Eastside and Long Beach Celebrate Biking Tomorrow

6_26_09_roca.jpgL.B. Mobility Coordinator Charlie Gandy shows off colored shared lane and Sharrow on Second Street.  Photo: Russ Roca Photography/Flickr

This upcoming weekend is a big one for bike culture in Los Angeles County.  While our famed DIY culture is already kicking into high gear today, a Friday that features the LACBC’s Car-Free Fridays and two Critical Masses; this time the highlights are from a pair of official events.  Tomorrow morning, the City of Long Beach unveils green-colored shared lanes marked with a Sharrow on Second Street.  Across the county, the Eastside Bicycle Club celebrates their one-year anniversary with a ride and party sponsored by the Los Angeles Parks Department.

As you can see, the paint is already on the ground in Long Beach, and writer/photographer Russ Roca  provides a little preview.  Roca, an experienced and knowledgeable rider, is celebrating the new paint for several reasons.  Between the green lane and the Sharrow, it’s going to be impossible to not get the message that bikes have the right to full use of travel lanes.  A point especially important to Roca, who recently received a bogus ticket for not riding in the gutter from an uninformed member of the L.B.P.D.

Of course, as with any improvement there are detractors.  While Roca was trying to interview Mobility Coordinator Charlie Gandy, a malcontent interrupts the interview to give Gandy a piece of his mind.  Roca and Gandy take the interruption in stride, but watching it I can’t help but feel the interrupter is a perfect example of the entitled, arrogant drivers that make these kinds of amenities necessary.  He’s rude, possesses no self-awareness, doesn’t care that other people were in the middle of something and is mis-informed.  You can see the full video of the "interview" at the link above.

But let’s focus on the positive.  Congratulations, Long Beach.  We hope your efforts are multiplied throughout the county.

6_26_09_eastside_bike_club.jpg

Meanwhile on Eastside., the Los Angeles Eastside Bike Club is celebrating their first anniversary in style.  At 3:00 P.M. tomorrow, the club will meet at Lincoln Park for a 4:30 ride through the
communities of Lincoln Heights, Boyle Heights and El Sereno.  The ride
will conclude back at Lincoln Park where riders will picnic.  The Los
Angeles City Parks and Recreation will provide bands and DJ’s playing
music.

After dinner, there’s going to be movies and fireworks.  That’s quite a birthday party!  Congratulations to the Eastside Bike Club and thanks to the Los Angeles Parks Department for pitching in.

Sadly, tomorrow I’m going to be running electronics recycling day for my church and probably won’t be able to make either event.  If you make it out to the Eastside tomorrow and want to write about it or take some pictures, drop me a line at damien@streetsblog.org.

  • Aweseome Awesome Awesome – way to go LBC

  • dudeonabike

    And C.I.C.L.E.’s “C.I.C.L.E. Goes to the Beach ride” in Venice on Sat. that ends at the Venice Eco-Fest, too. Lotsa good stuff.

  • How could I possibly forget CICLE? For more information on their ride, click here:

    http://www.cicle.org/cicle_content/pivot/entry.php?id=549&trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D84395717

  • It’s fantastic that Long Beach has Charlie Gandy! Congratulation on those beautiful lanes – very visible!

    I don’t entirely understand how those lanes are supposed to work. In New York City the green lanes are bike lanes – bikes only… but this looks like a shared lane for cars and bikes… seems possibly a little confusing… but maybe that’s a good thing – we could probably use a little more confusion on our streets – to slow speeding cars down a bit. Maybe some cars will be confused and will stay out of the green lane? Is there an explanation of how these work? Are there other green shared-lane projects that folks are aware of?

    I guess I need to head down and try the lanes out myself and see how they work.

    Also – does anyone know how this project was funded? and how much it cost?

  • that is it, man! :-D

    that’s the mother-lode! this is what most of America needs! that’s just totally incredible. it’s a dream come true.

    and yes, i’m absolutely serious. this is the biggest development in biking since Velib.

    i already know where I want them installed locally. not sure if they’re legal in GA yet, but we’ll see.

  • Sam

    I agree with Joe. Something about a third as wide towards the right side of the lane would have made more sense. I ride down 2nd St everyday and I don’t think it’s safe to ride in the middle of the lane at any time. There is also the small possibility that Russ may have been in violation of the law when he got his ticket, but hey, what do I know.

  • Sam, I don’t think it is safe to ride in the reach of car doors at any time, and many cyclists feel that way, which is why Russ was closer to the center of the lane. The law concerning lane position is intentionally somewhat ambiguous in favor of cyclists judgment of what is safe riding conditions. If a clueless motorist swings their door open without checking, it happens all the time, and smacks you, it could send you to the ground in front of other oncoming traffic. People have been killed by drivers swinging car doors because it sent them into the path of other vehicles.

    On the other hand, being hit from behind while riding with traffic direction is actually one of the least common types of accidents involving bikes, because drivers can see you clearly. So if I have to choose between car doors or riding in the center of the lane, I always take the lane. Traffic is so backed up on that street most of the time anyways, that you are rarely holding up anyone to take the lane, and if you are traveling the same speed as the rest of traffic, you have the right to take the lane regardless of shoulder conditions.

  • Sam, I was not in violation of any traffic laws when I got my ticket. I’ve taken the League of American Bicyclists safety class, practice safe traffic cycling and am involved in the local bike advocacy group. I have a helmet. Reflectors. A mirror. I stop at stop lights, etc., I’m about as much of a bike safety geek as you could possibly get.

    On 2nd Street, if you ride in the door zone you’re at greater risk than riding in the center.

    Not only do you run the risk of hitting a door, but you also encourage cars to pass too close in a lane that isn’t sharable side by side.

