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.

City of Los Angeles Announces 180-mile Network of Family-Friendly Bikeways

February 13, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 6 Comments

Today the City of Los Angeles released two draft documents for 90 days of public comment that will prioritize safety and health in the City’s General Plan: the Mobility Element and the Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles. LACBC, Los Angeles Walks and other stakeholders were involved in the development of both plans to ensure that the needs of LA’s bicyclists and pedestrians were considered. The plans call for a layered network of complete streets that serve all people who travel on them, with special focus on vulnerable road users, including children, the elderly, pedestrians and bicyclists.

LACBC worked with the Department of City Planning to develop a 180-mile network of protected bikeways and high-quality neighborhood streets that will “provide safe, convenient, and comfortable local and regional facilities for cyclists of all types and abilities.” This is another of LACBC’s campaign goals we asked Mayor Garcetti to accomplish this year. (Sign the petition here.)

What else does the Mobility Element do?

  • Makes safety the City’s number one transportation priority, particularly the safety of children walking to school
  • Sets design speeds for city streets and provides engineering and enforcement solutions to stop the constant increase in speed limits
  • Anticipates building 45 miles of protected bikeways every 5 years
  • Doubles the share of Measure R Local Return for walking and bicycling
  • Calls for annual bicycle and pedestrian counts by LADOT
  • Sets a performance metric of zero increase in car travel per person

We are thrilled to see complete streets and “8 to 80” bikeways embraced by the City, but this plan is only a draft and we need YOU to make sure it is adopted. How? By attending an upcoming workshop in your neighborhood and voicing your support for the Bicycle-Enhanced Network.

Spring 2014 Workshops for City of LA Mobility and Health Elements

Spring 2014 Workshops for City of LA Mobility and Health Elements


Saturday, March 15th • 9am – noon

Granada Hills Recreation Center

16730 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills, CA 91344



Wednesday, March 19th • 5pm – 8pm

Metro Headquarters (near Patsaouras Plaza)

One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012



Saturday, March 22nd • 9am – noon

Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center

3916 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90062



Saturday, March 29th • 9am – noon

Boyle Heights City Hall

2130 E. First St., Los Angeles, CA 90033



Wednesday, April 2nd • 6pm – 9pm

Westwood United Methodist Church

10497 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90024



Saturday, April 5th • 9am – noon

Marvin Braude Constituent Service Center

6262 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys, CA 91401



Saturday, April 12th • 10am – 1pm

Peck Park Community Center

560 N. Western Ave., San Pedro, CA 90732

Two Steps Forward and One Step Back for Protected Bikeways in LA

January 28, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 3 Comments

Last last year, LACBC announced a new campaign to bring next generation bikeways to the City of Los Angeles. Over 1,400 of you lent your support to this effort. (It’s not too late to sign on!) We were thrilled to announce two weeks ago that the City of Los Angeles applied to join the Green Lane Project, the first win of our campaign. Since then, we’ve turned our attention to My Figueroa, which promises to be the City’s first true protected bikeway (a.k.a. cycletrack), distinguished by a curb to separate bicyclists from traffic and dedicated bike signals at intersections.Fig_and_11th_3-25-13

Streetsblog previewed today’s hearing at City Council’s PLUM Committee to consider the appeal of the project by Shammas Auto Group, and a motion by 9th District Councilmember Curren Price to study alternatives to the proposed project. This afternoon, PLUM deferred to the local councilmember by continuing the item for 30 days to address the motion and instructed city staff report back to the committee.

Where does this leave us?

Councilmember Price is trying to thread a difficult needle. He has gone on record supporting cycletracks as an essential component of the project, recognizing that this project is not about serving existing bicyclists, but people who want to ride and don’t feel safe. And yet his proposal to delay the project and exhaustively study alternatives may be fatal, compromising a multimillion dollar investment in South Los Angeles.

