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LADOT Quietly Hosting Vision Zero Community Engagement Meetings

MIG staff taking community input at last night's Vision Zero meeting. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

MIG staff taking community input at last night’s Vision Zero meeting. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Streetsblog L.A. attended the city of L.A. Transportation Department (LADOT) Vision Zero meeting last night in Hollywood.

The meeting was the fourth second in a series of ten Vision Zero community engagement meetings hosted by LADOT and their consultant, MIG. The meetings resume tonight in Echo Park, and continue through August 10 in various L.A. neighborhoods in the Valley, South L.A., West L.A. and San Pedro. None appear to be scheduled for Boyle Heights or North East L.A. See full schedule after the jump. (Correction: some meetings have been rescheduled – see corrected schedule below.)

Oddly, these appear to be public meetings, but as of this morning they do not appear on the LADOT Vision Zero website, nor any mention of them on LADOT’s Vision Zero Twitter. Apparently someone did not get the memo and posted the full meeting schedule online at the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council website. 

That San Pedro post made the rounds among L.A.’s well-wired bicyclist communities yesterday afternoon, which was the first notice that Streetsblog L.A. received. Last night, LADOT Vision Zero lead Nat Gale mentioned that meeting attendees had been “nominated” to attend. It is unclear how the nominating, outreach, and engagement were supposed to work. Perhaps the best way to get a lot of bicyclists to attend a Vision Zero meeting is to not invite them, so they become suspicious and rush to attend.

Vision Zero is the international campaign to reduce traffic deaths. Vision Zero principles hold that all traffic deaths are preventable and that human life takes priority over other transportation system objectives. The city of Los Angeles Vision Zero goals include reducing traffic deaths by 20 percent by 2017 and reducing deaths to zero by 2025.

The current series of meetings are part of the community engagement process for creating the city’s Vision Zero Action Plan, which is due out in August. The plan will guide the city’s multi-departmental Vision Zero efforts, to be implemented by multiple city departments including LADOT, Public Works, LAPD, LAFD, City Planning, and others.

At last night’s meeting, Gale presented an overview of the city’s efforts on Vision Zero so, highlighting the 2015 mayoral directive, the scramble crossing at Hollywood and Highland, and a new finer-grain priority intersections corridor categorization within the city’s High Injury Network. To identify the priority areas, LADOT and MIG used data from kill and severe injury (KSI) crashes, combined with factors to prioritize equity, children, and seniors. LADOT and MIG have drilled down into 2009 through 2013 KSI data to thoroughly characterize collision profiles based on various factors, from turning behavior to hit-and-run to drunk driving.  Read more…

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Downtown L.A. Celebrates New Protected Bike Lanes On Los Angeles Street

Deputy Mayor Barbara Romero and LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds take a celebratory ride in the Los Angeles Street protected bikeway. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Deputy Mayor Barbara Romero and LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds take a celebratory ride in the Los Angeles Street protected bikeway. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Downtown L.A. now has protected bike lanes! Woooot! Wooooot!

Not just a block-long tunnel, but full-on grown-up Euro-style protected bike lanes. The newly opened half-mile-long Los Angeles Street protected bike lanes feature bicycle signals, floating bus stop islands, neon-green merge zones and two-phase left turn markings, not to mention freshly resurfaced pavement. All just in time for the launch of Metro bike-share on July 7.

Councilmember Jose Huizar and other city leaders officially opened the new facility yesterday afternoon. Huizar connected the low-stress bikeway with his DTLA Forward campaign, which will include additional protected lanes on Spring and Main Streets. Department of Transportation (LADOT) General Manager Seleta Reynolds spoke of the symbolic importance of these lanes connecting with early Los Angeles’s focal plaza, plus Union Station, City Hall, and even Caltrans’ Southern California headquarters. The ribbon-cutting event even featured a small fleet of Metro bike-share bikes available to test ride.

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L.A. City Councilmember Jose Huizar addressing the crowd assembled at El Pueblo

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Los Angeles Street Protected Bike Lanes Ribbon-Cutting This Thursday

New full-featured protected bike lanes on Los Angeles Street. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

New full-featured protected bike lanes on Los Angeles Street. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The city of Los Angeles has a brand new full-featured protected bike lane. It is on downtown L.A.’s Los Angeles Street, connecting Union Station with First Street, running literally in the shadow of Los Angeles City Hall.

Construction began in April and was recently completed.

Celebrate the newly completed lanes with Councilmember Jose Huizar and the L.A. Department of Transportation (LADOT) at a ribbon-cutting ceremony this Thursday June 16 at 1:30 p.m. at the plaza at El Pueblo (also known as Olvera Street.) The address is 125 Paseo de la Plaza, though the festivities take place on the Los Angeles Street side of the plaza, immediately west of Union Station.

