Cedillo Insults Bikes as L.A. Gears Up for Metro 2015 Call for Projects

Via the Metro Call for Projects process, yesterday Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo revealed his plans for diagonal parking on North Figueroa Street. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Via the Metro Call for Projects process, yesterday Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo revealed his plans for diagonal parking on North Figueroa Street. Cedillo is pictured above at an October 2014 press event.  Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The Metro Call for Projects (the Call) competitively grants transportation funding to L.A. County cities to build various transportation projects. Metro’s next Call for Projects will take place in 2015, with cities applying in late January, and awardees announced by mid-2015. The Call takes place every other year.

In the recent past, Metro’s Call was the biggest source of funding for L.A. County bicycle and pedestrian projects, though the Call categories go far beyond just active transportation. Due to changes in federal transportation funding, a lot of the walk and bike monies have been shifted into the statewide Active Transportation Program. Nonetheless, the Call continues to shape the way local transportation capital is spent, and still includes some bike and pedestrian funding. This will be the first Call since the Metro Board of Directors adopted the agency’s Complete Streets Policy, which asserts that the agency will prioritize projects that support a breadth of modes.

Metro’s 2015 Call will include the following funding categories:

  • Regional Surface Transportation Improvements (RSTI; mostly road-widening)
  • Goods Movement Improvements
  • Signal Synchronization and Bus Speed Improvements
  • Transportation Demand Management
  • Transit Capital
  • Bicycle Improvements
  • Pedestrian Improvements

When the Call approaches, the city of L.A. embarks on an internal ranking process. Various city departments– primarily Transportation (LADOT), but also Public Works bureaus, and sometimes the port, airports, and others–submit projects internally. The Mayor and City Council have a hand in making sure departments include projects that they support and prioritize. The city then scores and ranks the projects internally, selecting a final list of recommended projects.

That entire selection process remains behind closed doors until the final city project list is brought to the City Council for approval. The first step in this approval took place yesterday, when LADOT presented its recommendations to the City Council Transportation Committee. LADOT recommendations include an explanatory cover letter [PDF] and a project list spreadsheet [PDF].

There are millions of stories in these LADOT documents, not all of which will fit in today’s article. For now, SBLA will just highlight some of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Some of what looks good includes:

  • Expansion of Express Park to Exposition Park and Venice
  • New DASH shuttles
  • Colorado Boulevard complete streets improvements
  • Pedestrian improvements on Sherman Way, Santa Monica Blvd, and connecting to the Hollywood/Vine Metro station
  • Protected bike lanes on Chandler Boulevard from Vineland Avenue (just east of Metro’s North Hollywood station) to Coldwater Canyon Avenue
  • West San Fernando Vally bike path connection between the L.A. River and Orange Line bikeways
  • Adding bike parking at city parks and libraries
  • Traffic-calmed mid-city bicycle boulevards on two corridors: Rosewood Avenue and Alta Vista Boulevard/Cochran Avenue
  • Additional bicycle-friendly business programs

On the bad side, there are:

  • Projects to widen portions of Western Avenue and Los Feliz Boulevard
  • Project to increase turn radii on Alameda Street

And then there’s one real stinker: Councilmember Cedillo is pushing diagonal parking at the expense of bike lanes on North Figueroa Boulevard. As a candidate Cedillo claimed that he supported bike lanes for North Fig; then he flip-flopped, killing the project. Though the potential diagonal parking is dressed up in fancy language, extolling pedestrian safety and great streets, it is clear that diagonal parking will take up so much space that approved bike lanes will become infeasible.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Eric Bruins described Cedillo’s ploy this way:

In suspending the North Figueroa bike lanes, Cedillo pledged to consider the street holistically through the Great Streets process rather than moving forward with one project for any one mode. Instead, what we see in this scope, released 24 hours before adoption by a council committee, is an “anything but bikes” project. Neither approach in fact yields the complete street that Highland Park constituents have asked for again and again at every public meeting.

But it’s not time to weep or to celebrate, just yet. There are plenty of steps before any of these projects become on-the-ground reality.

The city’s Transportation Committee approved LADOT’s list of projects yesterday, which sends the proposal to the full Los Angeles City Council for a vote. According to the city legislative website (CFI 14-1680) the item is scheduled for a vote next Tuesday December 16. The agenda isn’t out yet, but this meeting should take place at 10 a.m.

If the full Council approves the list, as expected, then LADOT prepares grant applications and submits them to Metro. Metro selects a limited number of applications to receive funding. Even projects that Metro approves still go through various design and environmental review processes. Interested members of the public can and should weigh in at all these decision points.

  • Fakey McFakename

    E-mail sharon.gin@lacity.org and all the members of the committee to get your comments on file. Even if the City ignores them, Metro might not.

