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Spring Street makeover brings new protected bike lane to Downtown LA

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Now if only drivers would stop parking in it

Bike crossing Spring Forward
The project includes a new bike-only crossing.
Photos courtesy Jose Huizar

The first phase of the city’s Main and Spring Forward project has opened in Downtown LA. The $2.3 million shakeup of two busy thoroughfares—Main and Spring streets—is aimed at making the area safer and more enjoyable for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Streetscape changes along these corridors are part of LA’s Vision Zero initiative to end traffic deaths in the city by 2025. So far, the city hasn’t come close to that goal.

The number of traffic deaths has only increased since the program went into effect in 2015, and projects aimed at slowing traffic speeds on particularly deadly corridors have been reversed or reconfigured.

According to transportation data gathered by the city, Spring and Main streets were the site of three traffic-related deaths and nine serious injuries between 2009 and 2013.

To make the route safer, the city has installed a protected bike lane on Spring Street, between First and Ninth streets. Road striping and crosswalks have been repainted, and new signs have been installed for walkers, bicyclists, and drivers.

Traffic signals for bicycles are meant to cut down on collisions; so too are the protected bike lanes, which are buffered by parking spaces to lessen the chance of drivers merging into cyclists.

But social media posts show there’s been some confusion about the new lane arrangement.

Los Angeles Department of Transportation spokesperson Oliver Hou tells Curbed that the department is aware that some drivers are parking in the new bike lane, and that extra signs have been placed along the route explaining the new configuration.

According to Hou, a “special parking enforcement team” has also been ticketing cars parked in the bike lane.

The second phase of the Main and Spring Forward project will bring similar changes to Main Street, between Cesar Chavez Avenue and Ninth Street. Work on that leg of the project is expected to wrap up by fall of next year.