Got Easy Bike Lane Projects?

Posted on 06/13/2012

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Bike lanes on NELA’s York Boulevard, initial phase striped in 2010, reportedly to be extended to Figueroa soon – potentially later this month

Severin ‘walkeaglerock‘  Martinez credits Bikas’ Joe Linton for his Easy Bike Lane Projects in Northeast LA post earlier today over at Bipedality. It’s a great list, with map, of easy bike lane projects mainly in Eagle Rock, Highland Park, and Cypress Park.

Here’s a brief excerpt – go to Bipedality and read the whole thing:

as we await bike projects on major Northeast LA streets, there are opportunities to install bike lanes on streets (many of them residential) without any environmental studies or removal of car lanes. These are projects that could, in theory, be installed at any time the funding is available and help Los Angeles achieve its goal of implementing 40 miles of bike lanes each fiscal year.

I am happy that other folks are taking on some of the sort of urban analysis that Bikas has been obsessed with doing for the last few years. What I find both sad (past missed opportunities) and wonderful (future non-missed opportunities) is just how wide L.A.’s streets are and how many easy bike lane projects remain out there. 

The early draft of what later became the L.A. City “2010” Bike Plan asserted that only 26 miles of new bike lanes were “feasible” without hella-expensive time-consuming environmental impact reports (EIRs.) Then, lo and behold this fiscal year, the city got its political will on (big thanks @Villaraigosa!), and is on target for 40+ miles, with no EIR.

I think roughly 20-30% of those 40+ miles of FY2011-2012 bike lane projects removed travel lanes, including road diets. These diets were done in places where plenty of excess capacity already existed: 7th Street, Spring Street, the three different Main Street projects, and a few others. I think those road diets are among the best, most worthwhile, most effective bike lane projects! …but the vast majority of this year’s new bike lanes were just big wide L.A. streets where bike lanes could be easily added without removing any car lanes or car parking.

While walkeaglerock has documented many miles of low-hanging fruit in one area/neighborhood, as I bike around Los Angeles, I still see plenty of wide streets – from South L.A. to San Pedro to the San Fernando Valley – where bike lanes can be added easily without removing any car lanes. In addition to those, there are quite a few streets that appear to ripe for road diets – removing one car lane to make it safer for driving, walking and bicycling.

I think that, even with 40+ miles of low-hanging-fruit picked this year, there are still 100+ miles of very easy bike lane projects out there. One concern is, just because there’s enough space, should L.A. always add bike lanes? Generally my default answer is “yes” – bike lanes should be everywhere cyclists are and will be – which is to say everywhere. Prioritization is the next concern: which lanes should get done sooner, which later. With some, more pushy projects under environmental review, and plenty of easy projects available, the question should shift from “what’s doable?” to “what’s the priority?” – and we should hopefully see more Vinelands (population-dense, flat) and fewer Via Marisols (steep, suburban.)

What do you readers think? What streets in your neighborhood look like they have enough width and capacity to easily add bike lanes? Of the easy bike lane projects (lists by walkeaglerock and Bikas – or ones you’ve spotted) which do you think should be a priority? and why?

Posted in: bike lane