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: 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:
Tags: profile, volunteers
Meet Andy Au, one of our most dedicated volunteers here at LACBC. He has been with us since hearing about the LA River Ride back in 2010. This upcoming LA River Ride will be his 4th time participating in this event, and he will once again be bringing two awesome children, Amber and Eric, along to ride and volunteer to help control the crowds.
Andy has always found riding a bicycle as a great way to get around. As a child, he used to ride around for fun but while in college at bike-friendly UC Davis, bike-riding became his main source of getting around to class and also to the grocery store. Easy add-ons such as a water bottle holder and a simple basket allow him to not only ride around but also run errands.
Andy sees bicycling growing in the next few years. He sees that the amount of people who ride will increase with upcoming bike-sharing programs coming and with more advocacy from communities here in Los Angeles. Andy helped in the process with the South Pasadena bicycle lanes and also shows up to LACBC events to show support and to also help out whenever he can. As people are biking more here in Los Angeles, one thing that makes him feel great is that he is able to give back and help with causes such as advocacy and safety.
Andy is also a driver but knows that we all should share lanes and recognize each other. For fun he enjoys taking his children out to bicycle, which has made the Au family become some sort of local “bicycle celebrity family.” In interviewing his children, we found out that he wears a bright vest with his children, which can be very embarrassing for them, but they acknowledge that it helps make them safe by being seen.
Amber and Eric brought up ideas on why bicycling is great: more control, getting around faster, and, of course, stronger legs! When asked why we should advocate for bicycle lanes and safety, they responded that it is important to be safe and also they want riders to feel comfortable. On a final note, they also said that we all should still pay attention and stay focused by not zoning out when riding.
You can find Andy, Amber, and Eric at several LACBC events including the 13th Annual Los Angeles River Ride on June 9th! Interested in volunteering with the the Aus and the hundreds of other volunteers that make River Ride possible? Sign up to volunteer by checking out the River Ride Volunteer page.
On September 22, 2011, Alan Deane was struck and killed by Sidrath Misra in Pasadena. Misra turned left in front of Deane at the intersection of Colorado Blvd. and Terrace Dr. as Deane was traveling east on Colorado. It was Alan’s 61st birthday that day and it’s believed he was on his way to a forum being hosted by radio station KPCC, where Alan was regular attendee and considered a member of KPCC’s extended family. Alan was a talented musician and a gregarious, inquisitive individual known and loved by many. He was a volunteer for the LACBC and helped with many of our projects including the Safe & Healthy Streets initiative in Glendale. Alan didn’t like driving and chose to travel by bicycle most of the time.
We’re told by Alan’s family that Misra is to be sentenced on November 13th for Alan’s death. The Deputy Prosecutor’s office initially filed a vehicular manslaughter charge, but has since arranged a plea bargain with Misra which is expected to include a lesser charge of Reckless Driving. The penalties are expected to be community service and some sort of fine. The hearing to be held on November 13th is to confirm or modify the sentence.
Alan’s family would prefer harsher penalties for Misra. We’d like to see harsher penalties as well. At the least, the revocation or suspension of Misra’s driver’s license should be a key feature of the sentence. Driving is a privilege, not a right and penalties for drivers who kill bicyclists in a case like Alan’s should include the revocation or suspension of the driving privilege. The hearing will be public. We encourage anyone who can to attend the sentencing hearing to show support for Alan’s family and to demonstrate with your presence that we care and want to see justice done. If you go, please bring your bicycle helmet into the courtroom so the judge, prosecutors, and Misra will know the bicycling community is present.
The sentencing hearing will be at the following location and time:
When: Tuesday, November 13; 1:30 PM
Where: Los Angeles Superior Court - 300 East Walnut, Dept. N, Pasadena
Judge Steven Monette presiding.
