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LA just got its first bike-only traffic lights

Written by
Brittany Martin

Downtown LA just got a little more bike friendly. Yesterday, the city’s first-ever traffic lights specifically for cyclists clicked on. The lights look like the typical red, yellow and green traffic signals drivers expect at intersections, but are outfitted with the image of a bike on each beacon to indicate that the instructions are just for the two-wheelers.

The first of these new signals are on Los Angeles Street at the Arcadia, Aliso and Temple intersections. That same stretch has also just been outfitted with new protected bike lanes and highly-visible green “left-turn boxes” painted on the pavement to alert drivers to zones where cyclists need to cross traffic. 

All of this is more than just catering to fixie-riding hipsters, of course. It’s about solving the last-mile problem of transit, starting with the busy Downtown corridor. Making streets safer and less-intimidating for cycling dovetails with the launch of the Metro bike-share program, which is expected to bring more, and newer, bikers onto city streets.

As Dan Mitchell, assistant general manager of the LA Department of Transportation, told KPCC in advance of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, “Our hope is that by providing this better-organized street and a higher-quality connection for people traveling by foot, by bicycle or by vehicle from Union Station to the Civic Center, we can help provide greater safety and better awareness of all the people that are moving around, so that we can ensure that people feel more comfortable and feel more comfortable taking transit to and from the Civic Center.”

Photograph: Courtesy LA Department of Transportation

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