    Don’t believe me, send me an email and we can ride it together.

    Russ

  • Oh my god! Who let this happen?! Don’ they know the risks cyclists will face on that, that … PAINT! GAAAAAHHHH! They could slip and sue the city for dozens of dollars!

    The City of Long Beach has lost a lot of good will with this move, and I’m sure that the LADOT will be down there soon to black out these bad-will lanes.

  • This green shared lane + sharrow treatment looks very promising indeed. I have not been impressed with the sharrow only application thus far. But this treatment almost creates the impression of a dedicated bike lane. It will be interesting to document motorists’ responses as more drivers become familiar with this green-shared-lane-sensation. I agree with Joe, it almost seems a little confusing, but a bit of uncertainty on the roadway may have a traffic calming effect (hopefully for the long term). Thanks Russ for putting this little vid together.

    And, to those of you on z Westside (and beyond). Be sure to join us tomorrow for the C.I.C.L.E. Goes to the Beach ride. We’re crusin’ the streets of Venice, and landing at the Venice Eco-Fest where one can enjoy the delights of the sun, sand and the New Belgium Beer Garden. http://tinyurl.com/the-cicle-beach-ride

  • DJB

    Is that picture real, or am I dreaming? It’s so beautiful . . .

  • Sam

    OK, Russ. Innocent until proven guilty. Good luck in court, man.

    I know a little something about the door zone on 2nd Street. I have the scars to prove it. Even if I’m not out there plugging bicycle advocacy/awareness/acceptance (eyeroll) I know a thing or two about riding a bike, too. Honest! I also know that there’s only one person primarily responsible for getting me safely from point A to point B.

    The green lane concept is great, but the execution seems a bit too bold for a first time pilot program. If the city would have done just the right half of the lane, still outside of the door zone, people would have been more OK with this. Look at the big picture: LBC has a projected $43M budget deficit for FY10. Important services will suffer, there will be an %18 cut to the Health Department alone! And we’re paying for a mobility coordinator from Texas to paint big green lanes down Belmont Shore? Forgive me…but Long Beach is really good at playing the role of River City (e.g. http://www.lbreport.com/news/jun09/aqpolb2.htm )

  • DJB

    I just tried out these lanes for the first time.

    They definitely don’t function as bike-only lanes (an impression you kind of get from the photo). Since the Belmont Shore traffic is so jammed and there are so many lights, it’s not hard to just take the lane and roll with the cars as they crawl from light to light. I did this and it was pretty fun. The green stripe seems to give it more legitimacy.

    I saw a lot of cyclists doing the “door zone” thing. I would encourage them to just take the lane.

    And please, wear a helmet. It should be a requirement to bike in the street.

  • angle

    Sam:

    Budget deficits are all the more reason to make bold moves like this.

    The expense of this shared lane treatment is pretty negligible compared to infrastructure projects that increase automobile capacity, like widening streets and highways. The potential for moving many more people in the already existing road space is enormous.

    IMHO it’s going to take obvious and aggressive projects like this one to get the general public to consider bicycles as a form of transportation. Simply putting up a little sign and declaring a street “bicycle friendly” is a fucking joke.

  • Sam,
    Here’s a video of the Sharrows at work. As you can clearly see it’s pretty safe to be right in the middle, especially when there’s a lot of traffic. In fact safer since you avoid cars pulling in and out and doors. You should try it some time and see for yourself.

    “If the city would have done just the right half of the lane, still outside of the door zone, people would have been more OK with this.”

    To be out of the door zone you pretty much have to be in the middle. That lane positioning also protects you from cars trying to pass within the same lane.

    The money to pay the guy from Texas to paint green stripes isn’t coming from city funds. It’s all grant money. So is the money to pain the green stripes. They’re not furloughing cops to do this project.

    Russ

  • Henry

    I drove down this street on my way to Huntington Beach. I thought they looked great. It wont be a problem with motorists because traffic was going no faster than 15 miles per hour. The whole area was pretty vibrant with bike racks full in front of many restaurants. It was really nice to see cars bikes and downey transit shuttles sharing the road. Really nice they ought to expand them into downtown long beach.

  • Henry

    err i meant long beach transit

  • Confused in Long Beach

    Henry, I too noticed the area is pretty vibrant with bike racks full in front of many restaurants. Of course, it was 6:00 am on Wednesday morning and said restaurants were all closed, so I am not sure who the bikes belong to or why they hell they are there, but as best I can tell they are not moving.

    In the video above, Mr. Gandy cites 1200 bikes using 2nd Street over 3 days (400 bikes a day). In 12 hours of daylight, there are 720 minutes. With 400 bikes a day, you’d expect to see, on average, a bike every 1 minute and 48 seconds. Go to 2nd Street at any time and count bikes using the street. You’ll be lucky to count 1/10 of that frequency.

    For the most part, the cyclists that use 2nd Street come from the neighborhood surrounding it (side streets to 2nd Street, nobody riding on 2nd). There are some recreational cyclists that use 2nd from time to time, but mostly they bypass the area (esp. because the approach from the west – Livingston – is a heavily crowned street with no shoulders. Instead, cyclists use the dedicated bike path at the beach and rejoin 2nd Street at Bayshore.

    I’m afraid Mr. Gandy’s number of bikes on 2nd Street is no more trustworthy than Japanese whalers count of Blue Whales remaining in the Pacific.

  • brianguy

    I’m a recreational cyclist (mountain, road) and one who used to live in Long Beach and started out biking there. critical masses are crap. nothing like breaking the law to get an idea, or your point, across.

    however, I think this lane is an amazing thing to behold. it took me by great surprise while driving one day a couple of months back. this is the perfect area for it, and can’t wait to see where else they decide to put them.

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