The header for the Western District’s website this quarter features a photo of the Harbor Drive Gateway and Cycle Track project in Southern California. The following is an article written by Rock Miller regarding this project.
Harbor Drive Gateway and Cycle Track: How a Bikeway Transformed a Community
Written By: Rock Miller, PE
A popular shared-use trail runs along the Southern California Coastline from Santa Monica to Palos Verdes, about 20 miles. Most of the trail is built on beach sand, and it is heavily used during summer and in the perennially good weather with cooling sea breezes. A short southerly section of the route connected the City of Hermosa Beach to the Redondo Beach Pier with about one mile of traditional bicycle lanes along a four-lane road. The change in design from oceanfront trail to bike lanes discouraged many potential users who simply turned around at the City Limit. Others rode bicycles on the sidewalk or erratically to avoid the need to cross to and from the inland side.
Redondo Beach became committed to improving the link that would better connect their commercial pier area to potential bicycle users. The City conceived a project to narrow Harbor Drive and provide space for a European-style cycle track to provide a more-friendly connection. The City had already raised enough funding to construct a temporary facility that would have used striping and plastic delineators, but decided that a more permanent facility should be developed. The project should use design features and styles that would enhance the resort and recreational corridor for residents and visitors. The City proceeded to locate supplemental funding and constructed the Harbor Drive cycle track for opening for the summer of 2015. Stantec Consulting was responsible for the project design and provided assistance during construction.
The project included several notable design features, including bicycle indications that eliminate turn conflicts with automobiles at traffic signals, distinctive green colored pavement, a small welcome park at the city boundary, reverse angle parking on a side street, and streetscape features. The total construction cost for the project approached $5 million, which included pavement rehabilitation.
The project has been extremely successful in meeting goals. It has become one of the most heavily used bikeways adjacent to a street in Southern California, with estimated weekend daily flows of near 5000 bicycle users, and it has helped to activate some public areas north of the City pier. It has become a popular example of good design to the regional bicycling community, and it has received numerous accolades and awards. The City has taken pride in the results and enjoyed unexpected benefits, including increased development activity along the corridor and greater participation in bicycling by residents and visitors alike.