My Experience Cycling along 7th St in DTLA

7th St in DTLA has undergone a rapid transformation during COVID. It went from a road with a painted bike lane in the doorzone, lots of potholes, lots of mixed zones between bikes, cars and buses, to having several blocks with a somewhat protected bike lane and a newly repaved street.

Although this is a much needed improvement, you still need to have some guts (or craziness) to ride down 7th. There are still too many mixed zones where bikes and cars need to cross paths. For example, the loading zone at The Bloc is curbside, where drivers need to cross the unprotected bike lane. Before the pandemic, the bike lane was completely blocked by Uber and Lyft drivers on a Friday and Saturday night dropping off passengers. During the day, it's delivery vehicles plus, Uber and Lyft drivers. Once this pandemic is over, it's easy to see this section of the bike lane being blocked again by drivers waiting to drop off and pick up passengers.

There are also several intersections where drivers who need to make a right turn must cross into the bike lane. Although there are now the shark teeth painted on the ground, what driver knows or cares about what those markings are? What drivers don't realize, or don't care about, is that they are crossing a bike lane in order to get into the right turn lane and must yield to those on 2-wheels.

Then there are the cars parked in the unprotected portions of the bike lane. So, although 7th St is an improvement, it's another baby step improvement just like all the other bike infrastructures in the city. The fear of driver backlash is deeply rooted in our transportation planning.

7th St, just like many of the other bikes lanes the city has built, is meant for people who already cycle, and are brave enough to mix with car traffic. It neglects those afraid to ride but want to, the elderly and children.

All our talk about getting people to drive less cannot change until we build our micromobility lanes with the same standards as roads for cars. Until micromobility lanes are safe, convenient and connect people to where they want to go, people will continue to opt to drive which creates traffic, pollution and increase the possibility of traffic collisions.

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