New bike lanes on Main Street in Venice

New bike lanes on Main Street in Los Angeles' Venice neighborhood

The city of Los Angeles Transportation Department (LADOT) has finished striping some snazzy new bike lanes on Main Street in Venice. The Main Street bike lanes extend 0.8 miles from Windward Circle (the traffic circle at Grand Boulevard and Windward Avenue) all the way to the city limit border with Santa Monica, just northwest of Rose Avenue. 

The Main Street bike lane project is a road diet. For most of this stretch, Main Street had two car lanes in each direction, with no center turn lane. LADOT removed one car lane in each direction, and added a new continuous center turn lane and new bike lanes. Road diets have been studied by all kinds of folks, including the Federal Highway Administration, and have been found to be safer for driving, walking, and, of course, bicycling. This configuration reduces car collisions, mostly because turning cars only need to cross one lane. Crossing two lanes is more dangerous due to the blind spot; a driver can see the next lane well enough, but when a car is stopped there, it can be difficult to spot oncoming traffic in the next lane over.

These lanes were debated a bit last year. Out of concern for keeping bicyclists even more out of the door zone, the Venice Neighborhood Council supported a design that gave bicyclist a little more than the bare minimum. Bike lanes next to parking are mandated to be at least five feet wide. (With no parking, next to curbs a bike lane can be four feet wide.) The Main Street lanes are 5.5 feet wide… which, frankly, is difficult to notice, unless you’re a stickler like me and you bring a measuring wheel with you. This extra half-foot does get cyclists just a bit more space that’s fully outside the door zone. It goes a little further than usual for cyclists’ safety. Wonderful!

15-foot parking lane near Windward Circle. Cyclist is riding on the inside edge of the bike lane and is still well outside of the door zone.

Near Windward Circle, Main widens out and the configuration becomes very generous. Typically L.A.’s minimum would call for a 6.5-foot parking lane and a 5-foot bike lane. The three blocks between Westminster Avenue and the traffic circle have a 15-foot parking lane and a 6-foot bike lane. This means that drivers can lean a kayak perpendicular to their parked car and still not block the bike lane. It’s so spacious that I observed some cyclists riding in the parking lane buffer zone, instead of the actual bike lane.

I took a spin on the new lanes this morning. The striping looks like it’s 98% done. The bike lanes are done; there’s a handful of other street markings that are still just preliminary marks. I think the bike lanes were being finished this morning. There were plenty of cyclists using this stretch of roadway just a block from Venice Beach; some carry a surfboard under one arm.

Contiguous bike lanes on Main Street in the city of Santa Monica

The city of Santa Monica did bike lanes on their L.A.-adjacent stretch of Main Street a while back. It’s great that now L.A. and Santa Monica are seamlessly coordinated. The overall Main Street lanes extend from Colorado to Grand – about 2.2 miles total. It’s great that the two cities are coordinating and connecting bike infrastructure. With bike-friendly streets on both sides, now all we have is the Jonathan Borofsky Ballerina Clown to tell us that we’re entering Santa Monica.

For what it’s worth, the Main Street bike lanes were approved in the city’s 2010 Bike Plan approved in March 2011. They’re not in the city’s 5-Year Implementation Strategy; I think it looked like they were going to be implemented sooner than March 2011, so they were left out of that document (it shows on the city’s 5-Year maps as “existing and funded.”)

I think that this is a great project. In a few ways, these lanes go above and beyond the basics to make Main Street safer and friendlier for everyone. There are lots of L.A. streets that would benefit from a road diet like Main’s.

Kudos to LADOT, L.A. City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl (watch his video about these lanes!), the Venice Neighborhood Council, Bikeside, L.A. County Bicycle Coalition, and others who made these lanes a reality!

The new Main Street bike lanes go past the iconic binoculars building, created by Claes Oldenburg and Frank Gehry

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11 thoughts on “New bike lanes on Main Street in Venice

  1. Woo hoo for the cycle chic action in pic #3! Too bad the part where the bike lane expands didn’t become 7ft, that would have been cool! Thanks for hunting down, and reviewing all these new bike lanes!

  2. Pingback: It’s Official. Main Street in Venice Is on a Diet. | Streetsblog Los Angeles

  3. Joe – Damn you’re fast! Here’s my view from a local perspective:

    The Main Street bike lanes in Venice are here!

    Katarina, on her electric bike, and I went for a bicycle ride and victory lap, up and down the freshly painted Venice Main Street Bike lanes on Sunday after the farmer’s market. They came out pretty good after all this time. It was perfect weather and there were already lots of other cyclists.

    These lanes appear to be a bit wider than the Santa Monica section. There’s less chance of being doored with a space on the right of the lane for much of the route. And the car traffic seemed calmed by the lane re-configuration. There’s a section Northbound from the kicking clown to the Santa Monica border which has long had lane confusion, with awkward last second merges into the left lane. That’s completely fixed and is much safer and smoother now. The South end of the bike lane is at the Windward Circle allowing a easy merge around the circle. Connecting to Abbot Kinney’s sharrows is easy too, making a good route over to Venice Blvd.’s bike lanes to Culver City and even downtown LA.

    This is great new place for bicyclists. Now there’s safe, easy route from downtown Santa Monica to the Windward Circle. These are the best places near the beach to visit by bicycle. And the new lanes make this an easy trip on flat ground that anyone can pedal. Merchants near Main St. should now be asking LADOT for more bike racks in front of their stores to bring in these new customers (www.bicyclela.org/RackRequest.htm) . We should all be taking this route for a test spin on the next sunny day.

    Like all things there’s room for small improvement, which will make a big difference. The one I’d really like so see would be some wayfinding signage. One or two signs at the the south terminus pointing to the beach path and the alternate route avoiding Washington Bvld. to the Marina Del Rey section of the path. And put a few signs on Ocean Ave. and Venice Bvld. pointing toward the new lanes on Main Street. Showing the connections to the bike lane will really help increase it’s usability.

    These bike lane projects take a massive effort by many, many people to see anything appear on the ground. A big tailwind on their next ride to LADOT and Michelle Mowery’s group for initiating this great connecting route. Not the mention engineering, presenting and constructing it. Also to the Venice Neighborhood Council for voting to proving a safer place for cyclists in the community. And Bill Rosendahl’s office for getting the plans approved by all concerned. And a really big kudos to all the SPOKE and LACBC people who advocated for this especially our Bicycle Advisory Committee representative Kent Strumpel.

    Eric “lets extend the Main St. bike lanes” Weinstein

  4. Great for bikes, but not so good for cars at the intersection of Rose and Main. This morning I was behind 3 buses and twenty cars, never seen traffic backed up that far. A road diet sure doesn’t help congestion. Squeezing four lanes into two will make every stop light twice as long on that stretch. Unfortunately some of us have to get off our bikes and drive at some point.

  5. Pingback: Main Street road diet brings joy to Venice cyclists; I missed it by that much last week « BikingInLA

  6. Pingback: Main Street road diet brings joy to Venice cyclists; a road rage finger and a shipload of links « BikingInLA

  7. Pingback: Main Street Bike Lanes Coming to Downtown L.A. « L.A. Eco-Village Blog

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