Breaking News: City Releases DEIR for 5 Year Bike Plan Implementation/My Figueroa Project. Further Study Not Needed

39.5 miles of bicycle lanes on congested streets and the My Figueroa Project are headed towards environmental clearance following release of a DEIR and a new law signed by Governor Brown. Map via: ##http://cityplanning.lacity.org/eir/BicyclePlan/DEIR/3.0%20Project%20Description.pdf##The 2010 Bicycle Plan - First Year of the First Five-Year Implementation Strategy and the Figueroa Streetscape Project##

When Governor Jerry Brown signed A.B. 2245 into law, a law allowing certain bicycle projects to opt-out of the CEQA process, the news was somewhat buried. On the same day, the Governor vetoed the “Give Me 3” safety legislation that created a legal buffer between cyclists and passing automobiles earning the scorn of cyclists everywhere.

While the veto of Give Me 3 is still a sore subject, cyclists can take solace that the City of Los Angeles is taking advantage of A.B. 2245 to speed up bicycle, and even some pedestrian, projects in Los Angeles.

When the Department of City Planning unveiled the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the next five years of bicycle plan implementation and the My Figueroa! project, one small paragraph in Section II shows how the game has changed.

In September 2012, Governor Brown signed in to law Assembly Bill (AB) 2245, which allows re-striping of  urban roadways to proceed under a Statutory Exemption as long as a traffic and safety analysis is prepared  and hearings are held in affected areas…The city will not be certifying the EIR or preparing a Final EIR. Rather, Notices of Exemption will be filed pursuant to 1) California Public Resources Code (PRC) Section 21080.20.5 (c)(2) – for the bicycle lanes and 2) CEQA Guidelines, Article 19, Sections 15301, 15304, and 15311 for the streetscape improvements proposed as part of the My Figueroa Project.

In plain English, the city is opting out of the lengthy EIR process for the rest of the certification and using the public outreach, traffic and safety studies to meet the requirements of A.B. 2245. This will save the city money and months of planning and allow many projects to move forward on an accelerated timeline. At this point, neither LADOT or City Planning were able to release a timeline on when each of these projects or the sensational My Figueroa! project will move forward.

The Draft EIR covered 39.5 miles of bicycle lane projects that would require the removal of parking or a mixed use travel lane in areas where the Level of Service was already a C, D or F and the My Figueroa! project which covers 3 miles of Figueroa and some connecting streets in South Los Angeles and promises major streetscape, transit and bicycle access improvements. Just because a projet doesn’t appear on the list below doesn’t mean that it isn’t on the construction list, just that it wasn’t part of this study. Not every bike project needs to be studied under CEQA or A.B. 2245.

Some of the bicycle projects studied in the EIR that are headed towards environmental approval include 5.1 miles of bike lanes on North Figueroa Street between San Fernando Road and 4.5 miles of Venice Boulevard between Figueroa Street and Main Street, and 3.2 miles on Bundy Drive between San Vicente Boulevard and Stanwood Drive. A fuller description of the projects can be found in Chapter 3 of the DEIR.

 

  • So.Rad.

  • I’ve ridden hundreds of miles on some of those roads thinking, ‘it’d be so easy to put a bike lane here!’ And now it’s happening. Wow. Thank you #bikeLA. 

  • Jay

    I commute downtown by bike and have been hoping for many of these… Awesome news!
     

  • Ubray02

    This is still in violation of the city’s CEQA guidelines – which mandate that for any decrease in LOS by x (i.e. some small amount), an EIR has to be done. Or I could be wrong. That guideline is the one thing, after five years of going to meetings and working on bike issues that seemed to be what the engineers would hold on to in order to tell us “No.”

     

  • Ubray02

    Villaraigosa’s legacy as a visionary LA mayor is getting cemented in place if some of these are completed before the next mayor is sworn into office. In 20 years, his administration is the one that turned the titanic around and tried to avoid the iceberg. He has his faults, and he’s made a lot of promises that couldn’t be kept – but a mode shift of the sort these lanes represent is a big symbolic and material change in the DNA of LA transportation and politics.

  • Anonymous

    Why is it acceptable for pedestrians to be able to delay traffic in order to move through a crosswalk and yet slowing down traffic only during peak hours by putting in bike lanes causes drivers to become livid? Isn’t the safety of the vulnerable person on a bicycle just as important as a pedestrian?

