Column: Bike lanes could be coming to PCH, and you can help decide what they look like

Cyclists may soon be able to travel from the traffic circle to the LA River.

Column: Bike lanes could be coming to PCH, and you can help decide what they look like
A man rides a bike along Pacific Coast Highway at Lemon Avenue Wednesday, May 22, 2024. Despite being a designated bike route, the six-lane street does not have any bike infrastructure. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Caltrans is considering adding bike lanes to a stretch of Pacific Coast Highway through Long Beach from the traffic circle to the Los Angeles River. A survey asks residents to tell the agency what type of bike lanes (protected or not) they should build.

Three alternatives have been proposed, with two providing physical protection for cyclists either through bollards similar to our bike lanes on Broadway and elsewhere, or by building extended sidewalks for bikes and pedestrians. The third option would only provide painted bike lanes next to vehicle traffic.

You can fill out this survey to tell Caltrans which option you would prefer.

The project apparently began in 2022, according to Benjamin Medina, Senior Transportation Planner with Caltrans District 7, but is still in the “project initiation phase.”

“Development of the Caltrans Active Transportation Plan for District 7 (LA and Ventura County) identified PCH as a corridor needing pedestrian and bike improvements,” Medina said in an email.

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You can read and interact with the District 7 plan here.

Unfortunately, these changes aren’t coming to fruition anytime soon. Right now they are only gathering public input to help decide what could eventually be built along Pacific Coast Highway.

“This [initiation] phase is scheduled to finalize and close this summer,” Medina said. “The following phase will be the environmental document review, and after that will be the design phase.”

The project is likely to move forward with choosing contractors by 2027, so it will be at least three years before construction can begin.

But hey, progress is progress. Medina also said that Caltrans is building these because of Long Beach’s 2016 Bicycle Master Plan (which you can read here), which asked for bike lanes on PCH.

The city can’t do any modification to state roads without Caltrans approval, but it only took eight years to get them on board. Now, in just a few more, we might actually have a safe bike route through central Long Beach.

Jake Gotta was laid off on March 22, yet he continues to cover Long Beach with the Watchdog for free. Thank him for his work.