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Posts from the "bcycle lanes" Category

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Bike Advisory Committee: Stop Wasting Time and Money Stalling on Bike Projects

Gil Cedillo campaigned in the Flying Pigeon bike shop and used a picture with the owner in his campaign billboards. Now, Josef Bray-Ali is campaigning hard for Cedillo to fulfill a campaign promise to see bike lanes on North Figueroa Boulevard as the city's Bicycle Advisory Committee calls new studies a waste of time and money. Image: Flying Pigeon

Gil Cedillo campaigned in the Flying Pigeon bike shop and used a picture with the owner in his campaign billboards. Now, Josef Bray-Ali is campaigning hard for Cedillo to fulfill a campaign promise to see bike lanes on North Figueroa Street as the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee calls new studies a waste of time and money. Image: Flying Pigeon

In March of 2011, then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed into law the city’s Bicycle Plan, a list of some 1,600 miles of bicycle lanes, routes, friendly streets and paths scheduled for the next 30 years. In some ways, implementation is going exceedingly well. The pace at which new bicycle lanes are being added exceeds even that of New York City. In other ways, the plan seems stalled as many of the projects that make up the “Backbone Bicycling Network” connecting neighborhoods, are being delayed or canceled as nervous City Councilmembers put up roadblocks to bicycle progress.

And bicyclists aren’t going to stand for it much longer.

On Tuesday night, the city’s official Bicycle Advisory Committee, a body of advocates appointed by individual City Councilmembers and the Mayor’s Office, passed two resolutions (text not available) basically telling the city it’s wasting time and resources by studying and stopping bicycle projects that are already studied and funded.

“In some cases, the City has identified key corridors for bicycle infrastructure and pursued funding for improvements on those corridors, such as the $20 million Proposition 1C grant for the My Figueroa project or Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds,” writes Jeff Jacobberger, a lawyer who chairs the Bicycle Advisory Committee.

“Often, those funds must be spent on that specific street, and cannot be transferred to other projects. When funded projects do not go forward, the money spent on planning and design has been wasted. Moreover, the City’s poor track record of seeing projects through to completion means that it has a harder time competing for future funds.”

The two motions single out proposed bicycle lanes on North Figueroa Street and on Westwood Boulevard, but they could easily apply to projects on Lankershim Boulevard or South Figueroa. Read more…

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Spend the Sunday of Your Holiday Weekend at the Bicycle Commuter Festival

It’s been nearly four years since the “Streets Summit” called together many of the city and county’s leading bicycling advocates to discuss advocacy, safety, and how the Livable Streets Community can move forward. While the movement has made great strides in this time, I miss the camaraderie and fun an event similar to the 2010 Street Summit and 2009 Bike Summit created.

BCIEnter the “Bicycle Commuter Festival.”

On February 16, the Bicycle Culture Institute (a relatively new non-profit helmed by Nona Varnado) and AIDS/Lifecycle are holding the first Bicycle Commuter Festival to “entertain, educate, connect and inspire bicycle commuting in Los Angeles.” You can sign up for the festival, here. A full schedule is available at the end of the post.

“The best way to inspire new ideas, confidence and loyalty is through a great time! No one wants to go to a conference, but everyone wants to go to a killer festival,” exclaims Varnado.

“By creating a festival environment and making learning fun, we’ll be able to cross boundaries that traditional sports, advocacy and promotion can’t. Our workshops are like parties with an open festival environment of bicycle advocacy, culture and brands; rivaling the greatest lifestyle fairs happening in Europe or other major cities.”

The festival includes both indoor and outdoor workshops, and two open air festival areas. Festival areas encourage talking directly with people representing local bike groups: from CicLAvia and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition to L.A. Bike Trains and SoCal Cross; cycling brands BERN, Abus and Lezyne; local favorite commuter bike shops Orange 20, Flying Pigeon and many more.  Oh, and Streetsblog will be there too. Read more…

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O’Farrell Dedicates New Virgil Ave. Bike Lanes

virgil ave bike lane

Mitch O’Farrell leads a group ride south on Virgil Avenue following the bike lane dedication this Saturday. Photo: Office of Mitch O’Farrell

On Saturday, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell hosted a bike lane dedication for a half-mile of new north-south lanes on Virgil Avenue between Santa Monica Blvd. and Melrose. The project includes all new pavement, bike lane and Continental Crosswalk striping, as well as removal of peak hour parking restrictions.

