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Posts from the "Bike Master Plan" Category

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LA Times Editorial: Councilmembers Should Not Be Tinkering with Bike Plan

Bicyclists on North Figueroa Street. Photo via Fig4All Flickr

Bicyclists on North Figueroa Street. Photo via Fig4All Flickr

I was excited to read yesterday’s pro-bike Los Angeles Times editorial entitled Some bumps in the road on the way to a bike-friendly L.A. The piece calls out Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo for stopping the approved North Figueroa bike lanes. The Times supports the “worthwhile objective” of  implementing bicycle infrastructure to make “the city safe and hospitable for cyclists… [to] reduce carbon emissions and overall congestion.”

Most critically, the Times highlights the regional importance of completing the city-wide bicycle network:

Unless some demonstrable miscalculation was made in the bike plan, or unless there’s a real safety issue, individual City Council members should not be tinkering with the plan, which was designed carefully with the whole city in mind. (italics added)

When the city approved its bike plan, it affirmed the importance of bicycling as a valid and worthwhile component of the city’s transportation systems. If individual councilmembers opted out of crosswalks, curb-cuts, bus stops, or, heaven forbid, freeway on-ramps, in individual districts, would the mayor and LADOT be so compliant? What if councilmembers start opting out of sewers or flood protection infrastructure? Should councilmembers be nixing regionally interconnected projects? I am glad that the Times doesn’t think so.

Unfortunately, even in this welcome editorial, I think that there are a few ways in which the Times misses the mark.  Read more…

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A Look At L.A.’s “Second Year” Bike Lane Implementation List

Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell celebrates the January 2014 opening on the Virgil Avenue bicycle lanes. Los Angeles is beginning technical studies to extend these lanes from Los Feliz Blvd to Wilshire Blvd. Photo: Office of CM Mitch O'Farrell

Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell celebrates the January 2014 opening on the initial half mile of Virgil Avenue bicycle lanes. The city of Los Angeles has begun technical studies on 40 miles of “Second Year” bike lane streets, including extending the Virgil bike lanes from Los Feliz Blvd to Wilshire Blvd. Photo: Office of CM Mitch O’Farrell

Last week, the Los Angeles City Departments of City Planning (DCP) and Transportation (LADOT) hosted a webinar for the start of what they’re calling “2010 Bicycle Plan Second Year Implementation.” The Webinar presentation materials are posted online hereSBLA covered some news from the webinar last friday. Today’s article focuses on the “Second Year” projects and additional bikeway implementation discussed. The full Second Year facility list appears after the jump.

In 2011, city staff put forth a list of about 40 miles of “First Year” study corridors. These were streets where bike lanes had been approved in the 2010 Bike Plan, but the city deemed further study necessary. Since 2011, the city has studied all and implemented some of the “first year” corridors. In many cases, first year study corridor facility implementation has stalled due to political issues. The city has also implemented plenty of other bike lane projects: some approved in the bike plan, and some opportunistic.

In January 2014, the LADOT relased its Priority 2 list. The same list in slightly different form, called “Second Year Study Corridors,” appeared on this handout distributed at DCP’s planning forumsThe second year study corridors are a list of about 40 miles of street segments where the city is looking to implement bike lanes soon. All of these bike lanes were already approved in 2011, when the city approved its bike plan.

The word “year” is somewhat confusing. Three years after adopting the bike plan, the city is starting on its “second year” bike lane projects. So, in this case, “year” means something more like “batch” or “grouping.”

Though Streetsblog welcomes and celebrates bike lanes almost anywhere, some recent L.A. City bike lane mileage has been more opportunistic than strategic. Bike lanes on Via Marisol, Laconia Blvd, Braddock Drive, and Fair Park Avenue were all implemented more because the street was overly wide, as opposed to the lanes being particularly useful.

The city’s “Second Year” list is much more strategic. Completion of these approved facilities will greatly enhance the city’s bicycle transportation network. These corridors are places where L.A. bicyclists ride and need to ride, but where no safe and convenient facility exists. These facilities connect with others to create bike networks. Read more…

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News Bites from BikeLA Webinar: Gap, Parking, Cycle Tracks, Metrolink

Last night, the city of Los Angeles Departments of Transportation (LADOT) and City Planning (DCP) hosted a webinar to introduce L.A. cyclists to what are called the “second year study corridors” for the L.A. City Bicycle Plan. The webinar included a presentation and a question and answer session. The unscripted Q&A yielded a handful of newsworthy tidbits. SBLA will report these newsbites first, then, next week, review bike plan implementation, including the “first year” and “second year” batches.

