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Eyes on the Street: New First Street Protected Bike Lane into DTLA

3:18 PM PDT on April 25, 2022

This article supported by Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney as part of a general sponsorship package. All opinions in the article are that of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of LABA. Click on the ad for more information.

There are new protected bike lanes on First Street extending from Boyle Heights to Little Tokyo. Right now, the project is only on the westbound lane, heading into downtown.

The new lane extends 0.6-mile from Mission Road to Alameda Street. On the First Street Bridge, the lanes have a wide buffer - perhaps a sign that some protection is coming soon? West of the bridge, the lanes are protected by plastic bollards. The facility includes a bus-boarding island near Alameda.

Photo from new bus island on new First Street bike lane
Photo from new bus island on new First Street bike lane

The new lane is part of Metro's Little Tokyo/Arts District Eastside Access Improvements, a project that is implementing several walk and bike first/last mile connections to the Regional Connector subway, opening this Fall. The new bike lane is right where the Regional Connector tracks go underground - on First near Garey Street. The Eastside Access project most prominently includes a walk/bike esplanade along the east side of Alameda Street (including in the location where the former Little Tokyo Gold Line Station was). The esplanade will connect to the new First Street bike lanes.

Regional Connector test train running in the middle of First Street - new protected bike lane on the right
Regional Connector test train running in the middle of First Street - new protected bike lane on the right

The new bike lane runs along a proposed transit-oriented joint development that would be on two properties, one (the new Little Tokyo Station) owned by Metro and the other (a larger parcel north of First and east of Alameda) owned by the city of Los Angeles. This week, the Metro board is expected to approve an item [Metro staff report] that would put an agreement in place for the city to proceed with a joint-development process for both sites. An earlier joint development proposal (for just the Metro site) failed to proceed due to Little Tokyo opposition.

Metro and L.A. City sites for proposed joint development
Metro and L.A. City sites for proposed combined joint development

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