The LA Department of Transportation last night revealed a proposal for bike lanes and a road diet for a half-mile stretch of Virgil Avenue between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. The bike lanes are included among the projects listed on the prioritized implementation list for the Citywide Bike Plan, and are especially valuable because of their connection to the new Santa Monica Boulevard lanes, which in turn connect to the well travelled Sunset Boulevard lanes. Given that position in the bike infrastructure network, "People will use Virgil right away," says LADOT Bicycle Coordinator Nathan Baird. Virgil Avenue currently has four vehicle lanes (two in each direction) and parking spaces along both sides of the street. The proposed road diet will reconfigure the street to allow one vehicle lane in each direction, one five-foot-wide bike lane in each direction, a center turn lane, and retain the existing parking on either side of the street.
This is the same stretch of Virgil Avenue that was the subject of an outreach process back in 2011 to rethink the corridor as a more pedestrian friendly version of itself. According to Baird, that outreach process helped the project get placed on the priority list by identifying the community's desires for bike lanes, but a tight street design doesn't leave a lot of options.
So far the community seems supportive. With about 30 members of the public in attendance, the proceedings last night lacked the drama of similar bike plan experiences around the city, although some local business owners stressed the need to remove peak-hour parking restrictions. Baird tells Curbed that final approval for the project will come by working with the council office, and design is "65 percent" done--just a few final decisions on striping relative to the width of the street remain.
· New State Law Easing the Way For Miles of New LA Bike Lanes [Curbed LA]
· LADOT Plans for Bike Lanes, Improved Crossings and Road Diet on Virgil Avenue [Streetsblog]
· Virgil Village Set to Get a Little Friendlier Toward Non-Drivers [Curbed LA]