Los Angeles, the City of Angels and automobiles, is building a bike infrastructure….slowly, and putting some roads on a diet. That’s what they’re calling it, a “road diet”, when they remove a lane for cars and insert a bicycle lane instead. Main Street in Venice, California is going through this transition – two lanes have been removed from either side of the street and bicycle lanes have been painted in their place. The purpose of the Main Street Road Diet is to allow cyclists more room to bike to and from local hot spots and the beach. The Santa Monica/Venice area of Los Angeles has seen a boom in daily cyclists over the past couple of years – what can I say, the weather and flat terrain definitely encourage riding in this locale.
Road diets are a great idea in pedestrian heavy areas, like Venice. One lane of traffic means drivers have no choice but to drive a little slower which is much safer for people walking and riding a bike. Urban areas, like Venice, have the benefit of a rider pedaling down a bike lane lined with shops on either side of the street and stopping to shop or grab a quick coffee and pastry; a definite plus for retailers. The convenience and easy access to stores might encourage others to ride instead of drive since parking in that area is a nightmare; locking a bike to a rack is quick , easy, and FREE. Hopefully the success of the road diet will encourage other urban areas to follow Venice’s lead.
Oh, and the cost to renovate the street came in under $51,000. Not bad at all for a Department of Transportation project.
Do your roads need to go on a diet?