Two years ago, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and a host of city officials stood at the podium announcing a new day for cyclists in Los Angeles. Today, he was back in the same place, at the same time, to announce that the city is making progress.
“CicLAvia’s success and the breakneck pace of bikeway construction demonstrate that L.A. has removed its training wheels,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “The synergy of public support and infrastructure investment has put L.A. at the front of the transit pack.”
To date, LADOT has installed 123 miles of new bikeways, at a rate of 61 miles every 12 months. This is nearly 8 times the rate of the previous 40 years. In fiscal year 2011-2012 L.A. installed 76 miles of bike facilities. Two thirds of the way through fiscal year 2012-2013 they’ve already added another 39 miles. This pace of installation includes 97 miles of bike lanes, 4 miles of bike paths, 21 miles of sharrows, and 1 mile of bicycle-friendly streets.
“I am ecstatic that the City is continuing on a path to complete 40 miles of bike lanes per year,” said Councilman Bill Rosendahl. “We are seeing first hand how The Bike Plan is dramatically improving the City’s multi-modal system of transportation, as well as having a positive impact on our air and climate.”
There are now a total of 431 miles of bikeways citywide, up from just over 300 when the Mayor last held a bocycle themed press event at City Hall.
“Lack of infrastructure is the biggest barrier to more people choosing to ride. When the City installs bike lanes, ridership goes up 100 to 200 percent within the next year,” said Jen Klausner, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.
“We’re celebrating reaching a milestone of 123 miles, but we’re really looking forward to the next 100 and a future complete network. Mayor Villaraigosa has done so much to make Los Angeles a multimodal city and we’re excited to keep building on such amazing progress.”
Of course, celebrating reaching a milestone is different than achieving the end goal. Joe Linton wrote extensively about how the City has achieved its low-hanging fruit projects, i.e. the ones that are easiest to complete. Based on the public opposition to north-south bike lanes pushed by community groups at this week’s westside hearing, the next 123 miles might be harder to build than the first 123.
“The City of Los Angeles is firmly committed to the ‘Complete Streets’ approach to urban planning,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “From parklets to bike corrals, from expanded pedestrian space to Ciclavia and 100-plus miles of bike lanes, we are for the first time in years, prioritizing people over cars.”