Are You Bike-Friendly? Los Angeles Sheriff Candidate James Hellmold Responds

May 1, 2014 at 5:30 pm | Posted in Bike News | Leave a comment
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June 3rd, 2014 is the primary election for three critical offices for bicyclists in Los Angeles County. All voters in Los Angeles County can vote for Los Angeles County Sheriff, while voters in the first and third supervisorial districts can vote for County Supervisor. LACBC invited all candidates to share their perspectives on bicycling and transportation with our members and supporters. While LACBC does not endorse candidates, we encourage you to consider these responses before casting your vote on June 3rd.

Find out more about the election and how to register to vote here: https://www.lavote.net/

All candidate responses are available here: http://la-bike.org/vote

Patch_of_the_Los_Angeles_County_Sheriff's_Department1. As the chief law enforcement officer in the county, the sheriff is an important authority for traffic safety education. What would you do as sheriff to better educate both motorists and bicyclists about the rights and rules governing bicycling?

When I was commanding officer of one of the largest patrol stations in the nation in Lynwood and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles, I expanded the Sheriff’s Bicycle Education And Repair (BEAR) Program.  This program offered educational classes for youth about bicycle safety and awareness, and respect for the equipment.  At the end of the program, underprivileged youth were awarded their bicycle and a certificate for safety.  As Sheriff, I would expand this outstanding program countywide, as well as educational programs for drivers to be more respectful and aware of bicyclists and their rights to the road.

2. Motor vehicle operators have long enjoyed the option to attend traffic school in lieu of paying a fine. Do you support establishing a similar traffic diversion program for bicycle violations to provide bicyclists with an opportunity to learn the rules of the road and increase their safety?

YES

3. Our members have reported too frequent encounters with sheriff deputies that are unaware of bicyclists’ proper lane position or other traffic laws as they apply to bicyclists, resulting in general distrust of the sheriff’s department in the bicycling community. The LAPD has improved relations and resolved conflicts with the bicycling community by assigning officers to a bicycle liaison program, as well as establishing a Bicycle Task Force made up of senior officers and representatives from bicycling organizations. Do you believe there is a need to improve relations with the bicycling community, and if so, how would you suggest doing it?

YES, We have many bicycle enthusiasts and athletes who are also deputy sheriffs.  I would encourage a respected athlete and bicyclist to serve as a liaison to become more aware of issues to educate Sheriff’s personnel on how to better serve and protect all residents.

4. One of the most common complaints of bike riders is that law enforcement officers sometimes lack a clear understanding of bicycle law, and that enforcement can vary widely from one jurisdiction to another. What, if anything, would you do to ensure every sheriff’s deputy has a good working knowledge of the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists, and that the law is enforced uniformly throughout the county?

Educational and awareness programs with knowledgeable liaison with bicyclists would serve to ensure attentiveness to the rights of bicyclists.

5. It was recently revealed that nearly half of all collisions in the City of Los Angeles result in one of the parties fleeing the scene. What steps would you take to improve data collection on traffic crimes and reduce the rate of hit-and-run within your jurisdictions?

A public safety awareness campaign, and expansion of video surveillance in areas where bicyclists frequent would be an effective method of deterrence and enforcement where appropriate.

6. Bicycles do not respond the same way as motor vehicles do in traffic collisions, and usually leave little forensic evidence at crash scenes; in addition, bicycling victims are often unable to talk to investigators following a serious collision. Do you believe the LASD can improve investigation procedures for traffic collisions involving bike riders, and if so, how?

The very fact that I am not immediately aware of specific technical procedures for traffic collisions involving bike riders, aside from standard operating procedures, validates the notion that more technical skills should be taught to front line law enforcement.  This demonstrates the need for an awareness campaign, as well as a skilled bicyclist acting as a liaison to be involved in advancing these causes within  law enforcement.

7. Is there anything else you would like to say to Los Angeles County’s millions of bicyclists?

I value and respect athletes and bicyclists who possess a passion for experiencing outdoors.  Quite frankly, I had not previously given vast consideration to bicycle rights, however, this process has enlightened me to the need to expand law enforcement knowledge and respect for safety and access for bicyclists.  I commit to continuing growth in knowledge and experience for myself, and the Sheriff’s Department in this area….Respectfully Assistant Sheriff James Hellmold. Vote James Hellmold for Sheriff June 3.

