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Los Angeles has one of the worst reps when it comes to it being unsafe for cyclists. However, signs of this slightly changing were experienced last year, seeing the city take steps to becoming more bike friendly. And now, a new report published by LADOT shows more concrete signs of improvement — or at least in locations near new safety and complete street projects.
Reflecting data collected in 2019, the results of LADOT’s first biennial walk and bike count show a 22% increase in cycling citywide compared to conditions from two years earlier. In a news release, LADOT general manager Seleta Reynolds reportedly said: “Thanks to this report, LADOT gained valuable insights into how people move through Los Angeles neighborhoods so that our investments can deliver the most effective improvements for people walking and biking.”
“Though we call this a Walk & Bike Count, it collects valuable information on all the ways in which people actively travel,” reads LADOT’s website of the report. “This initiative is just one of the ways that Los Angeles is measuring its progress towards achieving our strategic and climate goals.”
The report is based on observations of 63 locations over multiple weeks, and shows the most pronounced changes occured in conjunction with new safety infrastructure. One of the most prominent examples is the Figueroa Street in Downtown Los Angeles, where the completion of protected bike lanes in the MyFigueroa streetscape project has coincided with a 73% increase in the number of cyclists.
The same stretch of Figueroa also ranks as the most heavily-trafficked pedestrian corridor observed in the count, easily outpacing second place finisher Hollywood Boulevard. Though in another part of town, between 2017 and 2018, there were multiple pedestrian fatalities on S Figueroa in South Los Angeles according to LADOT. Figueroa Street is part of the city’s High Injury Network, which spotlights streets with a high concentration of traffic collisions that result in severe injuries and deaths, with an emphasis on those involving people walking and bicycling. (N. Figueroa is not on the HIN).
Moreover, the top location for biking was the bike path on Ballona Creek. For e-scooters, that was Hoover Street between 29th and 30th Street.
The LADOT report also found that women make up 40% of pedestrians on weekdays and 44% on weekends, and yet women made up just 14% of cyclists. However, the report also indicated a 120% increase in female riders on streets improved with dedicated bike paths.
The information gathered through the walk and bike count will reportedly be used by LADOT both to guide the placement of future bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and also to set a baseline to track changes in behavior resulting from new transportation projects.
The next LADOT count is scheduled to take place in Fall 2021, and will monitor 100 different locations across the city.