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Posts from the "LADOT" Category

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What Should Downtown L.A. Do to Get Ready for Bike Share?

New bike lanes on 3rd Street in Downtown Los Angeles. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

New bike lanes on 3rd Street in Downtown Los Angeles. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Metro regional bike share is coming soon. If all goes as planned, a year from now, downtown Los Angeles will have system on the ground. It will include about 1,000 bikes at 65 docking stations. The system will extend from Union Station to USC. For more detail, see SBLA’s earlier preview.

It’s not too early to ask Streetsblog L.A. readers — are Downtown Los Angeles streets ready to make bike share a big success? If not, what changes should L.A.’s Transportation Department (LADOT) prioritize in the coming months?

Let’s start by celebrating. Downtown has come a long ways in the last half a decade.

Back on October 10, 2010, there was this event called CicLAvia that flooded central Los Angeles streets with bicycles. At that time, there were no bike facilities in downtown Los Angeles.

In fact, there still were no bikeways downtown through July 2011. In August 2011, the 7th Street bike lanes arrived, dipping their toes across the 110 Freeway into downtown.

Green pavement bike lanes soon followed on Spring Street. Then, buffered bike lanes on Los Angeles Street and First Street.

In 2012, Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar and LADOT announced the coming Downtown L.A. Bikeway Network. Other than a few facilities that the city spent a lot of time and money to study (Cesar Chavez Avenue and Venice Boulevard), the downtown network was built out. And then some — downtown now boasts one of the most complete bikeway networks in the city. 

It’s not Wilmington, but downtown is a great place to bike. Even when LAPD vehicles park in some of the lanes some of the time.

Downtown’s increased bikeability is a subject of some controversy. Read more…

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People St Opens First Project with Plaza in North Hollywood

Councilmember Paul Krekorian speaks at the People St opening in North Hollywood. Photo: ##https://twitter.com/LADOTPeopleSt##LADOT People St/Twitter##

Councilmember Paul Krekorian speaks at the People St opening in North Hollywood. Photo: LADOT People St/Twitter

What was once an empty alley near the busy intersection of Magnolia and Lankershim Boulevards in the heart of the North Hollywood Arts District is now a public plaza with tables, chairs, green polka dots on the pavement, and sun shade.

Enjoying the plaza. Photo: ##https://twitter.com/LADOTPeopleSt##LADOT People St/Twitter##

Enjoying the plaza. Photo: LADOT People St/Twitter

The plaza, the second of its kind and the first completed project in LADOT’s People St Program, cost only $57,000.

“L.A. is the densest urban area in the nation, so we are getting creative to reclaim underused spaces that can be transformed into places for Angelenos to eat, shop, and spend time with their friends and families,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

“The People St initiative allows community groups — who know their neighborhoods the best — to partner with City Hall to create great public spaces that make our communities more livable and prosperous.”

For those just joining us, People St is a program where LADOT works with a community partner to take an under-utilized section of street and turn it into a plaza, parklet, or bike corral. The city works with the partner on design and permitting, but the cost and maintenance of the project is covered by the local group. In this case, the partner was the North Hollywood Business Improvement District (BID).

Aaron Aulenta, with the North Hollywood BID, reports that working with LADOT was a relatively easy and conflict-free process. LADOT even provided some flexibility when the BID wanted a different color scheme than was outlined in the “toolbox” that the department gives to successful applicants. The BID wanted a green and yellow scheme that looks more like the plaza in Silver Lake than was allowed in the toolkit. Read more…

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Eyes on the Street: Cars Running the Red at Venice and Robertson

Expo super-fan Gökhan Esirgen sends along the above video of cars running the red light at the newly-reconstructed intersection of Venice Blvd. and Robertson Blvd. Esirgen writes, “Note that this is not a seldom event — it happens for about five seconds in almost every cycle during rush hour and it’s typical of this intersection now. A pedestrian who looks at the signal but not the cars would be hit.”

Streetsblog editorial board member Jonathan Weiss forwarded the message to staff at LADOT. Before the afternoon was out, Jay Greenstein with Councilmember Paul Koretz’s office responded that engineers with LADOT are re-examining the intersection and LAPD’s enforcement division was notified.