Major institutions along the corridor, including the California Science Center, USC and Shammas, believe that decoupling the cycletracks and routing southbound bicyclists onto Flower will reduce perceived impacts to Figueroa. But early on in project development, Flower was eliminated as an option for many good reasons:

  • Running a cycletrack on Flower would leave only one through lane on that street, likely impacting traffic even more than the proposed project.
  • Flower is a less direct route between USC and downtown, requiring the people that are most sensitive to extra distance to go out of their way to reach their destinations.
  • Flower runs along the backside of the car dealerships and other unwelcoming uses with few “eyes on the street.” This project is intended to make people of all ages and abilities feel comfortable riding all hours of the day.
  • Almost all the destinations in the Figueroa Corridor are on Figueroa itself. This project is designed to increase vibrancy in front of these attractions. Moving half of the bicycle traffic to Flower works counter to this objective.

The institutions have not provided any evidence supporting their claim that Flower is a superior alternative.

Normally, LACBC is open to considering alternative routes. But in this case, there is literally no money available to revisit Flower as an option without dipping into funds that are better spent on other projects. My Figueroa has maxed out on their design budget, leaving only construction dollars. Furthermore, LADOT is about ready to send the current project out to bid for construction. It is shovel-ready. But any changes will require going back to square one on environmental review and design. That will set the project back well over a year at a minimum and send it way over budget. Any alternative that does include Flower will expand the scope of construction, further driving up the cost of the project for likely zero benefit.

This project has been developed with robust community input, context sensitivity and compromise, when warranted. Like protected bikeways all across the country, it will be a boon to business along the corridor. It is a project worthy of being Mayor Eric Garcetti’s first “Great Street.” Los Angeles is on the cusp of reinventing itself in the public realm. This is no time for delay.

Councilmember Price, let this investment in South LA’s future begin.

If you are a regular visitor to any of the institutions along the Figueroa Corridor, please let them know that you support making Figueroa walkable and bikeable without delay:

Special thanks to our partners T.R.U.S.T. South L.A., Community Health Councils, Los Angeles Walks and the USC Bicycle Coalition.


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!


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!

Rocky Road for My Figueroa Cycletrack and Streetscape Project

October 3, 2013 at 10:49 am | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 1 Comment
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UPDATEImage: My Figueroa

UPDATE (10/07/2013): At the advice of the City Attorney, the motion will be postponed to a later, undetermined date so that the appeal and the motion can be on the same track. We’ll update you all when the MyFig motion and appeal will be presented.

The Price motion will be heard at Transportation Committee on Wednesday, October 9th at 2 P.M, City Hall Room 1010. The Shammas Auto Group appeal will be heard by Planning & Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee at a future date.

My Figueroa is the most ambitious street transformation underway in the City of Los Angeles, promising to transform a bleak commercial corridor into a prime linkage between USC and Downtown LA. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) inherited the project from the now-defunct Community Redevelopment Agency and is working diligently to break ground early next year so that construction can be completed by a December 2014 funding deadline.  This tight schedule has kept the project on track, despite recent grumblings by some stakeholders in the corridor about added congestion.

While LADOT solves the technical challenge of engineering Los Angeles’s first protected bike lane (a.k.a. cycletrack), the project’s political prospects recently became murkier. My Figueroa is within Council District 9, which switched from champion Jan Perry to silent Curren Price after the election in May. Under pressure from stakeholders along the Figueroa Corridor, Price introduced a motion calling for further study of traffic impacts and asking for mitigation. At the same time, Shammas Auto Group filed an appeal of the project, which will require a hearing before the full City Council. It was not immediately clear how both the motion and the appeal would proceed since City Council would not want to deal with the same issues twice.

The Downtown News reports that Shammas Auto Group has “no intention” of delaying the project, despite the pending appeal. We now know that the Price motion asking for further study will be heard at Transportation Committee on October 9th (2 PM in City Hall Room 1010). LACBC will be there along with project supporters TRUST South LA, Community Health Councils, LA Walks, and the (newly formed) USC Bicycle Coalition to keep the project on track.

Will you join us?

Transportation Committee Meeting

When: Wednesday, October 9; 2 p.m.  TBD

Where: L.A. City Hall, Room 1010 – 200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles

Take Action: Carson Master Plan of Bikeways watered down

July 30, 2013 at 10:26 am | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 3 Comments

We are asking those who live, play, or work in Carson to send emails to Carson City Council and advocate for the originally drafted Bike Plan.  Since the draft plan was released, bike lanes on Avalon, Watson Center Road, and Wilmington have been removed, including cycle-tracks on Albertoni and University.  