    Also, why is it a city standard in Los Angeles to have grade separated sidewalks and walk signals for pedestrian on all arterial streets and yet a person on a bicycle, at best, is supposed to ride between two stripes to protect them from motorized vehicles? And even then, the bike lanes disappear at most potential conflict points such as driveways, freeway ramps and approaches to intersections. Its usually the procedure to not put dotted lines through the intersection where a person on a bicycle should ride and yet a pedestrian is given the benefit of a painted crosswalk to cross a arterial street.

    There are also over 5,000 miles of barrier protected sidewalks in Los Angeles and only about 55 mile of bike or mixed use paths.

    Given these circumstances, should it be a surprise to anyone that the transportation modal for bicycling for in Los Angeles is a tiny single digit?

  • Anonymous

    Its the council members that are the dictators on whether any of these bike lanes are put in. I expect to see some ferocious resistance against some of these installations. I went to the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council meeting Tuesday and all of those who voiced an opinion were against putting the bike lanes in. Yet, there is only a 1-2 minute vehicle travel delay expected after the bike lanes. are are put in. Imagine what the responses will be for a street like Bundy Dr where there is a additional 20-minute delay in traffic that is expected if the bike lanes are put in.

  • Anonymous

    One of the biggest expected negative impacts to the flow of vehicle traffic on a street from having bike lanes installed is Venice Blvd. Low and behold, there is going to be a short of practice run for people to try bicycling on this street with the April CicLAvia event. 

    CicLAvia acts sort of like a meat tenderizer in that it softens up the tough resistance to installing bike lanes. Giving tens of thousands of people the opportunity to try bicycling on this street without the stress of riding with motorized traffic should at convince many more people of the benefit to having bike lanes installed. It will also very likely give a large boost to the bike lane ridership on Venice Blvd.

  • This is a big step (albeit one we could kind of see coming with the passage of AB 2245), but Dennis is right: these lanes are nowhere near being a done deal. A few of these projects, trivial though their impacts may be, are virtually guaranteed to attract vehement opposition, and if it’s enough to spook the Council member in the area, there’s a very real possibility that the plug could get pulled. If livable streets supporters want these projects to happen, it would behoove them to stand up and make their voices heard.

  • Anonymous

    There needs to be a petition made in support of bicycle lanes on Venice Blvd for bicyclists to sign who attend the April CicLAvia event. Thousands of people protesting in the 1970’s against the transportation policies favoring the automobile made a major contribution to getting the Dutch government to start putting in bike paths throughout the cites starting in the 1980’s. Imagine the impact that tens of thousands of signatures in support of having bike lanes on Venice Blvd would have on the council members, even if it is not their council district.

  • Also of note: this bike lane package could allow for more BRT implementation. The EIR says that peak-hour bus/bike-only lanes would be implemented in several areas to minimize the delay to transit, with the off-peak configuration allowing curbside parking. The remaining lane space would be the same width as a standard bike lane, as is currently the case on Santa Monica west of the 405, Olympic from DTLA to Beverly Hills, and a few other locations. The peak-hour bus/bike lanes would be on Venice, Vermont, Cesar Chavez and Westwood. South Fig would get a separate, full-time bus-only lane. 

  • Daniel Rodman

    Bad link at the end?

  • Ubrayj02

    This is the end of the beginning because the biggest hurdles to making cycling mainstream in LA are getting removed. First, we lacked political will as a people to do something as bold as re-orient our streets away from the professional planner and engineers who have had dominion over them for several generations now. Second, lacked the bureaucratic and legal clearance to go full bore when the winds of local politics allowed us to build.

    The LADOT is still and insular and bungling agency when it comes to propaganda and community outreach. I expect their sneak attack bike projects to create a back lash all over the city where there isn’t already an entrenched bike-political machine in the making.

    In a few more  political cycles, cycling is going to be such a bedrock local politics issue in most parts of the city, we’ll be fighting to stay relevant to a generation of kids that assume that, “Of course the city would make bike lanes and cycle tracks!”

  •  No, the drivers are livid at the pedestrians too….

