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Where L.A. City Is Quietly Removing Bike Lanes and Adding On-Street Car Parking

Six streets where LADOT added motorist parking at the expense of bicyclist safety. And the city wonders why traffic deaths keep increasing?

L.A. City removed bike lanes on 48th Street in South L.A. – in order to add diagonal parking. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog

Los Angeles City has been removing bike lanes. The practice probably is not widespread, but that is difficult to verify as the city does these removals with no notice, no reporting.

Generally the city Transportation Department (LADOT) removes bike lanes to add more on-street parking.

There's a pro-car double standard at play here. It can take months, sometimes years, of community outreach to add bike or bus lanes. This often means watering down projects. After significant outreach processes, recent worthwhile projects on San Vicente, Venice, and La Brea were whittled down to just 60, 75, and 40 percent of the respective initial plans. (Those projects got built. Often bus/bike/walk projects that would remove some parking are quietly declared "infeasible" and never even vetted by communities.)

But adding parking and removing bike lanes? That can be done with no public process whatsoever.

For many of the projects listed below, there is no public record, no public vetting of proposals, no community outreach, often not even a public announcement of what has been done.

This post focuses on permanent changes to streets, but temporary LADOT bike lane removals are also not uncommon. SBLA reported on a 2020 temporary removal of the Jefferson Boulevard bike lane.

L.A. recently removed a block of bike lane on Leimert Boulevard, apparently temporarily

Right now, during construction, the city (temporarily, hopefully) removed a bike lane on Leimert Boulevard, replacing it with a sharrow.

Below are two locations where the city has permanently erased existing bike lanes in favor of adding diagonal parking.

48th Street

On 48th Street, between 8th Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard, LADOT removed four blocks of bike lanes in order to add diagonal parking.

Bike lanes on 48th Street in 2016 - via Google Street View
The same block of 48th Street in 2023, with diagonal parking and no bike lanes

Circa 2015, bike lanes were installed there as part of road diet safety improvements funded via a federal (Highway Safety Improvement Program - HSIP) grant.

Circa 2019-20, LADOT removed the bike lanes and added diagonal parking along the south side of the street. Streetsblog has been unable to find any city documentation with any mention of these changes.

Neptune Avenue

In order to add diagonal parking, LADOT quietly removed a half mile of southbound bike lane on Neptune Avenue between Anaheim Street and C Street.

Now you see it. Neptune Avenue with two bike lanes in 2015 - via Google Street View
Now you don't. Neptune in 2023, after an LADOT "safety" project removed the southbound bike lane in favor of adding diagonal parking. Image via Google Street View

Ironically, deleting this bikeway was part of the city's Vision Zero Anaheim Street Safety Improvements project. The "quick-build" Anaheim project opened earlier this year. In the next couple years, the city is planning to install $32 million worth of more permanent concrete features, including on Neptune.

The city did a couple of years of community outreach on its Anaheim project. The city's project webpage has a dozen project handouts, boards, fact sheets, etc., none of which mention the bike lane removal.

Screen capture from LADOT Neptune safety features video. DOT touts increasing parking, but does not mention that it was added at the expense of bicyclist safety.

LADOT project materials barely mention adding the new parking, though it is touched on in one "new safety features" video. So even when LADOT does an extensive outreach process for a safety project, the bike lane removal is kept quiet.

(Added 11/3: LADOT reached out to SBLA to add context, noting that the Neptune bike lane removal had been part of separate outreach not currently posted online. LADOT provided SBLA a 2022 Neptune presentation that notes "Project Trade Offs" include "Class II bike lane on the Southbound side will become a Class III sharrow.")

Additional LADOT parking projects that impact future bikeways

Those two projects above removed existing bike lanes. There are also LADOT parking expansion projects that effectively blocked future planned or proposed bike lanes (including bikeway upgrades).

Most of these projects involve adding diagonal parking. (Diagonal parking takes up a lot of street space, generally around 20-24 feet, compared to parallel parking spaces, which take only around 6.5-7.5 feet. After 20+ feet are dedicated to parking, there usually isn't enough space remaining to add bike lanes. The city has squeezed protected bike lanes between the curb and parking in just one location to date, Eldridge Avenue. Generally diagonal parking precludes bike facilities.)

Ventura Boulevard

LADOT asserted that Woodland Hills' Reimagine Ventura Boulevard is "making Ventura Boulevard safer for cyclists and pedestrians." Early on, the project considered protected bike lanes, but ended up adding diagonal parking instead. (It did preserve existing unprotected bike lanes).

Slauson Avenue

In late 2022, LADOT installed diagonal parking on Slauson Avenue in Del Rey. In the department's annual report, LADOT asserted that the parking project had made the street "bike friendly."

Angelino Heights

This year, LADOT added diagonal parking on Bellevue Avenue, as part of safety improvements designed to curb illegal street racing. Despite very wide streets there, LADOT asserted that bikeways could not be included due to street pavement condition. Now bikeways will be difficult to add without removing space from parking.

Central Avenue

On Central Avenue in Little Tokyo, next to the new Metro Station, LADOT recently added a half-block of on-street parking exactly where LADOT and Metro had obtained a federal grant to add planned bike lanes.

Central Avenue between 1st and 2nd Streets in 2015 - via Google Street View
New on-street parking on Central Avenue in 2023

In 2014, Metro and LADOT secured a federal grant for first/last mile connections to the then-under-construction Little Tokyo Regional Connector Station.

Metro's 2014 TIGER Grant budget specified numerous facilities that were to be built by Metro and LADOT. Many were never built.
Detail of 2014 budget, showing LADOT was awarded $310,438 to install bike lanes on Central Avenue from 1st Street to 3rd Street

The 2014 federal grant included some facilities to be implemented by Metro and some by LADOT. The grant awarded LADOT $300,000 dollars to add new bike lanes on Central Avenue between First and Third Streets.

In 2015 the city's Mobility Plan re-approved these bike lanes on Central Avenue, even upgrading them to protected lanes.

Circa 2016, LADOT, ignoring its grant and the city plan, quietly added on-street parking instead of bike lanes.

In 2023, when bike advocates questioned the missing Central Avenue bikeway, Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins responded that "The current rights-of-way are not wide enough to accommodate bike lanes without removing parking spaces." (Which is not true; minimum lane widths would fit.)

Are there more?

These are just the examples that Streetsblog has come across. But these are difficult to find. Cities rarely announce when they remove bike infrastructure.

If you come across places where Southern California cities are removing bikeways and/or adding on-street parking, please let SBLA know - in the comments below, or email us at tips@la.streetsblog.org.

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