What We’re Thankful for This Thanksgiving

November 24, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Posted in Bike News | 1 Comment
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photo by Gary Leonard - courtesy http://ciclavia.wordpress.com/

We have so much to be thankful for this year! First off we want to thank our wonderful volunteers, supportive members, and dedicated interns. You are what keeps LACBC moving and grooving! It is because of you that we have been able to expand our efforts, events, and our staff.

We are thankful for an amazing and ever-growing bicycle community, for collaborations with other advocates, social justice and environmental organizations all working to make positive changes in Los Angeles for people who need or chose to bicycle.

In the City of Los Angeles we are especially thankful for the 10% Measure R local return set aside for bicycle and pedestrian projects, a very successful first CicLAvia, the Give Me 3 Poster Campaign, sharrows on our streets, the largest River Ride yet, the new LA River Path extension, 73 bike parking racks in Pico-Union, all the fun social rides, and so much more.

We are thankful for the work of Heidi Sickler from Mayor Villaraigosa’s office. She has been a behind-the-scenes champion for bicycle improvements and CicLAvia, and has worked on addressing many of the issues brought forth at the Mayor’s Bike Summit and through the Bike Plan process.

We are thankful for Chief Beck making a commitment to changing LAPD’s relationship with the bicycling community and for the work of Sgt. Krumer.

In the County of Los Angeles we are thankful for seven south bay cities working together towards bikeability and the passing of the Culver City Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. We are thankful for our regional partners; Santa Monica Spoke, the Culver City Bicycle Coalition, Better Bike Beverly Hills, the South Bay Bicycle Coalition, Long Beach Cyclists, West San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Coalition, and all of the local groups working to make their communities more bike-able.

At the county level we are especially thankful to Mayor Villaraigosa for pushing through ten bicycle program directives to make bicycle connectivity with transit better and to increase the amount of funds available to cities around the county for bicycle projects through Metro Call for Projects. We also want to thank Metro staff and leadership for creating the Metro Bicycle Roundtable program and for working to address the issues the bicycle community has identified and to accomplish the Mayor’s directives.

Finally we want to thank all the people riding bikes in Los Angeles County everyday – each of you contributes – just by riding your bicycle – to making Los Angeles a better and more bike-able county. Thank you for riding your bike!

We want to hear from you – what are you thankful for this year?

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!

Final Sharrows Tasks Completed

October 29, 2010 at 8:57 am | Posted in Bike News | 1 Comment
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Tuesday, October 26th marked the last day of the Sharrows Pilot Study tasks as outlined in LACBC and LADOT’s contracts. The final step before putting this baby to rest is for both LACBC and LADOT to write and release reports summarizing findings from data collection from the Sharrows test rides as well as counts and surveys. LACBC’s report will be released by the end of the year.

LACBC was tasked to do before and after Sharrows implementation bike counts. Surveys were also conducted to get a sense of how cyclist’s sense of safety had changed after the implementation of Sharrows and whether motorist behavior was affected. We surveyed both cyclists riding in the streets as well as those riding on the sidewalk. Sharrows are aimed at not only indicating correct lane positioning for cyclists to stay out of the door zone, but also to decrease sidewalk and wrong way riding.

LACBC’s final bike counts and surveys were held this past week. Volunteers were stationed at all 6 locations in morning, evening and weekend peak hours. It was a fun way to engage cyclists, get their input on what matters to them and collect important information that will ensure that we see more Sharrows on our streets. Volunteers also distributed educational fliers to both motorists and cyclists in order to better inform the public on what Sharrows are, what they mean for both cyclists and for motorists and how to use them.

While doing the surveys one recurrent theme came up. Because of a lack of signage, many cyclists and motorists were unaware of the Sharrows and/or did not know how to use them properly. This indicates the importance of appropriate signage and education as a necessary element when incorporating new and innovative bike infrastructure on our streets. Education and signage enhance the benefits of the infrastructure for all users and can take the mystery out of a new road marking.

We would like to thanks all of the wonderful volunteers who came out day after day, on the weekends and early in the morning to help with the test rides and with the counts and surveys. We could not have done this without you!

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!…

Sharrows Finally On The Streets of LA!