  • Anonymous

    I disagree with what you said about the LADOT. Let me explain what happened at the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council. Alek Bartrosouf of the LACBC gave a talk about the need for installing the bike lanes on Lankershim Blvd. Before the meeting took place, he asked if representatives from the LADOT could also help explain and answer questions about this street. Traffic engineer Tim Fremeaux and Senior Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowery both were at the meeting giving information and answering any questions from the attendees. This uses up a lot of limited resources to have the bikeways staff go to a meeting of all the neighborhood councils whose area if where the bike lane are.

    At this point the LADOT bikeways engineers are not going to have detailed plans about what the street will look like with bike plans. Thats simply because it would be a waste of time to do all of that work if they are told not to install them by the council member. They do know the approximate minutes of delay driving on the street (if any) to be expected if the bike lanes are installed.

    The people attending the neighborhood council already know what the traffic congestion is like for the street since they drive on it regularlly. They simply couldn’t see how the benefit for themselves or others from replacing a motor vehicle travel lane and installing a bike lane would outweigh the downside to doing it. There are relatively few people riding a bike at this point and the street is congested with motor vehicles during peak hours.

    I also gave several minutes of comments on how Lankershim Blvd is the most direct route north/south to the two subways in the valley and there is already more bicycle parking at the North Hollywood station than at any other transit station in the Metro system. I also told the audience that the traffic congestion will naturally increase if the bike lanes are not installed. If you encourage people to drive everywhere and you don’t give them alternatives, then you end up with most of them driving.

    I don’t think the talks convinced many of them that it would be a good idea to put the bike lanes in. One of the board members said “Have any of you seen what happened to traffic on Verdugo Rd after they installed bike lanes? They messed it up, its terrible!”

    You can only do so much outreach and even then most people will not know about the plans for installing bike lane in any given area and if they did it would likely be a negative reaction if it involves taking a travel lane away from motorized vehicles. 

    Most people are simply are not politically involved. If its not on television, then they probably would not know about it before then. 

  • I am pretty sure that, because cycle tracks were not an approved MUTCD treatment, they were not an option. 

  • I’d urge people familiar with particular streets and intersections to give the report careful scrutiny.  For example, is the average PM peak delay at Cesar Chavez/Mission Road really 6 minutes?  

  • The 2010 bike plan was written under the previous version of the Caltrans HDM, which explicitly banned cycletracks.

  • Anonymous

    I would have to say that the most important north/south bike lane project for the westside would be Westwood Blvd. It would connect the 30,000 employees and 35,000 students of UCLA to the future Expo Line. If it came down to only being able to do one of the 5 streets in this area, then that would be my choice. Showing the success of getting more people to bicycle on one of these streets will encourage the installation of more in the future.

  • Anonymous

    I would have to say that the most important north/south bike lane project for the westside would be Westwood Blvd. It would connect the 30,000 employees and 35,000 students of UCLA to the future Expo Line. If it came down to only being able to do one of the 5 streets in this area, then that would be my choice. Showing the success of getting more people to bicycle on one of these streets will encourage the installation of more in the future.

  • Anonymous

    I would have to say that the most important north/south bike lane project for the westside would be Westwood Blvd. It would connect the 30,000 employees and 35,000 students of UCLA to the future Expo Line. If it came down to only being able to do one of the 5 streets in this area, then that would be my choice. Showing the success of getting more people to bicycle on one of these streets will encourage the installation of more in the future.

  • Anonymous

    I would have to say that the most important north/south bike lane project for the westside would be Westwood Blvd. It would connect the 30,000 employees and 35,000 students of UCLA to the future Expo Line. If it came down to only being able to do one of the 5 streets in this area, then that would be my choice. Showing the success of getting more people to bicycle on one of these streets will encourage the installation of more in the future.

  • Anonymous

    One of the most exciting things about the upcoming CicLAvia event that runs along Venice Blvd from downtown to Venice Beach is that this street and five others are under consideration to have bike lanes installed this year and they are all in either council member Koretz’s or council member Rosendahl’s districts.. Now only if council member Koretz can be convinced to ride in CicLAvia, maybe that will soften him up enough to convince him to give his approval to remove parking or travel lanes to install bike lanes on some of the north/south streets in his district.

