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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.

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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