Eyes On The Street: Second Street Tunnel’s Semi-Protected Bikeway

The sorry state of L.A.'s only protected bike lane. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog
Down. Missing. Missing. The sorry state of L.A.’s first and only protected bike lane. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

Sahra Sulaiman, SBLA’s Communities Editor for Boyle Heights and South L.A. took this photo last Sunday, showing the flattened and missing pylons in the Second Street Tunnel in Downtown Los Angeles. This is Los Angeles’ first and only protected bikeway.

Just last night, she spotted two cars that had collided parked in the westbound bike lane, with a tow truck parked just ahead of them and a cop car parked behind them. They were able to stay out of car traffic that way, but it made things a little dicey for anyone biking westward. There was a substantial trail of reflector and other debris left in their wake later that night, but, miraculously, the pylons in that vicinity remained upright and in place.

Sahra’s email alerting us can be found after the jump.

Readers: Let us know your ideas! Is there something that the city of Los Angeles can do to keep the Second Street “candlesticks” in place? Video surveillance? Razor wire? Air bags? Concrete barriers? relocate some Metro turnstiles? A traffic study? Relocating the Great Wall of Los Angeles? Emotionally intelligent signage? Maybe just build a protected bikeway elsewhere to take the debilitating pressure off of this brave tunnel?

From Sahra:
I saw a bunch of missing pylons in the 2nd St. tunnel Sunday afternoon. One was bent over (almost like it had been backed over except that there was gravel and signs of a possible crash), and the two in front of it were completely gone (on the westbound side). Their carcasses weren’t even laying around.

Elsewhere in the tunnel, it looks like 3 or 4 are missing, one or two on each side about mid-way through. I find it so odd…It’s a tunnel. Drivers have just one job and one lane that they can only move forward in. That’s it. So, it has to be drunks, distracted drivers, or impatient drivers trying to get/see around those in front of them. Maybe LADOT knows what is behind these crashes? Or has info. about when they will be fixed? The tire from the last collision we wrote about is finally gone…

That said, I see a lot more bike traffic in the tunnel. I have rarely been in there of late that there isn’t someone else either in my lane or headed in the other direction. Sometimes there is more than one, which is a pretty significant uptick.

  • brianmojo

    Makes you think about how often people swerve in and out of bike lanes that don’t have some kind of physical evidence of the transgression…

  • Alex Brideau III

    It seems similar pylons (though in construction orange) have been installed and at least partially replaced adjacent to the hospital building construction site in City West at Wilshire & Witmer. If the City (LADOT? Street Services?) has the time to maintain those, seems it would be difficult for them to argue that the 2nd St Tunnel pylons can’t be maintained. Unless, of course, the construction company is maintaining its own pylons.

  • Alex Brideau III

    Two words: Guerrilla maintenance.

  • Thank you again John Forester for preventing LADOT and the rest of the USA from having a more experienced solution to building a proper cycletrack through a tunnel (as seen in Europe)

  • Joe Linton

    Like! Pylon-glueing party anyone?

  • Our next t-shirts should say “Guerrilla Maintenance”

  • J

    Not very protected, it seems… Needs real concrete barriers or curbs.

  • Personally, I don’t need those pictures to think of that. Actually seeing drivers float into bike lanes on a daily basis is what makes me think of that.

  • What about adding a curb to separate the lanes? It could be the width of that painted section.

  • omederz
  • ubrayj02

    $20 each for “DP200 Round Traffic Channelizer System” in white and $20 for the base, and we can DIY the installation. Why are we waiting for local government to fix something like this? We can do this ourselves.


  • Joe B

    Candlesticks get knocked over. Jersey barriers are ugly. Plants won’t grow because there’s not enough light. How ’bout we fill the seperator with a mushroom garden?

  • me

    It needs to be something that will damage a car.
    That’s all drivers care about.

  • davistrain

    Yep, the traffic barrier equivalent of a two by four upside the head. Most drivers will pay attention when they hear part of their car scraping agains something solid and unyielding. Notice I said “most”.

  • JustG

    anyone tried the LA311 app to bring attention to LADOT

  • Alex Brideau III

    At the last Pedestrian Advisory Committee meeting, an LADOT rep mentioned road maintenance requests should be submitted using their MyLADOT website (myladot.lacity.org). I asked when that system would be integrated with the MyLA311 system and she said that wouldn’t be coming in the near future. For now we have to file these requests from our computers as the website is not really mobile-friendly. I filed Request # 16269 to help get the ball rolling, FWIW.

  • Alex Brideau III

    For those who are interested: I heard back from LADOT on the myLADOT request I submitted to replace the fallen pylons (“delineators” in LADOT parlance, I believe). Apparently in the next few weeks there will some sort of special event where they will create soccer fields inside the tunnel (perhaps for a commercial?… I didn’t ask) and they will be removing and replacing all the delineators at that time.

  • Joe Linton


  • Alex Brideau III

    Done! Better late than never. I just received word from LADOT and drove through (at a reasonable speed, of course) to verify, and the pylons have been replaced/replenished.

  • Alex Brideau III

    Yes. It took a while, but I just received word from LADOT and drove(!) through to verify, and the pylons have been replaced/restored.


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