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What's Your Take on Mission Street Bike Lanes?

What type of bike lanes do you think would best fit Mission Street?

Monday we shared South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce's Facebook status about bike lanes on Mission Street with our Patch Facebook followers:

Our Transportation Manager [Dennis Woods] informs me that on Mission Street the approved Bicycle Master Plan calls for painting a wide green stripe in the travel lane with sharrows [shared roadway bicycle markings].

There is insufficient width on Mission Street to install a Class II green [bike] lane without losing parking, so the alternative of a green stripe with sharrows was approved.

Sharrows are the symbol painted on the pavement that included the bicycle logo with chevrons as depicted in the YouTube video [attached].

The Public Works Department is currently looking at the costs and other related issues before installation.

Here's what our followers had to say. What do you think?

  • Ellen La Scola: Uh, that looks really, really bad.make the cars park somewhere else and put in a real bike lane! 
  • Adroit Primate: Can we enforce speed limits, too? 
  • South Pasadena Patch: ‎Ellen La Scola, Do you bike ride often in town? Do you think bike lanes are safer? 
  • Ellen La Scola: I do bike ride all the time in town - I am from Sacramento which is full of bike lanes on nearly every street, and yes they are safer. I was very surprised by the lack of bike lanes when I moved here.
  • Adroit Primate I am a new resident, too, and was very surprised by how bike unfriendly this town is. Which is pretty ridiculous considering South Pasadena is approx. 3 1/2 square miles.

For more information: 

Click here to read about Monterey Road bike lanes.

Click here to read about Grand Avenue bike lanes.