UPDATE: We are also organizing a short bike ride in support of Alan Deane’s family to the court house. Meet us at 12:30 PM at the southwest corner of Colorado Blvd. and Terrace Dr. in Pasadena, and this ride will travel one mile to the Los Angeles Superior Court at 300 East Walnut in Pasadena for the sentencing. See the Facebook Event for more details.
Inspired by the changing of the seasons and the end of Daylight Savings time, we are proud to announce the launch of “Operation Firefly,” a bicycle light distribution and safety education program in an effort to ensure Angelenos riding bicycles at night are seen by motorists and other users of the road.
LACBC’s “Team Firefly” volunteers will be handing out front and rear lights during night-time street distributions all over Los Angeles. Operation Firefly’s first street distribution will take place during the week following the November 4th time change. “Our goal is to seek out people riding without lights for various reasons, especially riders who may not have the means or time to acquire lights on their own,” said Education Director Colin Bogart. LACBC has invested in a few hundred light sets and intends to continue weekly street distributions until all the lights are gone.
Following the November 4th time change, more bicyclists will be riding the streets after the sun has gone down. Legally, bicyclists are required to use a front white light with side, rear, and pedal reflectors (CVC 21201). “Many bicyclists don’t know this and frequently ride at night without the required lights and reflectors,” said Jennifer Klausner, the nonprofit’s Executive Director. “This can lead to citations from police, but more importantly, riding at night without lights and reflectors is not safe.”
In addition to front and rear lights, LACBC will be distributing Operation Firefly spokecards in English and Spanish. The spokecards will provide a summary of the California Vehicle Code requirements while riding at night along with the following information:
- A front light helps prevent the most common collisions – those with oncoming or cross traffic.
- A rear red light is not required, but it is recommended.
- Be extra alert at night. Lights help, but they don’t guarantee that drivers will see you.
- Wear a reflective vest, clothing, or arm/leg bands.
- Affix reflective tape to your bike, helmet, or shoes.
- Use extra lights affixed to your wheels, bike frame, or helmet.
- Wear white or light colored clothing.
The spokecards will be distributed with the lights, to LACBC members, at events, through local bike shops, and through partner organizations.
Anyone can support Operation Firefly by making a tax-deductible donation or by purchasing a set of lights from LACBC for $20. “For every set we sell,” added Colin Bogart, “we can give away another set! If we receive enough donations or sell enough light sets, we can keep Operation Firefly going all winter, and possibly all next year.”
For more information or to make a donation/purchase lights, contact LACBC at 213 629-2142 or visit the Operation Firefly website page.
Bicycle projects in vicinity of NBC Universal to be funded through development agreement.
A week ago, we blogged about the NBC Universal Evolution Plan, a $1.6 billion investment in our region’s film and entertainment industry. LACBC, along with our allies in the River Family, was greatly concerned about the project’s failure to include the LA River Bike Path along its northern edge. LACBC was also concerned about the lack of on-street bicycle infrastructure in the project’s traffic mitigation program. We issued an action alert and you responded. Earlier today, the Planning Commission heard you loud and clear. The result is that NBC Universal will invest $3,875,000 to study, design, and construct bikeways in the vicinity of Universal City, including the following:
- $3,000,000 for LA River Bike Path construction to the County Flood Control District (who controls the right-of-way along the River). This money will become available when the County has designed and environmentally cleared the bike path project, but no earlier than June 2016. While we will pursue opportunities to accelerate this project, we are in this for the long haul.
- $500,000 for a LA River Bike Path study also to the County Flood Control District to do a feasibility analysis and preliminary design for the bike path from the existing endpoint in Griffith Park to the 101 Freeway.
- $375,000 to the City’s newly created Bicycle Plan Trust Fund for study, design, and implementation of on-street bicycle infrastructure on the Bicycle Backbone Network in the project vicinity. This money would be used for lanes on Cahuenga and Lankershim currently under review and to study lanes on Barham.
