Yesterday afternoon, Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar hosted a Downtown Bike Network open house at Toriumi Plaza in Little Tokyo. Bikas was there and brings you new of plenty of new bikeways coming very soon to downtown streets.
The open house included information tables with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), CicLAvia, Metro, Bike Nation, Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC), and the L.A. City Department of Transportation (LADOT) Bike Program. A crowd of about 60 gathered, roughly about half of whom were agency or organization staff/representatives.
Councilmember Huizar welcomed the attendees and introduced speakers from LADOT, LACBC, MyFigueroa, and DLANC. The most immediate good news, announced by LADOT’s Tim Fremaux, is that, next month – June 2012, LADOT is implementing 2.6 miles of bike lanes in downtown:
- 1.5 miles on Main Street – from 9th Street (and Spring Street) to Cesar Chavez Avenue (one-way northbound lane forming couplet with the southbound Spring Street green bike lane)
- 0.6 mile on First Street – from Grand Avenue to San Pedro Street (Disney Hall to Little Tokyo’s Toriumi Plaza)
- 0.5 mile on Los Angeles Street – from First Street to Alameda Street (City Hall East to Union Station)
While 2.6 miles might not sound like all that much, it actually includes many of the most important streets in the city. That makes these streets worthwhile destinations, as well as having important symbolic value.
This is the heart of the city that’s the heart of the region. These areas have been important from the days of the Tongva peoples’ Yangna village through early Spanish settlement to today’s L.A. megalopolis. For 230 years, from 1781 until 2011, downtown Los Angeles had no bike facilities. Truth be told, though, bikes weren’t really invented until the late 1800s, so Bikas doesn’t hold the first 100 years against L.A.’s transportation establishment.
When the three bike lane projects, listed above, have been completed, bike lanes will occupy three sides of Los Angeles’ City Hall and Police Headquarters. The lanes will connect with the city’s historic plaza at El Pueblo, foremost transportation hub Union Station, the California State Transportation Department (Caltrans) regional headquarters, and L.A.’s highest profile performing arts venues: Walt Disney Concert Hall, Ahmanson Theater, Dorothy Chandler
Pavillion Pavilion and Mark Taper Forum.
An additional 2.4 miles of Downtown Los Angeles bike lane will be installed “by late summer” 2012:
- 1.2 miles on Olive Street – from 7th Street to Washington (one-way southbound lane forming couplet with the northbound Grand Avenue lane)
- 1.2 miles on Grand Avenue – from 7th Street to Washington (one-way northbound lane forming couplet with the southbound Olive Street bike lane)
This couplet extends from L.A.’s Jewelry District area to Los Angeles Trade Tech College.
Additional downtown bikeway mileage will be implemented within a couple years on Cesar Chavez Avenue, 1st Street, 2nd Street/Glendale Blvd, 7th Street, 11th Street, Venice Boulevard, Figueroa Street, and Flower Street. (For overview see this Downtown Bikeway Network post at the LADOT website.)
Following LADOT’s Tim Fremeaux, LACBC’s Alexis Lantz spoke, emphasizing huge increases in bicycle counts after implementation of L.A. bicycle facilities, expecting even more as a genuine network emerges.
Next Melani Smith of Melendrez spoke about the MyFigueroa project which includes “fully separated bike facilities both north and south” on Figueroa from MLK to 7th Street. The Figueroa project will be implemented by the end of 2014.
Last but not least, Valerie Watson of the DLANC (and Melendrez) spoke. Watson has been a great leader in bringing more complete streets to L.A.’s downtown, championing the Spring Street green bike lane, and plenty of other great projects. Watson announced plans for the city’s first parklet (small semi-permanent transformation of a parking space into a mini-park) to be located in front of L.A. Cafe, on Spring between 6th and 7th.
Exciting bike projects coming downtown – very soon!