Santa Monica Gets Its First—Very Bright—Green Bike Lanes

Meant to keep cyclists safe, the lanes are painted on Ocean Park Boulevard. They might also come to Main Street and Broadway.

Santa Monica is rolling out its first eye-catching green bike lanes.

The paint is still drying, but once the work is finished, the dedicated bicycle lanes will extend from Neilson Way on Ocean Park Boulevard .6 miles east to Lincoln Boulevard.

They're hard to miss—and that's the point, said city transportation engineer Jay Dinkins.

"It's about visibility and safety," he said.

L.A. Streetsblog considers the neon lanes among the “best practices” in bicycle and pedestrian planning.

In talking about a busy a bike lane that had been painted green near a congested intersection in his hometown of Thousands Oaks, the blog's San Francisco editor, Aaron Bialick, said: “The green treatment not only helps improve visibility for people on bikes to drivers... but when I used it, I felt it helped legitimize my place in the massive intersection.”

The green lanes are part of a bigger project to transform Ocean Park Boulevard into what city officials call a "complete green street" that's oriented to cyclists and pedestrians with more trees, wider sidewalks and a system to capture urban run-off before it washes into the ocean.

Local cycling advocate Gary Kavanagh said he hasn't had a chance to ride up Ocean Park Bouelvard yet, but told Patch he is "very excited" to see Santa Monica experimenting with the treatment.

"Gauging from how many of my readers retweeted the news and the photo city engineer Jay Dinkins shared before the paint was even dry, passed around locally and as far away in the SoCal region as San Diego I'd say a lot of other people are excited, too," Kavanagh wrote in an email.

Dinkins said Santa Monica wants to build its aresanl of the green lanes. There are plans to add them to the entire length of Broadway and Main streets.

Kavanagh said the green lanes would be a "significant improvement," because the two streets have some of the highest bicycle ridership of any corridor in the city.

"However I would also like to see the city in the coming year and beyond, pilot what's known as cycle-tracks or protected bikeways, that use physical separation, either curbs or bollards," he said.

They might also be added to Second Street in downtown, between Wilshire and Colorado, but that would require eliminating one of two traffic lanes for cars,
Dinkins said.