Though the city of L.A. already has protected bike lanes in the Second Street tunnel and on Reseda Boulevard (and more on the way soon for Venice Boulevard, Van Nuys Boulevard, and Figueroa Street) the Los Angeles Street bike lanes include features that represent some important firsts for L.A. protected bikeways.

Bicycle traffic signal to allow cyclists a separate phase from turning cars

Bicycle traffic signal allows cyclists a separate phase from turning cars

L.A.’s First Bike Traffic Signals

Bike signals are not required for protected bike lane intersections; Long Beach uses them, Temple City’s Rosemead Boulevard and L.A.’s Reseda Boulevard do not.

Bike traffic signals are used to give cyclists that are headed straight ahead a signal phase separate from right-turning cars. The signals contribute to a relatively stress-free ride; cyclists ride to the right of parked and moving cars the entire ride, and do not need to merge into traffic at the approach to intersections.

Similar to car traffic signals, the bike signals are triggered by sensors embedded in the street (see photos below). Waiting bicyclists receive the green light first, followed by turning cars.

One drawback of the bike signals is that they drive up construction and maintenance costs.

L.A.’s First Protected Bikeway Transit Islands

Passengers board a DASH bus at a Los Angeles Street's transit island

Passengers board a DASH bus at a Los Angeles Street transit island

In order to minimize pedestrian-cyclist conflict, the project includes transit islands. Instead of transit riders waiting at the curb, they walk across the bike lane and wait in the transit island. Bicyclists ride between the transit island and the sidewalk.

This speeds up transit, allowing buses to stop in the travel lane while passengers are boarding. It also makes for a more stress-free bike ride, as conflicts between buses and bicycles are minimized.

L.A.’s First Two-Phase Left Turn Markings 



The Los Angeles Street project also features green boxes that support cyclists’ two-phase left turns. Instead of stressful merging through car traffic to make a vehicular left turn, cyclists make a low-stress left turn similar to the way a pedestrian would.

The green paint features were striped after SBLA took photos last week; they are visible in the video embedded above.

More images after the jump.  Read more…

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West Hollywood and L.A. Celebrate New Fairfax Avenue Bike Lanes

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West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister cuts the ribbon on Fairfax Avenue’s new bike lanes. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The cities of West Hollywood and Los Angeles celebrated the grand opening of a collaborative project yesterday: 1.2 miles of bike lanes on Fairfax Avenue. The new bike lanes extend from Melrose Avenue to Hollywood Boulevard. The northern end of the lanes were striped by the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) in 2014. That facility was extended southward this year, through the cities of both L.A. and West Hollywood.

The lanes were championed by the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition, which lead a celebratory lap after yesterday’s ribbon-cutting.

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West Hollywood Councilmember Lindsey Horvath, a self proclaimed “car-free millennial,” rides a West Hollywood bike-share bike on the celebratory tour of the new Fairfax Avenue bike lanes.

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L.A. City Faces Devil’s Bargain: Increase Limits To Allow Speed Enforcement

LAPD's Troy Williams speaks to Transportation Committee yesterday. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

LAPD’s Troy Williams speaks to Transportation Committee yesterday. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Over the course of the next two years, the city of Los Angeles plans to increase speed limits on many of its major streets. Why? According to the Police (LAPD) and Transportation (LADOT) Departments and due to pernicious state laws, cities are required to frequently study and increase speed limits to be able to actually ticket drivers who speed.

At the root of the problem is state “speed trap” law, which prevents cities from setting “arbitrarily low” speed limits. This law is defended by the California Highway Patrol and AAA. California requires local municipalities to periodically conduct speed studies and then to set speed limits based on how fast most drivers are already going. Cities are required to make the speed limit match the 85th percentile of prevailing traffic. Changes worsened the law in 2009 by taking away a modicum of local discretion to set slightly lower speed limits.

Combined with traffic engineering standards that favor auto speeds, this law results in a vicious cycle that favors faster and faster speeds. Speeders speed. City studies count speeders. Studies result in increases speed limits. This enables speeders to speed even more.

The state requires Los Angeles to conduct a speed study every seven to ten years. If speed surveys are not done, or if they expire, then LAPD cannot use state of the art laser speed enforcement devices.

