Where your candidates stand on Fountain Ave. bike lanes

We asked all 12 City Council candidates the same question:

What are your thoughts on Fountain Ave. bike lanes? Do you support the removal of parking lanes to carve out bike lanes? 

These are the unedited responses we received:

The proposed changes for Fountain Avenue come from years of study and listening to community calls for improvements. With the number of traffic collisions, injuries, property destructions, and deaths in this area, these upgrades are a high priority for public safety.

I am supportive of Option #1 which will widen sidewalks, add trees, and create a protective barrier between the bike lane and vehicular traffic. As someone who has dared to ride a bicycle along this stretch, I have felt like I am taking my own life into my hands and risking the safety of those in vehicles as well. This is untenable. Despite incredible year-round weather, LA is the “Worst Bike City in America”, with more cyclist deaths than any other city. We need to create space for everyone to move through our community safely and efficiently. 

A survey found 1 in 4 Angelenos would quit their job because of the commute – a serious commitment to not suffering in traffic. We know hours spent in traffic take time from families and it’s often service workers unable to afford to live in the areas they work who suffer the most. First responder times are challenged by traffic congestion too. Mental and physical health are impacted by congested streets which influence air and noise pollution. Given demands on cities to meaningfully address climate change, our traffic crisis should be squarely in focus. 

More than 50% of commuters travel 3 miles or less and even more travel around 5 miles. Of course, not all of these commuters would opt for a bicycle – but many would. Bike-commuting has more than doubled in the last two decades despite failures to build proper infrastructure and e-bikes outpaced the sale of electric cars with consumers opting for the more cost and energy-efficient option. CicLAvia has beckoned people from all walks into the streets to reclaim the freedom – and joy – of moving through the region any other way than in a vehicle. This movement must be supported. 

Around the world, Cities are pushing advanced policies to transform the commuting experience and address climate change, including issuing grants for bicycles, creating safe storage facilities, and building hundreds of miles of protected bike lanes.

For the critical reasons of equity, mental/physical health, and safety, it’s time West Hollywood joins the ranks of world-class cities around the globe and paves the way forward with improvements to Fountain. 

John Duran ignited the public debate of Fountain Ave. bike lanes in this extended opinion piece.

I live right off of Fountain, and I’ve spoken to my neighbors, and we absolutely cannot remove parking spots from Fountain Avenue. Parking is already so tough in our neighborhood, and removing those spots would only make it worse. I understand that we want to be a greener city. I want us to be more environmentally friendly as well. But there aren’t enough alternative transportation options available to justify removing parking spots in the city, especially on Fountain Avenue. Residents who work in offices that require them to dress up in work clothing don’t have the ability to take a bike to work, even if their office is nearby. 

Additionally, Both the west and east ends of Fountain pose some significant challenges. On the west side, Fountain stops at La Cienega, and your choices are to either go up an incredibly steep hill, or down an incredibly steep hill. Not to mention that it is a very fast, busy intersection. The risk of vehicular/bicycle accidents will skyrocket, and a collision at that intersection on La Cienega could be deadly.

On the east side, once Fountain gets to La Brea, the street dramatically narrows, and is already only one lane of traffic in each direction. The ability to have a bicycle lane plus one lane of traffic each way would require removing all of the parking on both sides of the street. On top of that, it’s outside of the jurisdiction of West Hollywood, and we can’t install, or force the City of LA to continue the bike lanes. 

I think if we are going to create more bike lanes for the city, we should consider looking at extending the bike lanes down Santa Monica Blvd. Currently, they run from Beverly Hills through West Hollywood until Flores St, by the Gelson’s. It’s much more practical to extend the already-existing bike lanes. It would allow for a much longer distance to travel by bicycle, and there’s a much higher likelihood that the path could continue to go even further east, beyond West Hollywood and into LA. 

Fountain Avenue is a disaster and has been for a very long time. It’s nearly impossible to turn left without a light, the sidewalks are too narrow, and drivers are reckless. I don’t bike, but I’ve heard so many cyclists stress how unsafe they feel traveling down the road.

There is no question this road needs to be fixed. Additionally, improved pedestrian and cyclist access are essential to making West Hollywood a greener city. The challenge is that 64 percent of cars on Fountain (according to City data) are commuters passing through West Hollywood. If we reduce the number of lanes, these commuters will resort to driving down another West Hollywood street to get where they’re going. Moving traffic around does not reduce it – it simply creates more congestion elsewhere. 