  • Anonymous

    I discovered that there is a alternate route that would work to get people from UCLA to the upcoming Exposition without creating a F traffic condition. Start on Gayley Ave and then to Midvale Ave until you get to Santa Monica Blvd. To cross Santa Monica Blvd would require a dedicated bicycle signal, and a cut into the concrete partition that mades Midvale Ave deadend here. Continue south on Midvale Ave ride on Pico Blvd for a block and turn right on Westwood Blvd which will get you to Exposition Blvd.

    Want to get to a store on Westwood Blvd while riding on Midvale Ave? Wayfinding signs on Midvale Ave would take care of pointing out where you are.

    This route lowers the stress from not having to ride along a busy street and it also does not have as much of a negative impact on traffic.

  • Kenny Easwaran

     As a cyclist, I had been hoping for dedicated bike lanes on Vermont.  But as a rider of the 754 I’m ecstatic that there will be rush-hour bus lanes between Venice and Wilshire – that stretch regularly takes more than twice as long as the several miles north of Wilshire.  As long as north-south dedicated cycle connections get put in somewhere nearby (ideally Hoover, which is my bike commute route), this seems like a huge improvement.

    The stretch from Dodger Stadium to Union Station seems good too, if they can ensure that people driving to baseball games don’t block the huge numbers of people taking the bus.  If the bus can be guaranteed to be fast, then maybe we can start seeing mode-share switch…

  • Kenny Easwaran

    I was also really confused about these numbers.  I’d be surprised to learn of intersections where the average motorist takes several minutes to get through, but maybe I’m counting in a different sort of way than they are.  Understanding exactly what they mean would be really useful in interpreting what is going on.

  • Anonymous

    Trying to put in bikeways can be like having a chess match with some of the council members. Installing infrastructure along a street might be blocked by them. You then must continue to think of potential alternative places to move the bicyclists until you are finally check mated by the council member. One thing to remember is that, except for Hollywood Blvd, its not against the rules to move bicyclists onto the sidewalk as was done to connect the Orange Line mixed use path that ends at Vanowen St to the path that begins just north of Victory Blvd. This makes it easier to find a way to connect a bicyclist for a short distance between two streets by utilizing a sidewalk on a street that is blocked from having bike lanes by a council member.

  • Ali Asghar

    will destroy the systems that are in place. The change from the animal concept over to the human concept will have drastic consequences. The dilemma is–do all suffer the consequences or remain as is to avoid the consequences. But, if the change isn’t made then all things remain the same, and any fixes are merely temporary. A predatory society will always produce the same result. Predation originates from the animal mind and is an animal trait. There’s no such division as Capitalism and “predatory” capitalism. Capitalism is predatory period just a predator is predator as there is no such thing as predator and “predator+predator. A predatory society cannot be fixed, the other option must be taken to solve the problems of the world. Being that

  • what happened at the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council. Alek Bartrosouf of the LACBC gave a talk about the need for installing the bike lanes on Lankershim Blvd. Before the meeting took place, he asked if representatives from the LADOT could also help explain and answer questions about this street. Traffic engineer Tim Fremeaux and Seni.The 2010 bike plan was written under the previous version of the Caltrans HDM, which explicitly banned cycletracks.Continue south on Midvale Ave, ride on Pico Blvd for a block, and turn right on Westwood Blvd which will get you to Exposition Blvd where the train station will be located.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    To get a great quantity of people to bicycle there must be separation from the much greater mass and speed of motor vehicles on major streets. Which means Pico Blvd and Westwood Blvd south of Pico Blvd would need to have at least bicycle lanes if people are expected to ride down Midvale Ave. That would require taking away a motor vehicle lane on both Pico Blvd and Westwood Blvd. Requiring people to ride a bicycle in mixed traffic on a busy street is beyond most people’s tolerance for traffic stress.

    Giving the one-tenth of a horsepower bicyclists a less direct route to the Expo Line than motor vehicles encourages people to drive instead of cycling there. Since there is no parking for cars at the Westwood Blvd Expo station it would make more sense to simply drive where you need to go instead of taking the train.

    Midvale Ave also has some steep inclines which makes it more difficult to bicycle on.

    Homeowners in the Westwood area seem to be all for changes to the transportation infrastructure on Westwood Blvd as long as it looks exactly the same when you get down as it did before you started.

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