While the project is not perfect, we were heartened to hear the Planning Commission passionately discuss the need to integrate bicycles into our transportation system, even taking Planning Director Michael LoGrande to task for outdated CEQA standards that only address automobile Level of Service. Moreover, the Commission understood the importance of creating a bicycle network, not just a river path, and retained the funding for on-street infrastructure.
Our work is not done. We will carefully watch the details of this mitigation and community benefits package as the project moves forward to City Council. Additionally, while funding for the bicycle lane projects was included, these lanes are independent of the NBC Universal project and will require separate approval from City Council. That approval is far from assured and will require a big push from the bicycling community. If you are interested in making these bike lanes (and others) happen, please join your local Neighborhood Bike Ambassadors group.
A big thanks to the River Revitalization Corporation, Friends of the Los Angeles River, and six other nonprofits in the River Family that co-signed our letter and spoke at today’s hearing requesting more support for the LA River. We are all stronger with one voice.
Image: The NBC Universal-adjacent reach of the Los Angeles River is featured on the cover of the Revitalization Master Plan.
As the second largest city in the country, Los Angeles is home to major industries including goods movement, film, aerospace, and others, all participants a dynamic, global economy. We are fortunate in that these industries choose to continue investing in our city, bringing jobs and tax revenue to our local communities. Every so often, a major player announces a large project that promises to reshape the public realm for the next generation. Last week, the City of Los Angeles Planning Commission recommended approval for Farmers Field, a football stadium that will transform an already bustling entertainment complex at the southern edge of downtown LA. Next week, the Planning Commission will consider NBC Universal’s plans for the future development of Universal City. Both of these mega-projects will have far-reaching effects on nearby communities, for better or for worse. Considered together, these projects provide a study in contrasting approaches to planning for the future.
Set in the urban core, Farmers Field is planned to integrate itself into its surrounding neighborhood. The stadium is required by state legislation to be carbon neutral and has aggressive plans to reduce travel by private automobile by investing in and promoting alternatives. The separately planned My Figueroa project will introduce the City’s first separated cycletrack on Figueroa, delivering visitors to the event center’s 250 bicycle parking spaces. A future mobility hub will provide additional bicycle parking, as well as bikeshare, carshare, and transit info. The stadium project is required to invest $10 million to add an additional platform at the Pico Blue/Expo Line station to accommodate expected game day crowds. While some may quibble at project details (and we’re no exception), the project has demonstrated a clear willingness to encourage people to arrive by transit, by bike, and on foot.
Universal City is also strategically located on the Metro rail network, as well as at the terminus of existing bike lanes on Forest Lawn Drive and planned bicycle facilities along the LA River, Barham, Cahuenga, and Lankershim. The project applicant, however, has taken a decidedly different approach than Farmers Field, and chosen to meet their transportation demands by investing $100 million in cars, cars, and more cars. The applicant has resisted efforts to include the LA River Bike Path on the County right-of-way adjacent to the River, as prescribed by both City and County bicycle plans and river plans, due to alleged security concerns. The project also includes aggressive expansion of car infrastructure, including adding lanes, doubling turn lanes, and increasing parking—all in the name of reducing traffic impacts (by making it easier for more people to drive). Not to be found in the transportation plan is a single inch of new bike lanes on the City streets outside the project. Worse, the mitigation measures will make planned bike lanes in these corridors all but infeasible. (NBC actually hired consultants to do bike counts in the existing dangerous conditions to justify their claim that there is no demand for bicycle travel.) In a separate project, NBC is forcing Metro to construct a $19 million pedestrian bridge across Lankershim to get pedestrians out of the way of traffic flow. In an industry reliant on attracting creative talent, NBC’s next generation production facilities will not be accessible by the travel modes most desired by young professionals.
We could provide a long list of reasons why the NBC Universal plan went off-track, but ultimately it comes down to whether our corporate leaders share our vision of a more sustainable city wherein people can safely and conveniently travel under their own power, and whether our civic leaders are willing to enforce plans that are carefully crafted with years of public input. Large investments in the built environment are all too rare, which makes it all the more important to follow plans and policies that support strategic investments in public infrastructure when opportunities do arise.