Click here for the Bicycle Master Plan

Karen Bachand November 29, 2011 at 03:12 PM
I am very concerned about what the bike lanes will do to our Mission St. merchants. It is hard enough to drive and park on Mission St. now. What does the committee reviewing the Mission St. specific plan have to say about this? I had an accident on Marengo which was directly the result of the bike lane. The other driver was confused when it was first put in and tried to drive in it. She hit two cars, one of them being mine.
spidra November 29, 2011 at 03:47 PM
If a driver doesn't understand how a bike lane works, that's not the fault of the bike lane, that's the fault of an uneducated driver who probably shouldn't have been issued a license by the DMV. It's no more the fault of the bike lane than a driver driving straight in a right-turn-only lane is the "fault" of the right-turn-only lane.
spidra November 29, 2011 at 03:58 PM
Despite Mr. Krinock's feelings, bicycles are legally entitled to ride on the road, even "main streets". In fact, horses & buggies are too. http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21050.htm It would probably do Mission Street a load of good to have such vehicles upon it in greater numbers as many of the drivers on that street routinely go 15 - 20 mph greater than the speed limit. (Although that's a problem on many residential side streets as well. Greater enforcement of traffic laws for all road users including cyclists is needed throughout our town.) I'm in favor of a green lane as I feel it increases people's awareness of cyclists on the street. As for the parking situation on Mission, I'd love to see the Chamber doing more to promote shopping via the Mission St. station at Metro for out-of-towners and via bicycles for locals. Providing discounts for people who show their Metro stub or bike racks for cycling customers would be examples of this. It would cut down the car congestion (both parking and driving), cut down on pollution, and probably make things more pleasant in the neighborhood due to fewer road rage incidents.
Janet Cartwright November 29, 2011 at 04:32 PM
What is next, you will learn proper grammar and punctuation?
Janet Cartwright November 29, 2011 at 04:34 PM
Heaven forbid we should become more "continental." Go to Europe, bikes and cars all get along..
alex November 29, 2011 at 04:49 PM
Telling cyclists to stay off of main roads and to bike in a gym is not a solution to our city's transportation issues. Contrary to what some may think, bikes, like cars, are actually used by many as a means of transportation, not just for exercise. We need to move beyond the "cars vs bikes" mentality that is so pervasive here in LA County. Whether in a car or a bike, we are all people who are trying to get to our destinations. Developing infrastructure that supports different modes of transit will make life easier for everyone. Sharrows on Mission would be inexpensive (compared to other options) and a great help. The street is used frequently during rush hour by commuters heading towards Mission Station, as well as by kids and their parents heading to Arroyo Vista. The sharrow would give a buffer zone for cyclists when they are present, without closing off any lanes for cars.
jacksprat November 29, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Not to get off the subject...but what I would like to see is the city of South Pasadena pave some of these horrible roads. If you've ever been on a bike, scooter or motorcycle, you'll find yourself zigzagging around all those potholes
S. Ray November 29, 2011 at 05:30 PM
The problem with Mission Street is that it is not wide enough for the main arterial through town that it is supposed to be. I know that there are those who would question whether it is supposed to be a main arterial, but that issue was long ago decided with the Mission Street Specific Plan. Bike lanes will further narrow the available width of the street and increase traffic. Add the traffic caused by the train crossing at Meridian, and you have a real problem, which will drive traffic away from Mission Street and hurt the merchants. Why not put the bicycle lanes on the less trafficked El Centro, which parallels Mission Street, and leave Mission for cars and pedestrians? This would be particularly beneficial since El Centro has a gentler slope than Mission past Prospect, and it would therefore be safer. Then, those who want to take their bikes on the train, and they are many, will still have access to the Mission Street station via the El Centro side, and the traffic on Mission will not be impacted.
Justin Robertson November 29, 2011 at 05:40 PM
Paint and sharrows are a good start. But if they're going to work as designed, they need the support of everyone who uses Mission Street. The rules of the road can work equally well for everyone, as long as everyone abides by them -- even motorists. I give So Pas drivers credit, though. I think they're smart and kind and thoughtful enough to realize that sharing the road benefits everyone. That's because they know that streets are for moving *people*, not cars, as best we can. Our streets should work for all users, regardless of what many traffic engineers and department heads were taught in the 1970s. The way some commenters so easily dismiss our friends and neighbors, all of whom contribute to the infrastructure we share, is unfortunate and sad. (Motorists, if you think the gas tax entitles you to the roads more than others, dig this: it only covers about 35% of road costs. The rest comes from taxes nearly everyone pays.) Our moms and dads, sons and daughters, grandmas and grandpas all use our streets in lots of different ways. Some drive, some bike, some walk, some ride public transit. Some, like me, choose all of the above. Some for work, some for pleasure. The accessibility of the Mission/Meridian neighborhood is a major reason why I spend so much time and money in South Pasadena, instead of somewhere else. I doubt I'm alone. I think it's great that the city's committed to making South Pasadena an even better place for everyone to enjoy. Keep up the good work!
Angelo Luchi November 29, 2011 at 05:45 PM
It's very scary riding my bike on main roads in South Pas & Pasadena. I used to do it in Seattle and the only fear I had was people turning right and not looking (or car doors opening). Here, I've had things thrown at me, I've been shouted at, and have had people swerve at me for fun. Some serious bicycle awareness needs to happen for some of the drivers in this area. Maybe even a critical mass http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_Mass , which they held in Seattle religiously.
Dr. Bill Sherman November 29, 2011 at 05:57 PM
