Breaking news: bike lanes come to Beverly Hills

Looking east from just past Rexford Drive

Looking east from just past Rexford Drive

Okay, so it wasn’t a total surprise.

Recent news reports had indicated Beverly Hills would be installing their first bike lanes over the next week or so.

So when I saw temporary no parkings signs on Burton Way on my way to CicLAvia on Sunday, I assumed something was in the works.

Since a meeting of the LACBC’s Civic Engagement committee meant I had to ride through Beverly Hills on my way to Downtown LA Tuesday evening, I made a point of taking Burton Way just to check it out.

And sure enough, as soon as I passed Rexford Drive, after surviving the relative terror that is Little Santa Monica at rush hour, there it was. A sparking, capacious new bike lane — so new, in fact, that other riders were taking to the sidewalk in apparent disbelief of what was right there on the street in front of them.

And who could blame them?

Beverly Hills had long earned its moniker as the Biking Black Hole for being the only city in the area without a single inch of bikeway.

Until today.

Maybe we should call them the Biking Grey Hole now. Especially since the new lanes, along with bike lanes and sharrows due to go in on Crescent Drive, are only being installed on a one-year trial basis.

Still, the lanes felt good, more than wide enough to ride two abreast. And the eastbound lanes connected with the lanes on the Los Angeles section of the street, allowing a smooth, comfortable ride from Rexford to San Vicente.

With the slight downhill, I found myself easily riding at 29 mph; previously, I would have held my speed down for fear of traffic conflicts.

Although I might question the placement of sharrows where the bike lanes end to allow right turn lanes on some of the major streets. While they are placed according to standards in the center of the right through lane, few cyclists are likely to ride there, as there is more than enough room to ride next to vehicular traffic in the few feet before the traffic light.

Looking back at Beverly Hills City Hall, which suddenly looks just a little bike-friendlier.

Looking back at Beverly Hills City Hall, which suddenly looks just a little bike-friendlier.

At least, that’s where I rode, since stopped traffic blocked access to the center of the lane, anyway.

On the ride home, the westbound lanes skipped a block between where the L.A. lanes end just at Doheny, and the Beverly Hills lanes picked up a block later.

After all this time, it seems like a minor miracle that Beverly Hills finally has bike lanes. And maybe a warning sign of the apocalypse.

And of course, they installed bike lanes on one of the streets in Beverly Hills that doesn’t need them, since it was more than wide enough to ride outside of the traffic lane as it was.

But still. They’re actually here.

We all owe a round of thanks to Mark Elliot of Better Bike, who has been leading an almost single-handed, and finally successful. fight for cyclists in the Biking Grey Hole.

Which could take a little getting used to.

7 comments

  1. Allan says:

    I’ll have to ride that to check it out. Speaking of BH infrastructure, I was shown a very good route heading towards LADT from the westside from a friend of mine I was riding with once. I can’t resist to share with everyone :-) You can check it out following the link here. http://tinyurl.com/voiding-the-BH-deathzone It’s not as indirect as the route above, but pretty freaking chilled at night, and it sends you directly to the 4th street route.

    • bikinginla says:

      Funny, that looks like exactly the route I usually use through Beverly Hills. And you’re right, it’s a pretty stress-free route any time of day. Even at rush hour, it’s a lot less hectic than the major streets a block or two away.

      • Allan says:

        Oh good heavens!!!! I left out an “a” in my link!

        Yeah that route I posted should be marked with at least sharrows on it. It’s a great route and helps riders avoid the nasties. Also BH could do wonders making bike infrastructure much like Belmont Shores has on little SM Blvd. there. It would slow up traffic, which would be good for all, and make the spot more of a tourist destination.

        Yeah before I was always taking SM Blvd and also Wilshire to get east. No thanks mannnnn!!!!!!

  2. Zacko says:

    The east-west problem through Beverly Hills is that you can play dominos with all the stop signs.

  3. Jason says:

    And here it is, the entire stretch stretch that is the newly painted Burton Way. http://youtu.be/WfDPs65lNQA

  4. paul livingston says:

    Kudos to Mark Elliot for helping to get those lanes put into place, which, in essence, is a monumental move in the right direction for Beverly Hills.
    But these lanes really should have been implemented on Santa Monica since the West Hollywood bike lanes end at Doheney and Santa Monica and don’t start back up until S Beverly Glenn Blvd.
    Mainly since there’s tons of free space (basically a semi-park situation) on the north side of Santa Monica bordering Beverly Hills neighborhoods.
    So now if you’re going from east to west on Santa Monica you’ve got to go south on Doheney for 3 sketchy blocks to get to Burton Way just so you can get to the next bike lane?
    That makes no sense at all.
    You may as well just cross Doheney and take Carmelita which is right there and frankly way more scenic and chill than Burton Way ever will be, even with bike lanes.
    I remember being at a couple of Beverly Hills city transportation meetings with Mark and being perplexed as to why Santa Monica wasn’t the obvious solution.
    I still don’t understand.
    But I guess just the fact that bike lanes have been implemented in Beverly Hills at all is a step in the right direction.

    • bikinginla says:

      My understanding, through Mark, is that the RFP for the remake of Santa Monica Blvd calls for bike lanes to be considered in the new design. Not the same as saying they will be included, but again, a tentative step in the right direction.

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