Local

Will separated bike lanes become a thing in the 'most bicycle friendly city in America'?

A bike lane in Long Beach.
A bike lane in Long Beach.
Photograph by Brad Davis via Flickr Creative Commons

As part of its dream to become the "most bicycle friendly city in America," Long Beach is considering separated bike lanes — if they go over well with residents.

At the most recent First Friday event in Bixby Knolls, city officials converted an existing parking lane on Atlantic Blvd. and into a temporary bike lane. They also moved the parking lane to the travel lane for the experiment.

It's not the first time Long Beach officials have erected a pop-up bike lane. They previously tried one in Cambodia Town. According to city planner Ira Brown, the city received "great feedback."

"Residents much prefer to ride in a dedicated lane where they are separated from car traffic," Brown says. "We find that people who drive cars also like to know where cyclists are going to be. We see this as a win-win situation."

Will Long Beach residents agree?

Separated bike lanes are part of the city's push to update its bicycle plan master plan. The previous bicycle plan master plan was adopted in 2001. The focus in the new plan is to get casual riders out on the streets, according to Brown: "We want to find out from our residents what type of bike facilities they want to encourage them to ride more."

Long Beach isn't the only city exploring this option. The city of Los Angeles wants to establish protected bike lanes along Spring and Main streets  in downtown. The bike lanes would run behind street-parked cars, allowing for a barrier between vehicles and bike riders.

In Long Beach, the goal is to complete community outreach on this issue by the end of summer and then develop proposals that can be sent to the city council.

We take our bike facilities very seriously," Brown says. "We are developing a culture of biking in Long Beach."