Nick Candy January 11, 2013 at 07:39 AM
I live near Ocean Park and I think the bike lanes are great. I'll be cycling on them every week. Can't wait to see more of them in Santa Monica.
Glenn E Grab January 11, 2013 at 05:50 PM
a pathetic joke, nothing but a false sense of security.....just like a crosswalk.....the ultimate safety is the bicylist's awareness....here's something stupid-----bicylists wearing headphones and listening to music while cycling in traffic....
stewart resmer January 11, 2013 at 06:36 PM
couldnt jersey (k Barriers) barriers have worked better? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jersey_barrier I mean really lets get serious! lol
Glenn E Grab January 11, 2013 at 06:49 PM
I haven't seen a green paint strip stop a 3,000 pound vehicle yet......
AviationMetalSmith January 11, 2013 at 07:59 PM
99% of Motorists pass my Bike with plenty of berth, usually Seven to Ten feet in the clear. It's the Other One Percent who pass too close.
Brenda Barnes January 11, 2013 at 09:04 PM
I like the separate bike lanes on 4th Street in Long Beach. It is just not worth it to me to take a chance of dying, as my neighbor did, in the right, on a bike riding in traffic with a 3000-pound moving metal object. In his case, it was just a driver opening a door without looking, at the same time a car was passing, which led to a long and painful suffering death. Just not worth it.
BikeMonkey January 11, 2013 at 09:52 PM
Riiight... It's the cyclist wearing earphones with only his/her skin to protect themselves and not the driver who texts, takes phone calls, drinks, eats, works a lap top, and generally has bad driving skills that's the problem. If more drivers rode a bike they would see how bad drivers can be.
Gary Kavanagh January 12, 2013 at 12:06 AM
Research conducted by FHWA and various cities that have implemented the use of green in bike lanes concluded they improved positioning of both drivers and bicyclists compared to non green lanes, particularly at the critical approaches to intersections. Ocean Park in it's prior configuration to having bike lanes had 50% more traffic collisions. There was 50% across the board drop after change. And as I mentioned in my quoting in this story, I am excited to see bike lanes that go beyond the state minimum standard of just a white line and 5ft of width, but followed by saying ultimately we need core routes that are fully physically separated as they do in Northern Europe if we want bicycling to both be and feel safe for the widest range of citizens possible. And about that painted lanes being only a "false sense of security" line, one of the things I reject about this argument is that by that logic the same could be said for any other street lines, like double yellow lines. Drivers still cross lines they are not supposed to, head on collisions between drivers do still happen, is that false security? False sense of security is dished up only to malign bike lanes or crosswalks, leading me to believe those who frequently say this are more against bicycling and walking than they are for public safety. If painted lines really only served as a false sense of security, why aren't the folks who make this case questioning all painted street lines in the same manner?
Glenn E Grab January 12, 2013 at 01:06 AM
bike monkey, I didn't say a word about drivers, you brought it up.....however, drivers don't get killed, bicyclists do...it doesn't matter who is right, they're still dead....when you are wearing headphones you can't hear what is going on around you.....btw, I ride at least 100 miles per week on my fixie....
Glenn E Grab January 12, 2013 at 01:07 AM
yeah, but 1 percent is still a lot of cars...
Glenn E Grab January 12, 2013 at 01:11 AM
gary, I ride at least 100 miles per week on my bike.....if traffic is bad or crowded I ride the sidewalk...most bikers who get hit are not at fault, they're just injured, that's what I mean by a false sense of security...they weren't looking out....
AviationMetalSmith January 12, 2013 at 05:45 PM
Glenn, Yes, that's the point I was trying to make. 10,000 cars can pass your bike, and there's no problem...It's the one car that Hits you that will ruin your day. I think the police should take the plate numbers more seriously. Some drivers are really, really bad, and they need to be taken off the road. I ride with a digital camera on my handlebars, just in case I need to record a plate number.
Keith Martin Kaucher January 12, 2013 at 05:52 PM
More of Santa Monica's tree hugging agenda that makes it harder on drivers and gives cyclist more power. They already think they are above the law, I don't think I've seen a cyclist observe and stop for a stop sign in years. I've seen them roll through stop signs in front of cops and they did nothing, if you're in a car bam $300 ticket.
Gary Kavanagh January 12, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Glenn, I'm not sure if you are aware, but it is against the law to ride bikes on the sidewalk within the whole of Santa Monica within city limits. I also get an earful at some local meetings from residents, seniors in particular, that are quite irate with bicycling and bicyclists generally because of close calls or being brushed by rude, inconsiderate, and bicyclists on the sidewalk. I realize why people do, and sympathize, I've had my share of irate law breaking drivers screaming that I belong on the sidewalk, but hopping on the sidewalk when ever it feels convenient is not a real solution. And unless the longstanding law regulating sidewalks in the city of Santa Monica is changed, it is not legal to ride there. And if we are going to discuss false sense of security, sidewalk riding bicyclists hit by or running into cars is one of the most common bicycling crash types, because of poorer visibility at driveways and intersections and drivers not expecting someone moving faster than a walk. My wife and I recently saw a guy flip over his bars as a car pulled out across the street on the sidewalk where we live, and fortunately he got off with only minor injury. But if had been more seriously injured there would be little legal recourse because he would have been found largely at fault in court because sidewalk riding is illegal in the first place.
Glenn E Grab January 13, 2013 at 05:46 AM
Gary, the law states that if the street is too crowded it's ok to ride the sidewalk as long as you give up the right of way...I asked a cop and he told me that's how they enforce it...
Glenn E Grab January 13, 2013 at 05:50 AM
Gary, the difference it that when you're riding on the street you have no control over the cars behind you....you'll never even see the one that hits you...on the sidewalk, if you're careful around driveways and intersections, you can ride perfectly safely...I always give pedestrians the right of way...
JohnCySmith.com January 13, 2013 at 07:34 AM
Visibility increases safety... for everyone.