The opportunity for Carson to provide real improvements to encourage safe bicycling has hit a snag.  What was originally planned to be a robust network of bike routes, bike lanes, and separated cycle-tracks has been watered down due to opposition, namely from the Watson Land Company and the StubHub Center, formerly the Home Depot Center.  Given a recent bicyclists’ death in Carson, we hope that elected officials realize the urgent need to make the streets of Carson safer.

The City of Carson has been working on developing their Master Plan of Bikeways for over a year to build off of a few scatterings of bike lanes and bike routes in the city.  Community support grew as the project moved ahead, with several well-attended community meetings, biking events, and consultation with city staff and the bicycling community.  Over the course of this process, the Master Plan of Bikeways evolved into a draft that the community was impressed with and grew confidence in.

Since then, major players in the city have put their foot down in opposition to parts of the plan.  At June’s Planning Commission meeting, StubHub Center (home to the Velo Sports Center) and Watson Land Company were successful in diluting the proposed plan, which in its current form, is heading to City Council on August 6th.

Here are the arguments against certain aspects of the plan, and who was behind them.

  • The Watson Land Company expressed concern about installing bike lanes where there is heavy truck traffic, which include many of the arterials in Carson because of the large industrial presence in the city.  Watson Land Company believes bicyclists are put in danger if encouraged to ride in bike lanes alongside heavy traffic.  Despite the plan’s effort to install colored buffered bike lanes along Wilmington Avenue, where no travel lanes would be removed and is one of the few North/South corridors in Carson, Watson still rejected the idea and had the project removed.  The same goes for Watson Center Road, originally planned for a standard bike lane without having to remove a travel lane, now gone.

Watson Land Company has always prefaced their disinterest in bicycle improvements in Carson with safety of bicyclists as their main concern.  Unfortunately the feelings are not based in reason.  Time and time again we see studies that show bicycle lanes make it safer for bicyclists, marking a clear designation for bicyclists and other users of the road.  It appears Watson Land Company wants to maintain the status quo, where currently bicyclists and trucks need to share the same travel lane, and somehow in their minds that is safer.

  • StubHub Center (what used to be the Home Depot Center) also cited safety concerns and disruption of traffic flow to/from their facility, specifically by installing cycle-tracks and bike lanes on Central, Victoria, and University.  These streets (and Avalon) encompass both StubHub Center and Cal State Dominguez Hills, where many people bicycle to campus and also to the Velodrome.  Despite their main parking lots facing Avalon and Victoria, StubHub Center was able to exclude cycle-tracks on University from the plan because it would require the removal of one travel lane.  Albertoni was also eliminated from the plan because of concerns of ingress/egress for StubHub Center despite the fact that it does not affect the 91 Freeway on/off ramps’ turn lanes.  The StubHub Center has asked that we clarify their position – you can find their letter citing specific concerns in a commission report here.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is looking to continue to advocate for safer streets for all users in Carson.  As we anticipate passage of the Carson Master Plan of Bikeways at August 6th’s City Council meeting, we want to make sure that the integrity of the approved plan is based on sound studies and rooted in desires from the community.  We strongly disagree with Watson Land Company’s assertion that adding bike lanes to a corridor will make biking more unsafe.

Take Action: Tell Carson City Council to preserve the Master Plan of Bikeways’ original intent of having a cycle-track on Albertoni and University, and preserving the proposed bike lanes on Avalon, Watson Center Road, and Wilmington. 

If you cannot make the meeting on August 6 at 6 p.m., please call Mayor Dear at 310-952-1700 ext 1000 and email the rest of council at:

Meet Andy and the Aus, LACBC Super Volunteers!

May 30, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | Leave a comment
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Andy Au

Eric, Andy, and Amber Au wear their LACBC best.

Meet Andy Au, one of our most dedicated volunteers here at LACBC.  He has been with us since hearing about the LA River Ride back in 2010. This upcoming LA River Ride will be his 4th time participating in this event, and he will once again be bringing two awesome children, Amber and Eric, along to ride and volunteer to help control the crowds.

Andy has always found riding a bicycle as a great way to get around. As a child, he used to ride around for fun but while in college at bike-friendly UC Davis, bike-riding became his main source of getting around to class and also to the grocery store. Easy add-ons such as a water bottle holder and a simple basket allow him to not only ride around but also run errands.

