Eyes on the Street: Santa Monica’s 2-Way Protected Bikeway Along Ocean Avenue

Santa Monica's nearly completed two-way bikeway along Ocean Avenue. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Santa Monica's nearly completed two-way bikeway along Ocean Avenue. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
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It is not quite done, but Santa Monica’s new Ocean Avenue protected bikeway is already seeing lots of use. Santa Monica City Chief Communications Officer Constance Farrell states that the project is indeed already safe to ride. Construction is expected to be completed later this week.

In a statement to Streetsblog, Santa Monica Spoke Director Cynthia Rose notes that the Ocean project arose as a response to COVID-19. “The pandemic has so adversely impacted our community and presented us with so many incredible challenges in adjusting to a new normal. If we can find a silver lining — Ocean Avenue delivers. It improves safe mobility and equitable access to fresh air that are key to our health and community well-being, as well as outdoor space desperately needed to support our local businesses working to rebound.”

The new 0.6-mile, two-way parking-protected bikeway extends along the west side of Ocean Avenue from the Santa Monica Pier to California Avenue. This closes a gap between the Colorado Esplanade and the California Incline, creating a continuous low-stress bikeway from the Beach Path to the Metro E Line (Expo) terminus station.

Ocean Avenue protected bikeway map - via Santa Monica presentation
Ocean Avenue protected bikeway map – via Santa Monica presentation

This stretch already had green-painted conventional bike lanes. The northbound green lane remains intact on the east side of the street. On the west (bluff park) side, a new northbound option is safer and more comfortable, especially for less confident cyclists.

Santa Monica's new 2-way parking protected bike lanes on Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica’s new 2-way parking protected bike lanes on Ocean Avenue

At each intersection there is a small left-turn lane and turn pocket for riders turning inland.

Ocean Avenue bikeway left-turn pocket for cyclists heading inland
Ocean Avenue bikeway left-turn pocket for cyclists heading inland

The two-way section is partially parking-protected – mainly with bluffside parking spaces for drivers with disabilities.

Most of the 5-block Ocean Avenue 2-way bikeway is parking-protected.
Most of the 5-block Ocean Avenue two-way bikeway is parking-protected.

The project also features a new bus island just north of the pier, which helps minimize bus-bike conflict.

Santa Monica Ocean Avenue bus island - allows for xxx
Santa Monica’s Ocean Avenue bus island

Not quite complete is a protected bicycle intersection at California and Ocean Avenues.

The project also extended the bike lanes south of the pier, though these are conventional one-way lanes on both sides of the street, with protection extending to Moomat Ahiko. Green-painted bike lanes extend to Bicknell Avenue.

The Ocean Avenue two-way protected bikeway ends at the Santa Monica Pier, where cyclists can connect with the Colorado Esplanade two-way protected bikeway to the Downtown Santa Monica E Line (Expo) station.
Cyclists can continue south from the pier on a one-way protected lane to Moomat Ahiko. The southbound lane – mostly green-painted conventional bike lane – continues south to Bicknell Avenue.
Northbound from Pico Boulevard to the Pier, Santa Monica has green-painted conventional bike lanes.

An additional feature, anticipated to be started and completed in December, is a quick-build expanded sidewalk platform on the east side of the street. This is designed to allow more space for people walking and for outside business activity.

In a press statement, Santa Monica Interim City Manager Lane Dilg praises the improvements enhancing Ocean Avenue – “a beautiful corridor with views of the Pacific” – as “a signature Santa Monica experience and area for our residents to enjoy time outdoors, not only during the pandemic but for many, many years to come.”


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