Pathtastic! Newly Discovered Bike/Ped Access In Burbank

In the past Burbank’s given me a couple big opportunities to balk at how that city’s done bicyclists wrong. The first time was major in the mid-2000s when its council responded to resident outcry that more bikes would somehow equal more traffic and more crime and roundly rejected what had been an already approved and funded route plan connecting the LA River Bikeway with the Chandler Boulevard Bikeway. The second was a couple years ago when Burbank political and law enforcement officials overly sympathized with a noisy contingent of Chandler Bikeway pedestrians who demanded that police officers should have nothing better to do than devote their limited resources to speed-trapping and citing all of us speeddemon cyclists who imperil the pedestrians’ entitled (and in some cases: irresponsible) use of the bikeway.

But on a trip to Burbank and back by bike this week, I have nothing to say but “Bravo!” to that burg after I chanced to discover an unheralded and entirely unmarked bike/pedestrian path that was so brand-spanking new it had to have only been recently completed. Paralleling the Burbank Western Channel between Alameda Avenue and Victory Boulevard, it’s short and sweet at barely a quarter-mile in length, but it provides a serene off-street shortcut connection between the two busy thoroughfares that not only serves cyclists passing through but also the residents of the neighborhood to the north of the channel.

Here’s hoping it’s the first of more to come.

UPDATE (1.24): I received an email from Cory Wilkerson, an assistant transportation planner for Burbank, who confirmed that more indeed is to come. He wrote, “We are planning to extend the pathway to the Burbank Metrolink Station, Top Priority Project #8 in our Bike Plan. The project was funded through Metro’s Call for Project and constrcution is schedule for FY 2015.”

After the jump you can find an annotated and embiggenable Google Map screengrab of the path’s location along with two timelapse clips of rides on the segment, the first traveling from Victory to Alameda and the second coming back from Alameda to Victory.

17 thoughts on “Pathtastic! Newly Discovered Bike/Ped Access In Burbank”

  1. I live a half-block from the Chandler bike path. It’s a wonderful local resource, but cyclists blowing through intersections is a serious problem. I don’t expect folk to stop and walk their bike through across the street (as the signage says they must), but they do need to be better aware of vehicles crossing the path.

    1. No argument from me there, Doran. Cyclist disregard for everyone’s safety is just as serious as any pedestrian walking a dog on a long leash stretched across the entire bikeway like a tripwire. While I’ve never walked my bike across those Chandler Bikeway crossings I certainly yield the right of way and when I think the coast is clear I make triply sure it is before proceeding.

  2. Nice! I’m in the Marina where there are tons and tons of bike paths but there aren’t many in the Valley, so you’re right, bravo.

    1. Fawn, A few years ago I’d completely agree with you about the dearth of bike paths in the valley, but thanks to some recent projects there’s been a substantial increase in the level of bikeability out there. Certainly the Chandler and Orange Line bikeways are the marquee additions, which together can essentially get you from Burbank to Woodland Hills and back almost entirely off-street. If you’re not familiar with them you should totally go check them out.

  3. I went on a weekend and in a 20 minute window, I saw 2 dogwalkers, a smoker, and 2 bicyclists. This morning, in 15 minutes, I saw 5 adult women walking, 3 teen girls walking, plus maintenance crews. That path is getting some good traffic.

    1. And I think that traffic will only increase, especially among those residents adjacent to it. The path brings new life to the streets that previously dead-ended into the channel.

    1. Todd, at this point this section stands alone and doesn’t continue beyond Alameda or Victory. I couldn’t find anything that indicates a proposal/plan for its extension and there would be a lot of bridges to cross (literally and figuratively) in order for that the happen. So at this point one can only hope that city officials recognize the worth of growing the path in both directions along the channel, further up into Burbank and down to the LA River and its bikeway.

  4. I always more amazed how we don’t plant trees along these bikeways. Don’t the planners get it? News flash for are local officials and planners. It gets hot in Southern California and trees would provide the shade needed to make these paths more inviting.

    1. Paul, I think it’s a danged-if-you-do/don’t situation. Trees would be a great addition, but as they grow and mature their root systems could impact not only the path, but compromise the channel wall.

  5. Great to see new paths. Sad that no one in California can design a proper urban bike path. Any path that is going to have significant numbers of both walkers and bike riders should clearly separate and delineate by more than just a line. This trail doesn’t even do that. This is not so that bikers can go faster, but so that walkers can have a pleasant walk without constant worry about getting slammed and seriously injured by a large speeding metal object. The actuality and potential for these injuries reduces the number and diversity of people willing and able to use the trail.

    1. I’m always appreciative of a critical eye and BC’s is no exception. I can’t speak for the city of Burbank, but from my perspective they did pretty much the best with what they had. Certainly based on my experiences on the Chandler Bikeway and the Braude Bikeway along the beach, separations between bike and ped sections — be it a painted line, or a curb — are regularly ignored by the peds.

      1. I agree, I think the problem is that the “shared use path” has become the standard when we really should have dual use, double paths. Shared use sounds so friendly, but it is really maddening when on a bike, and dangerous for both. I know someone who was seriously injured on their very first ride on the Orange Line path when they came upon a group a pedestrians and in trying to avoid them crashed into another bike. The Orange Line had so much space available that they could have had the best possible design, but I don’t think anyone here knows what that is. I think the key would be that the walking path/right of way would have to be wide enough that 2 or 3 people could walk side by side (6 feet?), and a two-way bike path alone should be at least 12 feet wide. And they should have different paving treatments, such as bricks for the walk path and asphalt for the bike path, with painted icons (and maybe warning text) indicating which is which, repeated every so often. And then this could be reproduced (standardized?) around the region so that everyone knows this type of path is for biking, and this other type is for walking. This is basically what you have in the countries with the best biking and walking infrastructure.

        1. And yeah, that would cost more, so maybe some less costly version. But you have to design these things for a lot more use, so that they can build upon success. Right now, our off street bike paths are attracting people despite their design, not because of it. When more people start to use the path, than others start to drop off of using it.

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