I am happy that the City has invited the community to be a part of the discussion and agree with the WEHOville commenters who have suggested we try temporary measures to evaluate the effects on traffic congestion. While I’m not convinced the proposed reconfigurations are the answer to our concerns, there are residents that support this idea, so let’s hear them out or keep innovating other ways to make Fountain safer and make WeHo greener.

Reserving one lane of Fountain in each direction for people on bicycles could serve the dual purpose of also reducing the current high traffic speeds along Fountain and making the street safer for the neighborhood. Fountain is a residential street, not a highway, but speeds through the area are often estimated to be as high as 60 miles per hour. My first home in West Hollywood was on Fountain by Ogden and I am very intimate with the situation on Fountain. The current layout encourages commuters from all over Los Angeles to abandon nearby Sunset and Santa Monica , and reroute through the Fountain neighborhood where they can increase their speed, resulting in more traffic accidents and threatening the safety of Fountain residents. Additional bike Infrastructure is badly needed and slower streets are safer streets. 

I have serious concerns about the proposal. I live at the intersection of Fountain and La Cienega. Reducing parking on Fountain will be a significant challenge for residents on Fountain, some of whom do not have on-site parking. In addition, this proposal will likely lead to further traffic congestion at rush hour. During the evening rush hour, parking is not permitted on the south side of Fountain. This enables two lanes of traffic to head east bound. If that parking lane is replaced with a bike lane, it is difficult to see how east bound traffic will be able to move. While I support the creation of bike lanes, we should be looking at doing this on streets which will not create dangers for cyclists and which will not cause significant adverse impacts on residents.

While I’m very supportive of protected bikeways and exploring avenues to make traffic safer for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers – what matters is where we are going to put them. 

Fountain Avenue is a major thoroughfare for drivers across the city carrying about 37,000 vehicles per day. Protected bike lanes would institute a road diet, shaving the number of lanes available for cars on the street. This proposal would not only lead to slower vehicular traffic on Fountain and more gridlock – but it would also divert traffic to our residential streets and make other already congested thoroughfares even worse. 

Bike lanes would also eliminate crucial parking spaces for local residents in a high density area where parking is already difficult.

These are major issues that should continue to be discussed and examined before moving forward with this project.

While proponents of the Fountain Avenue project may have good intentions, the reality is that traffic and cars aren’t going anywhere yet and it’s premature and even unsafe to enact policies that pretend they don’t exist. 

One of the main complaints about West Hollywood city government and the City Council is that they don’t do enough outreach to listen to residents and stakeholder input before implementing major decisions. Prior to any major undertaking, especially involving transportation, the City Council should highlight the need for real community input, neighborhood discussions, traffic studies and environmental impact reports.

The Council has made abrupt decisions in the past and enacted feel-good policies without absorbing or analyzing feedback from the community they are there to represent. We need leaders focused on solving problems, not creating more of them.

The Brown Act prevents West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister from commenting on matters currently before City Council outside of their official meetings.

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Charlie
Charlie
1 month ago

This proposal is absolute nonsense. LA is not Amsterdam and causing increased gridlock is not going to make LA or WeHo into Amsterdam. I’m all for people being able to ride bicycles in cities. The answer though is not to cause a nightmare on a major east/west traffic corridor and make parking for its residents impossible. If we want to make bike riding a feasible alternative, then create a master plan for cyclists with routes through low-traffic residential streets. Romaine, Willoughby, Waring… cut out the parking on one of these streets to create a dedicated bike lane and then create… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Charlie
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[…] on Fountain Ave, which is stirring up a number of opposition amongst drivers in West Hollywood — and at least some of the city council candidates.Okay, possibly request is a greater phrase.Inform the Metropolis of West Hollywood you need […]

Award Winning Weho
Award Winning Weho
1 month ago

The simple answer is that Fountain Ave. has not been properly maintained in a reasonable schedule. The city was more interested in beautifying SMB with Medians than doing both simultaneously. All for show as usual with the city. “We win an award for our medians”. Aren’t we special? Rather to be special than be safe.

Bad Scooter
Bad Scooter
1 month ago

Speaking on behalf of the Bad Scooter community, Fountain is perfect the way it is. The narrow sidewalk is very convenient for us. We are concerned that if that path is widened, we’ll be faced with more pedestrians careening down the sidewalk at 2 mph impeding our battery powered mobility.

