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.
By Richard Risemberg
The LACBC’s new Civic Engagement Committee gathered recently in the Miracle Mile district to refine its focus and wrangle a tentative plan of action out of a milling multitude of hopes, wishes, and frustrations brought to the table by its diverse roster of attendees. (That’s a literal table—yes, there was beer & pizza involved!)
Present for the entire meeting were committee chair and LACBC board member Ted Rogers of BikinginLA, Better Bike Beverly Hills‘s Mark Elliot, yours truly from Bicycle Fixation, Santa Monica’s indefatigable Eric Weinstein, and a number of others. We also saw a visit, just before closing shop, from CD 13 candidate Josh Post, who is strongly supportive of urban cycling, and whose presence underscored one of the issues most discussed during the palaver.
Since the committee is a unit of the LACBC, and the LACBC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, it cannot actively support or endorse any particular candidate.
However, the makeup of our city and county administrations obviously has a significant effect on the implementation — or not — of bicycling-friendly infrastructure and policies in the region, and it’s difficult to be engaged in civics without becoming engaged in the political campaigns that are the most blatant and influential components of civic engagement.
A great part of our discussion centered on what the committee can and can’t do, and – of the actions permissible to it – which would be the most effective, not in promoting this or that individual running for office, but in revealing to our own constituency — the cyclists of Los Angeles County — who they might hope would be most responsive to their needs.
It was immediately obvious that we needed to be involved in the upcoming races for District Attorney, Mayor, and various City Council seats first off. At the same time, we need to keep in mind that there are 87 other cities in the county, all of whom have administrations whose actions can support or suppress cycling. We also agreed that it was important to educate the area’s business community on the benefits of encouraging cycling as transportation as an effective and efficient means of bringing customers to retailers (without putting heavy burdens on municipal treasuries), in order to gain their support for bicycling initiatives.
Getting down to the nitty-gritty, we decided for the moment that our most important tasks would be as follows:
- Prepare a questionnaire to present to each candidate for any public office in the county, requesting them to detail what they would do, if elected, to make practical cycling more feasible for their constituents. (In this we realized that ignoring or refusing to respond to the questionnaire would count as a response, and be published along with active responses.) Members would be empowered to represent the committee in their own communities.
- Develop a database of reports, studies, etc showing the multifarious benefits of supporting and promoting urban cycling, to make available to candidates and the business community.
- Gather up a list of candidates for upcoming elections region-wide.
- Build a contact list of government officials, editors and producers in news media, and other influential figures to educate regarding our issues now and into the future.
- Work with other organizations to host a series of debates, candidate forums, rides and other events that will allow cyclists to meet the candidates for elected office, and make a more informed choice at the ballot box.
We also decided to post a report on committee doings on the LACBC blog, of which this document is the first.
As you can see, there’s a lot of work to do to keep LA bike friendly, and frankly we could use your help! So, come to our next Civics Engagement Committee meeting and toss in your ideas, maybe volunteer to do a bit of research, writing, phoning, or whatnot, and meet a few of LA’s diligent bike bloggers in real life!
We’ll be at Pitfire Pizza downtown at 2nd & Main at 6:45PM on Tuesday, July 31st. Participation is open to anyone, whether or not you’re a LACBC member. So come on by and help make a difference in the future of local bicycling.
Tags: Bike Parking, get involved, local chapter, neighborhood bike ambassador program, potholes
More people would ride bikes if they felt welcome on the road, but bikes might be better accommodated if there were more of them. Here some ways to help get bikes rolling on your streets.
What helps make a community bike-friendly
- Good roads that are safe for bikes and cars to share.
- Educated drivers who respect bicycles as part of traffic
- Educated cyclists who know how to ride smartly in the city
- Well-planned neighborhoods that offer interconnected bike and mass-transit routes
- Bike paths that offer a safe place for beginners or casual riders
Ways you can make it happen:
1. Start with yourself. Serve by example! Use your bike for commuting, errands, and recreation. Let others know, through your words and actions, that bicycling is a viable alternative to driving a car. Educate yourself on bike laws and the techniques of safe cycling.