The York Blvd Bike Lane Gap: Earlier this month, LADOT extended the York Boulevard bike lanes to the edge of South Pasadena. Though the extended York lanes connect with bike lanes on Avenue 66 and San Pascual Avenue, Flying Pigeon lamented the 528 foot gap between L.A.’s York lanes and immediately adjacent bike lanes on South Pasadena’s Pasadena Avenue. LADOT’s Tim Fremaux explained that L.A. had approached the city of South Pasadena and met with their Public Works Commission, which includes John Fisher, formerly of LADOT. According to Fremaux, Fisher “pushed for an aggressive road diet” which would have created a continuous bike lane, but this proposal ultimately voted down by South Pasadena, leaving the gap at the city border.

Bike Parking: LADOT’s Michelle Mowery explained that, due to issues with a contractor bidding process, LADOT isn’t installing their inverted-U bike racks right now. They expect to resume installations this summer. Mowery stated that there was a wait list of about 30 bike corrals awaiting installation. One of the next corrals to be installed will be in front of Laemmle’s movie theater on Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood.

LADOT's San Fernando Road bike path has been designed to accommodate double-tracking the adjacent Metrolink rails. Photo: Rails-to-Trails

LADOT’s San Fernando Road bike path has been designed to accommodate future double-tracking of the adjacent Metrolink railway. Photo: Rails-to-Trails (Note: The  path extends across multiple city jurisdictions and this image might be just inside the City of San Fernando.)

Read more…

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How Does LA City’s Mobility Plan Modify Its 3-Year-Old Bike Plan?

LA City Planning Dept graphic showing how the bike plan does and doesn't become the Mobility Plan. From the DCP handout: Where did the Bicycle Plan go?

LA City Planning Department graphic showing how the bike plan does and doesn’t become the Mobility Plan. From the DCP handout: Where did the Bicycle Plan go?

Streetsblog readers are probably aware that the city of Los Angeles Department of City Planning (DCP) is currently updating the Transportation Element of the city’s General Plan. The Transportation Element has a great deal of influence over what L.A.’s streets look like, and which uses they prioritize.

The new Transportation Element, called Mobility Plan 2035,  has been released in draft form. For a plan overview, read SBLA’s Mobility Plan review, and also read SBLA’s series of Community Voices on the Mobility Plan: part one, two, and three. Read the plan documents and summaries at the DCP’s LA/2B website. DCP just concluded a series of community forums, but is still receiving public comment through May 13, 2014.

In the past, the Transportation Element included a somewhat independent bike section, called the Bicycle Master Plan. In 2011, after much controversy and struggle, the city adopted its latest bike plan, titled the 2010 Bike Plan. That plan is currently in effect, governing what streets are approved for bike lanes, as well as a host of other bicycle related policies.

At its community forum meetings, DCP distributed a handout entitled Where did the Bicycle Plan go? which states, in part:

The goals, objectives, policies and programs of the 2010 Bicycle Plan are incorporated into Mobility Plan 2035, which lays the policy foundation necessary for the City to plan, design and operate streets that accommodate all users including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and motorists. [...]

A few components of the 2010 Bicycle Plan have been modified during the Plan’s integration into Mobility Plan 2035. These modifications were made in order to reflect the latest input from the community, as well as to reflect further refinements of the bikeway system.

The details of the “few components [that] have been modified” are not entirely clear.

Bike Plan facilities have been carried over into the new Mobility Plan, but there’s no clear thorough accounting of what’s in and what’s not in. DCP lists a category called “Deferred Backbone” (the gray oval in their chart above) of 195 miles of streets that were approved in 2011, but, in DCP’s designation, just won’t happen before 2035, so they’re out.

The handout also states that the Neighborhood Network is “relatively unchanged.” Relatively unchanged never quite means a little more bikeway mileage. According to the stated totals, the Neighborhood Network appears to have lost 5 miles. The 2010 plan totals say there will be 825 miles of bikeways. The draft Mobility Plan shows a total of 820 miles: 50 miles in the Bicycle Enhanced Network (BEN) plus 770 miles in the remaining Neighborhood Network.

Which 5 miles are missing? Or was new mileage added, and more than five deleted? It’s hard to tell. It’s a bit like finding a needle in a haystack.