I am an avid bike rider and I stay off Mission. I ride on El Centro. There is much less traffic. It just is safer. Dr. Bill Sherman
Andy Krinock November 29, 2011 at 07:03 PM
I knoe the rules, I didn't say that bicycles are not legal or allowed on streets. I have never seen a bicycle obey a stop sign and stop, perhaps they should obey all rules.
spidra November 29, 2011 at 07:16 PM
Everyone on the road should obey the rules. Thus my call above for greater enforcement of traffic laws for all road users - drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, joggers, etc. I'm an advocate for changing our existing law to the Idaho stop, but we must obey the law as it is, not as we wish it were. http://bikeportland.org/2009/01/14/idaho-stop-law-faq-13387 I'm sorry you personally have never seen a cyclist stop at a stop sign. I stop at them. Often, while I'm stopping at them, I see some drivers who don't come to a full stop or don't signal their turns or other infractions. However, I do not generalize those actions to all drivers and say that all car drivers don't deserve roads and ought to do their driving at an indoor track.
Kristen Lepore (Editor) November 29, 2011 at 07:54 PM
Per South Pas Transportation Manager Dennis Woods: "The green stripe has proved to be very successful in Long Beach and from what has been reported, the business vitality of in Belmont Shores has improved with the installation of the green stripe with sharrows. This feature will again put our tiny and homey little town on the map for improving mobility in a manner that retains and reinforces the small town atmosphere while offering opportunities to improve health through exercise. It allows the city to meet a variety of goals within the existing R.O.W. We are also working on increasing and improving bicycle parking facilities in the City."
Matthew Theisen November 29, 2011 at 10:38 PM
@Angelo: I've biked quite a bit in & around SoPas without any harassment. Maybe you have had bad luck in which motorists you've shared the road with? Also, it never hurts to be courteous and predictable on the road. It turns out there are some better streets to bike on. Avoid Fair Oaks, Fremont & Orange Grove if you can. Go for Arroyo Blvd, Marengo, Garfield, Del Mar and even Mission is OK off peak hours. @Krinock: As others have pointed out, better bike infrastructure is better and safer for all road users including cars. Before you dismiss bicycling as a mode of transportation think about this: wouldn't you like to be able to ride your bike outside once in a while? Many in LA would, but feel that the roads are dangerous for bikes, which, unless you are careful and experienced, I would agree with.
TRT November 29, 2011 at 11:31 PM
Janet, I would like to add to your comment. Based on my observations, in most of the Europe the bikers are protected in a more logical/safe way. Bike lanes are physically placed away from the car traffic where it is feasible but where it is not feasible, the traffic lanes are clearly marked and the bikers must travel against the direction of the car traffic. Riding against the traffic keeps the biker aware of the oncoming traffic rather than trying to guess and/or try to see the traffic behind him/her. More importantly, the car drivers in Europe are extremely well educated about the bike lines and the riders' rights. I hope to see that DMV will reverse the direction of the travel for the bikers soon. I have rode in Europe and believe me, I feel a lot more safer there than riding here.
TRT November 29, 2011 at 11:57 PM
Kristen, Transportation Manager's comment reminds me of the City staff’s comments about the Fair Oaks project and the new bulb-outs because we were told that the bulb-outs were also successful at other cities! Hope that this bike lane project does not turn out to be another fiasco. I must state that I am for the bicycle riders and their safety to make my alliance clear. Like others commented, why not promote the bike lanes along El Centro where in my opinion, the traffic is calmer? :)
Marvion November 30, 2011 at 02:37 AM
Better, and safer yet! Require those who use these bike lanes, be it cyclists, joggers, or horses. To have insurance equal to, or nearly alike that of the motorists who may cross their paths. No exemptions allowed!
V December 01, 2011 at 12:31 AM
This is mainly for any merchants but for other as well who feel that a bike friendly environment (bike lane/sharrows, etc.) are detrimental for business. I live in a nearby city. I'm a bicyclist as well a driver. I can tell you that before I took up cycling, it is very rare if ever that I would stop by any business in S. Pasadena due to the difficulty of finding parking. Frankly, its a lot easier to head straight for other bigger cities for a cup of coffee. So. Pasadena has some wonderful coffee shops and stores, but I never knew of them until I starting riding my bike over. These days, more often than not, when the coffee bug hits, I rather ride my bike to a So. Pasadena coffee house or bakery on Mission St. than hassle with the car. The smell and feeling of the street makes it more inviting. Installing bike lanes, sharrows or anything else to make the city more bike friendly is definitely a plus. Maybe, just maybe that competitor for your parking spot may like me, decide to take up biking. Hey, that means a open parking for you.
Mari Lohr December 01, 2011 at 03:17 AM
I have noticed an increase of cyclists of all types riding along Mission Street. In the last 2 months, I have had near accidents with cyclists either going the opposite direction of the traffic or just doing reckless cycling such as riding on sidewalks with pedestrians. While the South Pasadena Bike Plan is on it's way for completion in 20 years, there should be an interim plan to educate both cyclists and motorist about sharing the road. This would include "bike pools" for elementary schools that already have bike lanes. Have mom or dad ride their bikes with their kids to school instead of driving them in traffic and trying to find a spot to park and find their kids. Provide bike mechanics to fix kids bikes at elementary schools for free. I bet there will be adults that will line up too. Give ample bike wracks/space for bicycles. Be aware South Pasadena City of Transportation, that while the bike plan is still in the works, it doesn't prevent the number of people to cycle where ever and how ever they want. A cyclist must follow the same rules as a motorist.
Mari Lohr December 01, 2011 at 03:44 AM
