The Safe Routes to School National Partnership (National Partnership) and Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) are working together with stakeholders from around Los Angeles County to build communities that are better places to walk, bike, and access transit. The Los Angeles County Active Transportation Collaborative regularly convenes leaders from health, environment, business, labor, government, and community-based organizations to inform regional transportation policy with local perspectives. The National Partnership and LACBC submitted this letter to Metro this week.
The Active Transportation Program (ATP) is a new statewide competitive grant program that encourages bicycling and walking, especially for children traveling to school and for residents of disadvantaged communities. In 2014, $360 million will be awarded competitively as grants to communities across California for safe routes to school, walking and bicycling projects and programs. This new program represents the largest source of dedicated funding for walking and bicycling in California.
Cities across California are gearing up for the first application cycle, which closes on May 21, 2014. The Southern California Association of Governments, Caltrans and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership are all hosting workshops to help potential project sponsors prepare competitive applications. Cities have great pent-up demand for this funding since there were not funding cycles for predecessor programs to the ATP last year while the new program’s guidelines were written.
Los Angeles County’s primary transportation agency, Metro, is also adjusting to the changing funding landscape for walking and bicycling. Metro used to have programming authority (the ability to choose which projects get funding) for about half of the funds that are now in the ATP. Because Metro has a long planning horizon, it had already programmed projects for those funds, creating a shortfall now that the agency no longer controls the money.
Metro’s involvement in active transportation has historically been limited to pass-through federal funding for local jurisdictions, without a regional strategy or comprehensive needs assessment. In the absence of a strong policy framework, Metro has set investment levels in walking and bicycling based on the amount of federal funds available, rather than based on a targeted investment strategy. As a result, Metro has not contributed a significant amount of local revenue to walking and bicycling, despite the fact that two-thirds of Metro’s overall revenue is locally generated. The meager one percent of its funding Metro spends on walking and bicycling has been almost exclusively non-local funds. Now that a significant share of the federal funds Metro used to spend on these modes was redistributed to other agencies, Metro is left without a plan to fund walking and bicycling. Metro’s current predicament is a direct result of a lack of local funding for active transportation.
Over the past year, the National Partnership and LACBC have engaged stakeholders from around Los Angeles County to discuss the current policy and finance landscape for active transportation in the region. From public agency staff, elected officials, community-based organizations and other partners, we have consistently heard that the lack of supportive policy, the lack of local revenue and the lack of a regional finance strategy are all barriers to greater investment in walking and bicycling, despite overwhelming need in our communities. These shortcomings are readily apparent in Metro’s approach to the ATP.
Metro is on the verge of making significant progress on active transportation-related policies, including a First/Last Mile Strategic Plan to improve access to transit, a Countywide Complete Streets Policy, a Countywide Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan and an Active Transportation Strategic Plan. Until this policy framework is in place, Los Angeles County will continue to be at a disadvantage for competitive grant programs like the ATP.
We call on Metro to take a leadership role in positioning the entire county to be competitive for the upcoming May ATP call for projects and all future cycles by only submitting the best projects Los Angeles County has to offer and, over the next year, developing a robust policy framework and financing strategy for walking and bicycling.
Today the City of Los Angeles released two draft documents for 90 days of public comment that will prioritize safety and health in the City’s General Plan: the Mobility Element and the Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles. LACBC, Los Angeles Walks and other stakeholders were involved in the development of both plans to ensure that the needs of LA’s bicyclists and pedestrians were considered. The plans call for a layered network of complete streets that serve all people who travel on them, with special focus on vulnerable road users, including children, the elderly, pedestrians and bicyclists.
LACBC worked with the Department of City Planning to develop a 180-mile network of protected bikeways and high-quality neighborhood streets that will “provide safe, convenient, and comfortable local and regional facilities for cyclists of all types and abilities.” This is another of LACBC’s campaign goals we asked Mayor Garcetti to accomplish this year. (Sign the petition here.)
What else does the Mobility Element do?
- Makes safety the City’s number one transportation priority, particularly the safety of children walking to school
- Sets design speeds for city streets and provides engineering and enforcement solutions to stop the constant increase in speed limits
- Anticipates building 45 miles of protected bikeways every 5 years
- Doubles the share of Measure R Local Return for walking and bicycling
- Calls for annual bicycle and pedestrian counts by LADOT
- Sets a performance metric of zero increase in car travel per person
We are thrilled to see complete streets and “8 to 80” bikeways embraced by the City, but this plan is only a draft and we need YOU to make sure it is adopted. How? By attending an upcoming workshop in your neighborhood and voicing your support for the Bicycle-Enhanced Network.