The lanes connect to Santa Monica Blvd. bike lanes that extend east from Virgil Avenue to a larger bicycle network. A list of bicycle lane projects for 2014 shows the lanes being extended another 1.5 miles south to Wilshire Boulevard.

“During a community meeting in September, my constituents in Virgil Village asked for a safer Virgil Avenue,” said O’Farrell.
“A few months later, with community input, we implemented a solution that makes for a better pedestrian environment and that encourages small business growth along this blossoming commercial corridor.”
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More Eyes on the Street: 2nd Street Protected Bike Lane Damaged in Crash

Photo: Sahra Sulaiman

Compare and Contrast. Photo: Sahra Sulaiman

Some time in the last couple of days, the 2nd Street protected bike lane was damaged when a car crashed through the pylons into the side of the 2nd Street Tunnel heading into Downtown Los Angeles. Sahra Sulaiman snapped this picture yesterday and reports that at least three of the barrier pylons were removed, a trail of debris was left behind, and even a tire can be seen in the picture.

LADOT is aware of the crash and immediately put in an order for the pylons to be replaced. As Jon Kirk Mukri often complains, there is a backlog of LADOT road projects so there is no timeline on when the pylons might reappear. They might be there already. It might take weeks.

There are no details released to the public on the crash. This could mean that it has not been reported.

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Eyes on the Street…L.A.’s First Protected Bike Lane

1st protected bike lane

Surprise! Photo: Jessica Meaney

Last night, Los Angeles got its first protected bike lane last night when a series of plastic dividers went up in the Second Street Tunnel between Figueroa and Hill Street.

Currently, the physical separators are only up in the tunnel despite bike lanes existing on either side. In total, the bike lanes extend from North Spring Street, home of the famous sorta-green buffered bike lane, through the tunnel to Glendale Boulevard. A portion of the lanes in Downtown Los Angeles are buffered lanes, matching up with the Northbound buffered lanes on Main Street and Southbound ones on Spring.

The bike markings also connects with existing Sharrows on 2nd street from Alameda to Spring Street.

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Westwood Bike Lanes Connecting National and Wilshire Killed by Council Office

The participants in a February 2013 Ride Westwood ride showed support for the proposed bike lane. Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/lacbc/sets/72157632742418720/with/8464401136/##LACBC/Flickr##

The participants in a February 2013 Ride Westwood ride showed support for the proposed bike lane. Photo: LACBC/Flickr

Streetsblog received word last night from Jonathan Weiss that the proposed bicycle lanes on Westwood Boulevard between Pico Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard are opposed by local City Councilmember, Paul Koretz. Weiss serves as Koretz’ appointee to the City of Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee.

While hardly a regular cyclist these days, Koretz has a lot of miles on his legs. Here he's posing on the 405 after a short bike ride during Carmageddon I. Photo:##http://www.scpr.org/news/2011/07/16/27755/405-shutdown-carmageddon-live-updates/##KPCC##

While hardly a regular cyclist these days, Koretz has a lot of miles on his legs. Here he’s posing on the 405 after a short bike ride during Carmageddon I. Photo:KPCC

This news comes as a blow to cyclists that use Westwood Blvd. every day to commute to and from UCLA and other destinations. Bicycle lanes already exist south of National Boulevard and north of Santa Monica Boulevard, making this an obvious connection in the city’s Bicycle Plan. The UCLA Bicycle Coalition and LACBC organized “Ride Westwood” to support the connection.  However, after the Los Angeles Department of Transportation held a public information session that turned senselessly raucous, the future of the lanes seemed uncertain.