Read more…

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Community Voices on L.A.’s Mobility Plan: MCM’s Avila and BAC’s Jacobberger

Streetsblog L.A. is continuing coverage of Los Angeles’ draft Mobility Plan 2035. The draft plan is out for comment, SBLA profiled it here. The public is encouraged to submit comments via email, or at a series of Planning Forums taking place through April 12th. The next forum is this Saturday March 29th 9 a.m. to 12 noon at Boyle Heights City Hall, 2130 E. First St., L.A. 90033.

communityvoices

Streetsblog invited some local livability leaders to respond to a few simple questions telling us their opinions of the city of Los Angeles draft Mobility Plan 2035. Today, our two respondents are Betty Avila and Jeff Jacobberger.

Avila is the chair of Multicultural Communities for Mobility (MCM.) Jacobberger is the chair of L.A.’s appointed Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC.) They’ve responded to the draft plan in their own words below.

We’ll have more community voices on the Mobility Plan later this week.

One quick note on terminology: For this article, the following words are more-or-less interchangeable: Mobility-Transportation  and Element-Plan. The document calls itself the “Mobility Plan” though it’s also referred to as the “Mobility Element” or the “Transportation Element” of the General Plan.

Betty Avila photo via Facebook

Betty Avila photo via Facebook

Betty Avila is Board Chair for Multicultural Communities for Mobility. She has been on the board since 2012 and her work has focused mainly on board development and organizational best practices.

What’s your overall opinion of Mobility Plan 2035?

Avila: Multicultural Communities for Mobility is still reviewing the document. We haven’t read all of it yet, but we have these preliminary thoughts: Where is the equity piece? There’s no clear statement on how each component will be prioritized for implementation throughout the city or what neighborhoods are most in need of improvement. This is particularly important because implementation is contingent on availability of funds from year to year. There was so much outreach and advocacy work done to have the 2010 L.A. Bike Plan include equity as a priority – now that the plan has been absorbed into the Mobility Plan 2035, the equity component should remain.

What do you like best in the plan?

The plan has a lot of potential in terms of how it can support low-income communities of color by transforming the use of space  - a healthy, vibrant community is one where people feel safe on their streets, feel empowered to activate the public spaces around them and feel comfortable using the most accessible and affordable mode of transportation available to them. It’s great that the plan includes an educational component with a goal of growing the number of people that participate in bike/ped safety and education workshops by 10 percent. This is, however, a modest number and one that can likely be higher by 2035 given the organizational capacity that exists in this city.

What do you think is missing or needs work?  Read more…

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Lessons from NYC, actually NJ: Bikeway Implementation in Jersey City

(This is my fourth and probably, for now, last tale from the East Coast. We’re nearly packed and I’ll be in L.A. and writing real L.A. stories full-time starting next week. -Joe)

In 2013, Jersey City Mayor Fulop made good on long-ignored plans and promises, and implemented bikeways, including this new bike lane on Fulton Avenue.

In 2013, Jersey City Mayor Fulop made good on long-ignored plans and promises, and implemented bikeways, including this new bike lane on Fulton Avenue.

As I mentioned in the first installment of this series, I’ve been living in Jersey City, one subway stop from NYC. Jersey City is a sort of inner-ring suburb of NYC, but located in a different state. Jersey City is fairly population-dense, very walkable, and well-serviced by subway, bus, and light rail. For an L.A. County benchmark, Jersey City is roughly the same population as Glendale, in a bit smaller area. “JC” is a big city in its own right, but it’s small in comparison to our taller neighbor across the Hudson River. Hence, I think that the Jersey City bikeway implementation story might be most applicable to L.A. County cities like Torrance, Pomona, Glendale, Pasadena and like. Good sized cities, but small in comparison to the city of Los Angeles.

When I moved here in 2012, Jersey City had two very short on-street bike lanes. One is 5-blocks long, painted as a sort of Earth Day 2012 publicity stunt. The other bike lane is even shorter; it’s on a widened bridge in a state park.

The local bicycle advocates formed a non-profit, called BikeJC. BikeJC hosts rides, and pushes the city to do more for cycling. When I arrived, I got in touch with BikeJC and did some volunteering with them.

BikeJC leaders worked with the city to create a bicycle plan in 2006.

BikeJC leaders worked with the city to create another bicycle plan in 2010.

When, during election season in 2012, longtime Mayor Healy rolled out another bicycle plan, some BikeJC leaders were understandably discouraged. The mayor touted 55 miles of bikeways, lukewarmly declaring:

We’re obviously not going to put them [bikeways] in high-density traffic areas. But a lot of our side streets can accommodate bike lanes and we intend to do that.

The press quoted the 55 mile figure. The fine print, though, was that the city was committed to striping only the first 3 miles, which would be done the summer after the 2013 election. Like many bike plans, there was little political will, no timeline, and little confidence that implementation would actually happen.