Saturday, March 15th • 9am – noon
Granada Hills Recreation Center
16730 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills, CA 91344
Wednesday, March 19th • 5pm – 8pm
Metro Headquarters (near Patsaouras Plaza)
One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012
SOUTH LOS ANGELES
Saturday, March 22nd • 9am – noon
Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center
3916 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90062
Saturday, March 29th • 9am – noon
Boyle Heights City Hall
2130 E. First St., Los Angeles, CA 90033
Wednesday, April 2nd • 6pm – 9pm
Westwood United Methodist Church
10497 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90024
Saturday, April 5th • 9am – noon
Marvin Braude Constituent Service Center
6262 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys, CA 91401
Saturday, April 12th • 10am – 1pm
Peck Park Community Center
560 N. Western Ave., San Pedro, CA 90732
Tags: My Figueroa
Last last year, LACBC announced a new campaign to bring next generation bikeways to the City of Los Angeles. Over 1,400 of you lent your support to this effort. (It’s not too late to sign on!) We were thrilled to announce two weeks ago that the City of Los Angeles applied to join the Green Lane Project, the first win of our campaign. Since then, we’ve turned our attention to My Figueroa, which promises to be the City’s first true protected bikeway (a.k.a. cycletrack), distinguished by a curb to separate bicyclists from traffic and dedicated bike signals at intersections.
Streetsblog previewed today’s hearing at City Council’s PLUM Committee to consider the appeal of the project by Shammas Auto Group, and a motion by 9th District Councilmember Curren Price to study alternatives to the proposed project. This afternoon, PLUM deferred to the local councilmember by continuing the item for 30 days to address the motion and instructed city staff report back to the committee.
Where does this leave us?
Councilmember Price is trying to thread a difficult needle. He has gone on record supporting cycletracks as an essential component of the project, recognizing that this project is not about serving existing bicyclists, but people who want to ride and don’t feel safe. And yet his proposal to delay the project and exhaustively study alternatives may be fatal, compromising a multimillion dollar investment in South Los Angeles.
Major institutions along the corridor, including the California Science Center, USC and Shammas, believe that decoupling the cycletracks and routing southbound bicyclists onto Flower will reduce perceived impacts to Figueroa. But early on in project development, Flower was eliminated as an option for many good reasons:
- Running a cycletrack on Flower would leave only one through lane on that street, likely impacting traffic even more than the proposed project.
- Flower is a less direct route between USC and downtown, requiring the people that are most sensitive to extra distance to go out of their way to reach their destinations.
- Flower runs along the backside of the car dealerships and other unwelcoming uses with few “eyes on the street.” This project is intended to make people of all ages and abilities feel comfortable riding all hours of the day.
- Almost all the destinations in the Figueroa Corridor are on Figueroa itself. This project is designed to increase vibrancy in front of these attractions. Moving half of the bicycle traffic to Flower works counter to this objective.
The institutions have not provided any evidence supporting their claim that Flower is a superior alternative.
Normally, LACBC is open to considering alternative routes. But in this case, there is literally no money available to revisit Flower as an option without dipping into funds that are better spent on other projects. My Figueroa has maxed out on their design budget, leaving only construction dollars. Furthermore, LADOT is about ready to send the current project out to bid for construction. It is shovel-ready. But any changes will require going back to square one on environmental review and design. That will set the project back well over a year at a minimum and send it way over budget. Any alternative that does include Flower will expand the scope of construction, further driving up the cost of the project for likely zero benefit.
This project has been developed with robust community input, context sensitivity and compromise, when warranted. Like protected bikeways all across the country, it will be a boon to business along the corridor. It is a project worthy of being Mayor Eric Garcetti’s first “Great Street.” Los Angeles is on the cusp of reinventing itself in the public realm. This is no time for delay.
Councilmember Price, let this investment in South LA’s future begin.
If you are a regular visitor to any of the institutions along the Figueroa Corridor, please let them know that you support making Figueroa walkable and bikeable without delay:
- California Science Center
- University of Southern California
- California African American Museum
- Natural History Museum
Special thanks to our partners T.R.U.S.T. South L.A., Community Health Councils, Los Angeles Walks and the USC Bicycle Coalition.
