Union Street Protected Bike Lane

Pasadena is dedicated to creating a city where people can safely and comfortably get around by biking, walking, and riding transit. To achieve this, the City is embarking upon the final design for the construction of the City’s first two-way protected bike lane (also called a “cycle track”) on Union Street.

The Union Street Protected Bike Lane will be located between Hill Avenue and Arroyo Parkway and will provide dedicated space for bicyclists of all ages and abilities. The project will increase safety, comfort, and access for all users to local businesses and destinations along Union Street and throughout Pasadena. Below is a map of the project location.

Union Street Protected Bike Lane Project Map
Union Street Protected Bike Lane Project Map

Proposed Enhancements

Union Street at Holliston Avenue Today
Union Street at Holliston Avenue Today
Union Street at Holliston Avenue with proposed two-way Protected Bike Lane
Union Street at Holliston Avenue with proposed two-way Protected Bike Lane

Current Project Status - 90% Design

Since the last design workshop in May 2019 when the 60% design was presented to the public for review, project design has progressed to the current 90% design. This means that the project design is approaching finalization in the coming months to prepare for construction in 2021.

Due to current Safer at Home conditions, we are unable to meet in person to discuss the state of the project with all of you. Just as the current project design has evolved in response to previous public input, the current update to the project has evolved in response to the current Safer at Home conditions.

The below presentation videos, English and Spanish video transcripts, and updated project plan will reintroduce the project and discuss specific project features.

Comment period has ended. Thank you for your interest and participation.

Where We Are in the Process

May 2, 2019 - Design Workshop #2

The City held a second Community Workshop to share progress on the current 60% design and solicit further community input. Click the links below for presentation materials.

May 2, 2019 Design Workshop #2 Fact Sheet

May 2, 2019 Design Workshop #2 Presentation Boards

Comments and input received during and after the workshop are currently being reviewed. The project team will use this input to refine the current design. A further refined design will be presented at the next and final community workshop, tentatively scheduled for fall 2019.

May 9, 2018 - Design Workshop #1

On May 9, 2018, the City held a Community Workshop to reintroduce the Union Street Protected Bike Lane Project, share initial concept designs, and solicit community input. Interested in seeing the presentation? Click here.

At the Workshop, the project team shared initial concept designs that illustrate protected bike lanes on Union Street. Click the links below for the draft designs.

For the next step in the process, the project team will continue to refine the initial concept designs and develop a design for the full corridor. The City will hold additional community workshops as the design is further developed.

Tell Me More

Background

In the City’s 2015 Bicycle Transportation Action Plan, the Union Street corridor is identified as an important east-west connection and a candidate for a two-way Protected Bike Lane.

In 2016, the City Council approved a motion to move forward with designing a Protected Bike Lane on Union Street. In 2017, the City hired the DKS consultant team to develop engineering designs for the bikeway; this process is currently underway.

This project is also included in the Mobility Element of the 2015 Pasadena General plan.

What is a Protected Bike Lane?

A protected or separated bike lane is an exclusive bikeway facility, physically separated from motor vehicle traffic with barriers such as raised islands, planters, flexible posts, or on-street parking.

The Protected Bike Lane is separate and distinct from the sidewalk. A two-way Protected Bike Lane accommodates bicycle travel in both directions, with the two bike lanes positioned adjacent to each other on one side of the street.

Bicyclists in front of City Hall
Bicyclists in front of City Hall

Protected Bike Lane are the preferred bicycle facility on roads with speeds higher than 30MPH and traffic volumes higher than 6,000 vehicles per day, like Union Street. Protected Bike Lanes offer more protection from motor vehicle traffic than a traditional bike lane and are more attractive to a wider range of bicyclists.

Union Street Today

Today, Union Street is a one-way westbound street without bicycle facilities. The current traffic volumes are far below the street’s capacity, and this presents an opportunity to repurpose space to bicycles.

Union Street in the Future

The Union Street two-way Protected Bike Lane will be located on the south side of the street. The facility will serve the Playhouse District, the Central District, and Old Pasadena, and it will ease connections to Pasadena City College and Cal Tech. The Union Street Protected Bike Lane will connect to other designated bicycle routes, a new bicycle boulevard under design for Holliston Avenue, and the Metro Gold Line Station at Memorial Park.

