Main Street Bike Lane project goes before Venice NC

Last night, members of the LADOT Bike Program and the LA BAC presented plans to for bike lanes on Main Street to the Venice Neighborhood Council.  You can take a look for yourself and download last night’s powerpoint presentation: Main Street bike lanes.  The presentation was a joint collaboration between Assistant Coordinator Christopher Kidd, Intern Derek Levoit, LA BAC member Kent Strumpell, LACBC Planning & Policy Director Alexis Lantz, and the technical advice of LADOT Bikeways engineers.

Click here to download the powerpoint

Bike Community Fanfare

Both Streetsblog and the LACBC alerted their readers this week to the Neighborhood Council meeting, where the case was made for a road diet to extend existing bike lanes along Main Street from the Santa Monica City Limit to Windward Circle (a project listed as “pending work orders” on the LADOT Bike Blog Bike Lanes Projects Page).  The concept of a road diet, which would create enough room for bike lanes on Main Street, was covered earlier this month by LADOT Bike Blog in our piece Safety, Traffic, and You: The Case for Road Diets.

Just the Beginning

The presentation to the Venice Neighborhood Council was only preliminary, meant to educate the community on the benefits of a road diet on Main Street.  After the brouhaha over the road diet and bike lanes on Wilbur Avenue in the Valley this fall, the LADOT Bike Program redoubled our efforts to reach out to communities where we have upcoming projects that may require road reconfiguration.  Rather than imperiously dictate what and where we are going to install bicycle infrastructure, tonight was more about opening up a dialogue with the community about making their streets better places for all users.  The LADOT Bike Program will work with a committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council to further review our plans and take suggestions.

While there was some opposition to the project from public speakers, most comments were positive, reinforcing the support lent to the project by the LACBC and the LA BAC.  You can follow last night’s blow-by-blows on the BikeBlogChris twitter feed.

No Simple Road Diet

One of the things we liked most about last night’s presentation was a map showing Main Street as the “missing link” in connecting the bicycle network in west Venice.  Bringing bike lanes to Main Street will a create strong, through connection for bicyclists in a way no other street in Venice can.

The blue line are existing or designed bicycle infrastructure, the red line is where the Main Street bike lanes would go

We would like to give our deep thanks to Kent Strumpell of the LA BAC, to Alexis Lantz of LACBC, to Paul Backstrom of CD 11, and especially to those went from door to door on Main Street this weekend to distribute the flier: Complete Main St.  The LADOT Bike Program looks forward to continuing our dialogue with the Venice Neighborhood Council and we hope that we can soon come to an arrangement that will be pleasing to everyone.  That is, after all, the point of a road diet: making the street safer, more enjoyable, and more complete for all road users.

0 replies
  1. bikerdude
    bikerdude says:

    Now, I guess we will see if local communities and the council offices really support bicycle facilities. No more lip service polications…… support the change.

  2. Mihai Peteu
    Mihai Peteu says:

    What is the chance that the car travel lanes and the middle turning lane will be narrower than 11ft? The traffic calming aspects are great, but the narrower the lane, the slower the cars will whizz by, and it gives us potential room for a buffer zone (hashed door zone).

    Getting doored is undoubtedly the biggest problem with Main St in Santa Monica, and that needs to be improved upon.

    • ladotbikeblog
      ladotbikeblog says:

      @Mihai – The 2-way left-turn lane, if I remember correctly, is at 10 ft. I’ll check on that for you.

      I’ve been told the travel lanes need to stay at 11 ft. to accommodate safe bus travel alongside a bicyclist, making sure the side view mirror doesn’t take out a bicyclist from behind.

  3. bikerdude
    bikerdude says:

    If you ride right down the middle of the lane you will not be “doored”.

    Just yesterday, I was riding in a bike lane in the valley and a car on my left side passed me but drifted into my lane and almost “mirrored” me…… So I like having room away the line.

    I have been almost “mirrored” more then I can count, one of my pet peeves. I wish the State of California would change the law that cars, buses, and trucks MUST give bicyclist 3 feet when they pass.

    I’ve said this before hopeful motorist will start respecting bicyclist on the street by seeing more and more bicycle facilities’ on the road and then recognize bicyclist have the same right to be on the road as cars.

  4. Jim Smith
    Jim Smith says:

    I attended the presentation at the Venice Neighborhood Council and was not impressed.

    Yes, we want more bike lanes in Venice to accommodate what is possibly the largest number of bike riders in L.A. county.

    Here are some of the problems with this proposal:

    1. The bike lanes on Main St. in Ocean Park on on the side of the street while this proposal is for a center bike lane. This will create needless confusion where they come together.

    2. Bike lanes can and should be separated from auto and bus traffic. The lanes should be next to the curbs where they can be separated from vehicle traffic either by parked cars (with the mostly unused passenger doors closest to the bikes, and even better, separated by a barrier such as planters.

    3. Most Important: Issues affecting us in our own neighborhood should be decided by Venetians, not by bureaucrats 15 miles away. Why is there no plan for democratic input AND local decision-making?

    • ladotbikeblog
      ladotbikeblog says:

      Thanks for your comment, Jim.

