Here's what a bike lane in Highland Park looks like on Tuesdays, trash pickup day. Is something wrong here? City Hall stripes the street with bike lanes. City Hall requires garbage cans, the black, the blue and the green, to be put on the street by 6 a.m. for pickup. City Hall bans people from putting their garbage cans in the middle of traffic, for good reason.
But bikes are traffic, and a bike lane is a traffic lane. So City Hall is violating rules set by City Hall, or at least is making it impossible for others to follow the law safely. There have been many conversations about street use, road sharing, bike lanes and the like, but there is at least one conversation, apparently, that did not happen: Where are people supposed to put their garbage cans when the street has no room for them but in the bike lane? Where are cyclists supposed to ride when the lane is blocked with garbage cans?
Cyclists, of course, must join car traffic in order to keep moving, and drivers are becoming used to expecting that cyclists will be in the new bike lanes. Some cyclists I know tell me to take a breath, that they have it all under control, but I can't help but think that it's an accident waiting to happen. Especially on Tuesday mornings on Avenue 50, where some parents are walking their kids to Aldama Elementary School, and some are dropping them off by car, not always safely, not always patiently, and not always with sufficient attention on all traffic, bike and car, as they pull U-turns in order to be be on the Aldama side of the street. And by the way, on non-trash days, the cars back up, motorcyclists behind them get impatient, and they look for a clear path forward. In the bike lane, of course. Someone is going to get hurt here.
There are two issues. One is the city's ability to coordinate its many functions. It can't be easy simultaneously running a police department, libraries, trash collection, permit fees, parking tickets and a hundred other functions, but still -- residents, taxpayers, cyclists and drivers have every right to expect their government to think before acting, and to let all street users know what their rights and responsibilities ought to be -- or better yet, bring them all together so they can work out for themselves what their rights and responsibilities ought to be. That's the mayor's job.
And the other issue: roadblocks in bike lanes. There are garbage cans. What else is there, and what ought to be done about it?
Send us your video, whether from your bike-mounted GoPro, your hand-held from the sidewalk, your smartphone from your (safely parked) car, of bike lane roadblocks. We'll go through them, pick out the ones that are most interesting, maybe splice them together and present them on latimes.com/roadshare. And have a conversation with our readers about them.
This should go without saying, but it doesn't, so we will say it:
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This post is part of an ongoing conversation to explore how the city’s cyclists, drivers and pedestrians share and compete for road space, and to consider policy choices that keep people safe and traffic flowing. For more: latimes.com/roadshare and #roadshareLA.