Adding bike lanes would worsen traffic, reduce parking spaces for residents, according to city’s study
At their first post-election meeting on Monday night, City Council will try to tackle one of the campaign season’s true hot-button topics — bike lanes on Fountain Ave.
Councilmembers will be presented with the study they asked for in 2021 on how feasible the idea is. The study lays out three options for integrating bike lanes, two of which would require the removal of two lanes of traffic from the four-lane road. The thought of an even narrower, more congested Fountain Ave. horrified residents who live along it, as well as WeHoans citywide who regularly drive it.
Former Councilmember John Duran broke the story to the public in a WEHOville opinion piece and made his opposition to the plan a central part of his campaign platform.
Fountain Ave. runs 1.9 miles through West Hollywood and currently provides what is known as a Class 3 bicycle route, having no dedicated or marked bike lanes, but allowing bicycles to use the vehicular lanes. The road carries up to 37,000 vehicles through West Hollywood per day — Councilmember John Erickson memorably referred to it as a “death trap” during an April 2022 Council meeting.
Eighty percent of its sidewalks are substandard, according to federal ADA standards. Any improvements to Fountain Ave. would trigger a legal requirement to widen the sidewalks to comply with those standards, which require at least 36 inches of a clear path of travel for pedestrians and people with disabilities.
The study notes that changes to Fountain Ave. would force up to 40 percent of the street’s traffic onto nearby Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards, prolonging rush hour congestion.
ALTERNATIVE ONE: Protected Bike Lanes
This plan calls for 7 to 8 feet of space for the bike lanes, as well as barriers that separate them from vehicular traffic
PROS: Best protection for bicyclists, greatest overall safety upgrades, sidewalks brought up to standard
CONS: Loss of between 150 and 190 on-street parking spaces on one side of Fountain Avenue
ALTERNATIVE TWO: Striped bike lanes
Alternative Two gives the bike lanes 5 to 6 feet of width, but no barriers.
PROS: Less disruptive than Alternative One, some sidewalks brought up to standard
CONS: Loss of between 35 and 40 parking spaces
ALTERNATIVE THREE: Leave Fountain Ave as is
If Council decides to proceed with Alternatives One or Two, city staff and the consultants on the project will produce detailed construction plans and provide cost estimates. If those are approved, the city will test the bike lanes as a temporary project.
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