First images of the new Buffered Bike Lanes
These lanes are AWESOME and a JOY to ride. They are not totally finished yet and we haven’t ridden the full length but what we have seen and ridden is wonderful – simply wonderful! These lanes, and more on Ocean Park Blvd between Cloverfield & Centinella, and Montana between Ocean & 7th are due to be completed sometime this coming week.
You will notice that these lanes are buffered not only on the traffic side (left) but on the very important right side – or door zone. These represent a huge improvement over what is the typical or standard bike lane, not only here but in most cities in the US, including bike friendly cites like Portland. Although the lanes lose the buffer at some intersections (where there are left turn pockets) they were comfortable to ride. It is important to note however, that to keep the lanes from “disappearing” altogether at these same intersection some street parking was eliminated, like at 14th and Broadway. With parking in Santa Monica always a hot topic a decision like this would not have been made lightly. I hope that residents in these areas will see a value and added benefit to their street in the form of traffic calming afforded by the road diet and the new safer bike lanes. Maybe these new safer lanes will be that last incentive to get them out to join us on their own bikes!
These beautiful new lanes, although wonderful, highlight the faults in much of our old infrastructure. I believe that allocating funds for even some minimal improvements to older bike lanes, like narrowing vehicle travel lanes to minimum widths and adding buffers to bike lanes where possible will be money well spent. Buffers on the door zone side being high on that agenda.
First are the lanes on 6th Street downtown. They run between Wilshire and Colorado. The image here is just south of Wilshire looking south.
Second are the 14th Street lanes that are installed between Washington and Pico Blvd. This image is south of Broadway looking north.
The next hurdle will be to keep cars from driving in these extra wide lanes and cars and delivery vehicles from double parking for unloading (as has already witnessed). They are new – and will certainly have a learning curve – education and enforcement will be key elements to their ultimate success.