Tags: Campaigns, cycletracks, eric garcetti, LA Bike Plan, LADOT
Please sign our petition to Mayor Garcetti to Bring Cycletracks to LA!
Since adopting its 2010 Bicycle Plan, Los Angeles has made tremendous progress implementing bikeways across the city. The new 167 miles of bike lanes bring the total bike lane network to 338 miles. This breathtaking installation pace of up to 100 miles per year reflects the dedication of LADOT staff, often working overtime and weekends to design and stripe new facilities. New segments of the LA River Bike Path, LA’s first bicycle-friendly street on Yucca, and many miles of sharrows add to the City’s burgeoning bike network. This progress has yielded a comparable growth in ridership taking advantage of these new facilities.
Now that the low-hanging fruit of bike plan implementation has been picked, it is time to turn our attention to the next generation of bikeways in Los Angeles. Just as we need to connect the fragments of our bike network, we also need to connect the dots among many complementary policies and programs at different agencies. In 2014, we call upon the City of Los Angeles to:
- Adopt an “8 to 80” design standard for the Mobility Element’s Bicycle-Enhanced Network (BEN) and 2010 Bicycle Plan’s Neighborhood Network,
- Appoint a new LADOT General Manager who is committed to innovative street design,
- Accelerate implementation of cycletracks by incorporating the BEN into the Mayor’s Great Streets Initiative,
- Install LA’s first cycletracks on Figueroa in 2014,
- Apply for round 2 of the Green Lane Project to receive technical assistance from the nation’s leading bikeway design experts,
- Ensure adequate staffing of the bikeways and pedestrian groups at LADOT to satisfy pent-up demand for these improvements across the city, and
- Work with Metro to increase investments in next generation bikeways and pedestrian infrastructure across Los Angeles County, concentrated around transit stations and schools.
These steps will expand the reach of LA’s bicycle network both geographically and demographically to attract the kind of ridership growth we’ve seen in other cities around the country that have made similar investments. We must invest and innovate to reach LA’s bicycling potential.
Don’t forget to sign our petition to Mayor Garcetti to Bring Cycletracks to LA!
Tags: bikeshare, Mayor Garcetti, Metro, Santa Monica Spoke, West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition
This week, bikeshare is back on the agenda for Los Angeles County. LACBC participated in a meeting at the Westside Cities Council of Governments on Tuesday hosted by Assemblymember Richard Bloom and will be supporting a motion at Metro today by Mayor Garcetti and Directors Yaroslavsky, Knabe, Bonin, and O’Connor to coordinate a countywide bikeshare program. Streetsblog covered these developments on Tuesday. For over a year, LACBC chapters Santa Monica Spoke and the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition have been advocating for bikeshare in their respective communities. As a result of their efforts, Santa Monica stands to lead on the issue with a grant in hand to fund the launch of a system, while entrepreneurs are still seeking to bring privately funded bikeshare to West Hollywood. In the meantime, bikeshare in the City of LA has all but floundered.
In an effort to coordinate local efforts, Metro will now prepare an industry review and business case analysis for bikeshare in L.A. County, potentially resulting in a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to select a single countywide vendor. As local cities make progress and Metro decides whether to step into its natural role as a regional transportation agency, LACBC will continue to support whatever process results in a bikeshare system that serves L.A. County’s needs. We believe any system should adhere to the following principles:
- Go Big. Bikeshare works best with concentrated deployments in areas with supportive infrastructure. Clusters of kiosks should be of sufficient density in targeted neighborhoods to enable convenient use, not distributed sparsely across a broad coverage area. Cities installing bikeshare kiosks should also provide adequate on-street bike infrastructure to enable safe bike travel with an emphasis on access to transit.
- Bikeshare is a transit system. A countywide approach should ensure that the transit system is primarily designed to maximize transportation utility. A business case analysis should not deem an unprofitable system as unsuccessful if it meets a distinct transportation need cost-effectively. While advertising will likely be a significant revenue source for any system, it should not be a determining factor in the choice of kiosk locations or communities to be served.
- Equity matters. A transit system also has the expectation of serving diverse populations equitably. The business case analysis must address how a bikeshare system can serve low-income communities in terms of both geographic deployment of kiosks and a fare structure that enables low-income households to participate. While not all communities can be served immediately, the system must be designed to reasonably serve low-income communities as it expands.
- Seamless operation. To ensure countywide integration, a single hardware vendor should be selected so that the customer experience is seamless and all equipment interoperable. Local operators could be chosen for maintenance and rebalancing of the single vendor’s equipment.