We hope you’ll take action by writing to the City Planning Commission and/or attending the hearing on Thursday, September 27th (8:30 AM at Van Nuys City Hall Council Chamber, 2nd Floor, 14410 Sylvan Street, Van Nuys, CA 91401).
Dear Planning Commissioners:
I am greatly concerned about the lack of bicycle accommodations in the proposed NBC Universal Evolution Plan, including the LA River Bike Path. In this day and age, it is unfathomable to propose a project of this size without seriously considering multimodal solutions to transportation impacts. A stronger bicycle infrastructure component is necessary to provide a safe, convenient alternative to driving for NBC visitors and employees, while also providing regional connectivity for bicyclists in the Cahuenga Pass area.
I therefore request that the applicant be required to fund and/or implement the LA River Bike Path as a condition of the development agreement. I further request that planned on-street bicycle lanes on Lankershim, Cahuenga, and Barham be included in the proposed project’s traffic mitigation measures.
The proposed project will generate close to 30,000 daily trips in an already congested corridor with inadequately developed multimodal transportation infrastructure. The proposed project will invest $100 million in the region’s transportation system to mitigate this impact. It is vital that the City follow through on its plans to enable residents to bike, walk, and take transit to relieve our transportation system’s impacts on health and the environment. The constraints within the Cahuenga Pass area make adequate consideration for safe travel by all modes all the more important.
Thank you for your consideration.
123 River Road
Los Angeles, CA 90000
Tags: Expo Line
Update: On Tuesday, August 21st, the Expo Bicycle Advisory Committee reconvened to discuss some of the design issues identified below, including Pico/Gateway and Centinela. There is not yet consensus among Expo Authority staff that design changes need to occur. As LACBC works with Expo and other stakeholders, please continue to send in your letters to the Expo Board. We will provide further updates as developments occur.
For years LA cyclists have been providing enthusiastic support for the Expo Bikeway, looking forward to the day when we’ll have a high-quality, safe bikeway from Downtown LA to Santa Monica once Phase II of the Expo Line is completed. For years, we have been urging Expo and Metro to integrate the bikeway at the earliest stages to avoid conflicts with the light rail facilities. Unfortunately, this project is moving so fast now that numerous opportunities for better integrating the bikeway are at risk of being lost as highly compromised bikeway plans are being rushed to construction (see below). We need to get the attention of the Expo Board of Directors so that better solutions are found and implemented before it is too late!
Please email the Expo Directors
by Tuesday, August 21st, using this letter or your own words:
Dear Expo Directors,
For years cyclists have been looking forward to the Expo Bikeway giving us a safe, convenient bikeway from Downtown to Santa Monica. This facility will be a key feature of the system for bringing riders to the Expo train without creating car trips. And for years we have been providing input on this project, stressing the need to integrate the bikeway at the earliest stages so that it is not compromised by missed opportunities.
Now we are learning that current plans for the Expo Bikeway will create unacceptable conditions at several locations if steps are not taken immediately to find better solutions. Routing cyclists into the crowded plaza at Westwood will most certainly create conflicts with the high volume of pedestrians that are expected at this station. At Centinela, a conflict with traffic has been created when a new driveway to the train maintenance yard was added right where cyclists are planned to cross the road. And Pico-Gateway needs carefully designed improvements to get cyclists across this complex intersection without creating unworkable bottlenecks and tedious diversions.
I am extremely concerned that these unacceptable plans are being rushed to construction. We must not waste this opportunity to create a high-quality bicycle facility that will benefit generations of community members. Please direct your very capable staff and consultants to immediately work on finding better solutions before it is too late!
[Your Name Here]
And if you can make it (we know it’s early!) please come to the next Expo Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting and ask to speak on these issues.
