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Downtown L.A. Celebrates New Protected Bike Lanes On Los Angeles Street

Deputy Mayor Barbara Romero and LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds take a celebratory ride in the Los Angeles Street protected bikeway. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Deputy Mayor Barbara Romero and LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds take a celebratory ride in the Los Angeles Street protected bikeway. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Downtown L.A. now has protected bike lanes! Woooot! Wooooot!

Not just a block-long tunnel, but full-on grown-up Euro-style protected bike lanes. The newly opened half-mile-long Los Angeles Street protected bike lanes feature bicycle signals, floating bus stop islands, neon-green merge zones and two-phase left turn markings, not to mention freshly resurfaced pavement. All just in time for the launch of Metro bike-share on July 7.

Councilmember Jose Huizar and other city leaders officially opened the new facility yesterday afternoon. Huizar connected the low-stress bikeway with his DTLA Forward campaign, which will include additional protected lanes on Spring and Main Streets. Department of Transportation (LADOT) General Manager Seleta Reynolds spoke of the symbolic importance of these lanes connecting with early Los Angeles’s focal plaza, plus Union Station, City Hall, and even Caltrans’ Southern California headquarters. The ribbon-cutting event even featured a small fleet of Metro bike-share bikes available to test ride.

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L.A. City Councilmember Jose Huizar addressing the crowd assembled at El Pueblo

Read more…

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Los Angeles Street Protected Bike Lanes Ribbon-Cutting This Thursday

New full-featured protected bike lanes on Los Angeles Street. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

New full-featured protected bike lanes on Los Angeles Street. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The city of Los Angeles has a brand new full-featured protected bike lane. It is on downtown L.A.’s Los Angeles Street, connecting Union Station with First Street, running literally in the shadow of Los Angeles City Hall.

Construction began in April and was recently completed.

Celebrate the newly completed lanes with Councilmember Jose Huizar and the L.A. Department of Transportation (LADOT) at a ribbon-cutting ceremony this Thursday June 16 at 1:30 p.m. at the plaza at El Pueblo (also known as Olvera Street.) The address is 125 Paseo de la Plaza, though the festivities take place on the Los Angeles Street side of the plaza, immediately west of Union Station.

Though the city of L.A. already has protected bike lanes in the Second Street tunnel and on Reseda Boulevard (and more on the way soon for Venice Boulevard, Van Nuys Boulevard, and Figueroa Street) the Los Angeles Street bike lanes include features that represent some important firsts for L.A. protected bikeways.

Bicycle traffic signal to allow cyclists a separate phase from turning cars

Bicycle traffic signal allows cyclists a separate phase from turning cars

L.A.’s First Bike Traffic Signals

Bike signals are not required for protected bike lane intersections; Long Beach uses them, Temple City’s Rosemead Boulevard and L.A.’s Reseda Boulevard do not.

Bike traffic signals are used to give cyclists that are headed straight ahead a signal phase separate from right-turning cars. The signals contribute to a relatively stress-free ride; cyclists ride to the right of parked and moving cars the entire ride, and do not need to merge into traffic at the approach to intersections.

Similar to car traffic signals, the bike signals are triggered by sensors embedded in the street (see photos below). Waiting bicyclists receive the green light first, followed by turning cars.

One drawback of the bike signals is that they drive up construction and maintenance costs.

L.A.’s First Protected Bikeway Transit Islands

Passengers board a DASH bus at a Los Angeles Street's transit island

Passengers board a DASH bus at a Los Angeles Street transit island

In order to minimize pedestrian-cyclist conflict, the project includes transit islands. Instead of transit riders waiting at the curb, they walk across the bike lane and wait in the transit island. Bicyclists ride between the transit island and the sidewalk.

This speeds up transit, allowing buses to stop in the travel lane while passengers are boarding. It also makes for a more stress-free bike ride, as conflicts between buses and bicycles are minimized.

L.A.’s First Two-Phase Left Turn Markings 



The Los Angeles Street project also features green boxes that support cyclists’ two-phase left turns. Instead of stressful merging through car traffic to make a vehicular left turn, cyclists make a low-stress left turn similar to the way a pedestrian would.

The green paint features were striped after SBLA took photos last week; they are visible in the video embedded above.

