Protected Bike Lanes Coming To DTLA’s 7th Street
As part of stepped-up street repaving under COVID-19 reduced car traffic, the city of Los Angeles recently repaved a large stretch of 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles. Yesterday, the city Transportation Department (LADOT) announced that they are planning to install temporary protected bike lanes on 7th, in advance of a planned larger streetscape project that includes permanent protected lanes.
Yesterday, LADOT hosted a virtual community meeting for the project. The meeting was accessed by more than 150 people, according to LADOT.
LADOT is calling the project an “interim test” of new 7th Street striping, which features protected bike lanes, bollards narrowing intersections, expanded loading zones, consolidated bus stops, and reduced metered parking. The interim configuration does not include bicycle traffic signals or bicycle loop detectors, and has bus/bicycle mixing zones at bus stops. The planned permanent 7th Street Forward project will include curb-protected bike lanes, and transit islands.
LADOT noted that 7th Street will close a gap in a protected bikeway network connecting from South Park to Union Station via bikeways on Figueroa Street (MyFig), Spring Street, Main Street and Los Angeles Street. Adding protection to the First Street bike lanes and giving northbound-only MyFig a southbound option would complete that connection.
LADOT is using some e-scooter revenue for the project, noting that 7th Street is seeing the “highest [e-scooter] use in the entire city.” Seventh is also a highly-used corridor for bicyclists. Streets north of 7th are very hilly, and bicycling is made difficult and dangerous due to freeway on/off-ramps. Streets south of 7th are flatter, but also made treacherous by freeway ramps. Seventh has no freeway ramps. It serves as a key connection to communities west of downtown L.A., including Pico-Union, MacArthur Park, and Koreatown. L.A. In 2011, the city acknowledged 7th Street bicycling usage by striping 2.2 miles of road diet bike lanes from Koreatown just into DTLA. It may be hard to imagine today, but, less than a decade ago, these were the first bike lanes to arrive in downtown L.A., which now has arguably the best bikeway network in the city. In 2013, the 7th Street lanes were extended eastward 0.6-miles to Main Street.
LADOT shared overall plans for the protected lanes for that 0.6 mile between Figueroa and Main.
LADOT is planning to install the new protected bike lane configuration starting next week, with completion expected mid-May. The department is using temporary materials and will be seeking public input on how the design is working.
A planned parklet, to be located in front of The Bloc, is expected to open by August 2020.
7th Street is one early part of the city’s broaders “ADAPT” program that is accelerating repaving major streets during COVID-19 safer-at-home orders. Though bike lanes are being upgraded on 7th, much of the ADAPT projects are not committing to implementing bus and bike improvements approved in the city’s Mobility Plan.