We’ve got another quick 7th St. bike lanes update for you. We’ll keep doing this weekly until they’re complete to Figueroa St. The bike lanes now run from Catalina St. east to Valencia St. The final stretch to Figueroa, just over another 1/2 mile or so, should be complete sometime next week. There are also a few more bike lane signs to put in, and the contractor will need to clean up some of the old striping a little more thoroughly, but everything’s on track to be done on schedule.
A word of caution, the Department of Water and Power is doing some construction between Rampart Blvd. and Coronado St. Bicyclists will need to take the lane and merge with motorists for that stretch. That work is expected to take a few weeks at most, and then the bike lane striping will be filled in afterward.
Last week I thought we weren’t going to get a buffered bike lane, but the red curbing along MacArthur Park makes it possible to do so:
I also noticed that interactions with buses will be slightly different than they used to be. More on that after the break:
Previous to the road diet installation, bicyclists on 7th St. could often find themselves leapfrogging a Metro or DASH bus (it passes you on a long midblock stretch, you pass it while it’s pulled over to pick up passengers, repeat, repeat, et cetera). This would happen for me sometimes at intersections and at other times midblock (depending on where the bus stop is located). With the new striping, the leapfrogging interaction will happen a little bit differently.
Because with the road diet in place there’s no longer a passing lane, bicyclists will need to judge carefully whether or not to pass a bus when it’s pulled over to the curb lane (effectively taking up the bike lane, too). In the photo above, I decided it was best to hold off and wait for the green. A little further east I actually did take the lane and pass the bus while it was in the curb lane a few stops down. The bike lane does make the bus pass easier for us both, I think, though. This same Metro 52 bus overtook me again a few blocks down while I was in the bike lane. Buses will no longer need to execute a merge into neighboring traffic to do this maneuver because of the new bike lanes, though they may need to go a foot or two into the center lane to give enough passing distance, which shouldn’t be a problem. Give us your ride reports of the new 7th St. bike lanes in the comment section below.