Gary Kavanagh January 13, 2013 at 07:35 PM
The law does not state that if there is a lot of traffic you can ride on the sidewalk. I've read every Santa Monica municipal code and state law that applies to specifically to bicycling. In the city of LA sidewalk riding without disregard for other sidewalk users is legal anywhere, but under the letter of the law, it is not legal anywhere in Santa Monica. And just because a police officer says something, even if it is about the law, that doesn't mean it is true. I received a citation for making a left turn from a left turn lane once, which is perfectly legal under state law and I signaled my intention as I was supposed to, something the officer even noted in the ticket notes. I had to sit there for about 5 minutes while he made up what he thought the law was. A charge I easily had dropped because the police officer was completely ignorant of how the law applies to bicycles, which surprised me given he was a motorcycle officer. With proper and due care, sidewalk riding can be done in a reasonably safe manner, but requires significantly slower riding. But until such time that the law is relaxed in Santa Monica, if it is, sidewalk riding is prohibited period. Law enforcement is usually too preoccupied with concerns higher on their radar, but that does not change the fact it is presently against the law (except for police & on beach promenades where signs explicitly permit). http://www.qcode.us/codes/santamonica/view.php?topic=3-3_12-3_12_540&frames=off
Glenn E Grab January 14, 2013 at 05:52 PM
jonn, you're right, visibility helps, but not if you are texting or dialing on a cell phone and not looking....
Glenn E Grab January 14, 2013 at 05:55 PM
exactly, Brenda.....your neighbor was 100% in the right, but still was killed.,,,,he was "dead right"....
Glenn E Grab January 14, 2013 at 05:59 PM
Gary, another place the law isn't enforced is on the Venice Beach walk....the signs say no bike riding, the cops never enforce it....also they never stop people from walking in large groups on the bike-only paths...
Gary Kavanagh January 14, 2013 at 08:16 PM
I very (very) rarely see a driver observe speed limits (outside of times of peak traffic congestion), I see people fly by cops doing 40 in a 25 zone and not do anything. What is your point? If you're trying to suggest bicyclists break more rules than drivers, you clearly aren't paying attention to the systematic regularity of drivers acting above the law. The hit and run epidemic, nearly 1 in 2 collisions in the LA area, is a prime example of the absolute callous entitlement of drivers believing they are above the law. This is called normalcy bias. If someone considers driving their base line of normal, and have little experiencing traveling by any other means, they often selectively perceive things with a slant that may not be grounded in the facts. This why someone with solely a windshield perspective will often pay attention to every time they see a bicyclist roll a 4 way stop sign, but will ignore every time other drivers or even themselves break other rules just as dangerous and usually more so, with a casual regularity.
Glenn E Grab January 14, 2013 at 09:13 PM
gary, the problem is that the driver isn't the one getting injured or killed.....as cyclists we must ride with total awareness and caution....it doesn't matter if we're in the right, we're still just as dead when we're hit by a speeding car from behind...if we were driving Sherman tanks instead of bicyles the guys in the cars might understand what we have to go through..
Keith Martin Kaucher January 15, 2013 at 04:43 AM
To Gary, I'm not one of those drivers you described I'm a car designer and builder and I've spent the better part of 30 years racing cars, and I drive very defensively, and trust me I notice other motorist mistakes and entitled sense of the road. The big difference here is motorist are in a 2000- 6000 pound steel reinforced safety cage, so when they run a stop sign they have a pretty good chance of walking away, especially with the safety equipment in today's cars and trucks. A cyclist on the other hand's only safety equipment is a poly based foam helmet covered with a micro thin shell of fiberglass or carbon-fiber and maybe some elbow and knee pads, so when they blow through a stop and get hit by a car it's more likely then not they'll never walk again. So pardon me if I find their behavior reckless and irresponsible. The issue here isn't about safety of motorist anyway it's about cyclist safety and that's why I brought it up.
Glenn E Grab January 15, 2013 at 06:14 AM
keith, you're right, no matter who's at fault, the person getting killed is the guy on the bicycle.....it's therefore up to the cyclist to stay alive and uninjured, no matter what the person in the car does....being right isn't important, staying alive and heathy is....
AviationMetalSmith January 15, 2013 at 06:20 PM
I think the main reason cyclists run stop signs is that they are worried more about being hit from *behind*, rather than fearing being hit from the left or right. The cyclist can look and see left and right, but the rear is kind-of a blind spot. Even with a rear-view mirror, if the cyclist stands up on the pedals, he or she is no longer in a position to see what is in the mirror. (the mirror is positioned for the best view from the seated position). And remember, there is no law requiring a rear-view mirror. It's a good idea to have one, but mirrors are NOT required for bicycles.
David Huntsman January 15, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Glenn, I've read your comments below and I get it - you want cyclists to be infinitely careful. That's good. But, why not advocate for that AND also have bike lanes like this? If bike lanes increase driver awareness of cyclists, isn't that a good thing?
David Huntsman January 15, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Agreed. In Santa Monica, the cyclist who stops at a STOP sign gets honked at by the car behind him. The cyclist who rolls a STOP sign gets honked at by cross-traffic, even if it was his "turn"...
David Huntsman January 15, 2013 at 08:07 PM
@Glenn, "I haven't seen a green paint strip stop a 3,000 pound vehicle yet" either. Does that mean it's not happening?
Keith Martin Kaucher January 15, 2013 at 11:29 PM
They aren't worried about being hit from behind in my neighborhood when they are peddling through the stop at 15 to 20mph or more an hour they don't even make an attempt to stop, there are no cars even behind them, it's just a blatant disregard for the stop sign and the very dangerous assumption that the driver approaching or already stopped at the sign sees them. In every case I've had an incident with them they did this to me and because I hesitate before I leave a stop sign their lives were spared.


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