Los Angeles County Gearing Up to Apply for State Walking & Biking Funds

April 17, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Posted in Bike News | 1 Comment
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One percent of transportation funding in Los Angeles County goes to walking and bicycling, despite the environmental, health and mobility benefits active transportation offers.

One percent of transportation funding in Los Angeles County goes to walking and bicycling, despite the environmental, health and mobility benefits active transportation offers.

Cities across Los Angeles County and throughout the state of California are rushing to meet a May 21st deadline to apply for funding for their favorite walking, biking and safe routes to school projects. Over the past year, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership (National Partnership), California Bicycle Coalition and other state partners worked to secure a new source of funding for walking and biking in California. As a result of their efforts, in March, the California Transportation Commission announced the availability of $360 million in state and federal funds for walking and biking. This new state Active Transportation Program (ATP) could yield up to $100 million for walking, biking and safe routes to school projects in Los Angeles County this year, if we are able to win our share of the $360 million available statewide. LACBC and the National Partnership’s SoCal team have been working feverishly to prepare Los Angeles County’s local jurisdictions for this competition.

Cities in Los Angeles County have traditionally not competed well in statewide grant programs for a variety of reasons. Our fragmented governance means that we don’t always select the best projects to apply, and an historical lack of bicycle, pedestrian and safe routes to school planning has made it difficult to identify projects that are high priorities, ready to go and enjoy community support. While other regions typically have well-developed project lists, Los Angeles County jurisdictions keep getting caught flat-footed at every funding opportunity. With a few shining exceptions (Glendale, Santa Monica and Culver City come to mind), cities in Los Angeles County lack either the financial resources or staff capacity to put together good applications and secure local matching funds, particularly for safe routes to school projects. Robust planning processes like the City of Los Angeles’ ongoing Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan are critical to fix this chronic shortcoming in project readiness. Yet, LADOT has only two staff people working on safe routes to school and Mayor Eric Garcetti’s budget released this week does not grant LADOT’s request to staff up their pedestrian and bicycle group. (Then-Councilmember Garcetti deserves credit for creating the two pedestrian coordinator positions in the first place.)

LACBC and the National Partnership are overcoming these barriers by coordinating among our agency partners in the Los Angeles County Active Transportation Collaborative, providing direct assistance to applicants and supporting regional competitiveness by improving Metro’s approach to the ATP. To assist cities with applications to ATP, the National Partnership and LACBC partnered with LA n Sync to provide grant-writing and technical assistance for up to five applications from Los Angeles County. We can’t wait to announce which innovative projects from around the county LA n Sync will be supporting.

However, as previously reported here and on Streetsblog, our county transportation agency, Metro, has struggled to respond to the changing funding landscape and chart a path forward that balances its commitment to previous projects awarded funding through its Call for Projects program with a desire to encourage new projects more in line with new state priorities, including safe routes to school. In February, the Metro board followed LACBC and the National Partnership’s recommendation by instructing staff to reevaluate and potentially rescope old projects to improve consistency with state criteria, including project readiness and benefits to disadvantaged communities, and only submit those projects that are competitive in the new program. Unfortunately, this month Metro staff recommended moving old projects to the front of the line by arbitrarily giving them a 10-point advantage in the new competition, putting new projects and safe routes to school projects at a competitive disadvantage. Yesterday, LACBC and the National Partnership were successful in convincing Metro board committees to overturn this misguided policy, restoring a level playing field so that the best projects from Los Angeles County can get funded.

The excitement generated by LA n Sync and the challenges presented by Metro’s approach highlight the need for a coordinated regional finance strategy for walking and biking in Los Angeles County. Despite Los Angeles County residents making 19% of their trips on foot or by bike and 34% of students walking or biking to school, Metro continues to allocate only 1% of county transportation funding to walking and biking combined in the draft Short Range Transportation Plan released earlier this month. While the state ATP provides an exciting opportunity to invest in active transportation, Los Angeles County’s lack of readiness for it belies a need for our county’s transportation agency to take more of a leadership role in developing project lists and ensuring funding readiness for projects throughout the region. This ATP process, and our county’s response to it, has clearly demonstrated the need for LACBC and the National Partnership to continue our work to encourage better regional coordination and greater investments in active transportation here in Los Angeles County.