- Integrated fare structure. Fare systems should be integrated with other transit accounts such as TAP and Express Lanes for a unified customer experience in paying for multiple transportation options.
LACBC is encouraged by Metro’s involvement in this process. As the county’s transportation agency, Metro will play a key role in funding the infrastructure and education programs that complement bikeshare and are critical to its safe deployment. We look forward to working with Metro and local cities to ensure that these principles are incorporated into bikeshare operations in L.A. County.
Tags: cycletracks, My Figueroa
UPDATE (10/07/2013): At the advice of the City Attorney, the motion will be postponed to a later, undetermined date so that the appeal and the motion can be on the same track. We’ll update you all when the MyFig motion and appeal will be presented.
The Price motion will be heard at Transportation Committee on Wednesday, October 9th at 2 P.M, City Hall Room 1010. The Shammas Auto Group appeal will be heard by Planning & Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee at a future date.
My Figueroa is the most ambitious street transformation underway in the City of Los Angeles, promising to transform a bleak commercial corridor into a prime linkage between USC and Downtown LA. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) inherited the project from the now-defunct Community Redevelopment Agency and is working diligently to break ground early next year so that construction can be completed by a December 2014 funding deadline. This tight schedule has kept the project on track, despite recent grumblings by some stakeholders in the corridor about added congestion.
While LADOT solves the technical challenge of engineering Los Angeles’s first protected bike lane (a.k.a. cycletrack), the project’s political prospects recently became murkier. My Figueroa is within Council District 9, which switched from champion Jan Perry to silent Curren Price after the election in May. Under pressure from stakeholders along the Figueroa Corridor, Price introduced a motion calling for further study of traffic impacts and asking for mitigation. At the same time, Shammas Auto Group filed an appeal of the project, which will require a hearing before the full City Council. It was not immediately clear how both the motion and the appeal would proceed since City Council would not want to deal with the same issues twice.
The Downtown News reports that Shammas Auto Group has “no intention” of delaying the project, despite the pending appeal. We now know that the Price motion asking for further study will be heard at Transportation Committee on October 9th (2 PM in City Hall Room 1010). LACBC will be there along with project supporters TRUST South LA, Community Health Councils, LA Walks, and the (newly formed) USC Bicycle Coalition to keep the project on track.
Will you join us?
Transportation Committee Meeting
Wednesday, October 9; 2 p.m. TBD
Where: L.A. City Hall, Room 1010 – 200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles
We are asking those who live, play, or work in Carson to send emails to Carson City Council and advocate for the originally drafted Bike Plan. Since the draft plan was released, bike lanes on Avalon, Watson Center Road, and Wilmington have been removed, including cycle-tracks on Albertoni and University.
The opportunity for Carson to provide real improvements to encourage safe bicycling has hit a snag. What was originally planned to be a robust network of bike routes, bike lanes, and separated cycle-tracks has been watered down due to opposition, namely from the Watson Land Company and the StubHub Center, formerly the Home Depot Center. Given a recent bicyclists’ death in Carson, we hope that elected officials realize the urgent need to make the streets of Carson safer.
The City of Carson has been working on developing their Master Plan of Bikeways for over a year to build off of a few scatterings of bike lanes and bike routes in the city. Community support grew as the project moved ahead, with several well-attended community meetings, biking events, and consultation with city staff and the bicycling community. Over the course of this process, the Master Plan of Bikeways evolved into a draft that the community was impressed with and grew confidence in.
Since then, major players in the city have put their foot down in opposition to parts of the plan. At June’s Planning Commission meeting, StubHub Center (home to the Velo Sports Center) and Watson Land Company were successful in diluting the proposed plan, which in its current form, is heading to City Council on August 6th.
Here are the arguments against certain aspects of the plan, and who was behind them.
- The Watson Land Company expressed concern about installing bike lanes where there is heavy truck traffic, which include many of the arterials in Carson because of the large industrial presence in the city. Watson Land Company believes bicyclists are put in danger if encouraged to ride in bike lanes alongside heavy traffic. Despite the plan’s effort to install colored buffered bike lanes along Wilmington Avenue, where no travel lanes would be removed and is one of the few North/South corridors in Carson, Watson still rejected the idea and had the project removed. The same goes for Watson Center Road, originally planned for a standard bike lane without having to remove a travel lane, now gone.
