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Posts from the "Bicycling" Category

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Sweet New Protected Bikeway On Beautiful Rosemead Blvd in Temple City

Cyclist southbound on Temple City's Rosemead Boulevard Project. all photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Cyclist southbound on Temple City’s Rosemead Boulevard Project. All photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The San Gabriel Valley’s Temple City opened its excellent new Rosemead Boulevard Project on May 10, 2014. I didn’t make it out to the grand opening festivities, but I recently got a chance to bicycle there and experience the new Rosemead Blvd first hand. It’s great. All Southern California cyclists should make pilgrimages — and spend money while you’re there.


View Temple City Rosemead Blvd Project in a larger map

The project, shown in green on the above map, is on both sides of Rosemead Boulevard for its entire length through Temple City. It extends two miles from Calita Street to the railroad undercrossing near Lower Azusa Road. The area is mostly commercial strips, with some housing, apartments, and single family homes interspersed. Overall, it’s suburban, though somewhat older suburban. Most of the commercial buildings are set back far from the street; there are plenty of surface parking lots.

Rosemead Boulevard’s protected bike lanes are quite different than L.A. County’s first protected bike lanes on Third and Broadway in Downtown Long Beach; both are first class facilities, though. The Long Beach project includes bike signalization at nearly all signalized intersections; as far as I could tell, Temple City didn’t make any changes to traffic signals. Traffic signals can markedly increase costs for protected bikeways. Temple City doesn’t appear to have skimped on costs, though. The project includes extensive landscaping, and lots of curb-work, including landscaped center-median islands.

Temple City’s treatments vary a great deal. Section treatments–see images below–ranged from landscaped-island-protected bikeway to parking-protected bikeway to buffered bike lane to basic bike lane (with and without parking) to short stretches of sharrows.

The most common configuration

The best parts of the Rosemead Boulevard Project, roughly half of the mileage, had this configuration: no parking, wide bike lane – roughly 6-feet, suitable for two cyclists side-by-side – and tree-lined landscaped median protecting the bike lane from adjacent traffic lane.

Read more…

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Three Things I Like About Bike Week, and Two Things I Don’t

Cyclists descent into Los Angeles Union Station at the end of this morning's Bike Week Guided Ride. More ride photos on SBLA Facebook page. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Cyclists descent into Los Angeles Union Station at the end of this morning’s Bike Week Guided Ride. More ride photos on SBLA Facebook page. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

It’s Bike Week Los Angeles! May 12th-18th, 2014. Already there has been a lot going on: a press conference, a new report, the annual Blessing of the Bicycles, and a guided ride this morning. Tomorrow will be Los Angeles County’s Bike to Work Day, which includes pit stops and free rides on Metro and various other transit systems. Friday night will be Metro Bike Night at Union Station, which looks to be a lot of fun.

There’s a lot I like about Bike Week, but also a few things that bug me.

Things I like about bike week:

Temple City's new Rosemead Blvd protected bikeway. Photo: CICLE/Serena Grace

Temple City’s new Rosemead Blvd protected bikeway. Photo: CICLE/Serena Grace

1. New Facilities!

In a lot of civilized places, bike week celebrates the grand opening of new bicycling facilities. San Francisco opened a handsome new Polk Street contra-flow bike lane. San Diego got its first road diet buffered bike lanes. The San Gabriel Valley’s Temple City held a large scale street fair to inaugurate its new protected bike lane on Rosemead Boulevard.

Though the city of Los Angeles didn’t celebrate specific new bicycle infrastructure this week, they did recently open new repair stations. On this morning’s guided Bike Week ride through parts of Downtown and Boyle Heights, I couldn’t help but notice that there really are a lot of new on-street bikeways in recent years. As recently as 2010, there just weren’t any bikeways downtown or on the east side. Now there are quite a few.

2. Events!

In L.A., it is easy to find group rides nearly any night of the week, but it is still good to get together and ride with friends. I am particularly fond of Good Samaritan Hospital’s Blessing of the Bicycles. I remember getting chills when it started a decade ago and a priest read the bible passage about “a wheel within a wheel.” More bikey events are always welcome.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti biked to work yesterday morning. Photo via Mayor Garcetti Facebook page

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti biked to work monday morning. Photo via Mayor Garcetti Facebook page

3. Elected Officials Riding Bicycles!

Though he’s certainly ridden CicLAvia, how often do we see Mayor Garcetti bicycling on everyday streets? When was the last time you saw Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin loading a bicycle on the front of a Metro bus? Though these are, perhaps, largely photo opportunities, a picture can indeed be worth a thousand words. It’s great to have these images in circulation. It’s one thing for an elected official to speak in favor of bicycle facilities, but seeing them walk, er, bike the talk is also huge.

