Last week, LACBC staff participated in a bike ride with LADOT engineers to tour the new protected bike infrastructure on Figueroa Street. This has the potential to be a vital transportation corridor that could safely and efficiently move people on bikes from downtown to Exposition Park. We’ve heard from our community, and experienced it riding it many times, and we feel that there are gaps that keep MyFig from operating properly as a complete street that works well for people on bikes.
Image courtesy Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Below are some of the points that we’ll be bringing up with a meeting we have with LADOT staff next week, and we invite you to add your own suggestions for us to include in the comment section below. MyFig will be a blueprint for how bike infrastructure will be implemented in the future, so we need to make sure the schematics are functional and intuitive, and work for the community.
Community Engagement. LADOT needs to meet with constituents for feedback as these projects develop. Projects like MyFig must retain input concerning the human element, and can’t just be about engineering. Our communities are the experts when it comes to using our streets, so they must be engaged in building them
Cars Parking in Bike lanes. There are portions of Figueroa that, despite the line markings and green paint, often have drivers in the bike lane. This problem was a big issue in front of the Convention Center, and LADOT addressed this by adding bollards. There are clearly other areas, especially between MLK & Exposition, that need addressing.
Confusing Signalization. For the portions where motorized traffic has turn arrows, the additional bike signals are confusing. Understanding the sensor locations, phasing, and demand-based timing for cyclists isn’t intuitive. Not knowing if or when the signals will change can lead to confusion and can lead to people running the lights. The latter can lead to increased enforcement, particularly targeted at low income communities and people of color. In addition, the cycles are not usable for large groups, and bad timing can “trap” cyclists at every intersection. The dialogue for how cyclists are supposed to interact is confusing for all users of the roadway, which leads to unsafe streets.
Tighter Turn Radii for Cars. There are a few portions of MyFig where drivers making right hand turns into driveways can be sharp and endanger people on bikes. We recommend adding bollards closer toward the driveway to make drivers slow down more before making their turn.
Aesthetics. Most of the street furniture is comprised of bollards making Figueroa look utilitarian. More medians and planting will make the space more human.
Consistent Infrastructure. MyFig fluctuates between protected, buffered and standard Class II bike lanes. The inconsistency of providing uniform protection for cyclists may curb ridership.
Signage and Language Accessibility. While the current informational signs along Figueroa are helpful in explaining the new configuration, they are all in English. We know that many low-income riders (and drivers) in our City speak Spanish, and signs should be translated for these road users as well.