Riding through Downtown LA is tenuous.
On one side, bikes have the upper hand because they can move around more freely without being clogged in traffic.
The downside: what’s there.
If you look at the downtown grid, there isn’t a robust connection of bike lanes that gets you where you want to go.
With apologies to 1st Street, The main biking corridor going east-west is 7th Street.
It cuts through the heart of downtown and connects with the three rail lines at the 7th Street Metro Station.
I take it nearly every day to get to the subway or shower at the disjointed layout of spaces known as LA Fitness.
Bike lanes were added to this street a few years ago, but riding down it can be tenuous.
Firstly, the street is in poor condition:
Potholes, ruts and road warping are some of the maladies you have to contend with.
One thing I’ll say for Metro Bike, the cycles are heavy and sturdy, so traipsing through these imperfections on these behemoths doesn’t seem that bad.
For the rest of us though, keeping the handlebars straight can be a challenge when you’re trying to keep a safe distance from cars.
With the bike lane running from Figueroa to Main, you can say we have our space, but the problem comes at the turns.
Most vehicles wanting to turn right end up see the bike and turn lane as one and just split the difference meaning you have that awkward space to squeeze by:
Another good thing about Metro Bike: their stations help protect bike lanes.
Focus on the car with the read arrow when you watch the video below:
There will always be those drivers that skirt the rules just to save two seconds and between Hill and Olive, there always seems like there’s a driver that’s using the bike lane to get around traffic.
I know there are supposed to be some improvements on the western side of 7th, but I typically believe I have to see it to believe it.
The good news is in my fifteen months of working downtown, it’s easy to eyeball that cycling is on the rise.
Part of it is Metro Bike, but I believe when people see more cyclists, they feel safer and join the trend.
I hope this post becomes anachronistic someday and people ask, “What problem were you talking about?”
Until then, I promise to gripe for you until real change happens.