When: Tuesday, August 21, 2012; 8:00AM – 9:30AM
Where: Skanska-Rados Joint Venture Field Office - 11390 W. Olympic Blvd., 3rd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Here is some background on urgent design issues for the Expo Bikeway:
Westwood station area
The current plan routes the bike path, including cyclists who wish to bypass the station, into the station plaza where large volumes of pedestrians will be converging from the train platform, bus stops, drop-offs, sidewalk, etc. Westwood is expected to be one of the busiest stations, likely necessitating that cyclists dismount when it’s crowded. A solution is needed that would allow cyclists to bypass the congested plaza area. If a good route is not implemented, many cyclists can be expected to try to bypass the plaza anyhow, incurring safety risks.
We saw this one coming years ago and have repeatedly alerted Expo to the problems that need to be addressed at this complex intersection. Unfortunately, Expo’s plans route cyclists onto sidewalks and across four crosswalks with attendant delays and a bare minimum of space where cyclists are expected to wait for a green light. Considering the volume of bikes that could use this path, this is a nightmare waiting to happen. Potential solutions would either close off some short streets and alleys or consolidate them into fewer crossing points. Another part of the solution for this area is to create a better link from these crossings to Sawtelle. Expo is planning to widen Pico in this area anyhow and LADOT has proposed widening the sidewalk to accommodate Expo Bikeway traffic. Expo doesn’t want to do any of this, saying they don’t have the money or time. Again, we’ve been alerting all parties of the issues here for years, so this seems to be an inappropriate response.
There is no station here and the train is elevated in this area but the bike path needs to cross from the south side of the LRT to the north because the train maintenance yard will be on the south side further to the west. This crossover was pretty straightforward until Expo added a driveway to the maintenance yard right where cyclists are expected to cross Centinela, creating safety conflicts between bikes and motor vehicles there. Had Expo gotten timely bikeway design input, they could have adjusted the placement of the bridge supports to provide enough off-road space to route the bikeway on the east side, avoiding the driveway altogether. But this didn’t happen and Expo recently started construction on the bridge supports. Various options appear to exist that could still improve the situation, but additional design and construction work will be needed. Expo is unwilling to pay for changes to improve the situation despite the fact that the problem was caused by their addition of the driveway late in the game.
Security cameras needed
In several places the bike path will be located between a continuous wall structure that supports the train and long stretches of commercial buildings. These segments will have poor visibility from surrounding areas, making them intimidating places to ride for some cyclists. Security cameras will be used on Expo platforms. We need similar cameras in these isolated bike path areas to be tied into the system.
In this post, LACBC planning intern and Walk Eagle Rock blogger Severin Martinez gives us a tour of bike infrastructure in his community of Northeast Los Angeles.
The City of Los Angeles has an ambitious Bicycle Plan which seeks to provide a 1,680 mile network of bicycle infrastructure by the year 2045. While 33 years is a long time to wait for a citywide network, the Northeast Los Angeles community will see a significant localized backbone network realized in the City’s 5-Year Implementation Strategy.
The Role of Advocacy
Almost all of the community’s major streets – Eagle Rock Boulevard, Colorado Boulevard, North Figueroa Street, York Boulevard, and Cypress Avenue – have been prioritized in the Bicycle Plan, undoubtedly thanks to the tireless effort of local advocates. Residents have led several campaigns for bicycle infrastructure over the past few years, including:
- The “Four Corners” Campaign kicked off by Northeast LA based non-profit C.I.C.L.E. in early 2010; this campaign sought the prioritization of bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard, North Figueroa Street, York Boulevard, and Eagle Rock Boulevard. Bike lanes on these streets would form a rectangular network of bike lanes, thus the name “Four Corners”. The campaign caught the attention of Council District 14 representative Josè Huizar, who has been a vocal supporter of the campaign, frequently mentioning “the four corners” when speaking about improvements needed for the community.
