It’s Official, 1st Street Bike Lane Will Lose Some of Its Buffer

Taken 10/20. All pictures by Roger Rudick

For months, cyclist and writerRoger Rudick rides down the 1st Street Buffered Bike Lane. Often, Rudick stops near LAPD headquarters and snaps a picture of a police cruiser parked in the bicycle lane. Rudick would then send it to a sympathetic ear in the department, be it Sgt. David Krumer or Officer Jeff Kievit. After the complaints were too numerous to be written off as the work of a few rogue scofflaws, the LAPD revealed their internal strategy for informing officers that parking in a bicycle lane is not only unsafe, it’s illegal.

Parking in the bike lane was a 24 hour activity.

Last week, Biking in L.A. reported on a persistent rumor that an educational campaign wasn’t the LAPD’s only strategy for dealing with the problem of cruisers parked inside of the buffered bike lane. The second strategy involved getting rid of the buffering and reconfiguring the street so that parking is created between the bike lane and curb. The timing of this leak was especially unfortunate because anecdotally, there are fewer and fewer reported instances of LAPD cruisers being parked in the bike lane.

In other words, the buffered bike lane would be replaced with a far more dangerous door zone bike lane. Instead of a space separating bicycles from car traffic, the new configuration could actually force cyclists into traffic.

Sadly, the rumor turns out to be true. LADOT spokesman Jonathan Chui  explains:

LAPD did make a request to LADOT to accommodate police vehicles in front of the headquarters without blocking the bike lane.  As a courtesy we try to accommodate other city agencies when possible.

The bike lane will remain on 1st Street.  In this case, for a single block, the bike lane on the south side will be realigned adjacent to the number 2 lane.  The area adjacent to the curb will still preclude parking, but will allow police vehicles to stop if necessary without blocking the bike lane.  This will be part of an upcoming resurfacing project.

Please note that the use of ‘buffers’ with bike lanes is generally used in unusual cases where the right-of-way is too wide for a single bike lane.  There are only a handful of locations with this condition and this block happens to be one of them.

Given that the LAPD was utterly unable, or unwilling, to stop police cars from parking in a bicycle lane, it is wildly unlikely that there will be a successful effort to keep them from parking in a “stopping but no parking” zone. The announced change has many bicycle safety advocates incensed, especially because the LAPD’s Parker Center is connected to a large parking structure.

Don't worry, they are stopped, not parked.

“The biggest improvement we’ve seen in Los Angeles in the last couple years has been the widespread use of buffered bike lanes,” writes Eric Bruins, the policy and program director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. “The downtown network of buffered lanes is no small part of the reason LA was recently recognized as a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community.  In sometimes hectic downtown traffic, the buffered lanes give bicyclists peace of mind and the extra space needed to avoid parked cars, opening doors, delivery trucks, you name it.

It would be a real shame to lose our margin of safety because those charged with protecting public safety won’t walk less than a block from their parking structure to conduct business at LAPD headquarters.”

There is no announced timeline for the resurfacing project.

  • Gunner

    LAPD has a big community relations problem.  I recently learned that the reason police officer so often eat at 7/11 and donut shops is because they are not welcome in restaurants.  It is sad but that is what happens when you have little regard for the community.

  • Yolo Watefah




    two years after LAPD task force, the bike lanes and love stops here

    villaraigosa’s green dream ends where lapd billy clubs begin on 1st street

    The LAPD has every side of this structure to illegally park their cruisers as well as over 1000 parking spaces in their brand new futuristic torture chamber and minilove.

    The LAPD needs to get its bloated officer core onto bikes or segways, or to make the buffer wide enough to park a car in and stay out of the bike lane.

    This defeatist crap on the blog is the type of go-along to get-along shite that kept cycling in LA under the thumbs of Michelle Mowery and her ilk. You are funded for fights like this: symbolic and inflammatory.

    Are you not humans? Get a grip and slam these jerks to the floor or shut your stupid blog down. Charity journalism is boring.

  • Yolo Watefah

    The only thing official about this is that you are the lone voice that has the power to call in a small army to make this not happen and you are officially conceding defeat before anyone has had a chance to know what the hell is going on. F^*&*& the so called needs of LAPD to illegally park their cruisers in a bike lane.

  • Student

    While I don’t endorse Yolo’s strong language, he/she brings up a good point. Streetsblog is the most respected, well-recognized bike/ped blog in LA. I think you guys need to try to fight this. I know it’s only a block, but this sends the message that buffers for bike lanes are expendable. If they really need space to stop, they should take a car lane. Please do the right thing and fight this. This does not have to be a done deal.

  • Reminds me of the 85% speeding rule, and how speed limits are raised.