At yesterday’s Los Angeles City Council Transportation Committee, LAPD officer Troy Williams bemoaned the state of speed enforcement in Los Angeles. Per Williams, as of late last year, 75 percent of L.A. streets had expired speed surveys, meaning that LAPD’s “hands are tied” and speed limits are not enforced. The figure is over 80 percent on the city’s targeted Vision Zero High Injury Network: 6 percent of L.A. streets where 65 percent of all deaths and severe injuries take place. In short, L.A.’s deadliest streets are largely places where LAPD cannot enforce speed laws.

Williams stated that in 2010, LAPD issued 99,000 speeding tickets and, in 2015, that number had dropped to 16,000. According to Williams, a great deal of LAPD laser speed enforcement equipment sits on LAPD shelves as officers have turned them in due to lack of use.  Read more…

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Pacoima’s Van Nuys Blvd To Receive Upgrade, Protected Bike Lane This Summer

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Before and after cross-sections for Van Nuys Boulevard. Source: Great Streets concept proposal [PDF]

A stretch of Van Nuys Boulevard in Pacoima will receive an extensive safety upgrade this summer. Under the leadership of Los Angeles City Councilmember Felipe Fuentes, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative, and the L.A. Department of Transportation (LADOT), the 0.8-miles of Van Nuys Blvd. between Laurel Canyon Boulevard and San Fernando Road will receive a road diet. Traffic will be reduced by one lane; bike lanes will be added, including a southbound parking-protected bike lane.

Councilmember Fuentes expects that the project “not only help address safety concerns for all users of the corridor but will hopefully bring new energy to the boulevard where people can come together to enjoy the food, art and culture that Van Nuys Blvd has to offer.”

The Van Nuys Blvd Safety Improvement Project concept proposal [PDF] was presented at a mid-April community forum. The proposal makes the case for safety improvements on Van Nuys Blvd, which is on the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network: 6 percent of L.A. streets where 65 percent of all deaths and severe injuries take place.

According to statistics cited in the proposal, a city speed survey found 19 percent of drivers speeding. This contributes to higher rates of vehicle crashes resulting in death and severe injury to drivers and others. Since 2011, this stretch of Van Nuys Blvd. has experienced 57 crashes that injured pedestrians and/or cyclists, which is four times the citywide average.

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Van Nuys Boulevard experiences unsafe levels of car collisions leading to deaths and injuries to drivers. Source: Great Streets concept proposal [PDF]

Max Podemski, Planning Director for Pacoima Beautiful, expects that the project “will go a long way in humanizing Van Nuys Boulevard.” Podemski echoes the safety issues highlighted by the city, stating “Many residents have been hit by cars trying to cross the street or know people who have. Most residents walk and wait for the bus along it. The changes proposed by the city will make the street more responsive to the ways people are currently using it.”
Read more…

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Construction Getting Underway For Los Angeles Street Protected Bike Lanes

In about a month, Los Angeles Street will be a full-featured protected bike lane. Image via LADOT

Next month, Los Angeles Street will have full-featured protected bike lanes. Image via LADOT

Yesterday, a construction notice appeared on the official L.A. City Transportation Department (LADOT) Twitter account. It announced a “resurfacing and bike lane enhancement project” to include “protected bike lanes” on downtown L.A.’s Los Angeles Street, extending from First Street to Alameda Street. Construction is set to begin this weekend, and conclude by May 15. During the month-long construction, cyclists and drivers will share a single lane.

Los Angeles Street protected bike lanes will extend from Union Station to First Street. Map via LADOT

Los Angeles Street protected bike lanes will extend from Union Station to First Street. Map via LADOT

This 0.5-mile stretch of Los Angeles Street has existing buffered bike lanes that were striped in 2012.

A protected bike lane on Los Angeles Street was mentioned by LADOT bicycle coordinator Michelle Mowery in 2014. The project was planned to coincide with city Bureau of Street Services resurfacing of the street, which was delayed.

LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds describes the Los Angeles Street facility as a “laboratory” for testing out protected bike lane features. Though LADOT has implemented protected lanes in the Second Street tunnel and on Reseda Boulevard, Los Angeles Street will be the first L.A. protected bikeway facility to feature bike signals, and integrated transit stop islands.

Reynolds mentioned that Los Angeles Street is an easy site for trying out new features because it is surrounded entirely by governmental uses. The protected bike lane will run adjacent to Union Station, El Pueblo, the Edward Roybal Federal Building, City Hall East, City Hall South, LAPD, as well as crossing over the 101 Freeway. The high-visibility central downtown location puts the state of the art protected facility right under the eyes of city, county, state, and federal governmental staff and electeds. This should help familiarize governmental insiders with how protected bike lanes function.

Reynolds added that the new protected lanes will be completed in time to dovetail with implementation of Metro bike-share program coming to downtown L.A. this summer.