Our coverage of the meeting even led to a lively segment on the local conservative political talk radio show John and Ken on KFI 640 AM.

Local opposition to the lane publicly centered around an LADOT study of a bus lane (bikes allowed) which would have removed travel lanes and parking.  That plan was DOA.  Instead, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition proposed a “floating” bicycle lane where the parked-car adjacent bike lane would be moved to the curb during rush hour so that the road could continue to have a peak hour lane.  After the public meeting, the LADOT began a study of the floating bike lane (which they had only briefly introduced as an “idea” at the public hearing), but that was put on hold by the Councilmember.

Now, the floating bike lane plan has been rejected by the Councilmember before he has allowed the formal study to be was completed.  In response, today, the LACBC released an action alert calling on Koretz to move forward with a full study of the lanes that includes all stakeholders.

Weiss argues that the road width is actually wide enough to put in lanes without removing parking or mixed-use lanes if lanes are narrowed.

“There is ample room for bike lanes without losing car lanes or parking,” Weiss writes in a letter to Koretz. “Providing bike lanes would actually free up traffic by separating bikes from cars.  And safety concerns will continue to keep risk-averse people from riding – exacerbating, rather than relieving, automobile traffic to UCLA and keeping buses stuck in traffic.  (Biking is actually faster than the bus during the evening commute.)  UCLA has done a great job in cutting its carbon footprint, but this bottleneck on its doorstep hinders its ongoing efforts in that regard.”

It is wildly unlikely that the city will move forward with a bicycle lane project without at least tacit support from the Council office, which is bowing to pressure from homeowner groups that have been hostile to transportation options outside of the automobile. One homeowner group, the “Westwood South of Santa Monica Blvd.” homeowners, even formed a “bicycle committee” which met three times, received a long and well-researched report on why the Bicycle Lanes should be put on Westwood Blvd., and then circulated a letter opposing even studying of a design proposal to make lanes less obtrusive.

While the timing of such news is never good, it does provide a call for action for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, whose Neighborhood Bicycle Ambassador Committee for the Westside has its regularly scheduled meeting tonight (details at the bottom of the post.)

NYCDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan likes to remark that projects that are aimed to improve mobility for all road users should be first explained as safety projects. After all, who can argue against safety?

Apparently, the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners Group can.

In her eloquent and well researched series (part I, part II) on bicycle safety on Westwood Boulevard, Calla Weimer shows that the stretch of Westwood Boulevard where the lanes are proposed are among the most dangerous blocks to bicycle in the city. Read more…

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Buffered Bike Lanes in Downtown Los Angeles and Regular Lanes Through Second Street Tunnel

Images: Ryan Johnson

Images: Ryan Johnson

Getting to Downtown Los Angeles from points west seems to be getting easier every day. For the past several weeks, Streetsblog covered the addition of new bike lanes on 7th Street that link up with existing lanes in the Downtown. This weekend, the city striped new lanes through the iconic 2nd Street Tunnel into the heart of Downtown Los Angeles.

The new lanes will extend from North Spring Street, home of the famous sorta-green buffered bike lane, through the tunnel to Glendale Boulevard. The portion of the lanes in Downtown Los Angeles are buffered lanes, matching up with the Northbound buffered lanes on Main Street and Southbound ones on Spring. The project also connects with existing Sharrows on 2nd street from Alameda to Spring Street.

While the project isn’t quite completed yet, the early returns are good. Reader Brian Retchiess wrote on Friday, “I dunno about you, but my trips to Echo Park are about to get a lot nicer!” Read more…

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7th Street in Downtown Los Angeles Goes on a Diet

Commuters into Downtown Los Angeles were surprised this morning to note that 7th Street had gone on a crash diet overnight. For .6 miles, between Figueroa and Main Streets, bicycle lanes were installed and a mixed-use travel lane was removed.

The new lanes are a key part in making connections in Downtown Los Angeles. The lanes connect to the previously painted 7th Street lanes that connect mid-town to Downtown and the Main Street buffered bike lane that runs north to City Hall. The lanes now run for 2.8 miles on 7th Street from Catalina Street in mid-town to Main Street.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition half-joked on twitter that “the LACBC offices now have bike lanes on three sides.”