    Have enough people break the law, simply change it so it’s no longer illegal.

    Wonder how many murders it would take for LAPD to decide it’s no longer illegal.

  • Anonymous

    And cops wonder why people hate them…

  • Joe B

    Why can’t the cops park in the regular mixed traffic lane instead?

  • Erik Griswold

    Why can’t they park on the sidewalk?  It is certainly wide enough to still permit pedestrians to pass and remain ADA compliant. 

  • Anonymous

    Is it asking too much that those we pay to enforce the law should also obey the law?

  • onetburn

    Why not have the bike lane against the curb and the parking lane 4-5 feet in from the curb. So bikes still get the buffer and cops and park their cars. They do this in lots of places.

  • Ubrayj02

    I happened to ride by the LAPD HQ this morning to a meeting and I noticed no police cruisers parked in the bike lane – but I did see one delivery truck and two civilian cars. No “E” on their plates, but the emergency lights on.

    This bike lane needs to be a buffered bike lane a la Long Beach. Any parking or bus pick-up and drop-off should be on the outside of the lane.

  • Syzlak

    I’ll be inclined to ride on the sidewalk for that block if the bike lane is converted to a door-zone lane.

  • Stop whining to StreetsBlog and call your elected officials. Figure out
    who your city council rep is…Google it if you don’t know. Call him or
    or her up. Say it loudly and clearly: “Stop the removal of the buffered
    bike lane in front of LAPD! It’s a travesty (sorry…a 
    door stripe is not a bike lane..that’s bullshit).” Call up Wendy
    Greuel’s office. Garcetti. Jan Perry. Let them know if they want to be
    mayor, they’d better stop this right now! Complaining on StreetsBlog
    might make you feel good, but it doesn’t mean
    anything. And yes, I’ve already complained to the current Mayor (via
    email and phone), my City Councilman (email and phone) and Wendy Greuel,
    a potential future mayor (in person). While you’re at it, call up the
    head of DOT…. and leave a message for Hummer-driving Jaime de la Vega.
    Tell him what you think about him prioritizing scofflaw cops over the lives and limbs of cyclists.

    Report your results here.

  • Non-whinning-cyclist

    I’m a cyclist, but if the cycling community is going to cry about exempted emergency vehicles parked legally, then do away with the buffer all together!

  • Non-Whinning-Cyclist

    For the record, What ever happened to changing a bunch of the major streets to one way?  Which would allow for PLENTY of room for a bike lane!  And help with the flow of traffic.

  • CaliRoberta

    You’re a malcontent and a buffoon, if you hate cops because one parked his car in a bike lane. NERD!

  • GunnerisAdouche

    You’re not smart enough to type on a computer.  Tell your mom, after she get done changing your drool pad and diaper, to give you a time out!  Question:  If your mother and father got a divorce, would they remain brother and sister?

  • They’re not exempted. It’s as illegal for them as for anyone else. Unless it’s a true emergency, which is not the issue here. So you’d prefer a door lane to a buffered lane? And this is the city you want–where LAPD dictates bike lane policy according to what affords them the shortest walks from their cars?

  • Nathanael

    Are you sure the LAPD hasn’t already decided that murder is no longer illegal?  You know the history of LAPD brutality.

  • Stephen Corwin

    Isn’t the obvious solution to have the cops park their cars IN the buffer? That way you not only have space separating bikes from traffic, but big ass hunks of metal, too.

  • Stephen corwin


  • You’d need a little more space than that to buffer the bike lane from the passenger-side door zone of the parked vehicles, but yes, that would be a nice solution.


RIP: Buffered Bike Lane in Front of LAPD Headquarters

This weekend, the Bureau of Street Services will be repaving parts of 1st Street in Downtown Los Angeles. After the repaving, the street will be repainted. Part of the repainting will include removing the buffer from the 1st Street Buffered Bike Lane in front of LAPD headquarters between Spring and Main Streets. The good news […]

Vision Zero 101: Bike Lanes Are Not Parking Spaces

Tap tap tap. The parking enforcement officer looked up from his phone. When he rolled down his window, I smiled and asked politely about his having parked in the bike lane on Los Angeles Street. There was a long pause. “And?” he raised his eyebrows. Having only expected some, not total, disdain, I stuttered my […]

Eyes Above the Street: Media Take Over 1st Street

Reader Erik Griswold noticed something outside of what was originally intended. While the media’s full-court press coverage of the tragic shooting of police officers and the ongoing manhunt have certainly captivated the media, the press frenzy in front of LAPD headquarters also tells a different story. Sometimes a buffered bike lane isn’t enough. If ever […]