LACBC 2010 Accomplishments

December 22, 2010 at 10:02 am | Posted in Bike News | Leave a comment
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2010 has been a very good year for LACBC and the bicycling community. We have continued to increase our staff, grown our email list, increased our membership numbers by 10% and have also enjoyed multiple campaign successes. Our regional reach has expanded to include cities such as Culver City, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, South Bay, and Long Beach, and we continue to become more active with low-income immigrant communities. New bicycle advocacy chapters, such as South Bay Bicycle Coalition and Culver City Bicycle Coalition, were created in partnership with LACBC while already existing groups like Santa Monica Spoke and UCLA Bicycle Coalition have only grown stronger.Through grants and fees for service, we’ve had a an increase in Bike Valet gigs and a win of 2 major grants from the County Department of Health (a third in which we’re a partner on) and the David Bohnett Foundation.

Some of our 2010 Campaign accomplishments include the striping of the 1st Sharrows in Los Angeles. After 6 years of relentless delays, LACBC was able to celebrate the striping of Sharrows on 6 streets throughout the City of Los Angeles. Sharrows have also been added to the LA City Bike Plan as an additional bikeway marking to be implemented on Class III Bike Routes.

Throughout the year, LACBC has met with key City Councilmembers, Mayoral staff, LADOT, the City Planning Department and other advocates to address cyclists’ concerns, build political support, and gain commitments for a stronger L.A. City Bike Plan. We continued our efforts started in 2009 with the Better Bike Plan Campaign to reach out beyond the cyclist community to gain backing from public health organizations, environmental groups, chamber of commerce, community organizations, and neighborhood councils. After two years of work, the City of Los Angeles’ Department of City Planning released the final draft of the 2010 LA Bike Plan in December and through the collaborative efforts of LACBC, Bikeside, Joe Linton and City Planning we have been able to gain the approval from the Planning Commission on a Plan that we can all support.

Measure R 10% for Bike/Ped After nearly two years of petitioning the Metro Board, Mayor Villaraigosa and City Council, LACBC helped secure a full 10% of Measure R Local Return funds for bicycle and pedestrian projects for the 2011 fiscal year. On April 28th, 2010, the final votes were cast and cheers rang out through the chamber as bicyclists and pedestrians emerged victorious with an 11-3 yes vote. This is a groundbreaking change for LADOT and an exciting opportunity for our city to shift towards more sustainable, healthy and safe transportation by providing a continuous source of revenue to do so.

The Give Me 3 Poster Campaign, part of a larger Bicycle Safety and Awareness Campaign was the 1st official on-street awareness poster campaign in Los Angeles. It was conducted in collaboration with Midnight Ridazz, and the The City of LA. This poster campaign also launched the Mayor’s 3-foot Passing Law initiative at the legislative level.

LACBC has been working on the 4th Street Bike Boulevard campaign for over a year, continuing the work that members of the bike community have been doing for years. We’ve gained support from several neighborhood councils and business improvement districts, local individuals, and L.A. Councilmember Tom LaBonge of CD4. 4th Street is also currently at the top of LADOT’s priorities for building “bicycle-friendly streets,” a new term developed in the draft update to the City of L.A.’s Bike Master Plan and has already received Sharrows on the entire length of 4th Street, bringing it that much closer to becoming the 1st Bicycle Boulevard in Los Angeles.

The Anti-Harassment Ordinance was approved by City Council to draft an ordinance providing for attorney’s fees and a $1000 award or damages, whichever is higher. LACBC, with the help of other local bicycle advocates provided recommendations and helped to push this forward in Transportation committee

City of Lights, our unique program that outreaches to Latino cyclists, held its first Annual Awards Dinner. We raised money to support our Spanish language safety education and repair classes and our BiciDigna program, a bike repair co-op space at a day laborer center that started in January 2010. Recently, the day laborers who attended mechanic classes were honored at a certification ceremony. Our 1.5 year long battle to get more bike parking in Pico-Union also yielded fruit: 43 new racks hit the ground in Fall 2010.

