4th Street Bicycle Boulevard Drawings – August 2009

I did this series of drawings to help with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition‘s campaign for creating a bicycle boulevard on 4th Street in Los Angeles. The LACBC campaign builds on earlier efforts for “4SBB.”

These images are definitely more illustration than fine art. The photos below are by Will Campbell. I did the drawings on tracing paper placed over printouts of the photos. These appeared at the Bicycle Coalition’s blog, but I figured that I’d post them here at my art blog, too. One of the tricks with drawings like these is to be specific enough to give people a sense for what is being proposed, but not so specific that they think they don’t have any input on the proposal… so they’re deliberately a little rough and drafty.

4th Street is already a bicycle route… which means relatively little – just some signs are posted. In the city’s current less-than-stellar proposed bike plan, it’s designated as a planned “Bike Friendly Street” which means it would be eligible for various treatments including traffic calming, bicycle boulevard, sharrows, etc. It is in the city’s planned pilot program to receive painted sharrows – or “shared lane markings.” I see sharrows as an inital step toward a future bicycle boulevard.

So… what’s a bicycle boulevard? If you’ve never heard of them, then I recommend watching this video to give you a feel for what bike boulevards are. Bike boulevards are relatively quiet streets that are shared by bicycles and bicycles (and, of course, pedestrians, too.) They often have some street treatments like traffic circles and/or traffic chokers/diverters that slow car traffic a bit, making it easier for cars and bikes to share the space. Sometimes bikes are allowed to continue straight through, while cars are forced to turn – that way cut-through traffic is reduced. They’re common in various places, including Palo Alto, Portland, and Berkeley. Today, there aren’t any examples that I am aware of in Southern California, but there are plans for one to implemented in early 2009 on Vista Street in Long Beach.

The overall 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard project would extend from Hoover Street (in the Lafayette Park neighborhood) to the end of 4th Street at Cochran Avenue (at Park La Brea.)

Here are the photos and drawings – it’s all a draft – for discussion – not any kind of final designs.

1) T-intersection at 4th and Westmoreland

EXISTING: 4th Street at Westmoreland Avenue, looking east

EXISTING: 4th Street at Westmoreland Avenue, looking east

PROPOSED 1 of 2: triangular mini-park diverting eastbound car traffic south onto Westmoreland

PROPOSED 1 of 2: triangular mini-park diverting eastbound car traffic south onto Westmoreland

PROPOSED 2 of 2: traffic circle

PROPOSED 2 of 2: traffic circle

2) 4-way intersection at 4th Street and New Hampshire Avenue. (Note: New Hampshire is also a potential bike boulevard, per the draft bike plan.)

EXISTING: 4th at New Hampshire, looking west

EXISTING: 4th at New Hampshire, looking west

PROPOSED: small roundabout

PROPOSED: small roundabout

3) Jogging 4-way intersection at 4th Street and Catalina Street.

EXISTING: 4th Street at Catalina, looking east

EXISTING: 4th Street at Catalina, looking east

PROPOSED: Close streets to through car traffic, create mini-park.

PROPOSED: Close streets to through car traffic, create mini-park. Peds and bike could continue straight. Eastbound car traffic on 4th would turn right (south) onto Catalina. Westbound car traffic would turn right (north) onto Catalina. Similarly car traffic on Catalina would be diverted onto 4th.

4) 4-way intersection at 4th Street and Normandie Avenue. Note one of the more common and effective tactics for an effective bicycle boulevard is to prevent traffic from entering the smaller street from major streets – such as is shown here.

EXISTING: 4th at Normandie, looking east

EXISTING: 4th at Normandie, looking east

PROPOSED: extend sidewalks to create diverter mini-parks. Car traffic could turn right onto Normandie, but no cars could turn from Normandie onto 4th.

PROPOSED: extend sidewalks to create diverter mini-parks. Car traffic could turn right onto Normandie, but no cars could turn from Normandie onto 4th. Bicycles and pedestrians could continue straight through.

5) 4-way intersection at 4th Street and Highland Avenue.

EXISTING: 4th at Highland, looking east

EXISTING: 4th at Highland, looking east

PROPOSED: Extend center median to prevent through car traffic, but allow bikes to pass through.

PROPOSED: Extend center median to prevent through car traffic, but allow bikes to pass through. Enhance bike and pedestrian crossings with a bike/ped signal.

If you’re interested in getting involved in the campaign, leave a comment below, and/or contact the LACBC.

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7 responses to “4th Street Bicycle Boulevard Drawings – August 2009

  1. Damn, being able to draw must be fun.

    This reminds me of Del Playa in Isla Vista (the small town by UCSB) – the street has blockades like this every couple of blocks to help bikes and pedestrians and prevent speeding from car drivers.

    • These are quick drawings… mostly tracing Will’s excellent photos. They’re intentionally rough, because they’re drafty ideas to generate discussion – not finished plans.

  2. Love these concept photos/drawings and, of course, the concept itself!

  3. Joe. your concept drawings are fantastic. I don’t know anything about this proposal, but I certainly hope it happens. What a great change for the city this would be. (By the way. Thanks for the link to my site.)

  4. Pingback: Good Magazine and 4th Street Bike Blvd! « LA County Bicycle Coalition www.la-bike.org

  5. Pingback: Re-imagining Delevan Elementary Area « Walk Eagle Rock

  6. Pingback: Turn 4th Street into a Bicycle Boulevard: Moving beyond sharrows | green LA girl

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