Watson Land Company has always prefaced their disinterest in bicycle improvements in Carson with safety of bicyclists as their main concern. Unfortunately the feelings are not based in reason. Time and time again we see studies that show bicycle lanes make it safer for bicyclists, marking a clear designation for bicyclists and other users of the road. It appears Watson Land Company wants to maintain the status quo, where currently bicyclists and trucks need to share the same travel lane, and somehow in their minds that is safer.
- StubHub Center (what used to be the Home Depot Center) also cited safety concerns and disruption of traffic flow to/from their facility, specifically by installing cycle-tracks and bike lanes on Central, Victoria, and University. These streets (and Avalon) encompass both StubHub Center and Cal State Dominguez Hills, where many people bicycle to campus and also to the Velodrome. Despite their main parking lots facing Avalon and Victoria, StubHub Center was able to exclude cycle-tracks on University from the plan because it would require the removal of one travel lane. Albertoni was also eliminated from the plan because of concerns of ingress/egress for StubHub Center despite the fact that it does not affect the 91 Freeway on/off ramps’ turn lanes. The StubHub Center has asked that we clarify their position – you can find their letter citing specific concerns in a commission report here.
The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is looking to continue to advocate for safer streets for all users in Carson. As we anticipate passage of the Carson Master Plan of Bikeways at August 6th’s City Council meeting, we want to make sure that the integrity of the approved plan is based on sound studies and rooted in desires from the community. We strongly disagree with Watson Land Company’s assertion that adding bike lanes to a corridor will make biking more unsafe.
Take Action: Tell Carson City Council to preserve the Master Plan of Bikeways’ original intent of having a cycle-track on Albertoni and University, and preserving the proposed bike lanes on Avalon, Watson Center Road, and Wilmington.
If you cannot make the meeting on August 6 at 6 p.m., please call Mayor Dear at 310-952-1700 ext 1000 and email the rest of council at:
The Public Safety Committee will hear the LAPD report on Friday, July 26th at 8:30 AM in City Hall Room 1010. Please join LACBC in requesting that the City take a leadership role to fix state law to increase penalties for hit-and-run. You can also write the committee members at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Los Angeles’ high rate of hit-and-run collisions disproportionately affects bicyclists and pedestrians, the most vulnerable travelers on our city’s streets. Many of us have friends left injured by fleeing drivers, or have been victims ourselves. The Los Angeles Police Department, at the direction of Councilmember Joe Buscaino, produced a report with hard numbers confirming our perceptions: nearly 60% of those severely injured or killed by hit-and-run drivers are pedestrians and another 14% are bicyclists.
That is over 90 pedestrians and 20 bicyclists being severely injured or killed in the City of Los Angeles every year. The number of bicyclists severely injured or killed spiked to 31 in 2011–almost 3 per month.
By any measure, this is an unacceptable crisis in public safety. LACBC eagerly awaited the LAPD’s report detailing steps the department is taking to curtail the hit-and-run epidemic. Unfortunately, the report made considerable effort to debunk the LA Weekly article and defend the City’s hit-and-run rate as comparable to other cities. Deeper analysis reveals the opposite: Los Angeles continues to be among the worst cities, behind only Chicago in injury and fatal hit-and-runs per capita. Angelenos have a greater than 1 in 1,000 chance of being injured or killed in a hit-and-run every year.
How does the LAPD come to a different conclusion? Instead of calculating exposure to hit-and-run like any other crime stat (i.e. how likely is a person to be a victim), LAPD chose to compare hit-and-run rates per vehicle-mile traveled (VMT). Because Angelenos are addicted to their cars and drive more per person than all other cities compared in the report, this dilutes our hit-and-run rate in the department’s analysis. Cities with more pedestrians and bicyclists and less driving come out as more dangerous in the LAPD’s report, despite being considerably safer. LAPD’s report calculates that New York is 56% more dangerous than Los Angeles. In fact, Angelenos are 122% more likely to be the victim of an injury or fatal hit-and-run than New Yorkers. The result is highly misleading and undermines the sense of urgency to fix the problem and make our streets safer.
Ranking by Per VMT Hit-and-Run
- New York
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
Ranking by Per Capita Hit-and-Run
- Los Angeles
- New York
- San Francisco
Despite this flawed comparative analysis, LAPD does make strong recommendations to change department practices, improve data collection, and amend state law. These proposals align closely with LACBC’s priorities and we look forward to working with LAPD and the City Council to push for state legislation to enhance hit-and-run penalties.
