Expo Bikeway at Risk of Serious CompromiseAugust 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 2 Comments
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.