- The ” ‘New’ York Vision Plan” initiated by Council-member Huizar’s office in late 2010 was a response to local residents’ and businesses’ desires for improvements along York Boulevard. Seeking to implement short-term and long-term pedestrian improvements to York Boulevard, Huizar notes that the campaign, coupled with the Four Corners efforts, was instrumental in prioritizing a speedy implementation of bike lanes along York Boulevard between Eagle Rock Boulevard and Avenue 54.
- “Take Back The Boulevard”, or “TBTB” for short, has perhaps been the most publicized Northeast LA based campaign for local street improvements that includes efforts for better bicycling conditions. The campaign came to life in 2011 as the culmination of a longstanding desire of local residents and community groups to calm traffic along Eagle Rock’s main commercial street. The initiative has shown such great promise that it has been called one of the most exciting community streetscape proposals in the city by Bill Roschen, President of the Planning Commission for the City of Los Angeles. With the adoption of the City’s Bicycle Plan in 2010 community members were able to push council representative Huizar’s office to request the street be included in the City’s first environmental impact review package of the 5-Years portion of the Bicycle Plan to study the conversion of a conventional traffic lane into a dedicated bike lane.
- Conceived in the latter half of 2011 and spearheaded by local bike advocates, “Figueroa for All” is the newest Northeast LA campaign for re-envisioning a local commercial street and improving safety conditions. Figueroa for All, much like neighboring campaign Take Back The Boulevard, is advantageously pushing for bike lanes included in and funded through the City’s Bike Plan as a means to help make immediate improvements to calm traffic and safety along North Figueroa Street. The initiative has even sparked the potential for providing buffered bike lanes on North Figueroa. As the initiative develops, involved community members will continue to strive for conditions along Figueroa so that the street is safe and pleasant for all.
- In mid 2012, the most recent push for bicycle improvements came from students at Nightingale Middle School in Cypress Park. Students wrote letters to their local Council representative Ed Reyes, explaining why portions of Cypress Avenue and Avenue 28, streets adjacent to Nightingale, need bike lanes. According to the LA Department of Transportation, Reyes’ office requested the bike lanes be prioritized and the streets will see bike lanes sometime during the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
All these initiatives illustrate that community effort does make a difference. The role of local advocacy cannot be overstated. After environmental review and approval by Council, Northeast LA could soon have bike lanes on most major corridors. The area’s grassroots advocacy around specific campaigns is a model for other communities to follow. If you are interested in helping make your community’s streets safer, and bike-friendly, consider becoming a Neighborhood Bike Ambassador to help grow the kind of support for cycling seen in Northeast LA.
Unlike other parts of the City, Northeast LA does not have a grid system that allows one to bypass it’s major streets due to geographical conditions, as noted by urban planner James Rojas. Instead, all utilitarian travel – by bike or other modes – must occur on major boulevards. Making Northeast LA bike-friendly requires re-prioritizing street space on the boulevards, which the bike lane projects propose to do. With the development of the area’s backbone bicycle network on these major streets, it will be particularly interesting to observe (and easier to document) the expected increased rates of bicycling. While portions of Eagle Rock Boulevard, Cypress Avenue, and Avenue 50 already had bike lanes prior to the recent community level advocacy, after the 5-Year Implementation Strategy the area will have the beginning of a real, connected network of bike facilities. LACBC’s recent 2011 bicycle traffic counts are encouraging, which showed a significant increase in bicycling rates on York Boulevard between Eagle Rock Boulevard and Avenue 54 after the installation of bike lanes. Once the bones of a Northeast LA bicycle network are in place, we hope to see a continued boom in the number of bicyclists on the streets. And if those bike facilities are buffered bike lanes, or – even better – cycle tracks, then we expect to see more women, children, and elderly people bicycling around the community.
Update: LADOT confirmed yesterday that the York Boulevard bike lanes will be
completed extended from Eagle Rock Boulevard to North Figueroa Street after utility work is completed this month.