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Metro Not Quite Ready for First/Last Mile Funding for Purple Line Phase 2

Will Metro pay attention to its own Active Transportation Strategic Plan [PDF]?

Will Metro pay attention to its own Active Transportation Strategic Plan [PDF]?

Just when the Metro board was on the verge of adopting a policy to incorporate first/last mile, including bike and walk, connections into “the planning, design, and construction of all [Metro] transit projects,” Metro staff postponed including first/last mile connections to the second phase of Purple Line subway expansion.

The issue before the board was Metro’s new Active Transportation Strategic Plan [PDF]. The ATSP theoretically builds on a number of Metro bike-and-walk-friendly policies, including the agency’s First/Last Mile Strategic Plan and Complete Streets Policy. Livability advocates, with champions on the Metro board prominently including Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin, have pushed for Metro to follow up these good-sounding policies with Metro funding commitments to truly get first/last mile facilities on the ground. After the 2014 passage of the Metro Complete Streets Policy, Bonin pushed the agency to follow up with a walk/bike funding plan.

Metro dragged its heels on the funding plan, publishing schedules designed to complete the funding document right after the November sales tax ballot measure. So Metro would finally have a walk/bike funding plan right after it sets the course for the next 50 years of Metro funding.

Pressure from Bonin and others accelerated the schedule for the funding plan, now called the ATSP. Today the Metro board approved its ATSP, a month in advance of June’s planned approval of a sales tax expenditure plan.

The ATSP, similar to the plans that preceded it, also sounds good. There are plenty of graphs and diagrams about how great walking and bicycling are. What is new in the ATSP (page 59) is overall cost estimates for building out a Los Angeles County Active Transportation Network. There is no commitment on Metro’s part to pay these costs, but at least there is an official agency estimate for how much someone should pay to support active transportation.

Accompanying today’s adoption of the ATSP were two multi-part motions regarding Metro implementation:  Read more…

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Bike Hub To Open At Covina Metrolink Station This Thursday

Covina BikeHub is located in the parking lot of the Covina Metrolink Station. Photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Covina BikeHub is located in the parking lot of the Covina Metrolink Station. Photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

One thing great about Bike To Work Day is that some cities open bike facilities just in time to lure new folks to try bike-commuting. This year, the city of Covina has done just that. The Covina BikeHub opens for business this Thursday. The new hub is a secure bike-parking facility at the Covina Metrolink Station at 600 North Citrus Avenue. One-year membership is free for riders who sign up in person this month.

Streetsblog got an advance facility tour with Covina Mayor Pro-Tem Jorge Marquez. Marquez expressed his excitement for the new hub, and expressed his interest in Covina attracting and retaining millennials who are less inclined to drive, and more amenable to bicycling, walking, and transit. Marquez is interested in Covina building more transit-oriented development, and hopes to bring bike-share to Covina some day.

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Covina BikeHub has secure parking for 40 bicycles

The Covina BikeHub is operated by BikeHub, the same company that runs the El Monte BikeHub. The look is similar to El Monte, though the Covina version is a simpler model, which does not include the small bike shop on premises. The Covina hub is secure single-room parking facility with space for 40 bicycles. Users need to sign up in advance to obtain a membership that enables one to access the automated door using one’s drivers license or other identification. Hub bike parking access is available 24/7. Members can also access a separate bathroom and washroom located at the east end of the parking lot.

The Covina BikeHub will host its opening day celebration on Bike To Work Day, this Thursday May 19. From 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 to 7 p.m. hub staff will be on hand to give bilingual Spanish/English tours of the facility. BikeHub is giving free one-year passes with in-person registration. Passes generally cost $5 for seven days, $12 for 30 days, or $60 for one year. To contact BikeHub, check its website or email covina [at] bikehub.com

Additional facility photos after the jump.  Read more…

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Eyes on the “Street”: Mother’s Day at L.A. Bike Fest

A BMX performer jumps over the second tallest bike advocate I know. All six pics: Damien Newton

BMX performer jumps over the second tallest bike advocate I know. Photo: Damien Newton

One day after Long Beach had their Bike Fest, it was Los Angeles’ turn. Missing the backing of an organization similar to Downtown Long Beach, the Bicycle Culture Institute, led by powerhouse Nona Varnado, mustered the volunteers and resources to put on a bicycle-themed party worthy of Los Angeles’ legendary bike culture. The overcast skies and scheduling quirk may have kept the crowd in the hundreds instead of thousands, but the crowd of cyclists had plenty to do, with events varying from creating yarn art on bike spokes to BMX demonstrations.

