BPIT’s “Top 10”: How Would You Build 7th Street?

(Ed. Note: As first reported by LACBC on their twitter feed, the LA Bike Plan will have it’s final hearing before the LA City Council on March 1st.  We’ll disburse more information as it becomes available.  The finish line is in sight.)

One of the first actions taken by the recently convened Bike Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) was to create a “Top 10” list of projects for LADOT to begin working on concepts for.  The list includes streets like Venice Boulevard, Figueroa Street, MLK Jr. Boulevard, 4th Street and others slated for bike infrastructure projects in the near future.  LADOT engineers will take this “Top 10” list and (working with Council Offices, City Planning, and the BPIT) draft a number of options to make bike infrastructure feasible on each street.  Before our engineers get too far into crafting different scenarios, however, LADOT Bike Blog wanted to solicit ideas and input from our readers.  There is an enormous amount of collective wisdom stored in your bicycling heads, and we’d be remiss not to tap into it.

LADOT wants to know: How would you build it?

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7th Street featured prominently in last years' CicLAvia

While we can’t guarantee that every suggestion will make it into the drafted options, we know that bicyclists will have intimate knowledge of street configurations, problem intersections, and possible areas of conflict for upcoming projects.  Make sure your thoughts and ideas are heard in the comments section, or on our facebook page.

A Great Street for Bike Infrastructure

7th Street is one of those streets that just makes sense for bike lanes.  It’s one of the few east-west connections between mid-city neighborhoods (like Koreatown, MacArthur Park & Pico Union) and Downtown that is  extremely well suited for bicycling.  While all the streets north of 7th Street have a lot of hilly sections on them, 7th Street has one long, slow climb while going east towards Downtown.  This gentle slope was one of the reasons 7th Street featured so prominently in last years’ CicLAvia route.

Catalina to Soto

The current limits for the project on 7th Street, as designated by the Bike Plan, will eventually stretch just over 5 miles from Koreatown to Boyle Heights.  From Catalina Street in the west to Soto Street in the east, bike lanes on 7th Street would offer access to multiple LAUSD schools, multiple parks, and a safe corridor into Downtown for neighborhoods that have been traditionally under-served by the City. The BPIT team and LADOT engineers will begin by focusing on 7th Street from Catalina to Figueroa, as that stretch seems implementable in the very near term.

What are the possibilities?  Where are the conflicts?

If we can identify opportunities early, there’s a better chance we can utilize them.  If we can identify conflicts early, there’s less chance of them tripping us up after construction has begun.  In fact, Council Member Ed Reyes has already begun the process.  Last week, he walked with LADOT engineers on the section of 7th Street that lie within his district, looking for possible street conflicts and corresponding solutions to bring a bike lane to 7th Street. Please walk and bike it yourself in the near future and let us know what you think.

Though it would be nice to see our wildest bike fantasies come true throughout the City, we still need to consider conflicts and broad interests.  Is this a high-volume street, making it difficult to remove travel lanes?  How would the surrounding communities feel about bike lanes, especially if it meant travel lane or parking removal?  Are there some areas of the street where it would be easy to install bike lanes and other places that are more difficult?  Are there “pinch points” where the street width significantly narrows, making it difficult to fit in bike lanes?  Do you have innovative solutions to get around these possible conflicts?

Let us know how you would do it in the comments section.  We’ll compile the best ideas and make sure they get to City Planning and LADOT engineers.  Who knows, maybe something you suggested will show up at the next BPIT meeting.

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