Winnetka Avenue bike lanes between Devonshire and Nordhoff streets are set to open in June, city transportation officials told the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council on Wednesday.
The 1.2 miles of new lanes, which won Council support, are part of the 2010 Bicycle Plan, said Tim Fremaux, a transportation engineer with the city’s bikeways section.
Fremaux assured the Council, and an estimated one dozen attending the monthly meeting in the library of , that reducing the number of car lanes will not impede traffic on Winnetka Avenue.
“Traffic volumes will be easily handled,” he said.
The maximum capacity is 800 cars per lane and the city’s traffic count was 1,100 total for both lanes during peak hours, resulting in fewer than the 1,600 total capacity of both lanes.
The Winnetka bike lanes will serve the Chatsworth train station and are expected to increase bicycle usage when the begins operation in June.
The purpose of the 2010 Plan is to increase, improve and enhance bicycling as a safe, healthy and enjoyable means of transportation and recreation, according to the city’s website.
The Plan attempts to make every street a safe place to ride a bicycle and to transform Los Angeles into a bicycle-friendly community.
Council member Jelena Csanyi said the new bike lane is a terrific addition, but then proceeded to chastise bike riders who run through stop signs and red lights.
“Something needs to be done about them,” Csanyi said. “The police can’t catch them, because they don’t know who they are.”
Glenn Bailey, vice chair of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, said the new lanes will make Winnetka Avenue safer for cyclists. Bailey, an avid cyclist, agreed those who break the laws should be cited.
Chatsworth resident, Pedrum Parto, cycles Winnetka Avenue to work on Ventura Boulevard.
“The scariest place to ride is going north on Winnetka at Nordhoff Street,” Parto said.
Steven Kitzes, also a Chatsworth resident, rode his bicycle to the meeting. Kitzes said cycling is a feasible transportation alternative, and he does his shopping and visiting friends that way.
“Cycling is viable, but not (always) safe, and we should take steps to make it safe,” he said. “The issue is providing safety for cyclists.”
Jesse Fuller peddles from his Chatsworth home near Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Chatsworth Street to his job at Nordhoff and Corbin streets.
He even sold his car recently to further his commitment to cycling.
“Winnetka is quiet (unlike other streets). When I heard about the bike lanes, I said, ‘Hallelujah’,” Fuller said.
Councilmember Matt Weintraub, also an avid cyclist, said the new lanes on Winnetka Avenue are a win for the cyclists, and a win for the businesses along the avenue, without impeding automobile traffic.
The Council had a heavy agenda, and ended without completing all of its business.
It did, however, discuss a potential park on the southwest corner of De Soto Avenue and Chatsworth Street and voted to write a letter in support to city officials.
The city’s Recreation and Park Division wants to buy the land using $1.8 million in Proposition K funds.
Currently, there are two vacant lots and a run-down house on the corner property.
The house is not a registered landmark, Councilmember Linda van der Valk said.
Van der Valk said the park would be a “pocket park,” which means there will be benches but no restrooms or sports facilities.
Councilmember Vicki Briskman said she was concerned about using taxpayer money to “bail out” a property owner and the corner poses a safety issue because of the heavy nearby traffic.
In other action:
- The Council voted unanimously to allocate $1,000 for a board member retreat to discuss what they want to see for Chatsworth’s future.
- The Council unanimously voted to support a city’s motion to prepare a report for the overview of all city-owned equine areas.
- Out of the 20 council members in attendance--Justin Weiss was absent--three members opposed sending a letter to the city endorsing a state law allowing property owners to voluntarily limit smoking in apartments and condominiums.
- $400 was approved for advertising at the and on the Chatsworth Chamber website. Three members abstained.