After the jump are a handful of pictures via social media from Los Angeles Bike Fest, feel free to add links to your media from yesterday or Saturday and we’ll highlight them on Streetsblog LITE. Read more…

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Councilmember Jose Huizar Promotes a More Bikeable Downtown L.A.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar is excited about the future of bicycling in downtown Los Angeles. At a press event yesterday, Huizar took a test spin on one of Metro’s bike-share bikes. SBLA Streetsie-winner Huizar sees bike-share as one key feature of “a snowball effect” virtuous cycle for central Los Angeles: more bikes on the street will trigger more safety-in-numbers, which will prompt more city investment in bikeways, which will lead to even more bicycling.

Metro’s 1000+bike 60+station bike-share system is coming to downtown “this June – though it might slip,” according to Huizar.

Huizar recently announced that protected bike lanes will be coming to downtown’s Spring and Main Streets. These improvements are part of an umbrella “DTLA Forward” initiative for a more walkable, bikeable, livable downtown Los Angeles. DTLA Forward includes these two bikeways, pedestrian head-start signals, green alleys, street trees, and a handful of other worthwhile (but not quite transformative) downtown initiatives, plus a (quite transformative) “Your Downtown L.A. Vision Plan” [PDF]. The Vision Plan, created under the auspices of the Downtown L.A. Neighborhood Council with support from the So. Cal. Association of Governments (SCAG), calls for all downtown streets to be complete streets.

Spring and Main Street currently feature a couplet of buffered bike lanes. The Spring Street lane was the city’s first (somewhat controversial) green bike lane, and now its first partially-green pavement bike lane. The protected bike lanes are expected to be implemented in late 2016, after a handful of community outreach meetings.  Read more…

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Cycling Without Age Documentary “Finn” Screens Tomorrow

Have you ever wondered what will happen to you when you are too old to bicycle on your own? There is an organization called Cycling Without Age that pushes for “the right to wind in your hair” for people of all ages. Cycling Without Age links volunteers with elders for trips on board “trishaws” – essentially a rear-steering tandem tricycle.

Cycling Without Age - image from the organization's website

Cycling Without Age

This weekend, Angelenos can learn more about Cycling Without Age by enjoying a short documentary entitled “Finn.” The documentary screens at the All Sports L.A. Film Festival at 10 a.m. tomorrow –  Saturday April 16 – at the L.A. Live Regal Cinemas at 1000 W. Olympic Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles. “Finn” tells the story of an 81-year-old man taking a Cycling Without Age bike tour from Denmark to Norway in 2015. Thanks to a crowdsourced appeal, Finn and his daughter Lis are coming to “Hollywood” for the screening.

The short film is laying the groundwork for a longer documentary “The Grey Escape” which readers can find out more about via its Facebook page.

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Love L.A.’s Bicycle Festival? Support the Fest on Kickstarter

The Los Angeles Bicycle Culture Institute is seeking your help, through a Kickstarter campaign, to bring back the popular Los Angeles Bicycle Fest this Mother’s Day, on Sunday, May 8. The campaign just crossed the $1,000 line, but needs another $2,500 to make its goal.

This year’s festival is more of a bicycle theme park; the event organizers at the Bicycle Culture Institute refer to this year’s Festival as a “Bicycle Disneyland.” Different areas of Grand Park will have different bicycle themes so families can explore different kinds of bikes and different parts of the Los Angeles bicycle community.

It was important to the event organizers that the Festival appeal to both hard core bicyclists and people just out for a fun afternoon. For a more casual attendee, there will be food, music, and other attractions. For a more serious bicyclist, there will be plenty of vendors, resources, advocates, and ride groups to visit.

“Bike Festival is special, because you don’t even need a bicycle to discover a theme park, a world of bicycles, with your whole family,” says Bicycle Festival organizer Nona Vornado. “You’ll enjoy music, and great food, and an awesome day in downtown. But in order to make that happen, we need your support.”

To make a donation, purchase some schwag, or buy your ticket, visit the Bicycle Festival page at Kickstarter or the Bicycle Culture Institute Website.

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Long Beach Bike-Share To Launch 100 Bikes At Beach Streets On March 19

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia demonstrates Long Beach's new bike-share system. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia demonstrates Long Beach’s new bike-share system. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

At a kick-off event this morning, the city of Long Beach celebrated a soft launch of its new bike-share system, called Long Beach Bike Share. There are currently two stations in operation, with a dozen bikes. The system will fully publicly open at the Saturday March 19 Beach Streets open streets event.

The 4-mile March 19 Beach Streets will be the first open streets event in downtown Long Beach, extending eastward through Belmont Heights. The route [PDF] is primarily along Broadway, with spurs on Pine Avenue and Cherry Avenue. Beach Streets is looking for volunteers.

