LA’s First Two-Way Protected Bike Lane Will Open in Downtown Los Angeles this Weekend
Los Angeles’ first two-way protected bike lane is expected to open this weekend on Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles. Currently, a southbound protected bike lane runs on the east side of Spring Street. The project will also include new bike signals and bike boxes for safe turns.
The project is part of Councilmember José Huizar’s Main & Spring Forward project, which touts “better crossings for pedestrians, protected bike lanes, improved bus-bicycle traffic flow and safety, and maximized parking and loading zones to two of the Downtown Historic Core’s most popular streets.” The project will be implemented by LADOT and has the support of the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council.
The Spring Street protected two-way bike lane is the first of two such projects planned for the Downtown. Improvements are also planned for Main Street by this fall, from Cesar Chavez Ave. to 9th Street, and will include shifting the existing buffered bike lane from the east side to the west side of Main, creating a two-way parking protected bike lane, similar to the one on Spring Street.
The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) encourages the creation of two-way protected bike lanes as one of the best ways to both protect bicyclists and encourage safe bicycling. According to NACTO, a two-way lane:
- Dedicates and protects space for bicyclists by improving perceived comfort and safety.
- Eliminates risk and fear of collisions with over-taking vehicles.
- Reduces risk of ‘dooring’ compared to a bike lane, and eliminates the risk of a doored bicyclist being run over by a motor vehicle.
- Reduces out-of-direction travel by providing contra-flow movement on one-way streets (such as Spring)
- Has a low implementation cost when making use of existing pavement and drainage and using parking lane or other barriers for protection from traffic.
- Is more attractive to a wide range of bicyclists at all levels and ages
“Our bicycle community needs improved access wherever we can implement it and, in Downtown, these two-way bike lanes will allow for a safer and more convenient experience that we hope leads to more being installed throughout the City,” said Huizar in a press statement.
The upgrading of the Spring street bike lane is clearly good news for users of the street and Downtown residents.
It comes with a dark cloud hanging over the city’s efforts to make our city’s streets safer, however. Yesterday’s Los Angeles Times declared, “More people are dying on L.A.’s streets despite a push to eliminate traffic fatalities,” a condemnation of the lack of progress the city has made city-wide despite high-profile projects such as this one, the controversial Venice Great Streets Project, and the disappointing MyFigueroa! project.