa, City Councilmember Jose Huizar, and LADOT for putting in this very good new bike lane project. It’s already useful for commuters and locals, and hopefully, it can serve as a bit of a challenge to the cities of Alhambra and South Pasadena to extend the lanes further. Alhambra is undertaking a new bicycle master plan, and South Pas has implemented quite a few bike lanes… so, we’ll see.

Posted in: bike lane