Any Los Angeles resident knows that trying to get somewhere by car can be a difficult task due to the high amounts of traffic on the surface streets of LA. To minimize the challenge of driving somewhere, Los Angeles is making efforts to increase the cycling community by adding infrastructure to accommodate new and existing bicycle riders. These efforts are led by the LADOT Bike Program and a variety of projects to make bicycling a safe and fun experience. The latest transportation projects to come out of the program are the recent construction of downtown LA’s first ever protected bicycle lanes on a section of Los Angeles Street in Downtown LA, along with the first wave of a new bike sharing program.
Although existing bike lanes already have been marked off with paint on Los Angeles Streets, there are some flaws that can be fixed with a few improvements. Drivers and cyclists are often in danger since the existing bike lanes can cause both groups to collide with each other. As both cyclists and drivers have no indication that both must share the road ahead due to a dead end, the danger can lead to collisions. The current bike lanes also coincide with two freeway onramps, which puts bicyclists at risk as drivers must drive through the bicycle lane to enter the freeway. With these two things in mind, the new bike lanes aim to reduce the car traffic that crosses into the current bike lanes. The improved bike lanes will be parking-protected so that bicyclists are protected by parked cars on the left and the curb on the right. In addition, new posts and turning signals will allow bicycle riders to ride safely in the designated bicycle lane without worrying about interference from cars. This idea has already been preceded in areas such as Reseda Blvd in Northridge and the Second Street Tunnel in Los Angeles; despite that, the new bicycle lanes on Los Angeles Street are the first to feature traffic signals and “integrated transit stop islands.” The construction began in April and will be completed around mid-May.
This is set to debut along with a new Metro bike share program in Downtown Los Angeles. The program will consist of one thousand bikes scattered around 65 stations in downtown LA; in locations such as Union Station, Staples Center, and the University of Southern California. In the program, the bicycles will be available to rent out and can be returned to any station. With these two projects coming up, Los Angeles is slowly transitioning into a place where bicyclists and car riders are able to coexist peacefully on its streets.
How does your city improve its streets for bicycle riders? Is there bicycle infrastructure in your city? Do you consider your streets “bicycle-friendly?” Share your thoughts and your city's stories in the comments area below.