We’ll keep an eye of our own on the intersection to see if there are any new, more positive, changes in the coming weeks and months.

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LADOT Striping Some, Not All, of Bike Lanes on Repaved Venice Blvd

New buffered bike lane preliminary striping on Venice Boulevard, just west of Arlington. All photos Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

New buffered bike lane preliminary striping on Venice Boulevard, just west of Arlington Avenue. All photos Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The preliminary striping is down on the resurfaced mid-city stretch of Venice Boulevard that SBLA highlighted last week. The site is east of the existing Venice Blvd bike lanes, in the Los Angeles City neighborhoods of Harvard Heights, Arlington Heights, and Mid-City

Google map of Venice Boulevard area referenced in this article

Google map of Venice Boulevard area referenced in this article

The good news is that the L.A. City Transportation Department (LADOT) is extending bike lanes one mile east to Arlington Avenue.

The bad news is that, despite an approved plan and years of extensive studies to extend the lanes into downtown Los Angeles, the Venice Boulevard bike lanes will end at Arlington. For now.

The city recently resurfaced two stretches of Venice Boulevard in this area. Streetsblog reported on resurfacing from Arlington Avenue to Western Avenue. L.A. also resurfaced the northern (westbound) half of Venice Blvd from Crenshaw Blvd to San Vicente Blvd. 

The Crenshaw-San Vicente stretch has had a history of bike lanes disappearing and re-appearing with the Mid-Town Crossing redevelopment.

Reading the preliminary striping, the existing bike lanes in that area are being upgraded to buffered bike lanes.  Read more…

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No Pitchforks as LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds Addresses West SFV Forum

LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds speaking at yesterday's forum. All photos Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds speaking at yesterday’s forum. All photos Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

I was a little worried that there might be pitchforks at last night’s transportation town hall. The event was hosted by L.A. City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and held at the Tarzana Recreation Center.

The main speaker was Seleta Reynolds, the new General Manager of the Los Angeles City Transportation Department (LADOT). I know that Seleta Reynolds has received a lot of praise from us here at SBLA, and from others who are excited about a walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented future… but how would she play in the suburban West San Fernando Valley?

I took the Metro Red Line subway, transferred to the Metro Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit, and bicycled the first and last mile. I locked my bike up against a playground fence, no bike parking in evidence.

While I was waiting for the event to begin, I overheard attendees talking about parking problems, and how a planned two-story school seemed too tall. When Councilmember Blumenfield touted the success of the Orange Line, the man next to me, under his breath, proclaimed it to be “a waste of money.” I responded, whispering, that “I rode it to get here.”

Councilmember Blumenfield was refreshingly multimodal in his opening remarks. He decried the West Valley’s transportation challenges, from being stuck on the 101 Freeway to too many buildings surrounded by “a sea of parking” that makes it difficult to walk or bike. His vision for the future would include grade separation for the Metro Orange Line, making the West Valley a place where millenials can “live-work-play,” and following a “more pedestrian-friendly way of planning.”

Reynolds was applauded and started in on a somewhat stock presentation, mostly focused on LADOT’s recently released strategic plan. She spoke of how previous well-intentioned strategies have drained the life out of our streets, and that now we’re thinking creatively about each street and the purpose it needs to serve.

In summarizing her department’s priorities, the GM cited two critical points: “provide choices” and “lead.”

Providing choices is, of course, a multimodal approach. DOT needs to not just move cars, but also to make walking, transit, and bicycling viable and safe.

Her second point, “lead,” is a bit more complicated. Reynolds explains that LADOT doesn’t do freeways — that’s Caltrans. LADOT doesn’t do buses and trains — that’s Metro. LADOT doesn’t even build bridges or curbs, fix potholes, or re-surface streets — that’s the city’s Public Works bureaus. LADOT does, as she puts it, “hold the bag on all these things,” so DOT needs to be a leader in partnering with these agencies to work together to make mobility seamless for people moving through the city.

Reynolds deprecated L.A.’s notoriously confusing parking signs, mentioning that she had heard from an actual rocket scientist who couldn’t figure them out. She also related that even she had already received two parking tickets since arriving in L.A. last August. She didn’t pull any strings; she paid them both. It is in her strategic plan to re-vamp these signs.

