I noticed yesterday that the city has “erased” some of old lane markings on Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles. The two right-side (west-side) lane markings have been scraped off… in preparation for an awesome new buffered bike lane.
Here’s what Spring Street will look like very soon:
The city of L.A. Transportation Department (LADOT) is moving fast on this one! It’s been covered at LACBC, Streetsblog, Downtown News, Curbed, Brigham Yen, and BlogDowntown, but I’ll toss my summary into the blogosphere, too.
The word is that city officials, including Mayor Villaraigosa, were inspired by the designs from the recent ThinkBike event. They pressed LADOT and asked what could happen right away. DOT had crunched the traffic numbers on Spring and determined that a car lane could be removed without significantly snarling Spring Street traffic… so the project got the go-ahead.
These are called “buffered” bike lanes, because there’s a striped buffer between the bike lane and the first lane of through traffic.
I have to admit that I was skeptical of this project when I first saw the image… but I’ve thought about it a bunch, and, now, I really like it! Generally I think that one-way bike lanes on one-way streets are better on the left side of the street. That’s where San Francisco and New York City generally put them. There are a few reasons why this is preferred:
- Less car-door conflict: A one way lane on the left is on the passenger door side of parked cars. On the right, it’s on the driver side of parked cars. Given that most cars in L.A. only carry one person – the driver, it’s better to be in the passenger “door zone.”
- Less transit conflict: Busses and shuttles pick up passengers on the right, so placing the lane on the left minimizes interactions/conflicts between transit and cyclists.