Reviews Are in for L.A.'s First Bike-Friendly Street

At under a mile, L.A.'s first official "bike-friendly street" isn't going to transform the commuting habits of many Angelenos. Nevertheless, as an example of the city's new attitude to bicycling, recent improvements to Yucca Street are worth noting.
September 24, 2012, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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The LA Weekly's resident critic of all transportation non-automotive, Alissa Walker, reviews the changes that have transformed Yucca Street, as it runs through Hollywood, from "a good street for biking into a great one."

While not a part of city's ambitious 2010 Bicycle Plan, Yucca Street already boasted traffic diverting elements to keep motorists from using it as a shortcut, thus making it the ideal "low-hanging fruit" for creating the city's first official "bike-friendly street."

So while the $200,000 in improvements (including street repairs) didn't transform the street, they're certainly welcome upgrades for cyclists. "In addition to "sharrows" (those painted bike icons on the asphalt), the curbs at each diverter (the median-like strips sticking into the intersection to divert cars) had been cut into paths just wide enough for a bike," explains Walker. "A sign above each diverter amends the 'Right Turn Only' message to autos with an 'Except Bicycles' disclaimer." 

"This detail might not be obvious to a driver, so new signage signals to everyone that Yucca is different. Small green bike icons have been affixed to the top of each Yucca street sign, a massive aesthetic improvement over the 'Bike Route' signs you see on most streets, which are usually tacked like an afterthought in places that are easy for drivers (and bikers) to miss."

"It's a tiny gesture, yes," says Walker, "but it's the equivalent of the red carpet to a cyclist in L.A., where we have so little 'bikes only' real estate."

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Published on Friday, September 21, 2012 in LA Weekly
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