The Cost of A Boulevard Bike Lane
The project has been approved. The road work is funded. The only problem now is how to configure the extension of bike lanes from Avenue 55 to Figueroa Street as planned?
Option 1: Remove one of the two westbound motorized traffic lanes, leaving one traffic lane heading west, a turn slot in the middle, two eastbound lanes for motorized traffic, and a lane on each side for bicycles.
Option 2: Remove both a westbound and eastbound lane, leaving one motorized traffic lane each way with a turn slot in the middle and bike lanes on each side of the boulevard, exactly as it is configured west of Avenue 55.
The good news is that no boulevard parking will be removed for either option.
Personally, I’d prefer the maximum road diet of Option 2. It promotes a safer, slower boulevard that’s better for cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers. According to LADOT, the peak amount of cars on York Boulevard is about 1000 per hour heading east (to The 110?) during the morning commute. A thousand cars per hour per lane is considered to be a lane’s capacity. So reducing traffic lanes to one each east of Avenue 55 shouldn’t have adverse effects to the ebb and flow.
What reducing the lanes should do, is increase business and quality of life for the stores and homes on York Boulevard. Narrowing streets in municipalities the world-over has proved to better develop a community’s sense of place, and create more village-like atmosphere where people shop and live, rather than just drive through. While returning to the original York Boulevard design with two traffic lanes and two trolleys in the middle may be decades off, reducing to two lanes and adding bike lanes seems to be about the best York Boulevard improvement one could hope for at this time. As for now, no decision has been made on what to implement and won’t likely be made until after a certain someone is done with the March 8th Election.
*Thanks to City of Los Angeles, Bicycle Advisory Committee, Bikeways Subcommittee Chair, Joe Linton for the tip.