Tags: Climate Ride
Congratulations to our LACBC team for completing the 5-day, 320-mile California Climate Ride! Our team and individual members not only met their fundraising goals, but Team LACBC was also the highest fundraising team!
We’re catching up with some of our riders who participated in this ride. We first have Gregory Laemmle. Greg led the LACBC team as the team captain and also in terms of fundraising. He was pleasantly surprised that people generously donated to his ride so readily.
“People are concerned about climate change,” Greg says. ”Maybe not enough to become daily bike commuters, or to put solar panels on their roof, but concerned. And so they were generally only too happy to contribute toward this cause. I relied strictly on mass e-mails and Facebook posts.”
In terms of training, Greg was thoroughly prepared for this ride, although he had to make a few adjustments in his schedule to make time on the weekends for longer rides. What Greg really enjoyed about these ride was that a few friends and other Climate Riders tagged along with him to train. He also was able to ride in new places such as Nichols Canyon and Old Mulholland Highway. Being able to ride 50 miles on consecutive days allowed him to climb over 20,000 feet with no aches, pains, or injuries.
Greg is already extremely excited for next year’s ride, and even though they may change the route, he knows that it will open up more opportunities for other riders to see different scenic parts of California. He is also proud of the LACBC team for raising the most fundsand cannot wait for recruitment. He hopes to bring a larger team, as well as raise more dollars.
Next we have one of our featured riders, Michael Rippens. As Michael prepared for this race, he worried about the weather conditions for the Climate Ride with previous rides being faced with rain. Luckily this year, the ride did not have to deal with rainy weather and everyone fared with beautiful, sunny days, with the tradeoff of some heavy wind.
One of Michael’s misfortunes during this ride was a slight “wardrobe malfunction” where his wind vest got caught into his front wheel which caused him to flip over. Luckily he did not have any serious injuries and was able to finish the ride. To top it off, Michael was able to challenge himself by doing the optional century ride on Day 3!
Here’s a quick scenic video of the ride!
Lastly, Michael felt that even through the struggles, the ride was completely worth it. “But, the best part about the Climate Ride, by far, was all the amazing and inspirational people I met along the way. Each and every rider and support person had an interesting personal story as well as a passion for cycling, preserving the environment and making our world a better place to live. I certainly made some lifelong friends on the ride and I can’t wait ‘til next year to do it all over again!” As it was an unforgettable experience for him, he along with Greg cannot wait for next year!
Thank you to all of the Team LACBC Climate Riders: Lisa Liberati, Laurie Gelardi, Kathy Gelardi, Marc Horwitz, Leonard Laub, Yvonne Ascher, John Cork, Michael Rippens, and team captain Greg Laemmle!
Thanks again to our intern Vincent Ho for writing recap of the ride and to Michael Rippens and Greg Laemmle for speaking with us!
By now you’ve probably heard that the beloved Spring Street green bike lane is set to receive a makeover. Today’s vote by the City Council scales back a project that was installed in late 2011 to much fanfare and acclaim by downtown residents, bicyclists, and livable streets advocates. Despite steadfast support from Councilmember Huizar and the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council, film industry representatives were able to repeatedly delay the vote and force a compromise.
While the outcome is a step backward for the continued revitalization of Spring Street through downtown’s Historic Core (the Spring Street Park opened just this week!), the new design is not all bad for bicycling Angelenos. Today’s decision begins the next chapter of the City’s green lane pilot program, which tested different designs and materials on Spring Street and on 1st Street in Boyle Heights. As a result, LADOT now has a much better idea how to install green lanes to maximize their effectiveness while minimizing their cost. The compromise design preserves much of the safety benefit of the full green treatment at a fraction of the cost since color is only used at the most important locations. In some ways, the final* design on Spring takes the best of both existing pilot green lanes to create a hybrid approach. The savings from the Spring Street repainting will get poured back into bike infrastructure elsewhere in the city, including potentially new green lanes.
Which bike lanes would you like to see painted green? Let us know in the comments.
Please take a moment to thank Councilmember Huizar for being a champion of livable streets in the City of Los Angeles. From bike lanes to parklets to bike corrals, Huizar is leading the charge to reclaim our streets for people. You can email him at email@example.com.
*The compromise design approved today includes elements that have not before been used in the United States and will require a request to experiment from the California Traffic Control Devices Committee. A decision by the CTCDC may alter the ultimate design to improve safety.