Andy sees bicycling growing in the next few years. He sees that the amount of people who ride will increase with upcoming bike-sharing programs coming and with more advocacy from communities here in Los Angeles. Andy helped in the process with the South Pasadena bicycle lanes and also shows up to LACBC events to show support and to also help out whenever he can. As people are biking more here in Los Angeles, one thing that makes him feel great is that he is able to give back and help with causes such as advocacy and safety.

Andy is also a driver but knows that we all should share lanes and recognize each other. For fun he enjoys taking his children out to bicycle, which has made the Au family become some sort of local “bicycle celebrity family.” In interviewing his children, we found out that he wears a bright vest with his children, which can be very embarrassing for them, but they acknowledge that it helps make them safe by being seen.

Amber and Eric brought up ideas on why bicycling is great: more control, getting around faster, and, of course, stronger legs! When asked why we should advocate for bicycle lanes and safety, they responded that it is important to be safe and also they want riders to feel comfortable. On a final note, they also said that we all should still pay attention and stay focused by not zoning out when riding.

You can find Andy, Amber, and Eric at several LACBC events including the 13th Annual Los Angeles River Ride on June 9th! Interested in volunteering with the the Aus and the hundreds of other volunteers that make River Ride possible? Sign up to volunteer by checking out the River Ride Volunteer page.

Driver Who Hit and Killed Alan Deane to Be Sentenced

November 8, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 16 Comments

Alan at the Pasadena Farmers Market, January 2010

On September 22, 2011, Alan Deane was struck and killed by Sidrath Misra in Pasadena. Misra turned left in front of Deane at the intersection of Colorado Blvd. and Terrace Dr. as Deane was traveling east on Colorado. It was Alan’s 61st birthday that day and it’s believed he was on his way to a forum being hosted by radio station KPCC, where Alan was regular attendee and considered a member of KPCC’s extended family. Alan was a talented musician and a gregarious, inquisitive individual known and loved by many. He was a volunteer for the LACBC and helped with many of our projects including the Safe & Healthy Streets initiative in Glendale. Alan didn’t like driving and chose to travel by bicycle most of the time.

We’re told by Alan’s family that Misra is to be sentenced on November 13th for Alan’s death. The Deputy Prosecutor’s office initially filed a vehicular manslaughter charge, but  has since arranged a plea bargain with Misra which is expected to include a lesser charge of Reckless Driving. The penalties are expected to be community service and some sort of fine. The hearing to be held on November 13th is to confirm or modify the sentence.

Alan’s Ghost Bike at the collision site

Alan’s family would prefer harsher penalties for Misra. We’d like to see harsher penalties as well. At the least, the revocation or suspension of Misra’s driver’s license should be a key feature of the sentence. Driving is a privilege, not a right and penalties for drivers who kill bicyclists in a case like Alan’s should include the revocation or suspension of the driving privilege. The hearing will be public. We encourage anyone who can to attend the sentencing hearing to show support for Alan’s family and to demonstrate with your presence that we care and want to see justice done. If you go, please bring your bicycle helmet into the courtroom so the judge, prosecutors, and Misra will know the bicycling community is present.

The sentencing hearing will be at the following location and time:

When: Tuesday, November 13; 1:30 PM

Where: Los Angeles Superior Court – 300 East Walnut, Dept. N, Pasadena

Judge Steven Monette presiding.

UPDATE: We are also organizing a short bike ride in support of Alan Deane’s family to the court house. Meet us at 12:30 PM at the southwest corner of Colorado Blvd. and Terrace Dr. in Pasadena, and this ride will travel one mile to the Los Angeles Superior Court at 300 East Walnut in Pasadena for the sentencing. See the Facebook Event for more details.

LACBC to Light Up the Night with “Operation Firefly”

October 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved, LACBC Events, Resources | 6 Comments

Front of English spoke card.

Inspired by the changing of the seasons and the end of Daylight Savings time, we are proud to announce the launch of “Operation Firefly,” a bicycle light distribution and safety education program in an effort to ensure Angelenos riding bicycles at night are seen by motorists and other users of the road.