CicLAvia was incubated through the LACBC and inspired by the famous street closures in Bogotá, Colombia. Various LACBC volunteers, staff and other environmental organizations came together for the purpose of promoting and planning livable, car-free streets. LACBC helped to foster this concept and together, with the entire bicycling community, were able to enjoy the 1st of what we hope to be many more CicLAvias in Los Angeles.

LACBC celebrated its 10th Annual River Ride this year. It proved to have the highest attendance to date. We had over 2000 riders participate in our Tenth Anniversary Ride offering five distance/route options, the longest of which spanned the length of Griffith Park near Glendale to Seal Beach.

LACBC coordinated 3 Ed Magos Justice Rides which were instrumental in creating the media attention needed to bring the issue of hit-and-runs to the attention of LAPD Chief Beck, LA City Counil and the City Attorney’s Office. The Ed Magos case will serve as an example of how future hit-an-runs should be treated with fair and just process.

The Bike Wrangler program was created this summer and is supported by a grant from the L.A. County Department of Health. The Bike Wrangle program is an initiative created by the County Cycling Collaborative (CCC) which includes LACBC, the Bicycle Kitchen, the Bikerowave, the Bike Oven, the Valley Bikery and C.I.C.L.E. The Bike Wrangler works to recover abandoned bicycles and redistribute them to underserved communities. The LACBC will work with C.I.C.L.E. to distribute recovered bicycles at its community riding workshops which will be funded under the same grant. A warehouse / workshop space is currently being established at 1205 West 6th Street (@ Lucas Ave.).

LACBC Streetside Outreach Pitstops just started this Fall with the goal of reaching out directly to bicycle commuters and recreational riders alike. We provided sustenance (Bicycle Bread, cookies and brownies) and basic bike services (air, chain lube) and in return, we got enthusiastic sign ups for the e-newsletter and members. In a couple of hours on a good street intersection, we’ve managed to create a stir with the food and get over 50 email addresses for LACBC.

LACBC created the 1st Spanish Bicycle Resource Guides and completed the update of the new English Resource Guide. Over 600 Spanish Guides have been distributed and English Guides are available at Skylight books and soon to be available at REI stores.

In the past year, the Glendale Safe & Healthy Streets initiative has been a part of numerous successes. A city-wide bicyclist and pedestrian count was conducted, Sharrows were painted on five streets in Glendale (with more to come), the city and the LACBC stepped up Bike Month in May and received an official Bike Month Proclamation from the Mayor. The Riverdale/Maple Neighborhood Greenway has been improved by installing curb extensions and planting nearly 100 new trees along the entire corridor and bike racks were installed outside Glendale City Hall – the result of our advocacy and site recommendations. Additionally, we led site visits to Long Beach and Berkeley that were attended by Glendale City Staff, Commissioners, and elected officials. In September we introduced the Public Draft of the Safe & Healthy Streets Plan, a set of policy recommendations aimed at supporting and encouraging walking and biking in Glendale for years to come. This is the primary goal of our Glendale project and we’re working towards adoption of the Plan in 2011.

The South Bay Regional Bicycle Master Plan was funded by Los Angeles County Department of Health’s RENEW grant Initiative in 2010 to facilitate more cycling and bike infrastructure in seven different cities within the South Bay region. LACBC has been brought on to coordinate the efforts between the 7 cities and with Alta Planning.

LACBC would like to thank everyone – members, volunteers, city staff and political leaders for all the support in helping to move LA towards a more bike-able future.

4th Street Bicycle Boulevard Update

October 29, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Posted in Bike News | 1 Comment
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photo credit: Chris Kidd

Time for some updates on the 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard campaign!

