L.A. gets its first buffered green bike lane

Spring Street has sprung a brand new, buffered green bike lane. This past weekend, city crews put the finishing touches on the new 1.5 mile Spring Street facility.

“It’s very exciting,” said Bikeways Engineer Tim Fremaux, the manager for the project. “It represents a significant step toward making this city more bicycle friendly. We really hope that this facility will encourage more people to get out on their bicycles to enjoy Downtown.”

Spring Street is one of L.A’s first green bike lanes and is the first designated Downtown bikeway from the city’s much heralded 2010 Bicycle Master Plan to be implemented. Running through the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, it connects a diverse array of eclectic Downtown neighborhoods including the Historic Core, Civic Center, Olvera Street and Chinatown.

Inspired by September’s ThinkBike L.A. workshop, the Spring Street bike lane has successfully re-imagined a previously under-utilized Downtown street and re-purposed it into a multi-modal thoroughfare that now not only serves cars effectively, but bikes and transit too.

Spring St. near LAPD HQ

Spring Street green buffered bike lane near LAPD HQ

The Downtown Network

The 2010 L.A. Bike Plan envisions a robust bikeway network for the city’s Downtown core. Spring Street was an ideal candidate for bike lanes due to existing high bicycle use, and low vehicle traffic volumes. A travel lane was re-purposed in order to provide a 6′ bike lane with a 4′ painted buffer.

To further enhance the separation between bicycle and motor-vehicle travel lanes provided by the buffer, the Spring Street bike lanes were also greened. The buffer, along with the colorization, are intended to increase bicyclist comfort and motorist yielding behavior. At merging areas and bus zones, the solid green lanes become dashed to denote the shared space characteristics of the facility at those particular locations.

Downtown Bikeway Network; Red= Bike Lane, Blue = Bike Route, Light Blue = BFS, Green = Bike Path

In the future, Spring Street bike lanes will provide direct access to many of Downtown’s newest open space and recreational centers, including the (currently under construction) 12 acre Civic Center Park and 0.7 acre Spring Street Park.

Within the next few months, LADOT will be looking to add bike lanes on Main St. to create a north-south couplet for Downtown bicycle travel. Further down the road, we will continue to build out the Downtown backbone network through the continuation of the very successful 7th St. bike lanes to Boyle Heights, in addition to bike lanes on Figueroa and Flower.

Many thanks go out to the Downtown L.A. Neighborhood Council and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) for their support of this project. Also, special thanks to the Downtown ThinkBike L.A. participants Kent Strumpell, Tonny Bosch, Hilary Norton, Jorge Mutis, Emily Duchon, Jennifer Klausner, Steve Gaur, Valerie Watson, Tim Fremaux, Lynne Goldsmith, Harden A. Carter, Richard her Avest, and Nick Marichich for dreaming big and getting the conversation started.

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