The construction of the Protected Bike Lane will include:

  • Removing one travel lane on Union Street from Hill Avenue to North Arroyo Parkway
  • Upgrading 14 intersections with new bicycle signal heads in both directions
  • Installing protected left-turn pockets for vehicles
  • Adding new traffic signals at four unsignalized intersections

While the Union Street Protected Bike Lane is an exciting opportunity for Pasadena to provide a high-quality bicycle facility, there are some considerations in building the Protected Bike Lane. The design will include state of the practice safety treatments at driveways, parking garages, intersections, and other key locations along the Union Street corridor.

Bicycling Family in Pasadena
Bicycling Family in Pasadena

Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of frequently asked questions and responses about the Union Street Protected Bike Lane project. For more information, visit the City of Pasadena’s Safer Streets website at http://saferstreets.cityofpasadena.net/.

What is a protected bike lane?

A protected bike lane, also referred to as a cycle track or separated bike lane, is an exclusive bikeway facility, physically separated from motor vehicle traffic with barriers such as raised islands, planters, flexible posts, or on-street parking. The protected bike lane is separate and distinct from the sidewalk. A two-way protected bike lane accommodates bicycle travel in both directions, with the two bike lanes positioned adjacent to each other on one side of the street.

Protected bike lanes are the most appropriate bicycle facility for roads with speeds higher than 30MPH and traffic volumes higher than 6,000 vehicles per day, like Union Street. Protected bike lanes offer more protection from motor vehicle traffic than a traditional bike lane and are more attractive to a wider range of bicyclists. They also offer further separation from moving vehicles for pedestrians and reduce conflicts for drivers.

What is the history of the Union Street Protected Bike Lane project?

In the City’s 2015 Bicycle Transportation Action Plan, the Union Street corridor is identified as an important east-west connection and a candidate for a two-way protected bike lane. In 2016, the City Council approved a motion to move forward with designing a protected bike lane on Union Street. In 2017, the City hired the DKS consultant team to develop engineering designs for the bikeway; this process is currently underway. This project is also included in the Mobility Element of the 2015 Pasadena General Plan.

What will Union Street be like with the protected bike lane?

The Union Street two-way protected bike lane will be located on the south side of the street. The facility will provide residents, employees, and visitors to the Playhouse District, the Central District, and Old Pasadena. The protected bike lane will provide bicyclists with a safe place to ride; may encourage more people to consider biking as a way of traveling to and from destinations along Union Street; and will ease connections to Pasadena City College and Caltech. The Union Street protected bike lane will connect to other designated bicycle routes, a new bicycle boulevard under design for Holliston Avenue, and the Metro Gold Line Station at Memorial Park.

The construction of the protected bike lane will include:

  • Reconfiguring travel lanes on Union Street from Hill Avenue to North Arroyo Parkway to provide safer space for all road users
  • Upgrading 14 intersections with new bicycle signal heads in both directions
  • Installing protected left-turn pockets for vehicles
  • Adding new traffic signals at four unsignalized intersections

The Union Street protected bike lane is an exciting opportunity for Pasadena to provide a high-quality bicycle facility. In order to create the safest possible street for all users, additional considerations in building the protected bike lane include safe, state-of-the-practice treatments at driveways, parking garages, intersections, and other key locations along the Union Street corridor.

What is the project timeline?

The Union Street Protected Bike Lane project is currently in the early phases of concept design. Additional community workshops will be held as the design is further developed. The final design is anticipated to be complete by late 2020, and construction is anticipated to begin in 2021.

What effect could the protected bike lane have on Union Street businesses?

When new bicycle lanes are proposed, a question that is commonly asked is how the bicycle lanes will affect nearby businesses. Researchers are currently studying this topic; however, many site-specific factors come into play in evaluating these relationships, and a definitive answer to the effects of bicycle lanes on businesses has not been established.

That being said, a 2013 paper titled Consumer Behavior and Travel Choices: A Focus on Cyclists and Pedestrians, by Clifton, et al., stated:

The findings [in the paper] support the notion that customers that arrive by modes other than the automobile are competitive consumers, spending similar amounts or more, on average, than their counterparts using automobiles. They are also more frequent patrons on average, presenting perhaps a unique marketing opportunity for these businesses (page 17).

Some businesses take advantage of being near bicycle facilities by creating and participating in a bicycle friendly business program that encourages bicycling by their employees and customers through incentives or coupons. More information about “Bicycle Friendly Business Programs” can be found on the League of American Bicyclists website: https://bikeleague.org/business