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

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

Rendering of the proposed My Figueroa complete streets project.

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

How did we get here?

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

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

What happened at PLUM?

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

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

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

What is next for My Figueroa?

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

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

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

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

Next Generation Bikeways: Bicycling for All Ages in Los Angeles

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

Fig_and_11th_3-25-13

Since adopting its 2010 Bicycle Plan, Los Angeles has made tremendous progress implementing bikeways across the city.   The new 167 miles of bike lanes bring the total bike lane network to 338 miles.  This breathtaking installation pace of up to 100 miles per year reflects the dedication of LADOT staff, often working overtime and weekends to design and stripe new facilities.  New segments of the LA River Bike Path, LA’s first bicycle-friendly street on Yucca, and many miles of sharrows add to the City’s burgeoning bike network.  This progress has yielded a comparable growth in ridership taking advantage of these new facilities.

Now that the low-hanging fruit of bike plan implementation has been picked, it is time to turn our attention to the next generation of bikeways in Los Angeles.  Just as we need to connect the fragments of our bike network, we also need to connect the dots among many complementary policies and programs at different agencies.  In 2014, we call upon the City of Los Angeles to:

  • Adopt an “8 to 80” design standard for the Mobility Element’s Bicycle-Enhanced Network (BEN) and 2010 Bicycle Plan’s Neighborhood Network,
  • Appoint a new LADOT General Manager who is committed to innovative street design,
  • Accelerate implementation of cycletracks by incorporating the BEN into the Mayor’s Great Streets Initiative,
  • Install LA’s first cycletracks on Figueroa in 2014,
  • Apply for round 2 of the Green Lane Project to receive technical assistance from the nation’s leading bikeway design experts,
  • Ensure adequate staffing of the bikeways and pedestrian groups at LADOT to satisfy pent-up demand for these improvements across the city, and
  • Work with Metro to increase investments in next generation bikeways and pedestrian infrastructure across Los Angeles County, concentrated around transit stations and schools.

These steps will expand the reach of LA’s bicycle network both geographically and demographically to attract the kind of ridership growth we’ve seen in other cities around the country that have made similar investments.  We must invest and innovate to reach LA’s bicycling potential.

Don’t forget to sign our petition to Mayor Garcetti to Bring Cycletracks to LA!

Bike and Ped Advocates Work for Change at Winning Campaigns LA Training

October 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved, LACBC Events | 5 Comments
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This past weekend, 28 bike and pedestrian advocates gathered at LACBC headquarters for the Alliance for Biking & Walking‘s Winning Campaigns Training. Each year, the Alliance holds three to four trainings across the country, and this year the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition was lucky enough to host one of them!

Twenty-eight bike and ped advocates gathered at LACBC headquarters this weekend for a Winning Campaigns training with the Alliance for Biking and Walking. Photo: Alliance for Walking and Biking

Led by Brighid O’Keane of the Alliance and LACBC co-founder Ron Milam, now of Ron Milam Consulting, this three-day training gave us the tools we need to propel our bike and pedestrian campaigns to victory! We covered everything from defining our problems to setting campaign goals to assessing and managing our resources. The training also included a biking tour of Los Angeles where we rode along the 7th Street Bike Lanes, biked along the new sharrows on New Hampshire and 4th Street, checked out the Bicycle Kitchen and the Bicycle District, and came back via the Sunset Blvd. bike lanes. Our walking tour included visiting the Occupy LA folks camped out at LA City Hall and stocking up on Dia de Los Muertos goodies at Olvera Street.