LACBC’s “Team Firefly” volunteers will be handing out front and rear lights during night-time street distributions all over Los Angeles. Operation Firefly’s first street distribution will take place during the week following the November 4th time change. “Our goal is to seek out people riding without lights for various reasons, especially riders who may not have the means or time to acquire lights on their own,” said Education Director Colin Bogart. LACBC has invested in a few hundred light sets and intends to continue weekly street distributions until all the lights are gone.

Following the November 4th time change, more bicyclists will be riding the streets after the sun has gone down. Legally, bicyclists are required to use a front white light with side, rear, and pedal reflectors (CVC 21201). “Many bicyclists don’t know this and frequently ride at night without the required lights and reflectors,” said Jennifer Klausner, the nonprofit’s Executive Director. “This can lead to citations from police, but more importantly, riding at night without lights and reflectors is not safe.”

In addition to front and rear lights, LACBC will be distributing Operation Firefly spokecards in English and Spanish. The spokecards will provide a summary of the California Vehicle Code requirements while riding at night along with the following information:

  • A front light helps prevent the most common collisions – those with oncoming or cross traffic.
  • A rear red light is not required, but it is recommended.
  • Be extra alert at night. Lights help, but they don’t guarantee that drivers will see you.
  • Wear a reflective vest, clothing, or arm/leg bands.
  • Affix reflective tape to your bike, helmet, or shoes.
  • Use extra lights affixed to your wheels, bike frame, or helmet.
  • Wear white or light colored clothing.

The spokecards will be distributed with the lights, to LACBC members, at events, through local bike shops, and through partner organizations.

Front light

Anyone can support Operation Firefly by making a tax-deductible donation or by purchasing a set of lights from LACBC for $20. “For every set we sell,” added Colin Bogart, “we can give away another set! If we receive enough donations or sell enough light sets, we can keep Operation Firefly going all winter, and possibly all next year.”

For more information or to make a donation/purchase lights, contact LACBC at 213 629-2142 or visit the Operation Firefly website page.

NBC Universal Agrees to Fund Bike Path, Lanes

September 27, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 5 Comments

Bicycle projects in vicinity of NBC Universal to be funded through development agreement.

A week ago, we blogged about the NBC Universal Evolution Plan, a $1.6 billion investment in our region’s film and entertainment industry.  LACBC, along with our allies in the River Family, was greatly concerned about the project’s failure to include the LA River Bike Path along its northern edge.  LACBC was also concerned about the lack of on-street bicycle infrastructure in the project’s traffic mitigation program.  We issued an action alert and you responded.  Earlier today, the Planning Commission heard you loud and clear.  The result is that NBC Universal will invest $3,875,000 to study, design, and construct bikeways in the vicinity of Universal City, including the following:

  • $3,000,000 for LA River Bike Path construction to the County Flood Control District (who controls the right-of-way along the River).  This money will become available when the County has designed and environmentally cleared the bike path project, but no earlier than June 2016. While we will pursue opportunities to accelerate this project, we are in this for the long haul.
  • $500,000 for a LA River Bike Path study also to the County Flood Control District to do a feasibility analysis and preliminary design for the bike path from the existing endpoint in Griffith Park to the 101 Freeway.
  • $375,000 to the City’s newly created Bicycle Plan Trust Fund for study, design, and implementation of on-street bicycle infrastructure on the Bicycle Backbone Network in the project vicinity.  This money would be used for lanes on Cahuenga and Lankershim currently under review and to study lanes on Barham.

While the project is not perfect, we were heartened to hear the Planning Commission passionately discuss the need to integrate bicycles into our transportation system, even taking Planning Director Michael LoGrande to task for outdated CEQA standards that only address automobile Level of Service. Moreover, the Commission understood the importance of creating a bicycle network, not just a river path, and retained the funding for on-street infrastructure.

Our work is not done.  We will carefully watch the details of this mitigation and community benefits package as the project moves forward to City Council.  Additionally, while funding for the bicycle lane projects was included, these lanes are independent of the NBC Universal project and will require separate approval from City Council.  That approval is far from assured and will require a big push from the bicycling community.  If you are interested in making these bike lanes (and others) happen, please join your local Neighborhood Bike Ambassadors group.

A big thanks to the River Revitalization Corporation, Friends of the Los Angeles River, and six other nonprofits in the River Family that co-signed our letter and spoke at today’s hearing requesting more support for the LA River.  We are all stronger with one voice.

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