Things I don’t like about bike week:  Read more…

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Bike Week 2014 Kick-Off, LACBC Reports Bike Counts Are Up

Los Angeles City Councilmember and Metro Boardmember Mike Bonin kicks off Bike Week. Standing with him, l to r, are Jennifer Klausner - LACBC, xxxxxxxxPhoto: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Los Angeles City Councilmember and Metro Boardmember Mike Bonin kicks off Bike Week. Standing behind Councilmember Bonin are, left to right: Jennifer Klausner – LACBC, Michelle Mowery – LADOT, Lindy Lee – Metro, and John Mukri – LADOT. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Los Angeles’ Bike Week 2014 kicked off at a press event this morning at Union Station. Metro Deputy Chief Executive Officer Lindy Lee welcomed assembled cyclists and media. Lee expressed enthusiasm about Los Angeles’ bikeway facilities, now with “more miles than ever before.” She invited cyclists to take advantage of free rides on Metro bus and rail for this Thursday’s Bike to Work Day. There are also free rides on Metrolink and various local transit providers; see Metro’s the Source for free ride instructions. Metro is hosting and co-hosting numerous Bike Week events, including a Wednesday ride and Bike Night at Union Station this Friday.

Los Angeles City Councilmember and Metro Boardmember Mike Bonin proclaimed that “bicycling is on the rise in Los Angeles!” Bonin urged governmental entities to increase investment in more and better bicycle facilities to create a more holistic transportation system.

The Los Angeles City Transportation Department’s (LADOT) Michelle Mowery celebrated the city’s recent uptick in bicycle facility implementation. LADOT has achieved, and often greatly exceeded, the city’s commitment to a minimum of 40 miles of bike lane each year since 2011. Good Samaritan Hospital CEO Andy Leeka invited cyclists to tomorrow morning’s 11th Annual Blessing of the Bicycles. Rounding out the speakers were Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) executive director Jennifer Klausner and Cyclists Inciting Change through Live Exchange (C.I.C.L.E.) executive director Dan Dabek.

The highlight of this morning’s kickoff was the LACBC’s new report: L.A. Bike and Ped Count 2013: Bicycle Findings and Recommendations. The report includes analysis of last fall’s bike count, including comparing data from 2011 and 2013. The bike count data is very important; how often do cyclists hear that “nobody biskes” on a specific street? The bicycle and pedestrian count is a multi-day, primarily volunteer event hosted by LACBC in partnership with other nonprofits.  Read more…

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Metro Extends Reach With Its New First Last Mile Strategic Plan

At its April 2014 meeting, the Metro board approved its First Last Mile Strategic Plan & Planning Guidelines. For readers unfamiliar with ”first last mile” terminology, it’s planner-speak for looking at the portion of a transit trip between a transit stop and one’s final destination, most often a home or work place. Generally every transit trip includes some non-transit at each end. This last mile can include: walk, bicycle, skate, scooter, transit, taxi, carpool, driving, etc., or some combination of those. First last mile planning looks at the infrastructure that makes it safer and easier for riders to get to transit stops.

It is a welcome step forward that Metro is taking first last mile facilities seriously. Control over first last mile tends to reside somewhat outside of Metro’s direct jurisdiction. Metro drives the bus and operates the train, but passengers arrive via sidewalks, paths and streets that are designed and regulated by various cities.

In planning and building its transportation system, Metro already coordinates with cities. In some cases Metro accommodates car traffic by widening roads, etc., so it only makes sense that Metro can also work with cities to accommodate safer walking and bicycling to Metro stations.

Comparison of

Comparison of greenhouse gas emissions per person trip. From Metro First Last Mile Plan page 6.

Though there are a lot of ways to get to transit stops, but a lot of first last mile planning focuses primarily on active transportation: walking and bicycling. Walking is already the most frequent first last mile mode. Per Metro surveys, more than 80% of Metro trips begin by walking to transit. Read more…

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L.A. Councilmember O’Farrell Opens New Sunset Plaza Bike Repair Stand

LADOT's new public bike repair stand, located at Sunset Triangle Park Plaza. All photos Joe Linton/Streetsblog LA

LADOT’s new public bike repair stand, located at Sunset Triangle Park Plaza. All photos Joe Linton/Streetsblog LA

This morning, Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell opened a new public bike repair stand. The repair stand is located at the Sunset Triangle Park Plaza.