June 11, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Posted in Bike News | 13 Comments
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Sharrows are finally on the ground in Los Angeles, photo; facebook/lacbc

This morning we watched the installation of the City of Los Angeles’ first Sharrows, painted on Fountain Ave. in East Hollywood where City Council President and sharrows champion Eric Garcetti’s 13th district is located.  For LACBC this marks a very important victory and we’re hoping today will be turning point for Los Angeles.  Sharrows have been used in cities all across the U.S., in Canada and even in Australia. Los Angeles however had still not seen a single official shared lane marking.  But today we can say that LA has sharrows and they are here to stay. We’ve got videos and photos from this morning’s painting that we will be posting later today.

We would like to thank Council President Eric Garcetti for his leadership and help pushing through the effort to see sharrows on Los Angeles’ streets. We would also like to thank Mayor Villaraigosa for his support and help in solidifying funding from SCAG, ensuring that this project could actually happen. Thank you to the the David Bohnett Foundation for funding LACBC’s portion of the tasks and to LADOT for finally getting paint on the ground.

There are 5 more locations where DOT will be painting sharrows in the coming weeks, so look forward to more sharrows news. LACBC will be finalizing the sharrows pilot project through the summer and early fall, and will continue to work to identify streets that can benefit from sharrows as they become a standard part of the toolbox used to make this city a better place to bike.

Sharrows Test Rides Kick Off, 2 More Weeks Before Paint on the Ground

May 28, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Posted in Bike News | 6 Comments
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Volunteer Donna Chazanov takes the lane during the Sharrows Test Ride, photo:flickr/LACBC

A big shout-out to all our Sharrows Test Ride volunteers who came out this week to help push the City of LA one week closer to seeing the first ever official sharrows in this city. We test rode two sections of town that will be getting sharrows painted third week of June, making 100 passes on these streets while LADOT recorded how cars reacted to bicyclists taking the lane—which sharrows will direct bikes to do. The experience was altogether enlightening and felt as if simply riding the street was helping to make them safer…which was exactly the case.

We’ve got two more weeks of test rides and then it’s up to LADOT to put the paint on the ground. We’ve been keeping tabs and all signs have pointed to everything being on schedule, so stay tuned to make sure the city holds up its end of the bargain.

Update: DOT Releases Sharrows Test Ride Dates and Times

May 17, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Posted in Get Involved | 6 Comments
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Thanks to the hard work of Michelle Mowery, LADOT’s senior Bike Programs Coordinator, we now have dates and times for the sharrows test ride we talked about last week;

So we need volunteers to help ride the streets that are going to be sharrowed in June. While riders are passing through the streets along markers that will simulate where sharrows will go,  DOT will be tracking how motorists respond to bicyclists taking the lane. Volunteers will get a cycle computer if they don’t have one–bring your own if you do–to track the back and forth routes riders will be performing over the two hour time slots that DOT is requesting for the study.

Bicyclists taking LACBC's sharrow survey, LA's first ever on street bicyclist intercept survey, photo: Flickr/lacbc

Only difference is, DOT now wants us out there for 3 hour blocks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and the dates are staggered through the last week of May and the first and second weeks of June. So check out the schedule below and email sharrows@la-bike.org to get involved. Once this last step of the preliminary work is done, we’ll finally see sharrows painted by the City of Los Angeles in the streets of LA!

Update: All morning times have been moved from 6:30am to 7:30am, now ending at 10:30am (5/27/10).

  1. East Hollywood, Tuesday May 25th, 7:30AM–10:30AM
  2. East Hollywood, Tuesday May 25th, 3:30PM–6:30PM
  3. Koreatown, Wednesday May 26th, 7:30AM–10:30AM
  4. Koreatown, Wednesday May 26th,3:30PM–6:30PM
  5. Reseda, Wednesday June 2nd, 7:30AM–10:30AM
  6. Reseda, Wednesday June 2nd, 3:30PM–6:30PM
  7. University Park/USC, Thursday June 3rd, 7:30AM–10:30AM
  8. University Park/USC, Thursday June 3rd, 3:30PM–6:30PM
  9. Holmby Hills/UCLA, Tuesday June 8th, 7:30AM–10:30AM
  10. Holmby Hills/UCLA, Tuesday June 8th, 3:30PM–6:30PM
  11. Venice, Wednesday June 9th, 7:30AM–10:30AM
  12. Venice, Wednesday June 9th, 3:30PM–6:30PM
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