Then longtime Mayor Healy lost an election.  Read more…

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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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Cyclists Go Positive Against Mis-Information Campaign in Northeast L.A.

The past few months has literally been a battle as the LADOT readies to begin implementing the 2010 Bike Plan by adding bike lanes to a Northeast neighborhood in LA.

After reading the Boulevard Sentinel’s (a local weekly paper) opinion on the negative impact bike lanes would have on this small community, I wanted to show what the positive impact would be. When I heard that Josef Bray-Ali, owner of  Flying Pigeon Bike Shop, was having a friendly bike ride to support local businesses and bring positive cycling awareness to the area, I decided to see it for myself. 

Passionate and energetic, Josef Bray-Ali is cycling a enthusiast, a father and fellow neighbor to not only the residents in the area but also the businesses. He and his brother opened Flying Pigeon in HIghland Park in 2008. In 2012 they moved the shop down the street to Cypress Park.  He describes Figueroa as an “old streetcar suburb arterial road” which used to have two street cars running up and down. 

Read more…

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Villaraigosa Celebrates Bike Plan Progress, Rallies for More

Two years ago, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and a host of city officials stood at the podium announcing a new day for cyclists in Los Angeles. Today, he was back in the same place, at the same time, to announce that the city is making progress.

City Council Members look on as Villaraigosa announces the signing of the Bike Plan on March 2, 2010.

“CicLAvia’s success and the breakneck pace of bikeway construction demonstrate that L.A. has removed its training wheels,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “The synergy of public support and infrastructure investment has put L.A. at the front of the transit pack.”

To date, LADOT has installed 123 miles of new bikeways, at a rate of 61 miles every 12 months. This is nearly 8 times the rate of the previous 40 years. In fiscal year 2011-2012 L.A. installed 76 miles of bike facilities. Two thirds of the way through fiscal year 2012-2013 they’ve already added another 39 miles. This pace of installation includes 97 miles of bike lanes, 4 miles of bike paths, 21 miles of sharrows, and 1 mile of bicycle-friendly streets.

“I am ecstatic that the City is continuing on a path to complete 40 miles of bike lanes per year,” said Councilman Bill Rosendahl. “We are seeing first hand how The Bike Plan is dramatically improving the City’s multi-modal system of transportation, as well as having a positive impact on our air and climate.”

There are now a total of 431 miles of bikeways citywide, up from just over 300 when the Mayor last held a bocycle themed press event at City Hall.

“Lack of infrastructure is the biggest barrier to more people choosing to ride. When the City installs bike lanes, ridership goes up 100 to 200 percent within the next year,” said Jen Klausner, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Read more…

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Oppose the Expo Line or Wilshire Bus Only Lanes? Then You Probably Want to Fight Bike Lanes Too.

(Note: The Westside Neighborhood Council contacted me to clarify that they have not taken a position on the lanes being debated at this community meeting. I even snarked that they “continued their streak of opposing everything.” Oops. I have struckthrough their name below and offer my apologies. – DN)

From the start, it looked like a bad night for bicycle advocates on the Westside.

Existing bicycle lanes on Westwood. Image: Change.org

Before the evening began, a post on L.A. Observed by Mark Lacter layed down the stakes for Westside residents at the LADOT and City Planning community meeting on 5 Bike Plan projects on the Westside. It’s normal people versus cycling zealots in a battle over public space. Emails from homeowner’s groups were similarly dire.

Despite the efforts of advocates, especially the Bike Coalition’s (LACBC’s) Eric Bruins to “community activists” about how bike lanes and other traffic calming devices are good for all road users; Lacter and many of those present last night at the “community meeting” can’t seem to see past their windshield.

The city came prepared. A team of planners and members of LADOT Bikeways showed up ready to answer questions about the proposals. During their presentation they pointed out that currently the proposed bike lanes would be the only North-South Bike Lanes in the local network. Also approval of the lanes is part of a longer timeline than just a meeting last night for any project deemed controversial.

While many cyclists did brave the bad weather to attend the meeting, many of the “neighborhood advocates” wanted to, in the words of Lacter, not give up any of “their” space to bicyclists.

The most sensible of the comments came from Colleen Mason-Heller, a longtime opponent of the Expo Line and one of the Chairs of Neighbors for Smart Rail. Heller noted that the bicycle plans for Westwood and the traffic studies for the Expo Line weren’t in sync. The Expo traffic studies assume two lanes of traffic in each direction, while the Bike Plan removes one of the south bound lanes. Streetsblog reported yesterday on an LACBC proposal, that LADOT voiced support for, that would address this concern. Read more…