Huizar Opens New Main Street Protected Bike Lanes

New two-way protected bike lanes on Main Street. All photos Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
New two-way protected bike lanes on Main Street. All photos Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

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This morning L.A. City Councilmember José Huizar hosted a ribbon-cutting celebration opening downtown Los Angeles’ new protected bike lanes on Main Street.

The Main Street bike lanes extend 1.5 miles from César E Chávez Avenue to just above 9th Street. The new two-way protected bike lanes replace an existing one-way northbound buffered bike lane. In order to prevent conflict with bus stops, the bikeway was moved from the right to the left side of the one-way Main Street. The protection allows for safer bicycling away from merging drivers and parked cars opening doors.

The Main bikeway is half of a couplet with Spring Street, L.A.’s first two-way protected bike lanes. Spring Street’s southbound protected lane debuted in October, 2018, and was converted to two-way in April, 2019. Together the two streets comprise the Main and Spring Forward project. The total cost of the safety upgrades was $2.3 million. The project included repaving, bicycle signals with loop detectors, signage, and plastic bollards.

Main and Spring are one-way streets which both now allow two-way bike traffic. Permitting cyclists to travel both ways (adding the contra-flow) makes cycling much more convenient, and reduces somewhat-dangerous wrong way cycling, called “salmoning.”

L.A. City Councilmember Jose Huizar at this morning's Main Street ribbon-cutting
L.A. City Councilmember José Huizar speaking at this morning’s Main Street ribbon-cutting
Cutting the ceremonial ribbon on the Main Street bikeway
Cutting the ceremonial ribbon on the Main Street bikeway

Today Huizar proclaimed that the Main and Spring safety improvements are a key part of his efforts to “prioritize people over cars.” Huizar credited various city departments – including Transportation (LADOT), and Public Works’ Bureau of Engineering (BOE) and L.A. Streets (Bureau of Street Services) – as well as downtown residents and bike and walk advocates. Advocates have strongly supported Huizar, who has overseen the implementation of some of the city’s best bikeway networks – in downtown, Boyle Heights and Northeast L.A.

L.A. County Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Eli Akira Kaufman described the new bikeway as “a huge win for all of us” but stressed that many more facilities like this are needed to create a network of safe streets.

The new protected bikeway is on the left side of Main Street - in order to prevent conflict between cyclists and transit
The new protected bikeway is on the left side of Main Street – in order to prevent conflict between cyclists and transit
The Main Street bikeway is literally in the shadow of Los Angeles City Hall
The Main Street bikeway is literally in the shadow of Los Angeles City Hall
At the northern end of the project - at El Pueblo - the northbound bike lane splits off onto Paseo Luis Olivares along Our Lady Queen of Angels Church
At the northern end of the project – at El Pueblo – the northbound bike lane splits off onto Paseo Luis Olivares along Our Lady Queen of Angels Church
The northbound lane crosses Cesar Chavez ending at this short buffered stretch on New High Street in Chinatown
The northbound lane crosses César Chávez ending at this short buffered stretch on New High Street in Chinatown

Readers – what do you think of downtown’s newest bikeway on Main? Where else is this sort of facility needed?

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