New Bike Lanes Installed on North Figueroa in Cypress Park
There are new bike lanes striped on Northeast Los Angeles’ North Figueroa Street – in the L.A. City neighborhood of Cypress Park.
The lanes come as somewhat of a surprise, as the area is represented by L.A. City Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who blocked bike lane projects on North Figueroa in Highland Park (just north of these new lanes) and on the North Spring Street Bridge. As far as Streetsblog can find, since his re-election in May 2017, Cedillo’s Council District 1 has seen only one 500-foot stretch of new bike lanes – located in Chinatown.
When news of the North Figueroa lanes first emerged on Twitter last week, Streetsblog actually double-checked new city council district boundaries to make sure that this stretch has not been redistricted out of CD1.
The new bike lanes extend 0.8 miles from Avenue 26 to Marmion Way/Pasadena Avenue.
L.A. City Transportation Department (LADOT) spokesperson Colin Sweeney wrote that “StreetsLA recently completed resurfacing on Figueroa after which LADOT restriped the street to bring it up to current standards. In this instance, restriping created space to add a bike lane to the existing configuration without impacting other road users (no impact on parking or number of travel lanes).” North Figueroa was repaved between Pasadena Avenue and the 110 Freeway.
The new North Figueroa bike lanes extend a halfway decent Northeast Los Angeles bikeway network. They connect to existing bike lanes on Avenue 28 and Cypress Avenue. They also get cyclists nearly to the L.A. River and Arroyo Seco bike paths and to Heritage Square and Lincoln/Cypress L (Gold) Line Stations.
Though the repaving is complete, and most of the thermoplastic striping appears complete, the city has not yet added the bicycle symbols.
Cedillo has been in office 9 years. The community has asked for a safer @fig4all the entire time.
Because he’s up for re-election soon *surprise* a bike lane is squeezed in?
— Felicia G. (@hippierunner) February 12, 2022
While safe streets advocates welcomed the new lanes, they were quick to point out that it isn’t quite enough to just add a stripe of paint – unprotected bike lanes – to a busy street.
Streets For All founder Michael Schneider stated that “The bike lanes will also make it safer for drivers and pedestrians, as narrower lanes promote slower driving.” Schneider expressed disappointment that “these are supposed to be protected bike lanes on the city’s own Mobility Plan 2035,” while acknowledging that they are “a small baby step towards making North Figueroa safer.” L.A. County Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Eli Akira Kaufman similarly welcomed the lanes “that support bike and pedestrian safety rather than just prioritizing cars” with the caveat that “we can only have peace on the street—and more livable communities—when everyone in Los Angeles has a fair piece of the street as is detailed in the Mobility Plan 2035.”
Sweeney wrote that “Installing a protected bike lane would require more lane width than a striped bike lane.” “This section of N. Figueroa is not wide enough to add a protected bike lane without removing either a parking or travel lane” Sweeney noted, “Any project that reconfigured the existing design in such a way would require significant community outreach that the resurfacing schedule did not provide enough time to complete.” Sweeney added that LADOT can still do future outreach and further upgrades later.
Streets For All and LACBC are part of a coalition of community groups promoting a proposed Healthy Streets L.A. ballot measure which would force the city to implement safety upgrades already approved in the city’s Mobility Plan.
Streetsblog got a chance to bicycle the new lanes yesterday. Where there is still quite a bit of fast-moving car traffic on North Figueroa, the lanes make the street feel more comfortable and safer for cycling. With the bike lane, drivers were keeping a little more distance from cyclists. Many folks on bike were taking advantage of the new lanes, getting exercise and getting around northeast L.A.
Streetsblog emailed Councilmember Cedillo’s office for comments on how these new lanes came about, but had not received a response by press time. If SBLA receives additional information on these new lanes, this post will be updated.