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LA DOT Suggests Removing Griffith Park Boulevard’s Bike Lanes

Members of LA’s DOT are considering the removal of bike-protected lanes on Griffith Park Boulevard.

Speaking at recent LA City Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) conference, DOT workers said there have already been two costly lawsuits brought against the city for cyclist accidents on Griffith Park Boulevard. DOT leaders also told the BAC they were looking into removing even more bicycle lanes in the future.

The two cases DOT members noted include a crash in October 2017 and another in June of 2018. The 2017 crash, which cost the city $200,000, actually happened just north of Griffith Park Boulevard’s bike lanes. The 2018 lawsuit ($500,000), however, was between Effie Street and Griffith Park Boulevard.

When news of this proposal broke, the road safety group Streets Blog LA (SBLA) came out in opposition. SBLA members argued that getting rid of bike-protected lanes because of two lawsuits doesn’t make financial sense. They pointed out that car lawsuits cost LA at least two times more than bicycle lawsuits per year.

The problem, SBLA alleges, is not with the bike lanes, but rather with LA’s car-centric street design. Since cyclist lanes are only on a small fraction of the city’s roads, cyclists are often forced to cycle on LA’s roads anyway. SBLA argues that the lanes are a part of the solution, and taking them down will set a bad president and only increase cyclist fatalities throughout the city.

One reason cyclist crashes might be more common on Griffith Park Boulevard is because it is made of concrete. Only about five percent of LA’s streets are made out of concrete, and most of these roads are in need of major refurbishment.

Although a few LA councilmembers put forward a motion to repair LA’s concrete streets, the city has yet to take action on this plan. In the 2018-2019 city budget, LA put aside about $1 million for road refurbishment but did not specify how that money was going to be spent.

In early August, the BAC wrote to the city requesting a portion of this $1 million be allocated to repairing Griffith Park Boulevard. In response, LA’s DOT said they were working on an analysis of LA’s concrete streets with the Bureau of Street Services (BSS). This investigation will most likely take a few months.

Created in 2001, Griffith Park Boulevard’s bike lanes were strongly supported by members of the LA County Bicycle Coalition and the residents of LA’s Los Feliz and Silver Lake neighborhoods. These bike-protected lanes measure just over 1.5 miles and travel between Lucille Avenue and Los Feliz Boulevard.