LADOT Planning Safety Improvements on San Vicente
Last night the city of L.A. Transportation Department presented proposals for safety improvements on San Vicente Boulevard. LADOT’s San Vicente Safety & Mobility Project would be 1.2 mile long, extending from Olympic Boulevard to La Brea Avenue.
San Vicente, a former streetcar line right of way, is now a wide street running diagonally through a largely residential neighborhood. Last night LADOT Transportation Planner Clare Eberle stated that “some people have said [San Vicente] feels like a raceway in front of peoples’ homes.” Each side of the the street currently has three car lanes plus a parking lane. Down the middle of the street runs a tree-lined, grassy, raised median. Portions of San Vicente are lined by a frontage road, adding a seventh car travel lane and a third parking lane. To recap: San Vicente is a residential street with up to ten lanes (seven travel lanes and three parking lanes), all for cars.
The city’s 2015 Mobility Plan approved protected bike lanes for San Vicente Boulevard from Venice Boulevard to the Beverly Hills boundary. The street is pretty ideal for protected bike lanes, as there are very few driveways (most car access is via alleys or frontage roads) and relatively little transit. Bike lanes along San Vicente would make useful connections to Metro D Line stations on Wilshire, currently under construction.
In early 2020, Streets L.A. announced plans to repave this portion of San Vicente under their accelerated ADAPT repaving program. Several community groups – including the Mid-City West Community Council, which includes the north side of the street – urged the city to add the approved bike upgrades when repaving.
Safe streets proponents gathered an impressive list of formal organizational support for adding the approved protected bikeway on San Vicente: Carthay Square Neighborhood Association, Mid-City West Community Council, Neighbors United of Faircrest Heights, Streets for All, and Sycamore Square Neighborhood Association.
In 2020, both Streets for All and the Wilshire Vista Neighborhood Association conducted online surveys where a large majority of respondents expressed support for implementing the approved protected bikeway. In October, the P.I.C.O. Neighborhood Council – whose leaders oppose the project – put out third and fourth online surveys. Streets for All describes the P.I.C.O. surveys as confusing and misleading. Ultimately P.I.C.O. NC conducted four different surveys about the project.
Last night LADOT announced that the planned repaving is now scheduled for June, so the department is in the community engagement phase, anticipating finalizing a conceptual design in April.
LADOT shared two proposed design concepts, both of which would remove one lane of through traffic on each side. One concept would add a buffered bike lane; the other adds a parking-protected bike lane.
LADOT’s presentation enumerated the anticipated benefits of the project: curbing speeding, reducing unsafe lane changes, reducing the lanes pedestrians would need to cross, creating physically separated space for bicycling/scootering/skateboarding, rebalancing the street for everyone, and reducing traffic noise by taking it further from peoples’ homes.
Eberle noted that, while LADOT is still finalizing traffic analysis, “Based on recorded traffic data, traffic volumes on San Vicente indicate that reconfiguration [reducing three car lanes to two on each side] is feasible.” In order to optimize visibility and safety, LADOT noted that, at intersections, some red curb no-parking areas would be expanded, resulting in a loss of around twenty to thirty percent of existing on-street parking – excluding parking on the frontage roads, which will remain unchanged.
The department will host one additional San Vicente community engagement meeting this week: on Thursday 3/11 from 10-11:30 a.m. Sign-up for the Thursday morning meeting via LADOT Zoom page.
Stakeholders are encouraged to submit comments on the project in various ways: