Spring Street Bike Lane

This concept rendering depicts the coming Spring Street bike lane.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - Spring Street could have a bike lane stretching from Cesar Chavez Avenue to Ninth Street by the end of November. 

The city Department of Transportation has been working with the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council and the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition on the plan for several months. Spring and Main streets were among the priority routes identified for lanes in the Bicycle Master Plan adopted last year, said DOT transportation engineer Tim Fremaux.

Spring Street was fast tracked for implementation because, as a one-way corridor with five peak-hour auto lanes, it is ideal for conversion. Traffic simulations indicated that, in removing the bus lane and one travel lane, traffic would not be excessively impacted, Fremaux said.

"And Metro didn't object to the removal of the bus lane," he said.

The department is tentatively planning to paint the new lane green, so that the lane will be easily distinguishable to motorists and cyclists alike. The six-foot-wide lane will run down the west side of Spring Street, separated from vehicular traffic by a four-foot buffer zone. Eventually, the department may opt to establish what's known as a cycle track, with the lane abutting the curb, and one lane of parking separating the bike path from vehicle lanes, said Valerie Watson, who chairs DLANC's Parks, Recreation and Open Space Committee.

"The lane will be a placeholder facility that colonizes the space now, but it's just there until funding is sought to create a cycle track in the future," Watson said.

In the coming month, DLANC will help the department do outreach to residents and businesses to explain the bike lane project and a concurrent plan to add two "parklets" on the 600 block of South Spring Street. The mini-parks will take over two parking spaces on the west side of Spring Street in front of Syrup Desserts and L.A. Café, Watson said.

The parklets, which still need city approval and up to $20,000 in funds, are not expected to go in until early next year, Watson said. Meanwhile, the DOT is working on plans for a Main Street bike lane. Fremaux said the northbound path will likely debut in the first half of 2012.

Contact Ryan Vaillancourt at ryan@downtownnews.com.