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.