Are You Bike-Friendly? Questions for County Sheriff Candidates

April 5, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Posted in Bike News | 1 Comment
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Patch_of_the_Los_Angeles_County_Sheriff's_DepartmentOver the past several years, Los Angeles County has made great strides toward making bicycling a safe and convenient way to travel, connecting diverse communities to make our county more livable, economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable. Elevating us to the next level will require all County agencies working together to make our communities better places to ride a bike. It is our hope that the next sheriff will partner with us to expand education, better target enforcement and improve data collection and reporting to track our county’s progress.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition invites all sheriff candidates to appeal directly to an engaged, thoughtful group of voters–our county’s bicyclists–by responding to the following questionnaire. Our growing list of local chapters spans all five supervisorial districts.

We will post responses to these questions here on our blog and in our weekly newsletter to thousands of voters across the county and region beginning on May 1st and thereafter as additional responses come in.  Please email responses to eric@la-bike.org.

Note: The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and cannot endorse candidates or engage in electioneering on behalf of a candidate. We are offering this questionnaire as a service to candidates to communicate with potential voters for informational purposes only.  All candidates have an equal opportunity to respond and responses will be distributed without bias in the order in which they are received.  If you have any questions, please call our office at (213) 629-2142 x127.

1. As the chief law enforcement officer in the county, the sheriff is an important authority for traffic safety education. What would you do as sheriff to better educate both motorists and bicyclists about the rights and rules governing bicycling?

2. Motor vehicle operators have long enjoyed the option to attend traffic school in lieu of paying a fine. Do you support establishing a similar traffic diversion program for bicycle violations to provide bicyclists with an opportunity to learn the rules of the road and increase their safety?

3. Our members have reported too frequent encounters with sheriff deputies that are unaware of bicyclists’ proper lane position or other traffic laws as they apply to bicyclists, resulting in general distrust of the sheriff’s department in the bicycling community. The LAPD has improved relations and resolved conflicts with the bicycling community by assigning officers to a bicycle liaison program, as well as establishing a Bicycle Task Force made up of senior officers and representatives from bicycling organizations. Do you believe there is a need to improve relations with the bicycling community, and if so, how would you suggest doing it?

4. One of the most common complaints of bike riders is that law enforcement officers sometimes lack a clear understanding of bicycle law, and that enforcement can vary widely from one jurisdiction to another. What, if anything, would you do to ensure every sheriff’s deputy has a good working knowledge of the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists, and that the law is enforced uniformly throughout the county?

5. It was recently revealed that nearly half of all collisions in the City of Los Angeles result in one of the parties fleeing the scene. What steps would you take to improve data collection on traffic crimes and reduce the rate of hit-and-run within your jurisdictions?

6. Bicycles do not respond the same way as motor vehicles do in traffic collisions, and usually leave little forensic evidence at crash scenes; in addition, bicycling victims are often unable to talk to investigators following a serious collision. Do you believe the LASD can improve investigation procedures for traffic collisions involving bike riders, and if so, how?

7. Is there anything else you would like to say to Los Angeles County’s millions of bicyclists?

Are You Bike-Friendly? Questions for County Supervisor Candidates

April 4, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Bike News | 3 Comments
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Long Beach Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal talk to County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky & County Dept. of Public Works leadership

Long Beach Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal talk to County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky & County Dept. of Public Works leadership

Over the past several years, Los Angeles County has made great strides toward making bicycling a safe and convenient way to travel, connecting diverse communities to make our county more livable, economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable. Critical to this progress has been supportive leadership from our County supervisors, who also serve on the Metro board of directors.

It is our hope that our new supervisors will continue this progress and elevate us to the next level. The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition invites all supervisor candidates to appeal directly to an engaged, thoughtful group of voters–our county’s bicyclists–by responding to the following questionnaire. Our growing list of local chapters spans all five supervisorial districts.

We will post responses to these questions here on our blog and in our weekly newsletter to thousands of voters across the county and region beginning on May 1st and thereafter as additional responses come in.  Please email responses to eric@la-bike.org.

Note: The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and cannot endorse candidates or engage in electioneering on behalf of a candidate. We are offering this questionnaire as a service to candidates to communicate with potential voters for informational purposes only.  All candidates have an equal opportunity to respond and responses will be distributed without bias in the order in which they are received.  If you have any questions, please call our office at (213) 629-2142 x127.

1. Please share a memory involving a bicycle that has had a lasting effect on you (whether or not you were the one on the bicycle).

