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L.A. approves initiative to add hundreds of miles of bike lanes

It calls for 238 miles of protected bike lanes, hundreds more unprotected lanes and 300 miles of improvements for buses.

Los Angeles overwhelmingly passed Measure HLA, the initiative to force implementation of the City Council’s own 2015 street safety plan, which calls for hundreds of miles of new bike lanes and changes that slow traffic and make the city more bikeable and walkable -— to make streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists

“This says people in Los Angeles want change, they want safer streets, and they want the city to follow through on their promises,” said Michael Schneider, who has led the HLA campaign and is executive director of the advocacy group Streets for All, which conceived the measure.

Measure HLA requires Los Angeles to re-engineer some of the region’s most storied boulevards, reducing traffic lanes, building more space for bicyclists and buses, and providing better protections for pedestrians. It calls for 238 miles of protected bike lanes, hundreds more unprotected lanes and 300 miles of improvements for buses, including designated lanes and signal prioritization for public transit.

The transportation measure essentially compels the city to follow its nearly decade-old Mobility Plan 2035, which was meant to revamp how the city moved by designating specific roads for biking, transit and more foot traffic, but has been largely ignored.

When it was adopted in 2015, the plan marked a departure from how the city viewed street infrastructure that was largely created for cars to one that is multimodal. Transportation planners embraced the concept because such measures tended to make streets safer and reduce traffic speeds while encouraging transit, biking and walking.

“This is being watched nationally,” said Marlon Boarnet, director of the METRANS Transportation Consortium at USC. “It’s a signal across the country that people really value streets where, yes, they can drive, but they could also walk, they could also bicycle.”

he Healthy Streets L.A. measure is the first citywide vote on the city’s transportation vision, and voters sent a clear message that they want safer streets and climate-friendly transportation choices. It’s no wonder why. There were more traffic deaths than homicides last year, with 336 people killed in traffic collisions — more than half of them pedestrians.


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