Ride the ribbon

Cool news for bicyclists and bike rider wannabes who have thus far been too nervous — and rightly so — to ride in downtown Los Angeles.

A six-foot-wide emerald green ribbon of bike lane is ready for its inaugural ride at 1 p.m. today. To celebrate the new safer street, there will be a small ceremony at the corner of Spring and Second streets and then a chance for bike riders to try it out.

City council members Jan Perry and Jose Huizar, who is also a Metro Board member, are expected to be among those who take a first ride down the 1 1/2-mile long bike lane that extends from Cesar Chavez to 9th Street.

To create the bike lane, LADOT (city) crews sprayed a layer of green paint on the street and then sandblasted reflective glass sand into it. The glass will make the lane sparkle in car headlights and provide traction on wet days like today.

The uber visible bike lane is one of several installed in downtown Los Angeles this year after Metro Board Chair and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council dedicated $3.2 million in Measure R sales tax revenue to pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements.

So far, a four-lane stretch of Seventh Street has been reduced to two car lanes in each direction, with a center turn lane and bike lanes on each side. The city is also installing some other bike lanes and painting bike sharrows on numerous streets to remind drivers that cyclists have the right to use traffic lanes.

Hop on your bike and let us know if the new lane is helpful. If traffic engineers decide it’s working well, the city may install a similar northbound bike lane on Main Street.

4 thoughts on “Ride the ribbon

  1. I’m excited ’cause I take that route going home from work feeling safe. I hope to see more bike lanes like that in downtown, so I can ride more often specially in the winter. Thanks!!

  2. I ride on Spring Street regularly in the afternoons, and frankly, there’s not much traffic on it anyway, especially south of First Street, as most of the buses have turned off it by then.

    There isn’t much traffic on Main in the mornings either.

    Where we REALLY need a bike lane is on an east-west street: Seventh or Eighth.

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  4. So I rode the ribbon today.

    The bike lane is better marked than before, to the good.

    The green paint technology should not be used again.
    - the green paint leaves streaks when painted in overlapping rows, and looks messy both from a distance and from the cyclist’s point of view
    - the paint is already flaking off. It is especially damaged between 5th and 7th, where some vehicles rode on it while it was still wet, and about 1/4 of the paint is already missing. A few rainstorms, and the entire lane will look decrepit.
    - the paint doesn’t stick to the surface properly. It forms a fragile coat over it, and can easily be lifted and manually flaked off. It appears to have been rollered or sprayed on. In contrast, the white paint on the edges appears poured on, and is much thicker, and covers the surface completely and apparently more durably.

    I don’t see any advantage to adding the color. It’s just another level of complexity and maintenance. I’d rather the money was invested in a new bike lane somewhere else.

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