2. County supervisors have great power to improve the safety, health and livability of Los Angeles County through both their role on the Metro board shaping countywide transportation policy and investment decisions and through oversight of County departments, including Public Works, Public Health and Parks & Recreation. In 2012, the County of Los Angeles adopted a Bicycle Master Plan proposing 831 miles of new bikeways due to be completed by 2032. What would you do to ensure that implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan projects continues during your term? How many miles of new bicycle facilities will you commit to implementing each year in your district?

3. County Public Works design standards currently favor high speed traffic by requiring minimum lane widths larger than other transportation agencies. This has created an unnecessary barrier to implementing bicycle projects in urban unincorporated areas, resulting in shared “class III” bike routes on major streets where dedicated “class II” bike lanes would be more appropriate. Do you support adopting the Model Design Manual for Living Streets produced by the County Department of Public Health but not yet adopted by Public Works?

4. Studies have shown that protected bikeways (i.e. those that are separated from moving vehicles by a curb or parked cars) can reduce injuries by as much as 90%, while reducing collisions and improving safety for all road users. The County Bicycle Master Plan calls for the implementation of such facilities, but none have been planned on County streets to date. Would you support the implementation of protected bikeways, and can you suggest any areas in your district where such facilities should be built?

5. Metro is making unprecedented investments in transit expansion across Los Angeles County and spends millions of dollars on building parking structures along its new rail lines. Despite the fact that 91% of Metro customers do not use cars to access transit, Metro does not build walking and bicycling facilities to connect neighborhoods and job centers to the new transit lines. Metro’s draft First & Last Mile Strategic Plan could address these access issues, but is currently unfunded. Do you support allocating at least 3% of transit capital budgets to first & last mile improvements for each new line?

6. In Los Angeles County, 34% of students walk or bike to school, while motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for school-age youth. Many more parents don’t feel safe allowing their children to walk or bike to school, resulting in heavy vehicular traffic at school hours and dangerous levels of congestion in front of schools. Metro is currently drafting a countywide Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan, but without an implementation strategy or dedicated funding. Do you support dedicated funding for a countywide Safe Routes to School program that would improve safety for children and parents, and encourage more biking and walking to the over 2,000 public schools in Los Angeles County?

7. In Los Angeles County, 19% of all trips are made on foot or by bike and 39% percent of those killed on our county’s streets are people walking and biking, yet Metro only allocates 1% of its funding to these modes of transportation. The three sales tax measures that generate a majority of Metro’s revenue (Proposition A, Proposition C and Measure R) dedicate 0% for walking and biking. Do you support dedicating at least 12% of any future sales tax measures for walking and biking?

8. The County of Los Angeles is one of the region’s largest employers, generating significant traffic congestion and pollution around County facilities. Will you provide annual transit passes to all County employees and provide secure bicycle parking for both employees and visitors at County buildings?

9. Is there anything else you would like to say to Los Angeles County’s millions of bicyclists?

Progress on My Figueroa: Institutions Drop Opposition to Protected Bikeways on Figueroa

March 26, 2014 at 5:00 am | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 4 Comments
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Rendering of the proposed My Figueroa complete streets project.

Rendering of the proposed My Figueroa complete streets project.

A groundswell of support for the My Figueroa complete streets project was on display at the Los Angeles City Council PLUM Committee yesterday. All four neighborhood councils that touch the project have voted to support the project and urged the City to begin construction as soon as possible. Thanks to those who attended, wrote in and tweeted their support for moving ahead with the project as designed, a major obstacle has been cleared: the Figueroa/Flower couplet “alternative” is dead. Representatives from USC, the Shammas Auto Group and others voiced their intent to work with city staff to resolve all remaining issues and move the project forward on Figueroa.

How did we get here?

When Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled his Great Streets Initiative last October, it was in front of a rendering of the My Figueroa project. Earlier this year, he voiced his support at an event at Occidental College and two of his deputy mayors reiterated his position at an Urban Land Institute event. So when the project ran into trouble in the past few months, his staff started working diligently behind the scenes to keep this project moving. Those efforts bore fruit last Friday when his staff worked with Councilmember Curren Price’s office to host a meeting with stakeholders representing all sides and gain consensus on a path forward.

Alexander Science Center School students Taj and Sadiq speak in favor of a protected bikeway in the My Figueroa complete streets project.

What happened at PLUM?