This past Wednesday, LACBC, Carolyn Ramsay from Councilmember Tom LaBonge’s office, Heidi Sickler from the Mayor’s office, and LADOT staff including Michelle Mowery and engineer Tim Fremaux  rode 4th Street from Hoover to Wilton to begin measuring and discussing what kind of treatments are possible on 4th Street. Building off of the work the 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard committee has done, we identified multiple intersections where roundabouts could be installed, stop signs should be removed, and where diverters would be ideal.

Within the next few weeks, loop detectors along 4th Street will be recalibrated to recognize when a cyclist arrives at an intersection. There are loop detectors at all of the signalized intersections on 4th Street, however they currently only trigger the light to change when a car arrives, forcing cyclists to either wait for a car or to get off their bikes and push the pedestrian crossing button. Plans are also in the works to install markings on the street where the loop detectors are. The on-street marking, called Bicycle Signal Actuation signs, mark where cyclists should position themselves to activate the loop detectors.

Once the sharrows pilot study is wrapped up LADOT plans on installing sharrows along the rest of 4th Street. Currently the sharrows run for one mile from Virgil to Western. When the rest of the sharrows are installed, the bicycle signal actuation signs will also be installed, in early to mid-spring.

Finally, we’d like to get more folks involved with the 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard Campaign! We’d especially love to have folks who live along 4th Street come out and get involved. We’ll be having our next meeting this coming Thursday, Nov. 4th at 7pm at Halal Tandoori Restaurant (401 S. Vermont Ave) on the corner of 4th and Vermont.  If you can’t make it, feel free to contact us by phone, email or leave a comment on our blog!

4th Street Walk and Ride Showcases Support for Campaign to Build LA’s First Bike Boulevard

July 26, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Posted in Bike News, LACBC Events | 5 Comments
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This last Saturday morning, the 4th Street Bike Boulevard campaign held a walk and ride event to show off some ideas for making 4th Street Los Angeles’ first true bicycle boulevard. The event also took the opportunity to show people the natural bike route that 4th Street already is and drummed up excitement for moving forward on the campaign.

The 4th Street Ride crosses one of the many intersections that could use improved signalization for bicycles.

While 4th Street Bike Boulevard will continue to be a shared street, walk leader Joe Linton and ride leader Rick Risemberg both explained the different treatments proposed to make 4th Street a safer, healthier, and greener street.  Building on the recent implementation of sharrows on 4th Street, ideas like traffic diverters with passages for bicycles, traffic circles with trees and native plants, and bulb outs to make street crossings safer we’re all on the menu for the bike boulevard idea.

The ride and walk arrived at Shatto Recreation Center where Councilmember Tom LaBonge came out to express his continued support for the idea. LaBonge proclaimed that he wants to go from end to end on 4th Street, identifying specific improvements to move closer to creating a true bike boulevard. LACBC is  excited to continue working with the Councilmember and we appreciate his leadership on this project.

Councilmember Tom LaBonge speaks with local community members and LACBC staff; photo: Mike Russell

Continue Reading 4th Street Walk and Ride Showcases Support for Campaign to Build LA’s First Bike Boulevard…

Walk and Ride for a Safer 4th Street

July 12, 2010 at 11:48 am | Posted in Get Involved, LACBC Events | 13 Comments
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With the paint on the Sharrows markings almost a month old, it’s time to keep moving towards making 4th Street a true Bicycle Boulevard. So come walk, come bike, and come explore the plans to make a Safer and Greener 4th Street!

4th Street is an exciting new concept in the works -… a pleasant and safe street for bicyclists and walkers that residents, businesses, and visitors can enjoy and be proud of. This is the first for Los Angeles!

Want to see the future site of the Bicycle Boulevard? Want to learn more about what exactly a Bicycle Boulevard is or why it’s good for both Los Angeles and the neighborhood? Want to just go on a walk or ride your bike? Come walk or ride with us!

When: Saturday, July 24th.

The Bike Ride: Meet at 9:45am – depart at 10am from Pan Pacific Park, in front of the auditorium. The ride ends at Shatto Park.