The Department of Transportation (LADOT) crews put the finishing touches on the installation while O’Farrell stood with LADOT and local business owners.

An audience of a couple dozen supporters cheered as O’Farrell hammered in the final pin.

Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell hammers in the final pin to secure the new bike repair stand at Sunset Triangle Park Plaza

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell hammers in the final pin to secure the new bike repair stand at Sunset Triangle Park Plaza.

The bike repair stand is a new feature of the LADOT’s recently announced Bicycle Friendly Business Districts programThe stand is sturdy, vandalism-resistant product called Fixit, made by a company called Dero.

From behind, the repair stand looks like a roughly 4-foot-tall vertical black cylinder. At the top of the cylinder are two horizontal metal poles. To put the bike on the stand, the seat-stem goes in between the two poles.  Read more…

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Active Transportation Advocates Secure Fair Competition for State Funding

Safe Routes To School projects get a level playing field after yesterday’s Metro board vote on an amended Active Transportation proposal. Photo: Safe Routes To School National Partnership

At yesterday’s Metro Board meeting, bike and walk activists won a small victory to ensure a fair process for projects seeking state funding.

As SBLA reported earlier, federal changes resulted in Metro no longer receiving federal bike and pedestrian funding that Metro had granted to cities. Metro is looking to withdraw from about $90 million in already-approved bicycle and pedestrian projects scheduled for funding through 2019.

Metro had approved project funding via its Call for Projects (Metro Call), but is instead requiring cities to seek California Active Transportation Program (ATP) funding to replace lost Metro funding. Cities will be competing in a statewide ATP process; applications are due May 21st, 2014.

Eyeing the Metro budgetary bottom line, Metro staff had proposed giving Metro’s selected projects an extra 10 points in their rankings. This would have tipped the scales in favor of state funding replacing former Metro funding, but would have created an unfair process. Projects that Metro approved in the past, whether still viable or not, would be at an advantage over all other bike and pedestrian projects.

Additionally, ATP combines several pots of money, so, under the Metro proposal, there would be entire classes of projects that would be at a competitive disadvantage. The Metro Call has not included Safe Routes to School (SRTS) projects and programs; these were funded directly by the state in the past. So, under the Metro staff proposal, all L.A. County Safe Routes To School applications would be at a competitive disadvantage.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Safe Routes To School National Partnership were vocal in drawing attention to the flaws in Metro staff’s proposal. The organizations submitted this joint comment letter, and testified before Metro committees last week and before the full board yesterday.

Read more…

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Eyes On The Street: Second Street Tunnel’s Semi-Protected Bikeway

The sorry state of L.A.'s only protected bike lane. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

Down. Missing. Missing. The sorry state of L.A.’s first and only protected bike lane. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

Sahra Sulaiman, SBLA’s Communities Editor for Boyle Heights and South L.A. took this photo last Sunday, showing the flattened and missing pylons in the Second Street Tunnel in Downtown Los Angeles. This is Los Angeles’ first and only protected bikeway.

Just last night, she spotted two cars that had collided parked in the westbound bike lane, with a tow truck parked just ahead of them and a cop car parked behind them. They were able to stay out of car traffic that way, but it made things a little dicey for anyone biking westward. There was a substantial trail of reflector and other debris left in their wake later that night, but, miraculously, the pylons in that vicinity remained upright and in place.

Sahra’s email alerting us can be found after the jump.

Readers: Let us know your ideas! Is there something that the city of Los Angeles can do to keep the Second Street “candlesticks” in place? Video surveillance? Razor wire? Air bags? Concrete barriers? relocate some Metro turnstiles? A traffic study? Relocating the Great Wall of Los Angeles? Emotionally intelligent signage? Maybe just build a protected bikeway elsewhere to take the debilitating pressure off of this brave tunnel?

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San Fernando Votes To Move Forward With Pacoima Wash Bikeway

Salvador Valentin, of Bikesan@s del Valle collective, and his son Isaac testify in support of the Pacoima Wash Bikeway. The San Fernando City Council approved moving forward with pursuing state funding for the project.

Salvador Valentin, of Bikesan@s del Valle collective, and his son Isaac testify in support of the Pacoima Wash Bikeway. The San Fernando City Council approved moving forward with pursuing state funding for the project.

Last night, the city of San Fernando moved a step closer to constructing a new bike path along the Pacoima Wash. The city council voted unanimously, 5-0, in favor of seeking California state Active Transportation Program (ATP) funding. If everything goes smoothly, the Pacoima Wash Bikeway would open to the public in early 2017.