I was a little worried that Reynolds’ photos of Downtown L.A.’s Broadway Dress Rehearsal might not resonate with a suburban Tarzana audience. I was wrong. Among the audience questions were two different ones about how the Valley’s Sherman Way could be made more walkable. One asked if Sherman Way could be closed and become a “walk street like in Santa Monica.”

This man asked Seleta Reynolds if DASH service could work more like really effective circulators at Yosemite.

This man asked Seleta Reynolds if DASH service could work more like really effective circulators in Yosemite.

Also among the audience questions were concerns over improving Valley DASH service and providing places to sit at bus stops. Her response to the latter: “I want to make transit reliable, comfortable, and fun – to thank people for making that choice.”  Read more…

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Eyes on the Street: Venice Boulevard Resurfaced, Bike Lanes Soon?

Thanks to friend of the blog and L.A. City Bicycle Advisory Committee Chair Jeff Jacobberger for spotting this and bringing it to the attention of the city of L.A. Transportation Department (LADOT) and SBLA.

Pedestrian walking across the recently-resurfaced Venice Boulevard. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Pedestrian walking across the recently-resurfaced not-yet-striped Venice Boulevard. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Venice Boulevard was recently resurfaced between Western Avenue and Arlington Avenue. This portion of Venice Boulevard did not have bike lanes before the repaving, but it probably should get them very soon.

These blocks are designated for bike lanes on the city’s approved Bicycle Plan. The city already spent a lot of time and money to design and study extending Venice Boulevard bike lanes as part of its “Year One” bike lane projects list. The Venice Boulevard bike lanes would be extended 3.9 miles from their current terminus at Crenshaw Boulevard all the way to Main Street in downtown Los Angeles. When complete, this will create a 13 mile long bikeway. The existing 9.1-mile Venice Boulevard bike lanes are already the city’s longest.

Cyclist riding Venice Blvd yesterday

Cyclist riding Venice Blvd yesterday

The project would most likely be a road diet (or removing parking.) The road diet could convert four car lanes to three, and add continuous turn pockets and bike lanes. These road diet projects are, of course, safer for everybody – drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Yellow plastic temporary center line markers on Venice Boulevard yesterday

Yellow plastic temporary center line markers on Venice Boulevard yesterday

As of late yesterday, the new smooth surface is very bikeable. People in cars, on bikes, and on foot were all using the resurfaced street. The street has “gone black” (vernacular for resurfaced and not yet striped) and the only hint of any kind of lane markings were the temporary plastic markers delineating the center line.

Note: As this article was about to be published, SBLA received word indirectly that LADOT will extend the Venice Boulevard bike lanes very soon, but apparently not yet east of Arlington (where the above photos were taken.) We’ll update via comments below or a subsequent article as the picture becomes clearer.

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Damaged DTLA Parklet to Be Repaired, Four New L.A. Parklets in 2015

parklet

Last July a drunk driver damaged this parklet on Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles. The city is working with parklet sponsors, the Historic Core Business Improvement District, to repair it for a March re-opening. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

In July 2014, according to coverage at LAist and CBS, a drunk man made off with his friend’s car and, after clipping a couple of parked cars, smashed into a parklet. That parklet is located in front of Downtown Los Angeles’ L.A. Cafe, on Spring Street between 6th Street and 7th Street. Sadly, since the collision, the parklet has been closed.

The L.A. City Department of Transportation (LADOT) People St program recently announced that the Historic Core Business Improvement District (HCBID), L.A. City Councilmember Jose Huizar, and LADOT have collaborated to devise repair and modification plans for the damaged parklet. According to HCBID executive director Blair Besten, the repairs will cost “into the thousands of dollars.” Besten said that the HCBID and LADOT ”are taking the opportunity to revamp some things about the parklet that we thought could be a better use of space. For example, the [stationary exercise] bikes were underutilized, so we are replacing them with additional seating and bike racks.”

In addition, People St’s Valerie Watson stated that LADOT will be adding “reflective flexible delineators on parklet corners, like the ones you see out on Broadway Dress Rehearsal, for extra nighttime visibility.”