2. Advocate in the workplace. Encourage your co-workers to join a “bike pool” and ride to work with you. Ask your employer to support biking to work by providing indoor bike parking, and installing showers and lockers.
3. Use local resources. Report dangerous road conditions–like potholes–to your city’s Department of Public Works. Ask your local Department of Transportation to install bike racks where you live and work. Stay informed on local planning and policy issues that might affect cyclists. Attend city and neighborhood council meetings to discuss your concerns.
Local meetings. These meetings occur monthly and are usually open for public comment. You can find locations and agendas on these websites:
City Council Meetings and City Council Committees Meetings: lacity.org
City of LA Bicycle Advisory Committee Meetings: labac.tumblr.com
Metro Board Meetings: metro.net/about/board/agenda
4. Politically inclined? Consider getting involved with your local Neighborhood Council. LACBC will also be launching a Neighborhood Bike Ambassador Program in the City of Los Angeles later this year to engage people concerned with bicycling issues with their Neighborhood Councils. Email Alexis Lantz, Planning and Policy Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. If you live outside of the City of Los Angeles, considering joining one of LACBC’s 10 local chapters or starting one of your own!
5. Keep up with state and national legislation. Larger legislative bodies can affect bicycle issues in your community. Pay attention to bills that determine bike laws, transportation policy and project funding. Keep up with the California Bicycle Coalition and League of American Bicyclists. Write your elected officials and tell them you support legislation that encourages bicycling.
6. Support a bicycle advocacy organization. Groups such as the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition advocate for your rights and safety. They serve as a liaison between individual cyclists and the agencies that determine bike policy and planning. And now, with 10 local chapters in LA County, our voice is becoming stronger than ever. If you are interested in becoming a LACBC member, you can learn more here!
The 4th Street Bicycle Blvd. will be another step closer to reality as two mini-roundabouts are projected for installation on 4th Street by the summer of 2012. One will be located at 4th Street and Norton, the other will be at 4th Street and New Hampshire. Recent meetings with the Windsor Square Homeowner’s Association and the Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council resulted in support for the mini-roundabouts. LACBC is reaching out to the community through additional local organizations in an effort to further build support for the roundabouts and 4th Street as a whole. We’ve had a roundabout at 4th and New Hampshire in mind for a long time and LADOT chose the two locations because they are the intersections of “Bicycle Friendly Streets” in the LA Bike Plan. Each mini-roundabout will benefit two “Bicycle Friendly Streets” since 4th, Norton, and New Hampshire are all designated BFSs.
Mini-roundabouts will improve the safety of everyone passing through the two intersections. They will slow motor vehicle traffic, reduce the potential for collisions, and will enable people on bicycles to maintain forward momentum since the roundabouts will be 4-way yield instead of 4-way stop. You can read more about mini-roundabouts thanks to a recent blog post by Richard Risemberg here, and there’s additional information on the FHWA website here.
The 4th Street Bicycle Blvd. campaign calls for multiple improvements on 4th Street and the roundabouts are two steps in the right direction. We’re working to build additional support for the roundabouts to help ensure implementation and that the roundabouts include attractive, appropriate landscaping.
There’s plenty more to do on 4th Street to make it a neighborhood greenway that will benefit people on bicycles, people who walk, and people who live in the area. If you’d like to get involved, please contact Colin Bogart at email@example.com.
Tags: LA County Bike Plan, LA County DPW, LA County Planning Commission
Less than a month ago the LA County Department of Public Works released the ‘final’ draft of the LA County Bike Plan, which focuses on the unincorporated communities in LA County. This coming Wednesday, November 16th the LA County Bike Plan will head to the Planning Commission – while this plan does provide 816 miles of new bikeways for the many unincorporated communities in LA County, the majority are bike routes (458). We feel the plan still needs a number of improvements, including more miles of bike lanes and bike boulevards (also referred to as bicycle friendly streets) before any action should be taken on it.
