Councilmember Raman Celebrates New Riverside Drive Protected Bike Lanes
“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.
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.
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.”
After cutting the ceremonial ribbon, Raman and Reynolds accompanied assembled cyclists to tour the newly open facility.
Below are photos Streetsblog took before, during and after the lane installation.