At yesterday’s hearing, project supporters showed up in force. Well over 60 people packed the room representing all of Los Angeles’s diversity: elementary students from Alexander Science Center School to grad students from across the street at USC, South LA families to downtown loft-dwelling millennials. So many people filled out speaker cards that committee member Mitch Englander polled the audience to allow people to raise their hands in support of the project and save their 60-seconds of public comment to keep the meeting moving. Commenters cited the project’s economic, health, safety and environmental benefits and urged the committee to move forward without delay.

The committee voted to receive and file the staff report and gave the following direction to staff:

  1. Report back on the project’s expected impact on traffic delays using more realistic assumptions than the conservative projections in the environmental impact report.
  2. Develop an education and marketing campaign to promote the project and businesses along the Figueroa corridor.
  3. Convene technical working groups to address remaining access and driveway concerns, including concerns about film permit restrictions during rush hour.
  4. Convene a technical committee to evaluate traffic plans for special events.
  5. Convene a technical committee to advise the before and after project evaluation.

What is next for My Figueroa?

The committee instructed staff to report back in three weeks on the progress they’ve made in resolving the remaining stakeholder concerns. We expect the project to come back to PLUM on Tuesday, April 15th at 2:30 PM.

Still to be addressed is the pending CEQA appeal by the Shammas Auto Group. If they are genuine in their recent position that the project should move forward, we expect this appeal to be withdrawn in the next three weeks. If not, it will likely be on the agenda at the PLUM meeting on April 15th so that the committee can dispense with it.

We are optimistic that My Figueroa is close to approval and anticipate that Shammas, the museums and other stakeholders along the corridor will continue to work with city staff on their remaining concerns. With this project, Los Angeles will join cities across the country in building protected bikeways that give community members of all ages and abilities the ability to ride in safety and comfort.

Special thanks to our partners TRUST South LA, Community Health Councils, Los Angeles Walks, the USC Bicycle Coalition and the many, many individuals that generated incredible grassroots support for this project. Neighborhood Bike Ambassadors Michael MacDonald and Bruce Chan went the extra mile to engage with neighborhood councils in the project area, while Melanie Freeland and others enlisted support of major employers along the Figueroa corridor. The success of My Figueroa continues to be a team effort by all who envision a new mobility paradigm in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles County Must Compete for Share of State Active Transportation Program Funds

February 26, 2014 at 9:22 am | Posted in Bike News | 3 Comments
One percent of transportation funding in Los Angeles County goes to walking and bicycling, despite the environmental, health and mobility benefits active transportation offers.

One percent of transportation funding in Los Angeles County goes to walking and bicycling, despite the environmental, health and mobility benefits active transportation offers.

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.

City of Los Angeles Announces 180-mile Network of Family-Friendly Bikeways

February 13, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 5 Comments

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.

Spring 2014 Workshops for City of LA Mobility and Health Elements

Spring 2014 Workshops for City of LA Mobility and Health Elements

NORTH VALLEY

Saturday, March 15th • 9am – noon

Granada Hills Recreation Center

16730 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills, CA 91344

 

CENTRAL

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

 

EAST

Saturday, March 29th • 9am – noon

Boyle Heights City Hall

2130 E. First St., Los Angeles, CA 90033

 

WEST

Wednesday, April 2nd • 6pm – 9pm

Westwood United Methodist Church

10497 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90024

 

SOUTH VALLEY

Saturday, April 5th • 9am – noon

Marvin Braude Constituent Service Center

6262 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys, CA 91401

 

HARBOR

Saturday, April 12th • 10am – 1pm

Peck Park Community Center

560 N. Western Ave., San Pedro, CA 90732

Two Steps Forward and One Step Back for Protected Bikeways in LA

January 28, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 3 Comments
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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.Fig_and_11th_3-25-13

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:

Special thanks to our partners T.R.U.S.T. South L.A., Community Health Councils, Los Angeles Walks and the USC Bicycle Coalition.

 

Next Generation Bikeways: Bicycling for All Ages in Los Angeles

October 31, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 8 Comments
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Please sign our petition to Mayor Garcetti to Bring Cycletracks to LA!

Fig_and_11th_3-25-13

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!

Bringing Bikeshare to Los Angeles County

October 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Posted in Bike News | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , ,
Bikeshare has been popular in several cities around the world including Chicago, where both residents and visitors use Divvy Bikes.

Bikeshare has been popular in several cities around the world including Chicago, where both residents and visitors began using Divvy Bikes this year.

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.

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