This is the first update to the County’s existing bike plan in over 30 years and should provide a real vision and commitment to greatly increasing the safety of our unincorporated communities’ roadways and encourage more folks to bicycle to school, work, transit, their daily needs, or for fun over the next 20 to 30 years. If realized, the implementation of the plan should link residential neighborhoods, schools, business districts, transit hubs and the unincorporated communities to neighboring incorporated community and would have a significant impact on the region’s air quality, public health and safety of the county. However, the latest draft does not go far enough to create this network. We recommend the following:
Investment in Safer Infrastructure
The Plan should provide more bike boulevards and bike lanes and further enhance many of the proposed bike routes. The success of the County’s plan in increasing bike modal share will largely depend on its ability to make County residents who do not cycle now comfortable riding a bike on city streets, especially women, children and the elderly. Unfortunately the current draft fails to make use of the types of infrastructure that experience in other cities has shown are needed to convince these segments of the population that cycling is a safe and viable transportation option. While we appreciate that the County does not want to implement treatments that are still be piloted by other jurisdictions, we feel there is still more that could be done that is well within what is currently stipulated by the state.
For example, about 270 of the 816 miles proposed in the plan involve paving shoulders or widening roadways to install a Class III Bike Route, a road treatment that does little to encourage cycling among these groups, particularly on streets with average road speeds above 30mph. This does not make sense. If the County is prepared to incur the expense of intensive road construction, it should at least convert these miles to buffered bike lanes. The added cost of paint is negligible in comparison to the cost of road widening, but the facility’s quality and perceived safety would be dramatically improved. We especially recommend treatments like this in the Antelope Valley where travel speeds on local roads are posted at 50mph and people regularly travel faster than what is posted.
Additionally, the County Department of Public Health recently released the “Model Design Manual for Living Streets” and is in the process of adopting a “Healthy Design Ordinance” elements of both of these intiatives should be reflected in the County Bike Plan. Specifically the Plan should adopt the lane width standards set out by the Model Design Manual for Living Streets. Instead of uniformly applying Caltrans Highway Design Manual standards across a County so diverse in density, urban form, and local need, the County Manual provides more flexible standards which better reflect local uses. On streets with design speeds below 35 mph, 10’ lanes are standard, with widths up to 11’ considered if heavy bus or truck traffic is present. On streets with higher design speeds, the Manual is silent, permitting DPW to continue to utilize Caltrans highway design standards where prudent. Recognizing that drivers adjust to narrower lanes by reducing their speed, the County Manual emphasizes that “desired speed” should guide lane width determinations. In addition to desired traffic speed, we strongly request that the County give due consideration to bicycle traffic volumes and history of collisions involving bicycles. Finally, to the extent the County will seek of guidance from the Caltrans Highways Design Manual, it should document exceptions to 11’ and 12’ lane standards as provided for in Chapter 21 of the Caltrans Project Development Procedures Manual.
Equitable and Rational Prioritization of Projects
In order to make best use of limited resources over time, projects should be prioritized in a manner that develops infrastructure in communities with the greatest need from a public health, safety, and transportation justice standpoint. The current project prioritization grading scale should be amended so that it scores safety (based on local collision data) higher, awards points to projects serving low-income, transit-dependent communities as was done in the recently adopted City of LA Bike Plan; and grants preference to projects in communities with the highest obesity rates. By awarding more points in these areas, the County can ensure that the roll-out of its plan over the next few decades will positively impact the unincorporated communities in greatest need of safer streets for cycling first.
Clear, Ambitious and Easily Measurable Goals
Clear and measurable goals need to be set so that the public and policymakers have a clear track of the success of the plan. Therefore there needs to be a mode share goal beyond the first five years of the plan and it should be an ambitious one. We suggest a 10% bicycle mode share by 2032 for all trips, as well as an intermediate goal such as a 5% mode share by 2022.
We are encouraging everyone to write to the Regional Planning Commission by Monday November 14th so that all letters are in by the Wednesday November 16th. A template letter can be found here, we encourage you to personalize it and add your own thoughts, especially if there are roadways you feel would make ideal bicycle boulevards. We also encourage people to attend the public hearing Wednesday, November 16th and speak out for a better LA County Bike Plan.
LA County Planning Commission
Where: Hall of Records - Room 150
320 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
When: Wednesday, Nov 16th – 9am