The LA County Department of Public Works (DPW) currently maintains 46 miles of bike lanes in unincorporated areas throughout the County and is in the design phase for 34 additional miles. However, studies have shown that protective vertical barriers can provide a much safer environment for bicyclists and e-scooter riders. To protect rider safety and curb congestion, today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis that directs DPW to study the feasibility of adding protective vertical barriers to existing and future bikeways.
“Vision Zero is a promise to our residents who live in unincorporated communities that we can and will end traffic deaths,” said Supervisor Solis, who also serves on the Metro Board of Directors. “Adding protective vertical barriers to bikeways, which can be done relatively quickly, is a fiscally responsible and safety conscious decision. As we continue to expand our region’s transportation infrastructure and explore creative solutions to traffic and congestion, ensuring the safety of bicycle and e-scooter riders will go a long way to addressing the first and last mile problem. I hope more of our residents can enjoy the fresh air, exercise, and security that comes with these upgraded bike lanes.”
In 2017, Supervisor Solis authored and passed Vision Zero at the Board of Supervisors, a groundbreaking initiative that pledged to eliminate traffic deaths in unincorporated areas by 2035. LA County’s Bicycle Master Plan, created in 2012, promoted the construction of raised bicycle lanes. These types of bikeways, formally known as Class IV bikeways, separate bicyclists from vehicle traffic through a physical, vertical barrier such as bollards, delineators, a curb, planters, grade changes, or parking. Examples of Class IV bikeways can be found along Los Angeles Street near Union Station and along Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles. These are contrasted with striped bike lanes, more formally known as Class II bikeways, which are often placed just inches from travel lanes and offer little in terms of protection from cars.
With simple infrastructure improvements such as installing delineators or bollards within buffer areas, certain existing buffered Class II bike lanes can be converted into Class IV bikeways. These improvements can be made with little capital investment in a relatively short timeframe.
In furtherance of the Vision Zero initiative, today’s motion directs DPW to create a comprehensive map of all County-maintained bike lanes, and study the feasibility of adding protective vertical barriers to the bikeways. The motion also enhances County policy by asking DPW to consider adding protective vertical barriers to all new bikeways.