More images after the jump.  Read more…

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Metro Sets Date To Launch DTLA Bike-Share: July 7

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Publicity photo for Metro bike-share. Photo via Allison Mannos

Downtown L.A. will get a little more bike-friendly with the launch of Metro bike-share, just announced for Thursday, July 7, 2016. Metro bike-share will include 1000+ bikes at 65 docking stations. The system is expected to expand to Pasadena in 2017, and other areas in future years.

From Metro’s press release:

People who live, work and play in downtown L.A. are encouraged to sign up for a Metro bike share pass in advance of the launch at www.metro.net/bikeshare. The system will be accessible exclusively to pass holders from July 7 until August 1, 2016 to incentivize pass holder sales. The system will open to walk-up customers starting August 1. People who purchase their pass early will get a limited edition Metro Bike Share Kit. The first 1,000 people to sign up will also receive exclusive Metro bike share pins.

The installation of bike share stations throughout downtown L.A. will begin in early June, with work expected to continue until the stations open to the public on July 7.

Who’s already signed up?

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Councilmember Jose Huizar Promotes a More Bikeable Downtown L.A.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar is excited about the future of bicycling in downtown Los Angeles. At a press event yesterday, Huizar took a test spin on one of Metro’s bike-share bikes. SBLA Streetsie-winner Huizar sees bike-share as one key feature of “a snowball effect” virtuous cycle for central Los Angeles: more bikes on the street will trigger more safety-in-numbers, which will prompt more city investment in bikeways, which will lead to even more bicycling.

Metro’s 1000+bike 60+station bike-share system is coming to downtown “this June – though it might slip,” according to Huizar.

Huizar recently announced that protected bike lanes will be coming to downtown’s Spring and Main Streets. These improvements are part of an umbrella “DTLA Forward” initiative for a more walkable, bikeable, livable downtown Los Angeles. DTLA Forward includes these two bikeways, pedestrian head-start signals, green alleys, street trees, and a handful of other worthwhile (but not quite transformative) downtown initiatives, plus a (quite transformative) “Your Downtown L.A. Vision Plan” [PDF]. The Vision Plan, created under the auspices of the Downtown L.A. Neighborhood Council with support from the So. Cal. Association of Governments (SCAG), calls for all downtown streets to be complete streets.

Spring and Main Street currently feature a couplet of buffered bike lanes. The Spring Street lane was the city’s first (somewhat controversial) green bike lane, and now its first partially-green pavement bike lane. The protected bike lanes are expected to be implemented in late 2016, after a handful of community outreach meetings.  Read more…

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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.

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DTLA Pedestrians Get Expanded Head Start Signals

Red light plus walk signal means a leading pedestrian interval. Photos by Joe LInton/Streetsblog L.A.

Red light plus walk signal means a Leading Pedestrian Interval. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Downtown L.A. is getting a little safer for walking with some new traffic signals that give pedestrians a head start. Officially, these are called “Leading Pedestrian Intervals.” The concept is that when pedestrians get the walk signal a few seconds before drivers get a green light, they can walk into the intersection and be more visible, and therefore safer.

The new signals are part of an initiative by Los Angeles City Councilmember and livability champion José Huizar. Huizar and LADOT incorporated them as a feature in street improvements that are accompanying Metro’s Regional Connector construction. Huizar, via a press release, touted the new signals: “Complete Streets improvements, like Pedestrian Headstart Signals, make our streets safer for pedestrians while encouraging foot traffic in Downtown Los Angeles’s increasingly dynamic urban environment.”

In 2014, the L.A. Transportation Department (LADOT) installed Leading Pedestrian Intervals on Broadway at 3rd and 4th Streets.

Over the last two weekends, LADOT added over a dozen new head start signals, bringing the total to 16 downtown L.A. intersections, all in the Historic Core and Civic Center areas. Leading Pedestrian Intervals are currently installed at these intersections:  Read more…

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Downtown L.A. Celebrates New Parklet On Hope Street

Ribbon Cutting

This morning’s Hope Street Parklet ribbon cutting. Left to right: Tony Chou of CoCo Fresh, Mack Urban CEO Paul Keller, L.A. City Councilmember Jose Huizar, LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds, and Jessica Lall Executive Director of the South Park BID. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

People Street meets Hope Street.

Just over a hundred people attended the grand opening of Los Angeles’ newest parklet, located on Hope Street just below 11th Street in the downtown L.A. neighborhood of South Park.