Andy - South Pasadena is small enough to walk through in one day. Maybe "no one walks in LA" but in South Pasadena we can. Even though the construction on Fair Oaks is finished, traffic congestion still exists there. It is also as worse on Mission Street. The reason many are out of business on Fair Oaks is because there is no foot traffic where as there is on Mission Street. Business is busy when Farmer's Market comes on Thursday. Shops are open later and they take their merchandise on the sidewalks for display. Walk, cycle, scooter around South Pasadena. You'll get to Trader Joe's faster and not have to fight for a parking space. You ask how do you take your merchandise home? Carry it, there are also carriers for bikes or wear a back pack. Leave your car at home and shop locally. Don't add to the traffic congestion especially when you are local. You get exercise that way. That's your gym!
Mari Lohr December 01, 2011 at 03:53 AM
As I mentioned to Andy, a business will thrive when there is foot traffic and or cyclists. During a typical business day, one person gets out of their parked cars on Mission Street. So if Mission Street is full of parked cars at hours at a time, how do other shoppers get to the stores? Imagine, if you will, bike wracks for cyclists. Buster's has an area where cyclists can park their bikes in the back. Ask them how their business is going. Do you know why South Pasadena's Farmer's Market on Thursdays are busy? Because more people get there by foot or bicycles. Parking your car with only 2 passengers doesn't make a business grow. Anyway - where do you park during Farmer's Market? And when you do find parking, you usually walk by Mission Street shops to get to where you need to go. This is how a business thrives - foot traffic... not congestion and car traffic.
Mari Lohr December 01, 2011 at 04:05 AM
I agree. However, people will still cycle Mission Street. Case in point, Santa Monica Blvd. in Santa Monica is a busy street but people still cycle on that street. They may know that just a couple blocks away is a bike path that parallels that busy street but it's still a path to bike on. Both motorists and cyclists need to learn to share the lane. Both motorists and cyclists need traffic education. You can recommend a better route but to close it to certain types of transportation on certain streets is chaos.
Betty Jean December 12, 2011 at 08:09 PM
It is MIND BOGGLING to me that anyone would suggest adding more traffic of any kind to El Centro St. As someone who actually lives on El Centro St I have seen the drastic changes of this street. People speeding 45 mph or more, running stop signs, and a general lack of common sense while driving in the neighborhoods from Pasadena Ave all the way down to Fremont. People cut through the neighborhoods to get too the 110 fwy, Mission St or Trader Joe's because of the the decisions by the geniuses at Metro and City Hall who close Pasadena Ave at Monterey have created drivers with ZERO regard for ANYONE! That would absolutely include people riding bikes. I see it everyday. There are far more blind spots on El Centro for both auto and bikes compared to Mission. They have already painted some bike lanes on parts of El Centro and I won't be surprise if one day someone is hit be a car. The real problem is traffic and controlling that traffic that inundates this part of the city 24/7. The police know about the problem but the city REFUSES to see it because THEY DON'T CARE! Once we get a hold of the traffic problem then I believe bicyclist will finally have a pleasant a SAFE place to ride.
spidra March 20, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Here's a video about Long Beach's Bike-Friendly Business program. I think a program like this would be *great* in South Pasadena! http://youtu.be/zEYlfd-xGGs
Ron Rosen March 21, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Did you see this article in the LA Times last week? It talks about how the green color of those bike lanes is a problem for the film industry. It would be a pity if the bike lanes drove movie companies out of South Pasadena. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-ed-bikelane-20120214,0,3633276.story
Mindy B March 21, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Case in point: http://admin.longbeach.gov/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=22785
Mindy B March 21, 2012 at 04:01 AM
For once disagree with Ron on something. Green stripes up the street could save the lives of bicyclists, losing a film shoot from time to time cause they can't shoot the asphalt is a small price to pay. Word in the industry is that South Pasadena charges so little for film shoots that they don't make much anyway. If worse came to worse a bicycle painted every ten feet or so with good signage could suffice, I'm not sure the racing stripe up the entire road is the only solution. If it were I still think its worth the small cost to the film industry!
spidra March 21, 2012 at 06:51 AM
I think it's possible to look at the plan and make amendments to it as needed. I think South Pasadena should certainly learn from LA's experience with the green lane. They used a plastic application instead of paint so it's been peeling and will cost a lot of money to replace. I think that as long as film permit revenue fairly recompenses the city and South Pasadena citizens for the inconveniences that come with filming, it's good to have filming in the city. It certainly helps keep film/TV filming in town rather than filming in Vancouver. I'd like to see bike advocates and transportation planners meeting with people in the industry (especially industry people who bike) to come up with a reasonable compromise that accommodates industry needs while also accommodating the need for better multi-modal infrastructure in our town. The copious amount of Mexican fan palms in our town also keeps some film productions from being able to use us (South Pas can't double for the Midwest or Northeast if there are a bunch of palms in frame) yet it didn't stop more fan palms from being planted in front of Comerica Bank... But, please, check out the video link I posted above. I think it points the way to how making a town more bikeable and walkable can help local business and create a more neighborly neighborhood.
spidra April 09, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Another example of how encouraging bicycle and pedestrian traffic leads to a rise in business for small businesses. http://eecbglosangeles.org/2012/03/20/peddler-power/ "“Having just 100 people go by your shop on a bike or by foot is significantly better than 1,000 speeding by in their cars,” said Bolt Barbers founder Matt Berman, who is better known as Mohawk Matt. But that weekend, they got 100,000 people walking and biking on the street outside. “The exposure we get from events like CicLAvia is crucially important,” he said."

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