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12/06/2011: "Brush Up, or Brush Off?"
Last week Los Angeles received its second buffered bike lane (aka "cycle track")--the first one being on 7th by MacArthur and only about a hundred yards long. The new lane is on Spring Street, in the heart of downtown, and is also LA's first attempt at a painted bike lane. Unfortunately, it looks as though the city needs a bit more practice with the paint brush--or at the very least needs to improve its timing.

The lane was first painted last week, possibly (as rumors have it) to be ready for a grand opening ceremony. Unfortunately, this was just before a massive rainstorm that had been looming for over a week. This, as you can imagine, played hell with the paint.

So, a few days later it was painted again--though according to my friends at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (responding to a whiny email of mine), only the segment from 4th to 9th was redone.

As it happened, I rode the entire length of the new lane today on my way to the garment factory, and I happened to get a photo of the 9th Street end of it, which I present as Exhibit A below:

Spring Street's New Green Bike Lane

Not looking too good, is it?

It's a pity, as the lane itself is pretty well-designed, seems to keep drivers in their place, and doesn't throw any funny jogs at you as so many half-baked lanes do. It's really quite nice, and takes you through a corridor of wonderful Art Deco skyscrapers housing restaurants, offices, stores, and other useful destinations, as well as most of the buildings in the Civic Center, including City Hall itself. But people are already making fun of it because the paint is flaking off after only a week.

Still, if you're in LA, give it a try. It's a comfortable ride to places you will want or need to go to, and will soon connect with the extended 7th Street lanes and possibly some others. (It runs westbound; there's an eastbound companion lane a block over on Main Street, but I don't believe that one's green.)

LA just needs a little help with paint technology.

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