As part of the Fiscal Year 2015-2016 budget, the City Council amended the 5-Year Capital Improvement Program to include a project for the Department of Public Works to design and construct bicycle lanes along Fairfax Avenue between Fountain Avenue and Willoughby Avenue.
BACKGROUND ON THE PROJECT
On February 18, 2015, the West Hollywood Transportation Commission unanimously recommended to the City Council to make installation of bicycle lanes on Fountain Avenue a priority implementation project. This was in follow up to the City of Los Angeles’ recent installation of new bicycle lanes on Fairfax Avenue between Hollywood Boulevard and Fountain Avenue. At this time, the Department of Public Works has developed a conceptual layout for Fairfax Avenue for establishment of the bicycle lanes.
The following exhibits show the current lane configurations for Fairfax Avenue. The roadway has a posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour. Traffic counts were conducted during the last week of September 2015. The Average Daily Traffic (ADT) for the roadway is 29,600 vehicles per day. The average daily bicycle volume is 375 bicycles per day.
Fountain Avenue to Norton Avenue
From Fountain Avenue to Norton Avenue, the roadway currently consists of two through traffic lanes in each direction with a two-way center left turn lane. There is unmetered on-street parking on both sides of the street.
Norton Avenue to Santa Monica Blvd.
From Norton Avenue to Santa Monica Blvd., the roadway configuration has two through lanes in each direction. However there are back-to-back left turn pockets in the center of the roadway and metered on-street parking on both sides of the street. In the northbound direction, there is a bus stop along the frontage of Whole Foods Market. At the intersection of Fairfax Avenue/Norton Avenue, the crosswalk for pedestrians traveling in the east-west direction needs upgrades for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as it currently conflicts with a commercial driveway on the east side of the street.
Santa Monica Blvd and Willoughby Avenue
From Santa Monica Blvd to Willoughby Avenue, the roadway currently consists of three through traffic lanes in each direction and a planted center median island. There is metered on-street parking on both sides of the street.
PROPOSED BIKE LANE
The following exhibits show the proposed roadway configuration, with inclusion of the bicycle lane. Based on the posted 35 mile per hour speed limit, national design standards require a marked bicycle lane to have a minimum width of 6 feet. To reduce hazards to bicyclists from swinging doors, the parking lane has been designated as 8 feet wide.
Fountain Avenue to Norton Avenue
The section of Fairfax Avenue from Fountain Avenue to Norton Avenue is too narrow to add the bicycle lane without making a change to the lane configuration on the roadway. In order to retain the on-street parking, the center two-way left turn lane is recommended for removal. The left turn pocket at the intersection approaches to Fountain Avenue and Norton Avenue would be retained. The land use along this portion of Fairfax Avenue is primarily multi-unit residential. The 900 foot spacing between the traffic signals at Fountain Avenue and Norton Avenue creates a situation where there are gaps in traffic flow, allowing for left turning vehicles to make left turns in and out of the residential driveways. With removal of the two-way left turn lane, this operation is not anticipated to change.
Norton Avenue to Santa Monica Boulevard
The section of Fairfax Avenue from Norton Avenue to Santa Monica Blvd. is slightly wider than the roadway segment to the north. For this block there is adequate roadway width to implement a marked bicycle lane while keeping the back-to-back left turn pockets, and keeping the metered on-street parking.
Santa Monica Boulevard and Willoughby Avenue
The section of Fairfax Avenue from Santa Monica Blvd. to Willoughby Avenue is recommended for marked buffered bicycle lanes, in place of the 3rd through traffic lanes. All planted median islands, left turn lanes, and metered on-street parking will be retained. Fairfax Avenue only has three traffic lanes between Santa Monica Blvd. and Melrose Avenue. All other portions of Fairfax Avenue have two through traffic lanes. Essentially the 3rd traffic lanes are surplus capacity for a limited distance, which are recommended to be swapped for the marked bicycle lanes.
The proposed bicycle lanes on the roadway segment of Fairfax Avenue between Fountain Avenue and Santa Monica Blvd will be implemented in the spring of 2016, in coordination with construction of a roadway resurfacing project.
The portion of Fairfax Avenue between Fountain Avenue and Santa Monica Blvd was last resurfaced 21 years ago, in 1994. With the proposed resurfacing work, the substandard crosswalk at the intersection of Fairfax Avenue/Norton Avenue will be realigned and a new access ramp will be installed on the east side of the street, removing the conflict between the crosswalk and a commercial driveway. The southbound Cityline bus stop will be moved closer to Norton Avenue. Additionally, obsolete driveway aprons and red curb markings on the east and west sides of Fairfax, near Norton Avenue will be reconfigured to add four new on-street metered parking spaces. These four new metered on-street parking spaces will help to relieve the congested parking for patrons of the nearby US Post Office.
The portion of Fairfax Avenue between Santa Monica Blvd and Willoughby Avenue is in excellent condition, having been paved 5 years ago. Because this southern portion of the bicycle lane involves mainly conversion of the 3rd traffic lane, rather than re-alignment of all the roadway markings, the implementation can be done with minimal removal of existing markings, and without repaving the roadway segment.
COORDINATION WITH THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES
The Engineering Division has been in contact with the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) to coordinate continuation of the proposed bicycle lane south of Willoughby Avenue, extending to at least Melrose Avenue. The LA City Neighborhood Council for District No.5 is supportive of bicycle lanes for this segment, and LADOT has begun designing their segment of Fairfax Avenue. They are planning to continue implementing the same buffered bicycle lane design as proposed by West Hollywood. LADOT has expressed an interest in coordinating the construction so their segment of bicycle lane on Fairfax Avenue will be implemented simultaneous to the installation of the bicycle lane in West Hollywood.
For additional information regarding the Fairfax Avenue Bike Lane Project, please contact Sharon Perlstein, City Engineer at 323-848-6375.