The bike path will extend the full 1.6-mile length of the Pacoima Wash within the City of San Fernando, from roughly San Fernando Road to Foothill Boulevard. It will also connect with the city’s existing rail-with-trail bike path that runs between San Fernando Road and the Metrolink railroad tracks. That bike path is currently being extended eastward, with construction underway within the city of Los Angeles.

The Pacoima Wash is a tributary of the Los Angeles River. It runs more-or-less north-south through the San Fernando Valley, through the city of San Fernando and neighborhoods within the city of Los Angeles including Sylmar, Pacoima, and Arleta, where it joins the Tujunga Wash. Like many southland creeks, the Pacoima Wash is encased in concrete and fenced off.

In 2000, the city of San Fernando adopted a plan for parks and bicycle and pedestrian paths along the Pacoima Wash. The city sought and obtained project funding from Metro’s 2007 Call for Projects. In 2008, the nonprofit Pacoima Beautiful obtained County Public Health PLACE grant funding to extend Pacoima greenway planning to San Fernando’s adjacent city of L.A. neighborhoods. Pacoima Beautiful spearheaded the planning process for the Pacoima Wash Vision Plan, which calls for a 2.6-mile bikeway connecting with the Angeles National Forest.

There are two new small Pacoima Wash parks already underway, both collaborations between cities and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA.) The city of San Fernando’s 8th Street Park is complete and ready for its grand opening, anticipated very soon. Nearby downstream, in the city of L.A.’s Pacoima neighborhood, El Dorado Park is funded and currently being designed.

Things appeared to be moving along well, albeit slowly, for Pacoima Wash revitalization. Then Metro pulled back its funding, requiring that San Fernando instead apply for state ATP funding. This triggered the need for a new vote at the San Fernando City Council, where elected officials and staff are almost all new since the 2007 Metro funding was obtained. Read more…

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Bike San Diego Wins National Advocacy Award, Sets Sights Higher

bikeSDBike San Diego won this year’s Advocacy Organization of the Year award from the Alliance for Biking and Walking at the National Bike Summit earlier this month in Washington, D.C. Pretty good for an all-volunteer-run organization that has only been around for a little over a year.

During that year, however, BikeSD shifted from being an influential blog by founder Samantha Ollinger to an active representative of bicycle riders in local planning efforts and politics.

“It hasn’t really sunk in that we won,” said Ollinger of winning the award. “It’s an incredible honor. National recognition is very gratifying, and having that tangible acknowledgment is a huge deal. Our volunteers work hard, I work hard, our board works incredibly hard. And we’re all volunteers.”

In addition to her day job as an accountant, she is on the planning board for her neighborhood, works with city agencies and local organizations on planning efforts including the San Diego Bicycle Plan, and just applied to be on the police Citizens’ Review Board.

“My social life is all about BikeSD,” she said. “If you want to have drinks with me, we’re going to talk bike policy.”

Last year the group’s focus was largely on advocacy efforts, targeting city officials and local organizations to make sure the concerns of bicyclists were taken into account. One of the organization’s big achievements was convincing planners that car Level of Service (LOS) was not an appropriate measure for bike infrastructure proposed in the new San Diego Bike Plan.

Read more…

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California Biking, Walking, Transit Use Up Despite Little Investment

Caltrans' latest Household Travel Survey report shows significant increases in walking and bicycling

The news from Caltrans’ 2012 California Household Travel Survey is not too surprising: Californians are making more trips by walking, bicycling, and transit than they were in 2000. The survey found the percentage of trips by these modes doubled in ten years and make up nearly 23 percent of all trips in the state.

That means car trips decreased dramatically, from 86 percent of trips to 75 percent. This includes trips where people are passengers in cars — for drivers only, the decrease is from 60 percent of trips to 49 percent. This confirms a recent US Public Interest Group (PIRG) report that got a lot of media attention about millenials choosing to drive less and being more interested in active forms of transportation.

“The California data is the first new travel survey since the last federal National Household Travel Survey in 2009, so it’s very significant that it shows such a steep decline in driving and a doubling in the share of transit, biking and walking,” said Phineas Baxandall of USPIRG. “It shows the last federal survey wasn’t a fluke.” The national survey showed a jump in walking trips, a slight increase in transit trips, and an increase in “other” modes, under which bicycle trips would fall.

“The fact that we’re seeing this in California, the heart of the former car culture, is also delicious,” he added. Read more…