Training participants strategize. Photo: Tess Lotta

While a few LACBC staffers had participated in other previous Winning Campaigns trainings before (Fun Fact: Our Sharrows and 7th Street Bike Lane campaigns both got started at different Winning Campaigns trainings!), what made this training particularly special was the presence and enthusiasm of our local chapters. While the LACBC staffers mapped out two campaigns to build off of ThinkBike’s momentum of bringing protected bike lanes to Spring St. and Main St. in downtown LA and Jefferson Ave. near USC, our local chapters came up with other campaigns in their communities. Future campaigns include a regional bike plan from the West San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Coalition; the Michigan Ave. Greenway from Santa Monica Spoke; Olympic Blvd. bike lanes from the Montebello Bicycle Coalition; an anti-harassment ordinance for the city of Lancaster from the High Desert Cyclists/Antelope Valley Bicycle Coalition; bike lanes and a road configuration from the newly formed West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition; and road enhancements (including bike lanes) along Verudgo Rd. from a group of bike and pedestrian advocates from Glendale.

Carol, Colin, Marissa, Alexis, and Andy of LACBC present our two campaigns to everyone. Photo: Tess Lotta

Other campaigns around the region include campaigning for a “safe routes to transit” program from Los Angeles Walks; a walk local, shop local from Walk Beverly Hills; and a bicycle education program for teenagers, especially girls, from Chicks on Bikes Radio. We additionally had participants come from Ontario Wheelhouse from Ontario, CA; Idaho Pedestrian and Bicycle Alliance from Boise, Idaho; Bicitekas from Mexico City; and the California Bicycle Coalition, our state-wide organization representing us in Sacramento.

Thank you to Brighid and Ron for leading and inspiring us toward our future victories. Thank you to the Alliance for organizing this great training, as well as always providing resources for bike and ped groups across North America. Thanks to the Winning Campaigns training sponsors: Planet Bike, Bicycling and Walking Vacations, Bikes Belong, SRAM, Alta Planning & Design, Team Estrogen, Sun Revolutions for the Planet, Hawley, AARP, Specialized, Breezer, and CLIF Bar. Thanks also to Kaiser Permanente, for providing scholarships for many of our participants to attend for free. Thanks to all the participants for making this possible!

With 88 cities and jurisdictions across this vast County, it is very encouraging to see local leaders taking the initiative to make our communities safer and more vibratn. To carry out these campaigns, LACBC and these local chapters will need your involvement and support. When you sign up for LACBC membership, you can support your local chapter by signing up for membership with them as well. Half of your membership dues go back to your local chapter. Learn more about our local chapters here and how to start your own chapter here. Together, we’re truly working to build a better, more bike-able LA County!

See more photos from the Winning Campaigns Training on the LACBC Facebook Page!

Get Involved With LACBC’s Newest Campaign: Good Roads LA!

March 24, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Posted in Get Involved | 6 Comments
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How many times do you need to swerve to avoid dangerous potholes on your ride to work?  Do you dodge rough asphalt on your way to the grocery store?  Now, thanks to LACBC’s Good Roads LA Campaign, you can demand safe streets for all users!

Hazardous rode conditions plague people who bicycle every day, making rides unpleasant and endangering our safety.  This is our opportunity to demand, smoother, safer streets. Together we can help prioritize pothole repair for people who bicycle.

The purpose of the Good Roads LA Campaign is to record dangerous potholes and road conditions and report them to the Bureau of Street Services (BSS) for rapid repair.  And we need your help to make this campaign a success!

We need volunteers to help organize and lead rides to catalog hazards on the road and help submit them to BSS.  We also want your input on what streets should be at the top of the list for upcoming rides. Feel free to leave street suggestions in the comments section below.

If you can’t join us on a ride, you can still help by calling (800-996-CITY) in the potholes you encounter on your daily rides or going online to request  a repair:  http://bss.lacity.org/request.htm

LACBC needs your help to get the Good Roads Campaign rolling! Get involved with the Good Roads Campaign today and sign-up to volunteer – email joni@la-bike.org!

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…

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.

Bicycle Awareness Ad Slogan Contest – Submit Your Slogan!

April 21, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 5 Comments
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LACBC, in partnership with Midnight Ridazz and Geoff McFetridge, is launching a Bicycle Awareness Ad Campaign. And we’re kicking off the campaign with a slogan contest! Enter into the contest and submit your safety slogan by May 5th!