The Walk: Meet at 10:15am – depart at 10:30am from 4th and Normandie. The walk ends at Shatto Park.

Press Event: Highlighting the efforts and support for making 4th Street a bicycle boulevard. Refreshments for all attendees courtesy of Larchmont Bungalow. 11am-1pm at Shatto Park, 3191 W. 4th Street, Los Angeles, 90020.

 

An Open Letter To LADOT – The Importance of Being Safe

June 24, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Posted in Bike News | 8 Comments
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LACBC sent this letter to Rita Robinson, LADOT’s General Manager, to continue to stress that LADOT needs to implement correct placement of a bicycle facility, in this case sharrows, to ensure the safety of cyclists.

Rita Robinson
LA Department of Transportation, General Manager
100 S. Main Street, 10th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Dear General Manager Rita Robinson,

We would first off like to thank you for installing LA’s first ever sharrows on our city streets. I know this has been a long process and we are encouraged that LADOT has been making some progress on improving our streets for cyclists.

In an effort to continue moving forward, I’d like to take this opportunity to look at what revisions can be made on the sharrow study and sharrow placement to ensure the safety of cyclists. As this is a study, this offers LADOT, street by street, the perfect opportunity to examine what is working and what is not working to encourage best practices for future sharrows placement on our streets.

On examining the sharrows already placed on Fountain and on 4th street, it is apparent that some issues need to be addressed:

  • When placing the sharrow, each street layout needs to be considered carefully in order that the sharrows are consistent with the goals of ensuring safe and proper lane placement for the cyclist and to avoid the door zone.
    • The width of each travel lane, variation of street width, number of lanes, the presence of double yellow center lines or dashed center lines, and whether or not there is any center line striping at all are important elements that must be examined when considering proper sharrows placement.
  • Sharrows need to be placed in such a way that cyclists can maintain a reasonably straight line of travel, otherwise cyclists are being encouraged to weave in the lane, creating hazardous conditions both for the cyclist and the motorist.
  • According to CA MUTCD code, sharrows must be painted immediately after every intersection. This has not been done on Fountain. Instead, many of the sharrows are placed after red curb zones have ended, often far from the intersection.
  • Sharrow placement needs to take into consideration right/left turn lanes and position a cyclist in the through lane at all times.
  • If a lane is too narrow for both a motorist and cyclist to safely share the lane, sharrows must be placed in such a way that the cyclist is in the safest place possible – the center of the lane.

We would also like to see LADOT make the process, criteria and calculations used to come up with the placement on the current study corridors public. Transparency is essential in creating trust between the city agencies and the cycling community.

We hope that we can continue to work collaboratively on making sure that cyclists’ safety concerns are recognized and accounted for in the planning and engineering of bicycle facilities. This is a first step in the right direction and I am anticipating that we will be seeing much improvement from the initial placement of sharrows on Fountain and 4th Street.

Thank you,

Aurisha Smolarski
Campaign and Communications Director
Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition

Sharrows on 4th Street, LaBonge Bike Ride, and 4th Street Campaign meeting!

June 21, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 3 Comments
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Sharrows on 4th Street, LaBonge Bike Ride, and 4th Street Campaign meeting!

Just last week, on June 16th, 4th Street from Vermont to Wilton was installed with sharrows – a very exciting and important first step towards achieving our goal of making 4th Street a Bicycle Boulevard.

This Wednesday June 23rd, Councilmember Tom LaBonge is hosting a bike ride on 4th Street, as part of his annual Summer Bike Ride series. Be one of the first to check out the freshly painted sharrows!

Our goal, however, is more than just sharrows. We want 4th Street to be a Bicycle Boulevard – that means traffic circles and mini-parks, traffic diverters, bicycle and pedestrian specific signaling, and much more.

Not only will bicyclists benefit, but pedestrians, families, pets, exercisers, as well as any other users of 4th Street will benefit from the positive enhancements that a true Bicycle Boulevard brings about.

