A map shows the identified streets labeled as a five-year project, a longer-term bikeway vision, or a future priority connection as part of the 20-year Bike Action Plan Vision.

Nearly 20 miles of new protected bike lanes are planned for Santa Monica streets after local City Councilmembers approved an update to the city’s Bike Action Plan earlier this week.

Originally passed 2011, Santa Monica’s Bike Action Plan allowed the creation of more than 100 miles of bike lanes and bike-friendly corridors throughout the city. At the time of its passing, city leaders said the plan would position the city as a leader in multi-modal transportation, and the plan can be considered a success since the majority of the original 5-year plan has been implemented. Staff noted the number of people taking to cycling has increased to now represent more than six percent of all functional trips, which is well above regional bike mode share.

This week’s amendment calls on the city to add a total of 19 more miles of protected bike lanes as part of the City’s 20-year Bike Action Plan Vision. The new lanes will add 15 new miles over the next five years and 4 miles are programmed for construction in the next year.

Using data, 17 corridors were identified for protected bike lanes, which add separation between people bicycling and people driving, staff said, stating studies show a 45 percent to 90 percent reduction in collisions where protected bike lanes have been implemented.

Earlier this year, Santa Monica launched a pilot on Broadway from 16th to 20th Street that serves as a model for future lanes. Next month, construction is slated to begin on a protected bike lane on Ocean Avenue from California to Colorado that connects to the California Incline and Colorado Esplanade. The project is scheduled to open for community use in December, according to city staff.

“This is an exciting next step to creating a bike network that enables residents of all ages and abilities to move more safely outdoors while also helping us make progress on our long-term climate, safety, and mobility goals,” said Chief Mobility Officer Francie Stefan. “Protected bike lanes are a proven way to entice biking for both recreation and everyday use and we’re excited to get to work on 19 miles of protected bike lanes in Santa Monica.”

Great strides have been made while implementing the bike plan but safety remains the primary public concern that prevents people from using a bicycle as a primary means of transportation, a staff report states. “Several community-wide surveys reveal a general sentiment that people would feel safer biking and scooting if the bicycle facilities featured some form of separation from vehicle traffic,” so the hope is more people will soon have the protection they need to make biking their main form of transportation.

“Knowing safety is a key concern for residents who wish they felt comfortable bicycling more around our city, we’ve grabbed the safety issue by the handlebars,” said Mayor Kevin McKeown. “If you like our 19 miles of green-painted bike routes, you’ll love 19 miles of safer protected bike lanes along key bicycling corridors.”

Costs for the $7 million plan could be cut by up to 90 percent if work is combined with existing street repaving work and staff said money is available from grants to help fund the work.

brennon@smdp.com