City of LA Announces Preparation of EIR on 43.3 Miles of Bike Lane Projects

July 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Over the last year, since the adoption of the City of Los Angeles Bicycle Plan, the City has shown a real commitment to improving conditions for bicycling. This past fiscal years has been the best yet for bicycle infrastructure implementation and planning: the city exceeded its goal of installing 40 miles of bike lanes, installing 51 miles of bike lanes and also installed 20 miles of sharrows; a bike network has been growing in Downtown L.A.; a record number of bike rack requests have been fulfilled; and the City’s first physically separated bike lane was announced.

Looking into what’s ahead for the next year, the City has just released its prepared first-year implementation strategy Environmental Impact Review (EIR) proposal for 43 miles of bike lanes.  If you’re wondering why the City is doing an EIR on these 43 projects and not on the many projects that they completed over the last fiscal year it’s because all of these projects require a change in the current roadway configuration that will result in a change to the vehicle Level of Service (LOS) at intersections in the project area. The City of LA has a guide that dictates when an EIR needs to be completed based on certain thresholds. A change in LOS, vehicle delay at an intersection, requires that an EIR be completed for transportation projects. You can download and review the City’s Notice of Preparation for the planned bicycle facilities here.

There are several upcoming scoping meetings to provide an opportunity for you to learn more about the EIR process and give input on the included projects. Below is the meeting information as well as information for a webinar that will cover the same information.

When: July 10, 2012, 5 pm to 7 pm
Where: Caltrans District 7 Building, Room 01.040B
100 S. Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

When: July 12, 2012, 6 pm to 8 pm
Where: LADOT Western Parking Enforcement Office,
11214 W. Exposition Blvd., 1st Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90064

When: July 18, 2012, 6 pm to 8 pm
Where: Los Angeles River Center & Gardens, California Building
570 West Avenue 26, Los Angeles, CA 90065

Webinar, July 17th, 3 PM to 4 PM – Click  here to reserve your Webinar seat

As the City continues to move ahead with implementing the adopted 2010 Bicycle Plan, it is critical to show support for the City’s vision. Sign-up to get involved with our new  Neighborhood Bike Ambassador Program and help advocate for the many projects included in the EIR and more.  These projects can’t move forward without your support and the support of your Neighborhood Council. We need your help to outreach and engage your neighbors with the bike projects planned for your neighborhood.  Check out the list of bike lane projects included in the EIR below:

We are actively working to understand how the City’s guidelines can be updated and what other cities are doing in California to make implementing bicycle lanes and other active and public transportation projects easier and less costly. Level of  Service does not actually measure environmental impact – it measures the discomfort of drivers delayed at an intersection, many cities around the US are moving away from LOS because it does not take into account how other road users are impacted. We worked with a UCLA Urban Planning  graduate student, Jen Karmels, to look at what cities in California are doing. Her research focuses on the cities of San Jose and San Francisco, their two different approaches to making active and public transportation projects easier to implement, and how stakeholders and agencies went about making the changes. We also recently worked with a law firm to review California case law and the city’s guidelines and plans to understand what ability the city has to use a different forms of analysis to evaluate impacts from projects. View Jen’s report here and our legal memo here.

The City and cities across LA County have a lot of flexibility to do things differently but, making the change can take upwards of 4+ years as was/is the case in both San Jose and San Francisco. While we continue to advocate for the City of LA to adopt more progressive policy to make implementing bike lanes easier – we need your help building support for the projects included in the EIR. Completing the EIR does not guarantee these projects will be implemented. Street level, neighborhood support is what ensures these projects and the many more projects included in the 2010 Bicycle Plan get implemented. So sign-up to become a Neighborhood Bike Ambassador, attend your Neighborhood Council meetings, and check out one of the meetings listed above.

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