5 Ways Biking Is Getting Easier in L.A.

Cycle hubs and exclusive lanes are popping up all over the city

We’re in the middle of Bike Month—designated by our local transit agency, Metro—with a big push to increase our city’s relatively anemic cycling numbers. With Bike to Work Day on Wednesday (free refreshments, bike tchotchkes, and gratis rides on trains and buses) and Bike Night (a party ride through DTLA) on May 26, it seems a good time to highlight how L.A. is ever-so-slowly turning into a bike town.

• Bike Hubs
Metro will cut the ribbon on its newest bike hub, “a facility that offers bicyclists a safe and convenient place to park their bikes,” on Friday near the Hollywood/Vine subway station. Cyclists will be able to access the enclosed space 24/7 and purchase lights, locks, and other amenities. Metro previously opened a bike hub at the El Monte bus station, and will be opening one at Union Station next year and near the Culver City Expo station in 2018.

• The Bike Share Is Expanding
It took L.A. a long time to get a bike share up and running, and the rollout hasn’t been without hiccups. That said, more bikes and docking stations are being added throughout the city. The L.A. waterfront is getting 11 new stations and 120 bikes around San Pedro and Wilmington, likely by the summer. Venice and Pasadena will also be joining the party, and Culver City is looking at getting its own bike share, as well.

When compared to places like Portland and Davis, Calif., L.A. lags in exclusive bike lanes. That will change for a large swath of DTLA and South Los Angeles when the MyFigueroa project opens this summer. Look for 3-4 miles of bikeways, with many portions completely buffered from vehicular traffic. The project will create a relatively seamless bike commute from USC up through DTLA, along Figueroa Avenue; there will also be bike lanes painted on Martin Luther King Boulevard and within the South Park neighborhood.

• More Transit and Longer Trains
Metro has made great strides in adding rail lines throughout the county, with Santa Monica and Azusa now connected to the transit system. Both the Expo and Gold line extensions included parallel bikeways, making it easier to get to your destination with a combo of bike/light rail. Getting that bike on the train can be difficult during busy periods, but with the transit agency acquiring more rail cars, crowding will soon ease (at least until more rail lines open). Remember, when taking your bike on the train, look for the yellow decals—these train cars delineate more space for bulky bikes.

• New Infrastructure
Thanks to programs like Vision Zero and the LADOT Bike Program, amenities like bike racks and sharrows (painted arrows that urge drivers to share the road) are being added to L.A. streets. The city has even more ambitious plans, though. In 2019, the Rail-to-River project will open a new 6.4-mile bike and pedestrian path through South L.A., opening an east-west route for cyclists that’s exclusively for non-motorized transport. Meanwhile, up in the Valley, landscape architect Mia Lehrer is helping design a 12-mile bike path to run along the revitalized L.A. River.