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Confusion Surrounding Bike Lanes in Northridge Exemplifies LADOT's Need for Better Public Outreach

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Up in the Northwest Valley, 1.2 miles of a city street are slated to get a bicycle lane in each direction. For cyclists and some residents, it's welcome news, for others it's not. But for either side of the issue, the problem was that no one knew, even cyclists who closely monitor the progress of bicycle infrastructure, about it until pre-striping markings were painted on the street earlier this month. And that brand of sudden change can freak people out, setting them on an opposition war path.

"Nobody, not the Bicycle Advisory Committee, not the neighborhood council, or anyone else that I've spoken had any advance knowledge of any of this," said Glenn Bailey, the committee's president and who is in support of the lanes, but not for the lack of communication from the L.A. Department of Transportation (LADOT).

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The L.A. Bureau of Street Services last month resurfaced Wilbur Avenue between Nordhoff and Lassen near the campus of Cal State Northridge. When it came time for LADOT they took a new approach to the street instead of using the old striping pattern. Before it was basically two lanes in each direction with selective left turn pockets throughout. Now the plan is to have one lane in each direction, a bicycle lane one each side and a mix of a two-way turn lanes and left turn pockets.