But while celebrating the addition to the network is good, Streetsblogger Niall Huffman points out that the installation either would have been delayed or would not have happened without a state law signed by Governor Jerry Brown in September of 2012. So, maybe we have to give Jerry Brown some credit as well.

AB 2245 provides for a CEQA exemption for Class II bikeway (bike lane) projects. According to the LADOT bike blog, under the former guidelines some bike lane projects in the City of L.A.  would have required an EIR if their traffic impacts were over specified thresholds.

That wasn’t the case here as the new lanes were put in and no environmental study was required, even though 7th Street lost a mixed use lane.

If you’ve ridden the lanes, let us know your experience in the comments section.

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The Movement Against the Highway Friendly Redesign of Hyperion Grows


Garcetti,  LaBonge and O’Farrell promote the  redesign and ask for public comment.

It started as a note from contacts at the Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), turned into a mini-series on Streetsblog and now the movement to stop the redesign of the Hyperion-Glendale Complex of Bridges that would turn one of the region’s most iconic structures into one of its prettiest freeways has gone viral so to speak.

The new design excludes bicycle lanes and wider sidewalks, the city’s Bicycle Plan be damned, and increases the size of the four mixed-use travel lanes to accommodate traffic driving over 55 miles per hour. Space that could be used for sidewalks and bicycle lanes and sidewalks is being used for creating stronger crash barriers. The $50 million project’s stated purpose is a retrofit to better handle seismic events and is expected begin construction in 2016 and should take three years to complete.

Since Streetsblog last covered the bridges ten days ago, things have been moving quickly. In response to letters demanding a public hearing of the proposal, outreach meetings with city staff were cancelled so a hearing can be scheduled (details TBD.) Two neighborhood Councils, in Atwater and Silverlake at the west end of the complex are hearing motions to oppose the redesign as it exists. The Silver Lake motion was heard by their Transportation Committee last night and moved near-unanimously to the full Council. Assembly Member Mike Gatto, who also represents part of the project area, promised on Twitter to write a letter opposing the current design.

While there are certainly some who are worried about the lack of bicycle lanes in the project, there is a greater concern that increasing the vehicle speeds on a major entryway into their communities will lead to more dangerous conditions, more traffic, more air pollution and lower home values.

Meanwhile, bicycle advocacy is working on two connected but somewhat coordinated tracks. The LACBC submitted formal comments that outline the problems with the current planned design and other advocates are organizing on Facebook to maintain a steady flow of public pressure. To stop the redesign, rethink the project plans, and design a project that works for all vehicle users and the surrounding communities.

But while the absence of bicycle lanes is what angered cyclists and created resistance to the redesign plan, its the idea of designing the bridge to freeway standards that really upset the community groups.

“This is the same video that was presented at the meeting,” writes Don “Roadblock” Ward, one of the leaders of the movement to stop the current redesign of the video at the top of the post which now appears on Council Member Mitch O’Farrell’s blog. “..and the whole time I kept thinking of the 110 parkway bridge a few miles south with the 110 bike path and freeway crash barriers. This bridge will one day look that crappy.” Read more…

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LADOT: Spring Street Re-Paint Will Be Completed by CicLAvia

Photo: Fireweed/Bikesi(gh)te

In response to yesterday’s story on the Spring Street Bike Lane, LADOT reached out to assure me that the repainting of the Spring Street Green Buffered Bike Lane will be completed by Saturday.

Some readers informed me this morning that there was some new paint on the ground (“It looks horrible,” more than one of you bemoaned.) but the department assures me that this is the first of a three step process. They wanted to do the painting at night so it wouldn’t disrupt the daytime traffic and would be dry by morning.

As for the delay? Simply put, it took longer for some of the materials to arrive after ordering than was originally anticipated.

If anyone wants to share pictures with us of the lane as the painting moves forward, put a link in the comments section and we’ll post at this article.