In case you are not familiar with the term, a parklet is a mini-park that replaces a parking space or two. Though it is an informal practice all around the world, the concept got its start in San Francisco. L.A. County’s first parklet was in Long Beach. Now they have spread to Huntington Park, East L.A., Northeast L.A., and other parts of downtown.

The latest parklet is actually the first to come to completion under the official LADOT People St program where communities can request parklets, plazas, and bike corrals. People St projects require a community partner; this one was shepherded by South Park Business Improvement District.

South Park is changing dramatically, with a great deal of new high-rise residential development open, and more on the way. The parklet’s Hope Street block has undergone a dramatic transformation in the past couple years. What had been just an anonymous parking structure added ground floor retail. The BID repaired the sidewalks and replaced the street trees. Now the parklet extends the already walkable, inviting atmosphere.

Enjoy the photo essay of today’s opening celebration – after the jump.  Read more…

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Eyes on the Street: Little Tokyo Track Relocation Construction Underway

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Regional Connector construction Little Tokyo station and road closures are in effect today. View west on First Street at Vignes Street. Westbound First Street is closed between Vignes and Central Avenue. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Last Friday, Metro began its slightly-delayed closure of the Little Tokyo Gold Line Station. The station will be closed for about three months while Gold Line tracks are relocated to make way for Regional Connector subway construction. If this construction goes reasonably well, the on time within-budget Regional Connector will open in 2021.

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View north from First Street at Alameda Street. The Little Tokyo Gold Line Station is in the upper left. Tracks south of the station have been removed.

Metro’s contractors (Skanska and Traylor Bros.) wasted no time in getting started demolishing the existing rails immediately south of the station. More of today’s construction photos after the jump.  Read more…

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Eyes on the Street: Bike Lane Closure Signage Gives Wrong Sign?

Is the city giving cyclists the wrong sign? Photo by Nathan Lucero

Is the city giving cyclists the wrong sign? Photo by Nathan Lucero

Streetsie winner Nathan Lucero encountered some irritating signage when bicycling north on the Main Street bike lanes near El Pueblo downtown. From his @onmybikeinla Instagram post: (lightly edited)

After the bike lane on Main was closed twice, and blocked several times by multiple cars, these awful signs were at Arcadia. The left sign should read “[bike] may use full lane” and the other should be thrown away. The guard said the city provided the signs. I’m asking @lamayorsoffice @ladotbikeprog @ladotofficial to replace all of the ambiguous “share the road” signs with “[bike] may use full lane” and never use a sign with a bike crossed off when it’s perfectly legal for bikes to use the full lanes.

What do you think SBLA readers? Personally,I remember being a tiny bit encouraged that these film-shoot lane closures would actually acknowledge that bikes exist. This was not the case ten years ago in Los Angeles, though there were far fewer bike lanes then. I agree with Lucero, though, that the circle-slash-bike sign is inappropriate and signage indicating cyclists are allowed full use of the lane would be a big improvement. What signs do you think the city should be providing for these situations?

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Bike-Share Round-Up: Multiple Motions At Tomorrow’s Metro Board Meeting

Metro bike-share vendor Bicycle Transit Systems has a new L.A. webpage. Image via http://www.bicycletransit.com/los-angeles/

Metro bike-share vendor Bicycle Transit Systems has a new L.A. webpage. Image via http://www.bicycletransit.com/los-angeles/

Last month, after a fairly lengthy debate, the Metro Board of Directors approved an $11 million contract to bring bike-share to downtown Los Angeles. Though there is a lot of interest in bike-share on the Metro board, there is not a lot of agreement on exactly how to move forward.

Though Metro bike-share, run by vendor Bicycle Transit Systems (BTS), will begin in Downtown Los Angeles, multiple future phases are planned, but not yet fully approved nor funded. Elected officials are doing their job, jockeying to make sure future bike-share phases will serve areas they represent. Santa Monica and Long Beach already moving ahead under contracts with a different vendor, Cyclehop, so there are also questions about inter-operability.

Below is a brief run down of the latest in the multi-faceted world of L.A. County bike-share systems. There are already a lot of moving pieces, and there is yet to be any live bike-share bikes on the ground. Bike-share may get less complicated when the bikes arrive and Angelenos can see and experience how bike-share really works:

> In Metro bike-share news: Metro’s full board of directors will meet tomorrow and decide on a handful of follow-on motions Read more…