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A group is reportedly proposing to reconfigure the bike lanes along Sunset Blvd. in order to make it safer for cyclists. The proposed reconfigure would be between Dodger Stadium and Fountain Ave., and along Santa Monica Blvd. from Sunset Junction to the Vermont/Santa Monica Metro Station.
Terence Heuston from the group Sunset4All told The Eastsider: “The current configuration on Sunset Blvd. of ‘door zone’ bike lanes squeezed between parked cars and speeding traffic is simply not safe or useful.” Currently, each side of the street along the busy and famous street has a bike lane between the parked cars and the traffic. Cyclists not only get passed very closely by speeding cars, but are at risk of slamming into drivers’ side car doors being opened in front of them from the parked vehicles.
Sunset4All is proposing that both bike lanes be relocated to the same side of the street. This way they can run between parked cars and the curb, not next to traffic. According to Heuston, the only thing that would be lost is an average of one parking space per block to accommodate sight lines around driveways.
Around 1,000 people have been injured or killed on Sunset Blvd. between Fountain Ave. & Dodger Stadium in the last 10 years, according to the Sunset4All website. Based on a New York study, the group claims that moving the bike lanes to the other side of the parked cars has been shown to reduce injuries to people walking, biking, and driving by up to 56%. Moreover, the website says that protected bike lanes reduce the number of bikes and e-scooters on the sidewalk by up to 90%. (A recent study found that most e-scooter injuries occur on sidewalks, with most collisions occurring with pedestrians and not cars).
Assuming the loss of parking would be that minimal, per The Eastsider’s reporting, at least one nearby business owner said he had no problem with the plan. “It could be good. It could be bad. I cannot tell,” Robert Babish, owner of Millie’s restaurant, which is located on the south side of Sunset where both bike lanes would run based on Sunset4All’s rendering, reportedly said. “If we’re not losing any parking spaces, I don’t think it’s going to affect me.
The group has been attempting to reconfigure Sunset Blvd. to make it safer since 2018. The following year, Heuston told Curbed Los Angeles: “People see bike lanes as a recreational amenity, as opposed to a transportation amenity. This is [about] the ability to connect 100,000 people with our rail system and to attract business in a place that’s already extraordinarily parking constrained.”
Road diets can reduce crashes by up to 47 %, according to the Federal Highway Administration. But reducing the amount of street space usable by cars isn’t very popular with drivers.
Sunset4All’s reconfigure has gotten support from City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, whose District 13 covers most of the project’s area, according to Heuston. The group has already met with CD13 senior staff, senior LADOT staff, outside consultants, and the mayor’s office to confirm the feasibility of the project.