      We think separated bicycle facilities are pretty great too. Unfortunately, the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CA MUTCD) dictates design for bicycling facilities in CA, and they do not allow for on-street bicycle facilities that are physically separated from travel lanes. We may be able to apply for pilot projects in the future to implement a separated bike lane (as a “non-standard treatment”) once the new draft of the LA Bike Plan is adopted.

      We look forward to hearing the concerns and suggestions of the Venice Neighborhood Council and we hope that any changes made can be accommodated in a way that is acceptable to everyone involved.

    • Niall Huffman
      Niall Huffman says:

      I hate to butt in here, Jim, but there are a couple of things I take issue with in your comment.

      “1. The bike lanes on Main St. in Ocean Park on on the side of the street while this proposal is for a center bike lane. This will create needless confusion where they come together.”

      I think you may be confusing the proposed center turn lane with a bike lane. Go back and check the Powerpoint again. The bike lanes on the LA portion of Main are proposed to run between the auto travel lane and the curbside parking, *exactly* like the Santa Monica portion.

      “3. Most Important: Issues affecting us in our own neighborhood should be decided by Venetians, not by bureaucrats 15 miles away. Why is there no plan for democratic input AND local decision-making?”

      I’m not sure I understand. The Main St. road diet is only a proposal; it’s still pretty early in the process, and *nobody’s* telling you that this is the way it absolutely, positively has to be. It seems to me like the whole point of the presentation to the NC was to reach out to the community and ask people to discuss their concerns and participate in the decision-making process. To be sure, LADOT has pretty royally screwed up on public input before (i.e., Wilbur Avenue), but they deserve credit for reaching out to the community early in the game on this one.

  5. bikerdude
    bikerdude says:

    It will be interesting to see what the community and councilman select for their own neighborhood.

    The Westside is angry and hostile to anything that slows them down. Plus they don’t want to share the road with bicycles, peds, buses, or light rail. But after reading the bike plan and viewing the power point presentation from the NC, the use of smaller “Bike friendly streets” might work on the Westside.

    This means city council (local politician-Rosendahl) would have to take away street parking and /or a travel lanes which could flip out the business owners and NIMBY’s.

    I agree having more bicycle friendly streets and lanes for all people (children, bike commuters and recreational riders) would be an important step for any community. A bicycle friendly street creates an attractive, convenient, and comfortable bicycling environment that is welcoming to all ages and skill levels. In essence, bicycle friendly streets are low-volume and low speed that have been optimized for bicycle and walking travel through treatments such as traffic calming and reduction, signage, pavement markings, and intersection crossing treatments.

    I would welcome and support bike friendly streets in the Valley but ultimately it’s up to the local politician, community and the bicycle advocates to make it happen.
    Good luck Westside!

  6. tk
    tk says:

    Why aren’t you pushing for bike lanes that are side-walk side of the parked cars with a low curb like they have in Europe instead of Street side. Seems much safer for bikers to have a row of cars protecting the bike lane…

    • ladotbikeblog
      ladotbikeblog says:

      @ tk – sidewalk adjacent bike lanes (often called cycle trakcs) are certainly an option some of our upcoming projects – like on Figueroa Street in Downtown.

      A few complications get in the way of implementing cycle tracks: they are much more expensive than standard bike lanes, they create safety complications on streets with many alleys/driveways, they require more space than standard bike lanes, they are politically more difficult to implement, and they require federal approval as a pilot project because they are not authorized in the Federal or State Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (which dictates what we can, and can’t, put on the road).

      That’s not to say that any of these complications are reasons or excuses to not build cycle tracks; they aren’t. What it does mean is that bringing cycle tracks to LA will take a bit more community, financial, and political support than standard bike lanes. They also take quite a bit longer for approval/implementation, so patience is also necessary. But as the great cycle tracks in downtown Long Beach prove, they are absolutely achievable in California. We just need to gather enough will and momentum to make it happen. With all the effort going into making the 2010 Bike Plan a reality, I think we’re very close to making cycle tracks happen too.

      Thanks for your interest in making LA a better place to bike. I hope you stay interested and tuned in to upcoming projects.

  7. DH
    DH says:

    The recent cycle tracks built in downtown Long Beach are a bicyclist’s dream and include clear signal lights for bikes and cars also. I recommend anyone to visit that area who hasn’t experienced this sort of “bike lane”. Thanks for clarifying the issues; Figueroa would seem to be a perfect option for this sort of pilot project.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] 2011. It has been a while since we last discussed plans for Main Street, so if you need a refresher click here. The project calls for the installation of bike lanes on this heavily biked street (approximately […]

  2. […] Comments « Main Street Bike Lane project goes before Venice NC […]

  3. […] At Tuesday night’s meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Council, LADOT staff and the local representative to the Bicycle Advisory Committee, Kent Strumpell, presented a plan to take the four-lane Main Street and turn it into a two-lane street with a center-turn lane and two bicycle lanes.  The plan will go through the VNC Committee structure before coming back to the full council for a final vote of support.  Coverage of the meeting can be found at the popular news site Yo Venice! and the LADOT Bike Blog. […]

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Council District 11 and Christopher Kidd. Christopher Kidd said: RT @LADOTBikeProg: Main Street Bike Lane project goes before Venice NC: […]

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