Happy Bike Month South L.A.: Trio of New Bike Lanes Appear, More on the Way

Cyclist turns on to new Main Street Bike Lane and Road Diet. Photo:##http://ladotbikeblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/new-lanes-take-l-a-s-total-bike-lane-mileage-over-200/##LADOT Bike Blog##

South Los Angeles has three new bike lanes. Maybe it’s the celebrations of bike week. Maybe it’s the push to meet the mayoral directive for 40 new miles of bikeway by June 30th 2012. Maybe Mayor Villaraigosa, City Councilmembers Bernard Parks and Joe Buscaino pushed hard enough. Maybe it’s just good livable streets attitudes taking hold.

Whatever the reason, The city’s Department of Transportation (LADOT) crews have been working weekends to stripe new bike lanes.

As reported by the LADOT Bike Blog and Bikas, there are three new bike lane projects implemented on South L.A. streets since mid-April.

The new Vermont Avenue northbound bike lane goes 2.1 miles from the Metro Green Line to 88th Street. According to the LADOT Bike Blog, an additional 2.2 miles of northbound Vermont Avenue bike lane are “in the works.” That near-future mileage will extend from Redondo Beach Boulevard to 120th Street. This project is only on the east side of Vermont Avenue because that side of the street is in L.A. City; the other side is in unicorporated L.A. County. Bikas explains,

[L.A. County] insisted on even worse suburban lane-width standards, effectively blocking the project until the street is widened. The county’s anti-bike lane stance allowed the city to do no work on the ground to implement these lanes for the following three years.

The new 120th Street bike lanes go 0.5 mile from Main Street to Avalon Boulevard. In its review fo the lanes Bikas noted they were already in good use, even if some cyclists were confused where to bike,

There were plenty of cyclists out riding there … In addition to folks using the new lanes safely as intended, some cyclists were riding the wrong way in the new lane… and some were still riding on the sidewalk.

The new Main Street bike lanes go 1.0 mile from 108th Street to 92nd Street. This project goes beyond just adding bike lanes.  Bikas reports that there was also a one-mile road diet.

[The Main Street bike lanes] project is a road diet. The roadway formerly was striped with 4 lanes – 2 in each direction, with no turn lane. One lane was eliminated, resulting in 3 lanes – 1 lane in each direction, plus an added central turn lane, plus new bike lanes.

With three new lanes on the street, and at least one more on the way, do you think LADOT is making a commitment to South L.A., or does it need to do more?  Where would you like to see bike lanes arrive next?

(Note: Joe Linton, founder and organizer at Bikas and president of L.A. Streetsblog’s board of directors, contributed to this story.)

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