Long Beach Bike Share currently has two hubs installed: one at City Hall, the other on Third Street at the Promenade.  Read more…

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L.A. County Bike Advocates Nominated For National Awards

Nominee Cynthia Rose interviewed by Clarence Eckerson for an upcoming Streetfilm. Photo by Joe Linton

Nominee Cynthia Rose interviewed by Clarence Eckerson for an upcoming Streetfilm. Photo by Joe Linton

Next week, bike activists will gather in Washington D.C. for the National Bike Summit convened by the League of American Bicyclists. On Monday March 7, the national Alliance for Biking and Walking will be hosting their 2016 Advocacy Awards for excellence in the walk and bike advocacy.

Los Angeles, and its L.A. County Bicycle Coalition, has potential for a near sweep of the five national awards. There are five L.A. finalists named, though two of them are in the same category.

Congratulations and thank you to all the nominees, and especially our friends at the LACBC and Santa Monica Spoke:  Read more…

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#DamienTalksSGV 5 – Gold Line Opening and Women on Wheels

Today, #DamienTalks to Habib Balian, the CEO of the Gold Line Foothills Construction Authority and Amy Wong with Women on Wheels a project of Bike SGV.

Damien Talks SGV logoThis weekend, the long-awaited extension of the Gold Line to the San Gabriel Valley Foothills will finally open. Balian discusses the advocacy and work that led to the extension and the excitement that the line will be open soon. It is likely that any sales tax on the fall ballot will include another extension of the Gold Line, so Balian and his team are preparing in the eventuality that funding becomes available in 2017 for an extension all the way to Montclair.

Our second segment features an interview with Amy Wong of Women on Wheels, a project program of Bike SGV (WoW.) WoW works to create safe spaces and events for female bicycle riders to meet, have fun, and improve their bicycle skills. Wow has a couple of events coming up, a social on Sunday, March 13, and the LA to SGV: Sister Cities Ride & Mechanics Class with the Ovarian Psycos on Saturday, March 19.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of Downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit foothilltransit.org. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

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“Ovaries so Big…” that They’ve Got Their Own Documentary

Ovas Taryn Randle and Maryann Aguirre speak with the crew working on the documentary about the group. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

Ovas Taryn Randle and Maryann Aguirre speak with the crew working on the documentary about the group. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

The Ovarian Psyco-Cycles have been a game-changer in the Los Angeles cycling landscape. And now, with a documentary featuring the stories of three of their members set to debut at South by Southwest (SXSW) this year, they are essentially announcing that they are here to stay. Y con ganas.*

The Ovas first burst into the cycling community’s consciousness in 2012, when former Streetsblog writer Kris Fortin wrote a two-part introduction to a group of bad-ass womyn of color with “ovaries so big, [they] don’t need no fucking balls.” (Part two is here)

Fortin’s exploration of the life challenges that had brought the womyn together and the sisterhood that grew from cycling and reclaiming the streets as a group elicited cheers from readers here and around the country.

Then the Ovas decided to hold a “Clitoral Mass” bike ride to celebrate their two-year anniversary and some folks lost their damn minds.

While the idea of carving out space for womyn and womyn-identified folks — particularly those of color — who don’t feel their experiences are validated or welcome in other cycling spaces is not terribly controversial right now, conversations around equity, inclusion, and the mobility of those on the margins had yet to really take root in the livable streets movement. So, the idea of a female (identified)-centric ride caused a bit of a stir.

The Ovas were accused of exclusion by some and of misandry by a (thankfully) small minority of disgruntled men. Some of the critics threatened to show up and crash the ride. A few even took it upon themselves to organize a counter-balancing ride for “Brovarian Psychos,” where those poor and oppressed (and grammatically-challenged) souls seeking to promote “man-ism, jism, mens’ rights, reform of family court, selective service, anti-male stereotypes, to counter-manginas and white knights, and restore balance to the force” could finally feel supported.

Despite all the foolishness, the Ovas’ first event went off peacefully. And instead of the world ending, the ride became something of an institution — a day of sisterhood and solidarity around which riders from around the Southland and beyond were willing to adjust their summer schedules so they could be sure to be in town. It even inspired a national movement and, in 2013, saw sister rides spring up in Oakland, Toronto, New York City, Atlanta, and Chicago. Last year’s ride was no different. Hundreds — many of them new to cycling — showed up in the heat to spend a day exploring the city, sharing meals, dancing at pit stops, and engaging in conversations around social justice.

Riders circle up for the 2015 Clitoral Mass event. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

Riders circle up for the 2015 Clitoral Mass event. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

The Ovas’ visibility has helped change stereotypes about who bikes and complicated the conversation around what cycling and, more broadly, accessing the public space, means to different communities. Read more…