The Venice Neighborhood Council is set to vote on its recommendation for the Main Street Road Diet/Bike Lane project on September 20, 2011. It has been a while since we last discussed plans for Main Street, so if you need a refresher click here. The project calls for the installation of bike lanes on this heavily biked street (approximately 700 bikes in six hours one Saturday in a January 2011 count) from the Santa Monica City Limit to Windward Circle. In order to accommodate bike lanes, the City will reduce one lane on Main St. – a strategy known as a “road diet.” Santa Monica has installed this same treatment north of the City on Main. This thoroughfare is very important for the Venice community and we thank the Neighborhood Council for their review of the project. Join us below for the details.
Making the Case for Road Diets
The Bike Blog has given a lot of thought to road diets and one lane reductions in a previous post here. A good example of how these work is now available on 7th St., between Catalina and Valencia (soon extending to Figueroa). According to a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) study, road diets have been found to reduce crash frequency by 29% per mile. Road diets are unquestionably unrepentant champions for public safety – especially when they are accompanied with bike lanes. By creating separation between the different modes – cars, bikes, pedestrians – we better ensure the safety of all road users. This is why road dieted streets are also often affectionately referred to as “complete streets.”
Road diets also improve visibility for both pedestrians – when crossing the street – and vehicles – when turning out of driveways. With Main Street, LADOT is looking to transform the current four lane configuration into a three lane configuration – one lane in each direction plus a center two-way left turn lane. By providing left turn pockets, the Main Street road diet will improve traffic flow throughout the corridor. Also, by aligning with the City of Santa Monica’s Main St. configuration, this project will eliminate the bottleneck currently experienced at the City Limit.
The Home Stretch
We last presented a concept for Main Street, back in January, to the Venice Neighborhood Council. Since then, we have maintained an open dialogue with the community and Council District 11. We’ve carefully considered their input, while working towards our goals of fulfilling the L.A. City Bicycle Plan and the vision goals of the Venice Neighborhood Council. Main Street bike lanes need your support! Please contact the Venice Neighborhood Council, and Council Member Bill Rosendahl’s office and let them know how much you want these lanes.