Eli
Eli
1 month ago

I also think that SM Blvd needs to be reconfigured. I can’t tell you how many times drivers cut me off, door knocked me, and parked so terribly that they’ve taken up valuable space on designated bike lanes. Parking enforcement never cared to ticket them when clearly they’re parking incorrectly – but G-d forbid one forgets to turn their wheels correctly when parking in Weho, that ticket is $60+. I know cause I’ve paid several of those ridiculous tickets over the years. If the focus is encouraging folks to ride, then SM Blvd and Willoughby are great options. If the… Read more »

Eli
Eli
1 month ago

I’m a daily cyclist and reside on Fountain Avenue. While I’d love to have protected bike lanes on Fountain, it simply doesn’t make sense at all. Fountain is windy and steep at certain points which doesn’t make it conducive for cyclists. It’s never been great to use Fountain on a bike to get across town – Willoughby has always been what we choose to ride on. While it’s tricky to ride on Willoughby, the terrain is flat, so it feels a lot safer than Fountain. For those who bring up the successful infrastructure in the Netherlands & Copenhagen, their roads… Read more »

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago
Reply to  Eli

Those Fountain residents who would lose their street parking would compete with those of us who live on the cross-streets to Fountain. So I will have to compete for parking where I live on Hacienda Place with the people who had parked on Fountain. Olive and Kings Rd. and every street east would have a dramatic decrease in available parking spaces in order to accommodate those Fountain residents. I would imagine the owners of the buildings on Fountain may have to decrease their rents to new tenants because fewer people are going to want to live there with the parking… Read more »

Joe Bologna
Joe Bologna
1 month ago

We need more car lanes on Fountain.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

I like the idea.

🙂

MG Havenhurst Drive
MG Havenhurst Drive
1 month ago

No vote on anyone supporting this. It’s like taking a freeway and eliminating 2 lanes. It’s not Amsterdam!

Rich Truscott
Rich Truscott
1 month ago

Funny thing, Amsterdam use to have gridlock that was worse than Manhattan and worse in the world. It takes real measure not these half measure to enact change. It is indeed about creating a lot of alterative transportation infrastructure and fast, not slow with a little here and there. That slow and little approach doesn’t make anything happen and makes everyone think it is bad to do more. Little Obamacare vs Universal Health Care. Fix the root and the rest will follow, like Amsterdam.

Rich Truscott
Rich Truscott
1 month ago

I think the lack of innovation of the planning of this project is to blame. I hear what people are saying and there are merits on both sides with alternative ways to get what both sides want. Let’s be less binary! The best answers tend to be somewhere in the middle or around confronting sides. Points made that need to be considered: 1.) Cannot reduce parking. (Currently a problem & neither plan fix it nor can you just add parking to current structures.) 2.) It is a residential street with needs a noise/traffic/smog reduction. 3.) Major residential roads are best… Read more »

Rich Truscott
Rich Truscott
1 month ago
Reply to  Rich Truscott

There’s most to type but ill just halt there. My idea to save space would be to make the bike path/lanes at side walk level (they are redoing these and adding greenery so it’s a PERFECT time to do something different. Also, you could put both lanes on one side to save the need for 2 protected areas between parking and the path/lane. The bikes wouldn’t be in the gutter. Could put them adjacent to the sidewalk (no need for a space) then the green improvements as planned next to the curb. It could keep all 100% of the parking… Read more »

Logical Solution
Logical Solution
1 month ago
Reply to  Rich Truscott

Thanks for attempting to follow and convolute my concise premise. 🙄
Wordy ideas often go off track.

Rich Truscott
Rich Truscott
1 month ago

I had not read your comment actually. I just meant to convey, there’s multiple things to consider, and having 2 new plans out means there is normally little to no wiggle room for others. They need to go back to the drawing board. Look at Norway, Minneapolis, Seattle, etc. There are many different ways to make bike ways. These are literally copies of the only ways other parts of LA County goes about them. It’s is ineffective as the last decade has show, just half unimaginative measures, and makes everyone unhappy. It took me 2 hours to come up with… Read more »

Problem Solving
Problem Solving
1 month ago

The chief requirement for the role of City Council Member is to be equipped with the tools for problem solving in issues that normally occur in a municipality. A resume including instances which demonstrate the candidate’s abilities regarding specific issues and problems would be necessary. Wishes, hopes, speculations and personal agendas are not helpful neither are interests in attempting to reshape the city to align with their personal identities. One can’t be all things to all people but what is possible is the ability to share respect and respectful dialogue among disparate individuals. Having West Hollywood “the dog” wagged by… Read more »

Rich Truscott
Rich Truscott
1 month ago

Comment deleted.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rich Truscott
911
911
1 month ago

What does the fire department think of being stuck in this single lane traffic jam?

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