Also Coming Later Today: L.A.’s Bike Plan

9_29_09_bike_plan.jpgExcerpt from the 2009 Draft Bike Plan

Via the LADOT Bike Blog comes the news cyclists and community activists have been waiting for: The Department of City Planning and LADOT will finally be releasing the final draft of the Bike Plan, a mere half a year behind schedule.  Sources at LADOT have told me to expect the new plan to appear at labikeplan.org later today.  The Bike Blog offers a preview of some of the differences we can expect between the much-panned draft released last summer and the new version:

In all, the plan calls for 200 miles of new bicycle infrastructure
to be built over the next 5 years.  This 200 miles would be in addition
to the current 383 miles of existing infrastructure and infrastructure
that has been funded but not yet completed.  All existing projects that
haven’t reached construction stage yet are considered separate from the
200 miles called for in the plan.  40 miles are projected for
completion annually during this 5 year period, with the most direct and
feasible projects coming first.

The Bike Blog also outlines some of the new types of infrastructure that could be put on the newly minted "bicycle friendly streets," "enhanced bike routes," and "transit bike lanes."  These new terms promise big things for the city, and make it sound as though big changes are coming.  Of course, they could have called the streets "bike boulevards," "bike routes" and "bus-only lane."  But hey, who’s counting?

As you would expect, the Bike Blog is absolutely cheerful and optimistic about the plan, but naturally there’s going to be a lot of things to look for when you sit down and try to pore through the plan this weekend and beyond.

The first thing many people will be looking for is whether or not the "Backbone Bikeway Network" is somehow included in the final plan.  The Backbone was a concept developed by grass roots Bike Working Group last fall as an alternative to the Draft Bike Plan.  While LADOT’s Senior Bike Coordinator Michelle Mowery seemed opposed to the plan when it was first introduced, the presentation made in March at the Bike Summit by Mowery and City Planning’s Jordan Turner included a lot of the Backbone’s mapping.  Similarly, many cyclists will also be checking to see if the Cyclists Bill of Rights is included, as was instructed by Council Woman Wendy Greuel in 2008.

While it’s great that the city is planning on completing fifty miles of bike infrastructure a year, the "what" and "where" are as important as the amount.  If the fifty miles are twelve miles of Wilshire Bus-Only lanes and a couple dozen "standard" bike routes, that would be a sad state of affairs.  If the fifty miles include an integrated plan to connect cyclists to the Gold Line Eastside Extension, that could be a community-changing event for a segment of the city.

A third issue is the public outreach before the plan is finalized.  Before the plan is set in stone, it has to go through another round of public hearings, the city planning commission, the city transportation commission, the City Council Transportation Committee, the City Council Planning Committee and the Full Council before being signed by Mayor Villaraigosa.  But before all that, the city will hold another round of public comment.  In both the initial outreach for the plan and the public comment on the draft plan, the city was sharply criticized for not allowing enough time and for changing the contents of the online plan without notice.  Extrapolating a schedule from the one outlined in March, when LADOT and Planning announced the plan would be finnished in April, we can expect something similar to this:

 

Revised draft to the public in June

Supporting environmental documents completed in July

Two-month public comment period, including two more workshops, June-August

City Planning Commission Hearing in September

In front of the City Council in the "Fall"

Streetsblog will have a full review of the plan, assuming that it is actually released today, on Monday.

  • The new bike plan is online at http://www.labikeplan.org/. Go take a long look over the weekend.

  • Joseph E

    No comments on the bike plan yet?
    While on call this weekend I spent a few hours to read two sections of the plan (those documents are long!) and look at the maps: http://www.labikeplan.org/bikeway_maps
    (If you have an old version of Internet Explorer, the website may not show up right. I suggest downloading the (huge) PDFs instead of using the web-based viewer).

    The maps are a huge improvement from the last version, and now show continuous, reasonable corridors thru the city, with a network of long-distance and “local” (side-street) routes. However, the devil (or angels) are certainly in the details. I am curious why Map 4 “Bikeways Engineering” is not ready. According to the preview, this map will show the state of planning and funding for each segment of planned bike facility. I hope that we won’t see a replay of the last plan with many “infeasible” or “potential” routes among the improved the plans.

    Also, from reading the descriptions of different bike facilities, there is a wide range of possible bike lanes and shared streets. Implementing the plan right will be a big challenge.

  • JP

    Bike lanes on Ventura Blvd and bike path on the LA River, I like.

  • UrbanReason

    At first glance, I have to say… I’m quite well impressed.

  • at first glance… I can’t seem to find the list of bike facilities… Did anyone find a listing of facilities anywhere in the documents?

  • Groan. No bike lanes! NO BIKE LANES! I haven’t read through every corner of the new draft plan, but I was looking for where the bike lanes are designated, and, as far as I can tell, in the entire draft there’s no bike lanes. There’s no list of new bike lanes… and no new bike lanes shown on any of the maps. No streets where the city commits to adding bike lanes (and, as I read it, potentially no assurance that existing bike lanes couldn’t be done away with.)

    Really sad… I thought that the last draft was vague and insulting at only 28 new miles of bike lanes planned… but this one appears to even less committal. I had been stating that the angels or devils would be in the details… expecting that the details would actually be in the plan.

    I hope I am overlooking something.

