A push for the 7th Street bike lane in L.A.

Nice video recently posted by the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition on the proposed bike lane along 7th Street and serve as an alternative to riding on very busy Wilshire Boulevard. The lane would eventually stretch from Catalina Street in Koreatown to Soto Street in Boyle Heights and is scheduled to be the first built under the city’s new bike plan.

It’s also a project that could benefit Metro passengers.  Seventh Street is one block south of Wilshire Boulevard, which the subway runs under to Western Avenue (and soon beyond with the Westside Subway Extension). Wilshire is also Metro’s busiest bus corridor — with rush hour bus lanes soon — and there’s Metro local bus service on both 6th and 8th streets and many of the major north-south streets that intersect 7th.

A useful bike lane on 7th could help Metro riders get to and from bus and rail stops in speedier fashion, particularly in a part of town transit ridership is already high.

Naturally, the LACBC wants the 7th Street bike lane done right. They’re holding a news conference later today to raise awareness.

As Matthew Fleischer wrote at KCET SoCal Focus, “The LABC is right to start promoting the route months before the lane is even built. The 7th Street lane’s success could go a long way towards determining the urgency with which the city carries out the rest of the bike plan.”

The folks at CicLAvia have also chimed in, given that 7th Street has figured prominently in both CicLAvia events.

Here’s more on the project from the city’s LADOT Bike Blog:

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.

4 replies

  1. First of all, you don’t build bike lanes. You paint them. Second of all, will it be painted a different shade then the street like New York?

  2. I am excited about these lanes. Kudos to all the folks pushing for them! I know that it’s been claimed and repeated, but these 7th Street bike lanes, wonderful as they will be, will not be the “first [bike lanes] built under the city’s new bike plan.”

    The bike plan approval was delayed until 2011, and the city actually began implementing a few not-quite-approved-yet plan facilities in 2010 (for example Wentworth Street in Sunland-Tujunga.) Since bike plan approval, the city has striped a few bike plan facilities including Exposition Blvd and MLK Blvd.

    (Lest this give the mis-impression that the city is ahead of schedule on bike lane implementation – no – the city is still behind on the “40 miles per year” claims from the plan. According to the bike plan, the 40 miles/year was approved to start in 2010… The city striped just over 15 miles in 2010. So far, with 2011 nearly half over, the city has striped fewer than 10 miles… so it looks like the city will again fall well short of delivering the plan’s claimed 40 miles/year.)

    The much-needed 7th Street lanes will be the first lanes to reach Downtown Los Angeles, Westlake, Koreatown… also the first bike facility within ~3 miles of City Hall… but they’re not the first lanes from the plan.

  3. Through downtown say between fig and say los angeles st. that the lane should turn into a protected cycle track which would be between the sidewalk and a row of “floating” parked cars. With so many delivery trucks and what not that pull up to the cub there will be many many conflicts and not to mention that many drivers will ignore the bicycle lane.

  4. Not sure where to post public comment on the upcoming bike lane implementation, but I would recommend planners pay close attention to the intersection of 7th & Bixel.

    During evening rush hour, the eastward right lane of 7th St gets jammed with cars queuing for the nearby freeway entrance. Depending on the layout of the planned bike lane, these cars may block or cut off cyclists.

    Not sure what best practices are for designing around this situation, but I was hoping to put this concern onto the designers’ radar.