Besten said, “We are excited to get this program back up and running for the neighborhood and hope everyone will be happy with the usability changes we are making.”

In addition to getting the damaged parklet back up to spec, People St announced that four more parklets are on the way, and they are expected to appear on L.A. streets by late 2015.  Read more…

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Work Underway On Three New LADOT People St Plazas

North Hollywood goes green. People St plaza painting underway in new plaza, on the west side of Lankershim Boulevard just north of Magnolia Boulevard. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

One North Hollywood alley goes green. People St painting underway in new plaza, located on the west side of Lankershim Boulevard, just north of Magnolia Boulevard. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Los Angeles is reclaiming some car space to allocate it to walking and hanging out. Work is underway on three new plazas, located in Pacoima, North Hollywood, and South Los Angeles’ Leimert Park.

The plazas are the work of the city Transportation Department’s (LADOT) People St program. Under People St, community organizations apply to host city-built plaza, parklet, and bike corral projects. Based on city resources and project readiness, the city selects a limited number of projects to proceed each year.

2015 People St plaza and parklet awardees were approved and announced last July and are as follows:

  • North Hollywood – One block alley west of Lankershim Boulevard just north of Magnolia Boulevard – sponsored by the NoHo Business Improvement District
  • Pacoima – Bradley Avenue north of Van Nuys Boulevard to alley – sponsored by Pacoima Beautiful (see previous coverage here)
  • Leimert Park Village – 43rd Place from Degnan Boulevard to Leimert Boulevard – sponsored by Institute for Maximum Human Potential (see recent coverage here)

In order to save costs while getting lots of work done, LADOT is installing all three plazas at once this week. Read more…

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Eyes on the Street: LADOT Express Bus Service to Beverly Hills

Michael Fleming has been advocating for LADOT’s Commuter Express bus service to add a stop to service Beverly Hills for years. When LADOT gave him the best New Year’s present of all, a bus stop just blocks from his office, he excitedly snapped this picture to share with the world.

Photo: Michael Fleming

Photo: Michael Fleming

Commuter Express #534 will now be stopping at Olympic Blvd. and Beverly Drive on its existing east-west route. The stop already served the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus and Metro buses. However, the new stop allows easy access for Beverly Hills’ residents who want a quick trip to Downtown Los Angeles. Learn more about the line at its webpage.

Trial runs of the new service were considered successful earlier this week, but so far not many people know the stop has been added outside of those who already visit the bus stop or are regular watchers of the LADOT transit services website. Maybe the media in Beverly Hills can help spread the word if they’re not too busy maligning bicyclists trying to make the streets safer.

Note: Michael Fleming is executive director of the David Bohnett Foundation, a major sponsor of Streetsblog Los Angeles.

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Continental Crosswalks Appear at Barrington and National

Nearly two months ago, on November 12, Mayor Eric Garcetti stood with Councilmembers Mike Bonin and Joe Buscaino and Controller Ron Galerpin at the road repaving project at Barrington Avenue and National Boulevard. The Mayor announced that, thanks to new revenue, the city would now be repaving 200 additional miles of roadway, above and beyond its regular repaving budget every year.

Photo: Damien Newton

Photo: Damien Newton

Garcetti also promised, in response to a question posed by me on behalf of Streetsblog, that the city would look at ways to streamline the process on getting paint on the ground after a road is repaved. Earlier in the same press conference, Buscaino told horror stories of how it could take weeks to get the road repainted leading to confused travelers and unsafe conditions.

This might not sound like the most difficult goal, but it requires coordination both between city departments, including Transportation (LADOT) and Public Works’ Bureau of Street Services (BSS), and outside agencies such as Big Blue Bus and Metro.

Sadly, even by the most generous of estimates, the poster-project for the new way of doing things took a slow route to repainting. The intersection of Barrington and National was repaved in mid-November 2014. It was repainted in 2015.

In mid-December I inquired to the Mayor’s office on why the intersection had not been repainted yet. They responded that even though the intersection at National and Barrington had been begun to be repaved in mid-November, the repaving phase of the project hadn’t been completed until early December.

Even if we accept that rationale, it still took a month to get the street repainted.  Read more…