Pasadena's First Two-Way Protected Bike Lane in the Spotlight at Public Meeting Tonight

Published : Thursday, May 2, 2019 | 5:51 AM

A project which has slowly been pedaling through funding and design stages will be at center stage tonight when Pasadena’s Department of Transportation hosts a public meeting to gather input from residents to guide finalizing the plan.

The Thursday night City Hall meeting will be from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Training Room S018 at Pasadena City Hall, 100 North Garfield Avenue.

The bike lane project is currently in the “early phases” of concept design. It was first discussed as the City in 2015 as the City developed its overall Bicycle Transportation Action Plan. The Union Street corridor was identified as an important east-west connection and a strong candidate for a two-way protected bike lane.

The City Council approved a motion to move forward with designing the protected bike lane in 2016. The consulting firm of DKS Associates, was then hired to develop engineering designs for the bikeway.

Union Street is currently a one-way westbound street without bicycle facilities. The two-way protected bike lane will be located on the south side of the street, from the South Arroyo Parkway intersection to South Hill Avenue. The protected bike lane project is also included in the Mobility Element of the 2015 Pasadena General Plan.

The protected bike lane, unlike previous painted lanes, will be an exclusive bikeway facility— distinct and separate from the sidewalk—physically separated from motor vehicle traffic with barriers like raised islands, planters, flex posts, and on-street parking. Parked cars actually protect cyclists from traffic.

According to Transportation Department data, a protected bike lane is the preferred bikeway on streets like Union, with speeds higher than 30 miles per hour and traffic volumes of more than 6,000 vehicles per day. Since current traffic volumes on Union Street are far below the street’s capacity, the City determined the location “presents an opportunity to repurpose space and accommodate more people riding bicycles.”

Once completed, the bike lane will serve the Playhouse District, the Central District, and Old Pasadena, and should ease connections to Pasadena City College and Caltech.

The Union Street Bike Lane will also connect to other designated bicycle routes, a new bicycle boulevard under design for Holliston Avenue, and the Metro Gold Line Station at Memorial Park.

According to the Transportation Department, construction of the Protected Bike Lane will include removing one travel lane on Union Street from Hill Avenue to the Arroyo Parkway, upgrading 14 intersections with new bicycle signal heads in both directions, installing protected left-turn pockets for vehicles, and adding new traffic signals at four unsignalized intersections.

The design should include state-of-the-practice safety treatments at driveways, parking garages, intersections, and other key locations along the Union Street corridor.

As the project continues, the project team will use the concept designs and relevant public feedback to develop a preliminary design for the full corridor, according to the Transportation Department. The City plans to hold additional community workshops, following Thursday’s public meeting, as the design is further developed.

The League of American Bicyclists’ website,, also offers more information about bicycle-friendly business programs.

The final design on the Union Street Protected Bike Lane project is anticipated to be completed by late 2019 or early 2020, and construction could begin in 2021, the Transportation Department said.

Any questions regarding the meeting or any request for accommodation may be directed to Donson Liu, Associate Transportation Engineer, at (626) 744-7672, or by emailing

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