We’ve been working with the City of Los Angeles and LAPD to produce a bicycle awareness and safety ad campaign. Ads will be placed in bus shelters and Public Amenity Kiosks (PAK) throughout the city. The goal is to help make drivers more aware of bicyclists in order to create safer streets for all.

The winning slogan will be transformed into a design by Geoff McFetridge, an internationally acclaimed graphic designer and visual artist who is also an LA cyclist, and a prize from Orange 20 Bikes will be given to the wining entry.

Remember, May 5th is the deadline, so don’t miss out.   Los Angeles will soon have bicycle awareness ads throughout the city—and your idea can help make it all happen!

Northeast LA Kicks Off the Four Corners Campaign and a Fight for Bike Corrals

February 12, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 9 Comments
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Last Tuesday, on what had to be one of the coldest nights of the year, a group of residents, small business owners, families, students, and bicyclists from Northeast LA (NELA) came together at Cafe De Leche in Highland Park with CICLE‘s NELA campaign to make the northeast a better place to live and bike.

A campaign begins in Northeast LA

Origins

Since November of last year, CICLE has been working hard to organize bicyclists in Northeast LA, and last Tuesday saw this year’s first manifestation of that project. Organized with help from Ramon Martinez of the LACBC, the meeting was the culmination of months of conversation, years of sporadic political stirrings and do-it-yourself spurts, all mixed in with that special something identifiable in Northeast LA for as long as anyone can remember.

The northeast is a special little section of the City of Los Angeles, more or less bordered by the 134 freeway to the north, the 110 on the east, the 5 freeway to the south, and the 2 freeway on the west. What was once a place crossed by intercity trolley lines and noted for its natural beauty is now an area defined by freeways and eight lane boulevards. Nonetheless, the northeast still retains enough geographic cohesiveness and neighborhood diversity to make it one of the most promising areas for LA’s growing bicycle and livable streets movement.

In 1955, Eagle Rock was the end of the line for the Los Angeles Railway’s longest route, the 5 Line (via 90042 blog).

Movement

After brief introductions amongst a diverse group—gathered not just for an issue but also because of geography—and the requisite catharsis seen at every gathering associated with bicycles, the group quickly got down to business. Ideas were thrown around and cases were made. A list was jotted and a straw poll was taken. One short term goal and another of longer terms floated to the top, and finally the decision was made:

  • In the short run, the NELA campaign will be pursuing a Bike Corral Pilot Project in front of Cafe de Leche on York Blvd, just east of Ave 50. Matt Schodorf, who owns and runs Cafe de Leche, has been a big supporter of bicycles and last helped LACBC by donating coffee for our Car-Free Friday holiday morning ride. But Matt went above and beyond last September when he pushed his Councilmember, CD 14’s Jose Huizar, to make a City Council motion for a Bike Corral Pilot Project. Inspired by Stumptown Coffee in Portland, OR and their world famous bike corral, Matt’s vision has now convinced the northeast group to push for the Bike Corral Motion. The first step is to get the motion heard by the Transportation Committee, then to a full City Council vote where we’ll push hard to get it passed and finally implemented by the LADOT.

 

The world famous bike corral

  • In the long term, the group has decided to pursue the “four corners of the northeast,” the four large streets that form a square in the heart of NELA—York Blvd, Eagle Rock, Colorado, and Figueroa St. While ideas are still many and hopes still big, the goal here is to create more bikeable streets through the implementation of things like bright and physically separated bike lanes, bike boulevards, sharrows, and an interconnected network of inter-neighborhood, Pan-NELA bike facilities.

Progress

Last night’s meeting was amazing and the turnout incredible, and we plan to continue working with as many members of the community to make this effort as inclusive and all encompassing as possible. So what can you do to help?

Join CICLE’s NELA Campaign Facebook page or Google Group to stay up on the latest. We plan to hold another sit down meeting in the next month, and in the coming weeks we’re set on hitting the streets to scope out where and how we envision transforming NELA into a biker’s paradise.

