Eyes on the Street: Spring Street Bike Lane Upgraded to Parking-Protected
Downtown Los Angeles’ Spring Street has an excellent new protected bike lane!
Spring Street is one-way southbound through downtown Los Angeles. Spring received a buffered bike lane in 2011. This was one of L.A.’s earliest green-painted bike lanes. At the urging of film interests (the street is a common stand-in for New York City or other downtowns) the green was later minimized. In 2017, City Councilmember José Huizar sought to upgrade Spring and its northbound counterpart, Main, as part of an initiative called Main & Spring Forward. The Councilmember and the L.A. Department of Transportation convened a public input process. LADOT crews have been installing the protected lanes for the past couple months, including adding new bike signals and bollards, and re-striping the entire street.
The latest upgrades added parking protection: instead of cars parking between the bike lane and the curb, they now park between the bike lane and the travel lane.
In addition the bike lane was widened; it now has plenty of width for two cyclists to ride side by side.
The Spring Street bike lane has also been moved to the left side of the street. For many cities, including New York City, a left-side bike lane is pretty much standard on one-way streets. Putting the bike lane (whether protected or conventional) on the left keeps bikes away from bus stops, and other right-side curb drop-offs. Locating the lane on the left also helps minimize dooring.
Due to a left-side counterflow bus-only lane north of First Street, and Spring merging into Main below 8th Street, the city located Spring Street’s buffered bike lane on the right side of the street in 2011. With upgrades being implemented now, it has shifted to the left. This makes for a fairly unique treatments at 3rd Street (where cyclists cross diagonally through the intersection to the left side) and between 8th and 9th Streets (where cyclists cross back to the right.) See images below for more detail on these crossings.
Below are photos of the newly upgraded facility, roughly from north to south.
Though the lane is very much rideable and the cars are parking in the right place, construction is not quite complete. There are plenty of LADOT cones. A similar upgrade to northbound one-way Main Street is still on the way.
Readers – have you tried Spring Street’s new protected bike lane? What is your impression?