We will be present on the bike ride on Wednesday, and if you want to get involved with the 4th Street campaign, join us on Thursday at 7 at Makkah Halal Tandoori Restaurant (401 S. Vermont Ave) as we continue to move forward in making 4th Street a true Bicycle Boulevard!

If nothing else, keep your eyes peeled for more upcoming events. The LACBC campaign team is planning a big press event to further galvanize community members and the press to help make 4th Street a true Bicycle Boulevard.

Another Look At Sharrows – And More to Come!

June 17, 2010 at 8:44 am | Posted in Bike News | 8 Comments
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photo by Joe Linton via laecovillage blog

Sharrows have been spotted on Fountain Ave. and now on 4th Street and we are expecting more to come! This is an exciting time for LA and we would like to thank you, our members and cycling community for helping make this happen. You wrote letters, you came to meetings and you supported us through this process. After 5 years of dodging delays we are very happy to see them on on our streets.

We would like to acknowledge the different reactions to the new Los Angeles sharrows. Cyclists who have ridden the sharrows on Fountain Ave. have expressed extreme excitement and feelings of empowerment while others offer criticism on best placement for the sharrow in the lane. What is important to keep in mind is that this is already an improvement on the current conditions, where there are no sharrows at all. LACBC is glad to see that we are moving forward on getting more bicycle facilities on our streets. Based on results from the San Francisco sharrows study, sharrows have a positive impact on motorist and cyclist behavior, positions and safety and encourage more ridership.

We understand the community’s concerns about proper placement of sharrows and we agree that in addition to getting sharrows on our streets the goal is to ensure that best practices are achieved. After contacting multiple bicycle advocacy organizations from different cities that have painted sharrows, LACBC has found that many place their sharrows at 11 or 12 feet and have reported positive reactions from local cyclists. We have also found that some cities paint them in the center of the lane or at 13 to 14 feet from the curb depending on lane width with very positive reactions from the community as well. Most of these cities reported following the guidelines as recommended from the San Francisco study and CAMUTCD code which states that the sharrow marking should be placed at a minimum of 11 ft, but optionally, the distance from the curb may be increased.  

Moving forward, LACBC recommends that LADOT carefully consider alternate placement locations for sharrows depending on the lane width, traffic volume, size of parking lane, and other important factors that determine where they should be placed in order that sharrows are used effectively and appropriately when installed in the future. We also request that LADOT make it clear what the goals of the study are and maintain as much transparency as possible in order to build more trust within the community.

Continue Reading Another Look At Sharrows – And More to Come!…

AIA LA Chapter Shows Support for 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard

April 6, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Posted in Bike News | 1 Comment
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The Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently sent us a letter of support for the 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard that we have been pushing so hard for! The AIA “is the voice of the architecture profession, dedicated to serving and empowering its members through advocacy, educational and outreach programs as well as educating the public on the value and importance of architecture.” The AIA’s endorsement of the project is a great step forward and very encouraging!

We appreciate the support of the AIA and believe that it is reflective of the benefits not only to Los Angeles cyclists, but to the community as a whole.  As the AIA letter reinforces, the implementation of a 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard will strengthen communities by encouraging use by cyclists and pedestrians, improving traffic flow on parallel thoroughfares, and enhancing the environment so that people desire to be out on the street.  See our previous blog post (1, 2) for more details about the project.

Having outlined the numerous benefits conferred by the implementation of the 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard, as well as the continuing support from organizations such as the AIA, it is important that we continue to take positive steps to see real change. The process of transforming the streetscape is a community effort! If you want to become more involved with this exciting campaign, please contact Dorothy@la-bike.org for more information.  You can also join the e-mail list here.

