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Councilmember Raman Celebrates New Riverside Drive Protected Bike Lanes

L.A. City Councilmember Nithya Raman and LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds celebrating Riverside Drive’s new protected bike lanes. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

"Changing our physical infrastructure in this way" L.A. City Councilmember Nithya Raman declared, "can make real powerful and positive change... We can choose to make Los Angeles a city where biking, rolling, walking, taking transit, and driving are safer, more enjoyable, and more joyful. And that's what this morning is about - more joy."

This morning, before a crowd of around fifty at the Mulholland Memorial Fountain, Raman hosted a ribbon-cutting celebration for the city of L.A.'s newest protected bike lanes. Under Raman's leadership, as part of a repaving project, the city added new protected bike lanes on a 0.6-mile stretch of Riverside Drive between Los Feliz Boulevard and Glendale Boulevard, immediately southeast of Griffith Park.

The project removed one northbound travel lane to make space for protected bike lanes - called a road diet. The Riverside lanes are the first protected bike lanes in City Council District 4.

Protected bike lanes coming to Riverside Drive - via LADOT fact sheet
Riverside Drive protected bike lanes information - via LADOT fact sheet
Protected bike lanes coming to Riverside Drive - via LADOT fact sheet

Raman acknowledged the city entities that made the Riverside lanes a reality: the city Transportation Department (LADOT), the Department of Public Works Bureau of Street Services (StreetsLA), as well as the Department of Recreation and Parks, the adjacent A Bridge Home supportive housing staff, as well as State Assemblymember Laura Friedman.

Raman noted that this stretch of Riverside was scheduled for resurfacing, and bike lanes had already been approved in L.A.'s Mobility Plan. She outlined the three goals for the project: safety, providing access, and cutting carbon emissions. "Bike lanes are climate emergency action - and they are also neighborhood action" echoed LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds.

Councilmember Nithya Raman
Councilmember Nithya Raman. Behind her are (left to right) LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds, State Assemblymember Laura Friedman Field Representative Seamus Garrity, and Streets L.A. Assistant Director Gary Harris
Councilmember Nithya Raman

Raman related that her staff went door-to-door to "tell people who lived around this area that this this project was happening." When CD4 staff went to people, and "[told] them that these are the plans and this is what you could have on this street," Raman noted, "we didn't get opposition actually - we got real excitement." Raman acknowledged "some concerns" received, but "when you go to people at their doors and tell people that there's an opportunity to make the street safer, for the most part it's just really really positive."

Reynolds announced that additional green paint pavement marking was coming in the short term. She called the project a "quick-build, by no means done." "Make no mistake this is a neighborhood street" that families and kids use to access nearby parks, stated Reynolds. "We are in the middle of one of most beautiful most natural parts of Los Angeles, but you'd never know it looking at the the street, and that's because the street carries people to the 5 Freeway." (A freeway that Metro and Caltrans are currently widening into the northeast end of Griffith Park.)

Streets L.A. Assistant Director Gary Harris, whose staff were responsible for the $300,000 repaving project, also emphasized safety as of utmost importance to his bureau's work. Harris concluded his remarks stating "we want to work on the whole street network in the city of Los Angeles, and continue the success, and make Los Angeles the most bike friendly city in the United States."

Raman cutting the ribbon on the new Riverside Drive protected bike lanes
Raman cutting the ribbon on the new Riverside Drive protected bike lanes
L.A. City Councilmember Nithya Raman cutting the ribbon on the new Riverside Drive protected bike lanes

After cutting the ceremonial ribbon, Raman and Reynolds accompanied assembled cyclists to tour the newly open facility.

L.A. City Councilmember Nithya Raman
L.A. City Councilmember Nithya Raman leading the celebratory tour of the new Riverside Drive bike lanes
L.A. City Councilmember Nithya Raman opening the new Riverside Drive protected bike lanes in Los Feliz

Below are photos Streetsblog took before, during and after the lane installation.

Riverside Drive in late February as resurfacing got underway
Riverside Drive with resurfaced roadway and preliminary lane markings - in early March
Riverside Drive with permanent thermoplastic striping in late March
Riverside Drive this morning, with plastic bollards added to cordon off new parking-protected bike lanes. (Some green pavement marking still to come.)

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