The existing Los Angeles Street bike lanes experience a significant amount of bike-car conflict, with right-turning drivers and parked law enforcement vehicles often occupying the bike lane. The new protected facility should minimize these conflicts. Delineator bollards will keep cars from parking or driving in the lane. New signals will give cyclists and right-turning drivers separate signal phases.

Rush hour drivers

Rush hour drivers crowd the existing Los Angeles Street bike lane, queuing to turn right onto the 101 Freeway. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Cyclists can ride in the new lanes in just one short month; look for a grand opening in mid-May.

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L.A. Moves Toward Returning Parking Meter Revenue To Neighborhoods

Pasadena parking meter revenue returns to neighborhoods where it is collected. Soon L.A. may implement a similar program.

Pasadena parking meter revenue returns to neighborhoods where it is collected. L.A. plans to implement a similar program soon.

Parking expert Donald Shoup has long asserted that one cornerstone of smart parking policy is to return parking meter revenue to the neighborhoods where the revenue is generated. When parking meters feed an anonymous city general fund, as much of the city of L.A.’s meter revenue does, then parking meters are perceived as burden to communities. When local meter revenue goes to fund local improvements, then neighborhoods tend to welcome the meters.

There is a much-repeated Pasadena anecdote showing the power of revenue return. When the city of Pasadena wanted to install parking meters in its Old Pasadena neighborhood, there was resistance from local merchants. When Pasadena proposed using the meter revenue just to improve Old Pasadena, merchants responded: can we run the meters at night and on weekends!?

Revenue return is key to generating the political will to implementing meters and charging appropriate rates for parking.

Under a suite of parking reform motions by L.A. City Councilmember Bonin, the city and its Department of Transportation (LADOT) are moving toward a pilot program where a portion of parking meter revenue will be returned to neighborhoods. Bonin’s very Shoupista motion 15-1450-S4 calls on LADOT to begin a “pilot program that would return a portion of local meter revenue to the locations where it was generated” and for that funding to go to “transportation improvements.” LADOT is interpreting “transportation improvements” very broadly to include sidewalk repair, bike corrals, beautification, parking, etc.

At today’s Transportation Committee meeting, LADOT appeared poised to begin the program in FY2016-17 in three pilot areas, with probable expansion citywide in FY2107-18.  Read more…

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LADOT People St Program Wins National Planning Award

Folklorico dancers at the openign of People St's Bradley Plaza. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Folklorico dancers at the 2015 opening of People St’s Bradley Plaza. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

This week, the national American Planning Association (APA) awarded its National Planning Achievement Award for a Best Practice to the city of Los Angeles’ Transportation Department (LADOT) People St program. SBLA readers are likely familiar with People St, which is responsible for over a dozen new community friendly spaces—including plazas, parklets, and bike corrals—on the streets of Los Angeles. People St is an ongoing program wherein LADOT partners with local stakeholders—businesses, nonprofits, others—who request these facilities.

In a press statement, LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds wrote:

We are so proud to have won this prestigious award from APA. People St represents a collective and collaborative lift from the City staff and consultants who worked tirelessly to create this innovative program, to our community partners who rally their expertise and resources to partner with the City to bring the projects to life. This recognition is a testament to the power of working hand-in-hand with communities to unlock the potential of their streets.

More details on the best practice award is available at People St and APA websites. Kudos to everyone involved in making these People St projects such great successes. More please!

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Eyes on the Street: New Green Bike Lane Merge Zones on Vineland Avenue

New green bike lane merge zones on Vineland Avenue just south of the 134 Freeway. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

New green merge zones on Vineland Avenue at the 134/170 Freeways. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The Vineland Avenue bike lanes got a little greener this week. The L.A. Department of Transportation (LADOT) gave several merge zones a coat of “fresh Kermit.”

The Vineland Avenue bike lanes run from Ventura Boulevard to Burbank Boulevard in the southeast San Fernando Valley neighborhoods of Studio City, North Hollywood, and Toluca Lake – just east of the North Hollywood Red Line Station. There have been some issues with these lanes in the past, especially in the freeway-infested area where the 101, 134, and 170 Freeways intersect. In a 6-block stretch, between Aqua Vista Street and Hortense Street, the Vineland lanes cross two freeway on-ramps and two freeway off-ramps, with three additional freeway ramps just a block or two away on Moorpark Street and Riverside Drive. Drivers merge into the bike lane and drive in it for blocks before turning; this results in clogging the bike lane, generally at commute hours.

According to Streetsblog reader Melissa Federowicz, LADOT had recently experimented, apparently unsuccessfully, with installing plastic bollards. This week the bollards came out and green paint went in.  Read more…