  • I was able to briefly go over the documents yesterday and I was liking the general tone of the document. Like Joe said it is in the details. Hopefully I will get more time to get into the maps.

  • ok… I found some total mileage numbers for bike lanes (whew) – but they’re what I call “black box” numbers – totals that are reported but that have no supporting data to show how what was totaled to arrive at the result. Depending on which page one reads, it appears that there will be either 56 or 52 new miles of designated new bike lanes. It’s about double the 28 miles in the 2009 draft, but still a huge step down from the 1996 plan which has ~190 new miles of designated bike lanes still to be implemented.

    Ch 3, p41 shows 56 miles “proposed” bike lanes
    Ch 3, p42-43 break these down into 37+15=52 miles “proposed” bike lanes

    (I’m not sure why those totals don’t add up. Will it be 52 or 56?)

    If we could only tell where those miles are…

  • UrbanReason

    Hey Joe,

    I think the bikelanes are outlined on the maps. Check out http://www.labikeplan.org/index.php/download_file/-/view/53

    You’ll see the bike lanes run all through the city in a suprisingly well connected way. Although – it looks like quite a bit more than 56miles on the map…

  • @urbanreason – The maps just show a “Citywide Bikeway Network” (CBN) and a “Neighborhood Bikeway Network” (NBN) with no specific streets identified as designated for bike lanes. As far as I can tell so far, there’s no way to know which 52 or 56 miles of which network will be designated bike lanes.

    If the plan doesn’t clearly spell this out, whenever the pro-car forces at the DOT resist adding bike lanes, it seems to me that they could do something like popping up a “bike route” sign instead.

    Also note that, in the totals in the 2010 draft, Ch 3, p41-43, both CBN and NBN still frustratingly include “proposed” and “potential” (formerly known as “infeasible”) bike lanes… but, from the maps and the rest of the 2010 draft plan, it’s not clear which lanes are which.

  • UrbanReason

    Weird, I must be reading it wrong. I thought the streets in red were designated “Bicycle lane”, Blue “Bicycle Route”, Light Blue “Bike friendly street” and green “Bike Path”. By the looks of it, Pico, Washington, 8th/Wilshire, Fountain and Sunset become major east/west veins (bike LANES). Main/Broadway, Figueroa, Vermont, Wilton/Andrews/Alrington,laBrea, Fairfox, Robertson, Westwood, Sepulvida, and Centinela becoming major north/south veins( bike LANES) as well. All of these appear in addition to a few other shorter veins of bike lanes. Then theres a lot of “bike friendly streets”.

    I haven’t read the plan (at work), but am I reading the map incorrectly?

  • UrbanReason

    Apologies on the spelling – there are far too many typos for me to correct myself on all of them. :)

  • @urbanreason – you’re right, I was mistaken – I had just opened the “network” maps (I didn’t realize there were two sets of maps – the earlier draft only had one set of maps, so I didn’t look for a second set), and not the system maps… so there are streets that are designated(?) for bike lanes… there just doesn’t seem to be any list of the streets…

    I should root through the plan more before I post… The total are still off, the proposed/infeasible stuff unclear, the list missing, but there are definitely lots of bike lanes shown on the “system” maps.

  • UrbanReason

    Still waiting for that full plan review on Monday, Damien! ;)

  • sarcastic answer: Sorry, I’m working on a twelve part series on how awful a writer Ted Rogers is.

    serious answer: I’m waiting until I see the implementation maps. How do you know I didn’t mean next Monday?

  • UrbanReason

    I suppose in tribute to the plan – or non-auto-centric LA transportation projects in general – you could really probably get away with next Monday, Monday three weeks from now, or Monday three months from now. Even “some Monday this year” might be acceptable. Seriously, though, looking forward to your review.

  • minibikebar

    Well small miracles still do happen, finally a bike plan!

    Just got back from a month plus stay in Haiti to help.
    And to come home to find, finally, a new bike plan for Los Angeles. A great homecoming present.

    Now we need to stop the silence from the mayor, and city council and push the bicycle agenda forward.
    Ask LADOT for their creativity, imagination and resourcefulness to implement the bike plan. And finally see many more bicycle facilities on the road; bike lanes, street friendly roads, sharrows, bike paths and bike signs everywhere.
    This auto centric city needs to recognize bicycles are part of the city and not all bicycles are used for recreation but for transportation.

    Soap you really need some divine invention to see the light when LADOT does something good. Step out of the dark side; I keep telling you try to lower heaven instead of raising hell to push the bicycle agenda in Los Angeles. At the United Methodist Church Foundation we reach out with helping hands…try reaching out in a positive way. Image if we all work together: the city, advocates, mayor, city council, media and local businesses, how far bicycling will go in Los Angeles.

    Finally, going on a nice long ride in Los Angeles.

    The new bike plan is like 10,000 pages long…this will be interesting reading.

  • Joseph E

    Damien, do you think you could do the plan review as one of the few posts over the next month? I think that would be important.

    I’ve tried to read it, but that thing is long! The maps look good, but the devil (or angels) are in the details.

  • If anyone is having trouble getting through the Bike Plan, make sure to sign up for both webinars on Jully 22nd!

    http://ladotbikeblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/15/register-now-july-22nd-webinar-2010-draft-la-bike-plan/

    Each session will have a question and answer section for all your specific queries.

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