One of L.A. County’s most dangerous streets gets a little safer with buffered new bike lanes on Fiji Way

Just quick update on last week’s item about pending bike lanes on Fiji Way in Marina del Rey.

A ride down to the South Bay yesterday morning showed that nothing had been done on the street beyond the preliminary markings that had gone down earlier.

Yet by the time I rode back a few hours and many miles later, the street had been transformed into, if not a cyclists’ paradise, a much safer and more inviting connection between the Santa Monica and South Bay bike trails.

And turned what has been one of the area’s busiest — and most dangerous — bicycling thoroughfares into something that promises to be significantly safer.

As you can see from the video, a bike lane has been installed on the west/southbound side of the roadway, and the much hated, and probably illegal restriction to ride single file — which is unsupported by anything in California law — has been painted over.

Moving down to the turnaround at the end of the street, near the connection to the Ballona Creek bikeway, the road narrows to a single lane, with painted separators keeping motorists away from riders. And hopefully, reducing the risk of right hook collisions.

Continuing around the turnaround to the north/eastbound side of the street reveals a road diet for most of its length to Admiralty Way.

It was unclear yesterday whether the reduced roadway was being striped for a buffered bike lane, or if the county was planning to allow curbside parking, which had previously been banned, with door-zone bike lane alongside.

But a quick conversation with a member of the county road crew confirmed that cyclists will now enjoy a wide curbside bike lane with a comfortable buffer to the left — separating riders from the high speed, and often confused, drivers who have traditionally frequented the area. And that work on re-striping the street should be finished today.

Fiji Way has long been the missing link in the Marvin Braude bike trail, the name given the full length of the bikeway connection Palos Verdes with Pacific Palisades

As well as one of the most dangerous streets for cyclists, with multiple near-daily collisions as drivers entered or exited driveways without looking for riders first — like this one. Or brushed past or rear-ended riders on the previously unmarked street.

This should go a long way towards reducing those collisions, making what had been a needlessly risky ride much safer.

And it’s a high-profile improvement that shows the county may really be committed to improving conditions for cyclists.

9 comments

  1. Scott H. says:

    Funny, I JUST rode this going the other way from Playa this morning. Love it.

  2. [...] this article: One of L.A. County's most dangerous streets gets a little safer with … This entry was posted in Blog Search and tagged bicycling, bike, markings, safer, south, [...]

  3. Your video is a good example of what I like to see, a bike lane that would fit within the tolerance for stress of most adult cyclists. A two-lane road with a median divider and a wide bike lane that has a significant buffer to separate the riders from the motorized traffic.

    Unprotected bike lanes can be useful, but unfortunately they are often applied on busy arterial streets where they are ineffective in lowering the stress to an acceptable level for most adult cyclists. If someone feels uncomfortable about riding on a street, then they simply won’t pedal there.

  4. [...] Fiji Way in Marina Del Rey Gets a Buffered Bike Lane (Biking In LA) [...]

  5. Jim K. says:

    When will the City of LA fulfill its promise to improve Washington Boulevard from where the Marvin Braude bike trail abruptly ends to where the bike path goes over the Venice canal? The Planning Department made that promise when it blocked finishing the Marvin Braude bike trail on the MdR peninsula in the LA Bike Plan.

  6. Eric W says:

    Ummm – looking at your vid on your new cam…

    I think county guys intent to (leave) put the parking on the right side of the bike lane. It’s forbidden to remove a possable parking space, you know! (and the Costal Commission will have something to say about access – there’s no parking anywhere near that section of the wetlands but street parking or paid lots.)

    I’ll ride over there tomorrow and see where the bike symbols end up. A really wide bike lane is frequently mistaken for a car travel lane by drivers, and is sometimes avoided in bike lane design. Sorry Dennis, this may not be an ideal street. It usually has a headwind anyway…

    Nicer camera work Ted.

    Eric W

  7. Wes Oishi says:

    I ride on Fiji a lot too. I am not sure how you came up with “most dangerous”. There have been a lot of crashes, but most are self-inflicted, from the R hand turn from Admiralty.

    • bikinginla says:

      I base that on the frequent collision report from the CHP and LACFD, as well as comments from county officials during discussion of the county bike plan. And you’re right, there are a lot of solo falls there, but left crosses and right hooks from vehicles turning into or out of the parking lots are also a problem.

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