Venice Neighborhood Council Approves LADOT Plan for Main Street Road Diet, Bike Lanes

Some Neighborhood Council Members wanted separated bike lanes, similar to the ones pictured here, for Main Street in Venice. LADOT wouldn't commit to that design, and the NC gave a conditional go ahead to go forward with standard bike lanes.

Last night, the Venice Neighborhood Council agreed  to the Main Street Road Diet/Bike Lanes plan proposed by LADOT.  The new road striping ought to be on the ground “in the next couple of weeks.”  Despite its approval, the Neighborhood Council had some concerns with the project and wanted LADOT to return with more safety measures to protect cyclists and calm traffic.  The Road Diet will run on Main Street from Navy St. to Windward Circle, and will extend the Santa Monica bike lanes and road diet into Venice.

There was a minor change from the original plan.  Currently, Main Street has four eleven foot through travel lanes with seven feet on each side of the street for car parking.  The original road diet changed the configuration to two eleven foot travel lanes, one eleven foot turn lane, two 5 foot bike lanes and two seven foot car parking areas.  Some cyclists, notably Alex Thompson at Bikeside, complained the new configuration had cyclists planted squarely in the door zone, especially since many vehicles in today’s world are larger than seven feet wide.

LADOT  responded that eleven feet was the minimum for the car travel lanes because Main Street is a regularly traveled route for both the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus and Metro buses.  However, the new design does take a foot out of the turning lane to make the bike lanes five and a half feet larger.  This 10% increase will give cyclists more room to maneuver when car doors are (illegally) opened in their path, but doesn’t completely solve the problem of door zone bicycle lanes.

As we saw back in January, the debate over the plan was because members of the Neighborhood Council wanted a more progressive plan for Main Street than LADOT was willing to provide.  Questions about extending the lanes all the way south to the Venice Street Bike Lane or separating the lanes as they did on 3rd Street and Broadway in Long Beach and in Portland were dismissed.  The Main Street Road Diet is designed to link up with the three lane with bike lanes configuration of the road north on Main Street.

As Santa Monica Spoke’s Gary Kavanagh points out on Gary Rides Bikes, Santa Monica’s Bike Plan calls for reconfiguring its portion of Main Street to separate the bike lanes from the through traffic.  When that configuration is completed, riders heading south on Main Street will have to adjust their riding from the separated lanes to the traditional bike lanes in L.A.

However, the good news from the day is that LADOT is removing car lanes for bike lanes, and doing it with the blessing of the Neighborhood Council.  Given the struggles on 4th Street and especially on Wilbur Ave. in the Valley, that’s some good news in and of itself.

(Note: I made a bit of a journalism snafu in an article earlier this week where I quoted Gary Kavanagh as opposed to the diet from comments he made nine months ago.  He has since changed his mind although he still has some concerns with LADOT’s plans, notably the bike lane width and that LADOT should have gotten ahead of the game.  I should have followed up with him before posting.  Sorry, Gary.)

  • Alex Thompson

    2nd journalism snafu is saying Gary supports it – he was pretty clear that it’s qualified support and he made a clearly articulated argument for better facilities.

    3rd journalism snafu is not linking to Bikeside’s position.

  • Actually, the Santa Monica Draft Bike Action Plan does not call for bike lanes separated from traffic on Main. It calls for a small (2 ft or so) buffer next to the parked cars, green paint, and narrower mixed-flow lane widths to help cyclists ride farther to the left. The basic configuration would remain the same, and thus there would be no awkward transition at the city border.

    From Gary’s post: “In Santa Monica’s pending Bike Action Plan, buffered bike lanes are called for to replace existing striping eventually, along with a green paint job for visibility. This buffering would reduce a small amount of width out of the travel lanes, center lane and parking lane, to create a small buffer of space between the parked cars and where the bike lanes begin, and striping on both sides.”

    Link to Santa Monica bike plan: Definition of buffered bike lane can be found on page 3-58; 20-year vision map showing buffered bike lanes on Main is on page 3 of Appendix B.

  • Anonymous

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  • Dan Gutierrez

    Damien,That’s not a picture of a separated bike lane; because there is no such thing in California.  Bike lanes cannot be separated by a raised barrier.  Once you barrier separate, you have created a kind of non-standard path.  If you read the white sign in the center of the photo you posted, it’s the same as the one I uploaded (also from a different location on the same path), you will notice that the top portion reads “Bike Path”!   For future reference, it is important to correctly distinguish whether a facility is a bike path or a bike lane beacuse they are legally divergent.  Paths, like the one from Long Beach, shown above, are optional use, whereas bike lanes are mandatory in California.  Ironically, because of the unfortunate legal situation in CA, I’d prefer a non-standard path be built, even though it creates crossing conflicts for the cyclists that use it, since it would not be mandatory, thus preserving cyclists’ rights to use the travel lanes (though not without harassment).  It’s really sad that these are the bad choices [mandatory door zone bike lane (DZBL), versus hazardous optional path that doesn’t preclude travel lane use though motorists will now harass cyclists who choose not to use the path or even the DZBL in the former case] that lane reductions force upon cyclists.

    – Dan –


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Most of the city of Los Angeles’ bike lane mileage has been implemented without removing any car lanes or any parking spaces. The city Transportation Department (LADOT) merely narrows existing overly-wide lanes, and adds bike lanes. In recent years, the city of Los Angeles has also done a number of bike lane projects called “road diets.” […]