4th Street Style: An LA take on bicycle boulevards

February 17, 2010 at 8:13 am | Posted in Bike News | 1 Comment
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Hassle-free. Relaxing. Enjoyable. These are not terms that you generally associate with bicycling in Los Angeles. Soon, however, Los Angeles bicyclists, pedestrians and all users of the road could see this idealistic vision materialize in the form of a series of “bicycle boulevards”! For several years LA’s cycling communities have been advocating that low-traffic streets such as 4th Street from Hoover St. to Cochran St. be turned into these bicycle boulevards.

The benefits would be manifold.

The atmosphere created by bicycle boulevards is one that is inviting to bicyclists, pedestrians, and all users of the road alike. Neighbors can once again enjoy their streets together, no longer threatened by speeding automobiles—with some through car traffic diverted, the drivers that do use the streets are your neighbors, traveling at neighborly speeds. Residents can reclaim a landscape that has in the last few decades been almost entirely usurped by the car: in most western US cities pavement has covered up to 70% of the urban landscape. With bicycle boulevards there are opportunities to have more trees, permeable pavement, traffic circles, mini-parks and other amenities.  One of the best examples of positive implementation of a network of boulevards is in Portland, OR. Berkeley, CA also has an extensive network of bicycle boulevards.

For cyclists, creating a bicycle boulevard would be simply improving upon an already utilized bicycle route.  These boulevards are created on low traffic streets where bicycle and pedestrian traffic can be prioritized.  Most, like 4th Street, run parallel to major thoroughfares and pass though both residential neighborhoods and commercial districts. Furthermore, they link neighborhoods and create a strong sense of place.

Businesses also can rejoice at the coming of bicycle boulevards. Contrary to many business owners’ perceptions, studies have shown that 70% of customers in Toronto and San Francisco arrive by means other than a car.  Infrastructure that encourages more cycling will improve business for most stores near a bicycle boulevard. One important reason for this is bicycles are very space efficient, parking 12 in a space that accommodates a single car; and of course cyclists can window-shop as they travel and park quickly at whim, unlike drivers.

So what’s next? A network of bicycle boulevards has been proposed in the Los Angeles Bicycle Plan Update. Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) and Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange (CICLE) have been conducting outreach and advocacy to support the implementation of boulevards. The team would like to float a proposal to Councilmember Tom LaBonge by early April.  So far, both the Wilshire Center BID and the Rampart Village Neighborhood Council have shown support for the 4th Street campaign. GOOD magazine has also profiled the campaign.

If you want to become more involved with this exciting campaign, please contact Dorothy@la-bike.org for more information.  You can also join the e-mail list here.

Wilshire Center BID approves letter of support for 4th Street Bicycle Blvd.

February 4, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Bike News | 3 Comments
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At the Board of Directors meeting for the Wilshire Center BID (Business Improvement District), today at 12noon, the BID approved a Letter of Support for 4th Street Bicycle Blvd!  This is a great step because it shows that the local business community is supportive of the concept.  We know that details will need to be worked out when the Bicycle Blvd. gets planned and implemented, but we are very excited about the support.

At the meeting, there were also many bicycle and green related presentations that are show how the BID is committed to becoming a “Cool District,” which is their effort at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from commercial and residential buildings, transportation, streets, and infrastructure in the district.  It’s an amazing vision for a business district and we want to share their Carbon Master Plan, which shows their vision for 2030.  The Carbon Master Plan includes permeable pavement in parking spaces, rooftop gardens, one-way residential streets (allowing more space for trees, greenery, and bikeways), and many other innovative features.  It’s a hopeful vision which we hope turns into reality.

In addition to the Carbon Master Plan, there was a presentation by Sci-Arc Professor Ilaria Mazzoleni about a student project studying the concept of bike-sharing in the Wilshire Center BID.  The team has put a lot of work into thinking about this concept for Wilshire Center and it has a lot of potential.  In fact they are collaborating with Metro on a site for Wilshire/Vermont Metro stop.

These are all positive steps forward to making a 4th Street Bike Blvd., a more bike-able Los Angeles and a more sustainable world overall.

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