Thoughts on ThinkBike L.A.: 1 – Downtown

On September 22-23 2011, Dutch bicycle facility designers came to L.A. and worked with Angelenos to create great designs. The ThinkBike event was covered at LADOT, and L.A. Streetsblog, but the coverage didn’t include too much in the way of sharing actual designs, like S.F. Streetsblog coverage of their ThinkBike did. I figured that I would do a series of three posts (1 – Downtown, 2 – Pacoima, 3 – South L.A.) showing off more of the great work. The designs are posted at LADOT, but they’re big pdfs, difficult to search, find, and share. I’ve broken them out into place-specific entries and tried to run a lot of images and text, to make this excellent work more findable. In addition, I’ve done a fourth blog post about the overall process, which I did find a bit disappointing.


The Downtown L.A. ThinkBike team included folks from DLANC, FAST, LACBC, LADOT, and Metro. The pdf of their full slide show is on-line at LADOT.

Map of the Downtown L.A. ThinkBike plan - mainly Main Street and Spring Street from Cesar Chavez Avenue to Venice Boulevard

The Downtown ThinkBike Team focused mostly the one-way couplet of Main Street and Spring Street, from Cesar Chavez Avenue to Venice Boulevard. 

The team came up with various treatments that they categorized based on parts of the human body:

  • Head:  Spring and Main from Chavez to the 101 Freeway (El Pueblo area)
  • Arms:  Spring and Main from 101 Freeway to 3rd Street (City Hall area), with connections east on First Street to the L.A. River, and west via the future Civic Park to the Bunker Hill
  • Heart: Spring and Main from 3rd Street to 9th Street (Historic Core to the Fashion District)
  • Legs: Main Street from 9th Street to Venice (Fashion District)

Each stretch has different cross-section street designs.

Here’s the proposal for the head – for each Spring and Main, which are one-way streets:

ThinkBike design for Spring and Main Streets between Chavez and the 101 Freeway

These reconfigured Spring and Main Streets would add a dedicated bus lane and, next to each sidewalk, two one-way protected bike lanes (similar to those in Downtown Long Beach.)

From the 101 Freeway to where Spring and Main merge at 9th Street, here’s what the ThinkBike team envisioned:

ThinkBike cross-section for Spring and Main between the 101 Freeway and 9th Street

In this area, the heart of downtown, the ThinkBike team called for wide sidewalks and one-way bike lanes on both Spring and Main.

Here’s a rendering of what this would look like on Spring Street:

ThinkBike rendering of a future Spring Steet, with wide sidewalk, bike lane, bus-only lane and car lanes

At 9th Street, Spring Street ends. Traffic merges onto a two-way Main Street. Here’s ThinkBike’s plan for a future two-way Main Street:

ThinkBike Cross-section for Main Street between 9th Street and Venice Boulevard

This is a very wonderful vision for a downtown street that prioritizes walking and bicycling! Car traffic occupies only two 10-foot travel lanes, which pedestrians can get across easily and safely. Bicyclists travel on protected bike lanes.

Here’s what this area looks like today:

Existing conditions on Main Street at 11th Street

And here’s a ThinkBike rendering of what it will look like when the ThinkBike plan is implemented:

ThinkBike rendering of future protected bike lanes on Main Street at 11th Street

These ThinkBike visions for Downtown L.A. are wonderful! Not only would they greatly increase safety for all road users, they would help economic development. Fewer cars, moving more slowly would reduce noise pollution and would foster streetside cafes – improving the community feel of the street.

See the full pdf of the Downtown L.A. ThinkBike presentation at LADOT website. See also the other ThinkBike posts: 2 – Pacoima, 3 – South L.A. and 4 – Process.

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on ThinkBike L.A.: 1 – Downtown

  1. Pingback: Felony charges in SaMo road rage after all, and I nearly run down a seemingly semi-suicidal cyclist « BikingInLA

  2. Pingback: Spring Street Green Buffered Bike Lane on the Way! « L.A. Eco-Village Blog

  3. Pingback: Beautiful New Buffered Green Bike Lane on Spring Street « L.A. Eco-Village Blog

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