Construction Getting Underway For Los Angeles Street Protected Bike Lanes

In about a month, Los Angeles Street will be a full-featured protected bike lane. Image via LADOT
Next month, Los Angeles Street will have full-featured protected bike lanes. Image via LADOT

Yesterday, a construction notice appeared on the official L.A. City Transportation Department (LADOT) Twitter account. It announced a “resurfacing and bike lane enhancement project” to include “protected bike lanes” on downtown L.A.’s Los Angeles Street, extending from First Street to Alameda Street. Construction is set to begin this weekend, and conclude by May 15. During the month-long construction, cyclists and drivers will share a single lane.

Los Angeles Street protected bike lanes will extend from Union Station to First Street. Map via LADOT
Los Angeles Street protected bike lanes will extend from Union Station to First Street. Map via LADOT

This 0.5-mile stretch of Los Angeles Street has existing buffered bike lanes that were striped in 2012.

A protected bike lane on Los Angeles Street was mentioned by LADOT bicycle coordinator Michelle Mowery in 2014. The project was planned to coincide with city Bureau of Street Services resurfacing of the street, which was delayed.

LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds describes the Los Angeles Street facility as a “laboratory” for testing out protected bike lane features. Though LADOT has implemented protected lanes in the Second Street tunnel and on Reseda Boulevard, Los Angeles Street will be the first L.A. protected bikeway facility to feature bike signals, and integrated transit stop islands.

Reynolds mentioned that Los Angeles Street is an easy site for trying out new features because it is surrounded entirely by governmental uses. The protected bike lane will run adjacent to Union Station, El Pueblo, the Edward Roybal Federal Building, City Hall East, City Hall South, LAPD, as well as crossing over the 101 Freeway. The high-visibility central downtown location puts the state of the art protected facility right under the eyes of city, county, state, and federal governmental staff and electeds. This should help familiarize governmental insiders with how protected bike lanes function.

Reynolds added that the new protected lanes will be completed in time to dovetail with implementation of Metro bike-share program coming to downtown L.A. this summer.

The existing Los Angeles Street bike lanes experience a significant amount of bike-car conflict, with right-turning drivers and parked law enforcement vehicles often occupying the bike lane. The new protected facility should minimize these conflicts. Delineator bollards will keep cars from parking or driving in the lane. New signals will give cyclists and right-turning drivers separate signal phases.

Rush hour drivers
Rush hour drivers crowd the existing Los Angeles Street bike lane, queuing to turn right onto the 101 Freeway. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Cyclists can ride in the new lanes in just one short month; look for a grand opening in mid-May.

  • brianmojo

    I sincerely hope this will keep the LAPD from parking in the bike lane, but I think the much more likely outcome is that a few months after implementation they will ‘magically’ decide that this is not the right location for a protected bike lane and the LAPD goes back to using it as parking spaces.

  • ExpoRider

    Do you really think a few plastic bollards can stop the LAPD from parking in bike lanes? Do you, PUNK???

  • Joe Commuter

    Anyone else feel like this is too little, too late? I predict rush hour will still suck in the new protected lanes because LA doesn’t know how to treat intersections or freeway on-ramps. I’m all for enhancing the network but how about expanding the network? Push bike lanes on 1st st and 7th st further east into Boyle Heights. Push lanes northward on Broadway through Chinatown. Push lanes south on LA St. And push lanes west on 2nd St.

  • Alex Brideau III

    I think they should do both! :-)

  • rickrise

    The bike lanes, of whatever design, should extend into the Fashion District, where loads of employees travel by bike, as well as many clients. My eyeball estimate is that more cyclists are found south of First Street than in the area currently served by bike lanes.

    As for the bollards: six-inch titanium pipes might be enough. Then again, they might not….

  • Alex Brideau III

    Hopefully the presence of the more permanent-style bus islands will be a difficult obstruction for those attempting to illegally park cars.

  • User_1

    Those floppy plastic “delineator bollards” do nothing for protection! How bout adding some potted trees like LB? That would be a start on selling this “protection”.

  • mcas

    Ummm… 1st to Alameda is 0.5 miles long. Where did that other number come from!?!

  • Joe Linton

    My mistake – corrected – thanks

  • Alex Brideau III

    I’ll try to snag some photos of construction in case anyone else wants to geek out on that with me. :-)

  • Joe Linton

    LADOT is now saying the Los Angeles Street protected bike lane project will be done mid-June.

  • Alex Brideau III

    I would argue it’s not as much protection, but enforced separation instead. Without the plastic bollards, the car drivers just take over the bike lane at will, either for illegal stopping or illegal early queueing for right turns.

  • Alex Brideau III

    Better late than never, I was able to snap a few photos of the practically complete lanes last night.

    First pic shows one of the new bus islands. The signage has been moved, but the bus benches are still on the sidewalk.

    The second photo shows the southbound bike lane at Temple, I believe, revealing the bike signal. The bike lanes have sensors which presumably have the power to trigger the signals. As of last night, the bike signal was up and running and turned green in conjunction with a leading pedestrian interval walk signal.

    The third photo shows the Detention Center with an almost fully bollarded lane. No more police or civilian cars block the bike lane in front of the center, though behind the camera, an LAPD squad car was blocking the bike lane and bus stop. (FWIW, I walked by the bike lanes twice and the police car was only stopped in that location once. I guess that’s a 50% improvement over before, at least.)

  • Alex Brideau III

    As of last night, the lanes looked almost finished. I posted some photos in one of the comment strings above.

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