Green Lane Means Go For Cyclists

Dedication ceremony for green bike lanes I Photo: Maria Lopez

Buffered bike lanes on Spring Street I Photo: Maria LopezLos Angeles bicycle advocates can point to a thin green line as a mark showing their city accommodates two-wheel mobility.

Councilmember José Huizar and Jan Perry led a Monday afternoon dedication for a set of 6-foot wide bike lanes, with 4-foot buffer zone, that use vivid green to enhance safety between riders and motorists.

"It feels different when you're on a bike lane that's painted green, versus not painted green," said Councilmember José Huizar after the official inaugural ride with bike advocates. "It says 'This is my space.' Drivers recognize that and it does make a difference."

"The message being sent out is cyclists have as much as right in the street as cars do. With the green paint, it's more apparent."

In downtown, the 1.5 mile green lane runs on Spring from Ninth Street to César E. Chávez Avenue, next to Olvera Street and near Union Station.

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On the Eastside, 1.6 miles of bike lanes are mixed with green segments, dashes, and the more familiar parallel white lines, along First Street from Boyle Avenue, next to Mariachi Plaza and its Gold Line station, to Lorena Street, near Evergreen Cemetery and El Mercardo.

The pilot program will monitor the wide streets of the downtown's historic core, and the much narrower streets of Boyle Heights, to see which layout works best for new green bike lanes, said Huizer.

The continuous Spring Street strip of green paint contains corundum to resist skidding and glass beads for retro-reflectivity, while Boyle Heights' lanes use a green thermoplastic.

"In Boyle Heights, we used car-traffic-heavy areas with driveways. I think its good we have two methodologies and see which one works better, and learn from them. We can then decide case by case," he added. "Maybe we will want to still use the two types, depending where we want to put them."

Visible or not, caution is still needed while drivers and cyclists adjust to the new rules of the shared road. That was seen Monday when a door of a parked car swung open into the bike lane, almost hitting a rider.

It will take some time to educate the public about the road rules, warned Huizar.

On Spring Street, buses can cross the buffer and solid green lane for stops, but are not permitted to drive on it, according to LADOT. Vehicle motorists must stay in their own lane, and not merge into a bike path to make a turn into a driveway or scout for a parking spot. Cyclists are required to stay in the bike lane, except to avoid debris (or car doors that swing open).

The two new green lanes are part of the city's master plan for a 1,680-mile bicycle network, and if successful, more treated lanes may be added in other neighborhoods.

"That Northeast area; we have seen a lot of demand for bike use," says Huizar. "We put that one [lane] on York. Eagle Rock Boulevard has a lane. With lanes on Colorado and Figueroa, we can create a circle."

"The activists will see these and say "we want our green bike lanes too,' " he chuckles, gesturing to the green lane at Spring and 2nd. "They should advocate for them, too."

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