In the meantime there’s plenty you can do. Read up on bike corrals and dedicated bike lanes and begin spreading the ideas to your friends and family; get them excited about the concepts and familiar with how they work. This being LA, a lot of innovative bike facilities are still not completely understood, so we’re gonna need some thoughtful ambassadors to pitch in. Also, if you’re already riding in the northeast, or if you’ve got some time to make a trip into the neighborhood, start keeping an eye out for locations that can accommodate bicycle improvements. Begin looking at places where wide shoulder lanes have enough room to fit a bike lane. Or imagine the calmer, flat neighborhood streets that fill the gaps in your trip as bike boulevards.

At the beginning of 2010, with a campaign like this already kicking off, smart money is on an exciting year for bicyclists in the northeast and together across Los Angeles.

LACBC Commemorates Kaiser Grant by Distributing Helmets and Lights

November 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm | Posted in Bike News | Leave a comment
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To celebrate receiving a 25,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente, Urban Programs Coordinator Allison Mannos helped coordinate LACBC giving out 25 helmets and 25 lights to day laborers on Monday. LACBC Executive Director Jennifer Klausner, Jose Veliz from CARECEN, Councilmember Ed Reyes, Kaiser Med Ctr.’s CEO, Mark Costa, and Cesar Herrera, one of the day laborers, all spoke about the importance of bicycle safety and how this grant can help realize that goal. Aurisha Smolarski and Reyes’ staff also did a presentation on the effects of the bike plan and how to weigh in on it (you can view LACBC’s comments here).

Urban Programs Coordinator Allison Mannos installs a light, Courtesy of Beth Coller, Kaiser

The event was covered by a few media outlets, including Univision, Hoy, KCRW, KPCC, and ABC. Check out what other people have written about the event: Reyes’ blog from November 8 and 9, or this Daily News article.

We’ll keep you updated on how the grant is put into effect.

Executive Director Jennifer Klausner, Councilman Ed Reyes, and day laborer cyclists

Executive Director Jennifer Klausner, Councilman Ed Reyes, and day laborer cyclists

Kaiser Permanente Gives LACBC Grant to Help with City of Lights Campaign

November 10, 2009 at 12:10 am | Posted in Bike News | 1 Comment
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Reposted from Business Wire

Kaiser Permanente and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition Get Cyclists Out of the Dark with Safety Equipment

Helmets and Bike Lights Will Be Provided to Local Day Laborer Cyclists

PASADENA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Columbian immigrant Cesar Herrera rides his bicycle to and from work every day – not by choice, but by necessity. Herrera is part of a large community of day laborers whose primary mode of transportation is a bicycle. With the increase of cyclists sharing the road with motorists and the recent daylight saving time change, there is a greater need for cyclists to be visible and to use safety equipment. Many cyclists, including Herrera, are riding during early mornings or nights without lights and helmets and are not familiar with traffic laws that can make their commutes safer.

To address that need, today Kaiser Permanente presented a $25,000 grant to the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) to provide bike safety education and supplies such as bike lights and helmets for the day laborer cyclists. “Ensuring good health extends beyond our doors, which is also part of our mission to bring total health to the communities we serve,” said Mark Costa, Executive Director, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. “We invest significant resources through our Community Benefit programs to improve the health of our communities. Riding bikes, including bicycle commuting, can be a healthful, environmentally friendly part of a healthy lifestyle.”

“The grant also allows LACBC to develop workshops and leverage partnerships with organizations such as Central American Resource Center, the Bicycle Kitchen, and the UCLA Labor Center,” said Jennifer Klausner, LACBC Executive Director.

“The safety of our bicyclists, especially in my district, is just as important as that of our drivers and pedestrians. We need to do everything we can to ensure their safety,” said First District Councilmember Ed P. Reyes, who has spearheaded legislation to make Los Angeles a more bike-friendly city.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 3.3 million members in Southern California. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: http://www.kp.org/newscenter.

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