    (I don’t think Alameda turn radii are necessarily bad, unless it’s right by Union Station–Alameda’s a major truck route, and it may be necessary to make truck turns safer. North Fig stinks, though)

  • Fakey McFakename

    Looking at the table, rail transit priority upgrades are submitted for funding; orange line priority upgrades are not. And Rail-to-River is not submitted, presumably because they think Metro will fund it anyway.

    It also seems like ExpressPark (car-oriented, although Shoupian) gets scored higher than NoHo First Mile Last Mile.

    Bikeshare Phase 2 is also recommended for submission. Various bikeways funded, but others are scored too low.

    Lots of pedestrian improvements scored too low (quite rightly–the City’s failure to enforce the law against adjoining property owners shouldn’t be bailed out by Metro)

    A lot of widening projects properly dropped before even the scoring phase.

  • Derek Hofmann

    Will it be “back out” diagonal parking or the safer-for-bicyclists “head out” parking?

  • ubrayj02

    He held a meeting and nearly every table asked for bike lanes and a host of other improvements. What we’re getting is the Misty Iwatsu/North Figueroa Association’s 1980’s dream of diagonal parking – which will do nothing for safety, nothing for parking, and nothing but waste time because this project even if funded won’t be under construction until 2017 at the earliest. How convenient! That happens to be Cedillo’s reelection year.

  • Alex Brideau III

    Of the two options I too would prefer head-out parking.

    I wonder if these diagonal spots could be moved out XX feet and function as a buffer for a curb-adjacent “protected” bike lane.

  • mr. rollers

    Widening Los Feliz is pretty scary – people already drive 55mph along there.

  • MaxUtil

    At he community outreach event I went to, it was obvious they were pushing for head out diagonal parking. Cedillo’s “facilitators” were pushing the safety aspect. I don’t think a single community member ended up mentioning it in their roadway redesigns.

    When I asked my facilitator what they would do to create the extra space needed for diagonal parking, I got no answer. They may be looking for lane narrowing.

    I suspect this idea may have been popular with a local business forum they did earlier.

  • MaxUtil

    Since diagonal parking takes up more space than parallel, you would have to drastically reduce the other road uses to make enough space for diagonal AND bike lanes; probably reduce Fig to one travel lane in each direction.

    Short answer: diagonal parking means no bike lanes ever.

  • MaxUtil

    It looks like Cedillo is also asking for “bike and ped” improvements on Marmion by the Southwest Museum Gold Line stop including “bike share and lockers”. Estimated price $3 million.

    I don’t even know what he means by “bike share” and I can’t think of a worse Gold Line stop to add major bike facilities. It’s probably the least used stop in the area and definitely the least accessible by bike. Thanks Gil!

  • Fakey McFakename

    I thought that was one of the ones scored low –> not submitted for funding?

  • Funky Mc Chun Kee

    DIAGONAL PARKING?! HAHAHAH dude is about to make a mistake. They phased that shit out on major blvds becuase its a constant slow downer for cut through traffic.
    should let that one happen just for the laughs.

  • michael macdonald

    Correct. Didn’t make the cut.

  • Joe Linton

    Looks like they want to widen at the Mulholland Fountain to add a right turn lane (thanks Mr LaBonge)

  • Joe Linton

    Actually Metro is doing bike share so it was removed from LA’s list

  • Fritz

    How many parking spaces would angled parking even add? It’s such a small corridor they applied for, it couldn’t possible be more than 4 parking spaces (about one per block) that get added, if that. Fig is a weird street with off-set intersections and it’s unclear if implementing angled parking would even add any parking or just slow cars down. If goal is to slow cars down, the road diet would have done that at a fraction of the cost. This is clearly a big middle finger to the bike advocates and compromising safety as it suggests NOTHING will be done to slow traffic until (and IF) this nonsense project gets funded.

  • Caltransylvania

    He is looking for the biggest bang for his buck. These kinds of projects tend to be expensive. The bigger the chunks of govt’ chee$e coming down the pike, by way of “project$”, the more the rat$ can gnaw away. Rats? …I mean”con$ultant$”.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    A LADOT spokesperson who consulted with Seleta Reynolds before he spoke before the City Council Transportation Committee meeting about the council member Cedillo proposed call-for-project for North Figueroa St stated “In our eyes (DOT) it is a complete street. It may not have the bike lane, but ah, we’re factoring all facets what makes a complete street.”

    On page 5 of the Caltrans Complete Streets Implementation Action Plan a Complete Street is defined as: “A complete street is a transportation facility that is planned, designed, operated and maintained to provide safe mobility for all users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, transit vehicles, truckers, and motorists, appropriate to the function and context of the facility. Complete Streets concepts apply to all roadways in all contexts including local roads and state highways in rural, suburban,and urban areas.”

    The proposed diagonal parking project on North Figueroa St. would not fit the definition of a Complete Street if it is eliminating the possibility of installing bike lanes.

  • Jeff Jacobberger

    Coverage of a CD4 candidate debate in Los Feliz indicated that this is somehow a major issue.

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