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Posts from the "Sharrows" Category

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LADOT Announces 20 Miles of New Sharrows for 2014

Are new sharrows really coming to this stretch of 4th Street? Sharrow at 4th and Norton this morning. Joe Linton/LA Streetsblog

Existing sharrow on 4th Street just east of Norton Avenue this morning. Joe Linton/LA Streetsblog

Via an article published yesterday in the LADOT Bike Blog, the department announced that it would be adding “approximately 20 miles” of  ”new sharrows… over the course of the next year.” The article includes a spreadsheet listing of where these sharrows will be implemented.

In case readers are unfamiliar with them, Sharrows are shared lane markings. They designate lanes that are shared by bikes and cars. Sharrows are generally the lowest of the low-hanging-fruit, useful where squeezing in a more robust bike facility is difficult. They don’t take any parking, any lanes, any inches, any time away from cars. They are just a reminder to drivers that bicyclists will be on the street and tell bicyclists where to ride to stay out of the “door zone.”

Streetsblog used Google to map the 20 mile list – click here or on the images to go to the actual Google Map. Here’s most of L.A. City:

Screenshot of streets where LADOT announced new sharrows for 2013. Click to go to Google Map.

Screenshot of streets where LADOT announced new sharrows for 2013. Click to go to Google Map.

And here’s a detail for San Pedro, which is receiving plenty of the new sharrows:

San Pedro detail of streets where LADOT will implement sharrows in 2014. Click to go to Google Map.

Screenshot of San Pedro detail of streets where LADOT will implement sharrows in 2014. Click to go to Google Map.

Streetsblog hasn’t had time to bike out and measure all of these streets, but, after a preliminary review, it looks pretty good.  Read more…

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Why Do Sharrows Work Better In Long Beach? And Do We Need to Rethink Them?

After four years, many complaints, many praises, and a final acceptance that they really aren’t that bad, the green Sharrows in Belmont Shore have turned 4. And with that, data have been released so that we can figure out precisely what we’ve learned.

Council Woman Suja Lowenthal was front and center at the Green Sharrow Lane opening in Belmont Shores in 2009. Photo:L.A. County Department of Public Health

The Sharrows stretch along 2nd street in between Bayshore and Livingstone Drives along a street that is heavily commercial: With 15 blocks, there are 14 stop lights and a consistent push for parking that borders the intensity of hell sometimes. In other words, more than acting as a complete street, it acted as some vehicular arterial that welcomed pedestrians but forced bicyclists to dangerously roll along the sidewalk or uncomfortably ride in traffic untuned to their presence.

Hence the Sharrows which, according to Bike Long Beach, was created for three reasons: encourage bicyclists to ride the lane safely; reduce bicyclists on sidewalks to increase safety; and encourage bicycling on a larger scale.

But have they proven effective?

According to the data, somewhat yes. For the two and a half years prior to the Sharrows being installed—2007 to mid-2009—Belmont Shore had over 90 crashes of which nine involved bikes and two involved a pedestrian.

Following the Sharrows completion on June 25, 2009, there was a drop in overall collisions in 2010 and 2011—33 and 27 respectively—but a spike in bicyclist—4 and 6—as well as pedestrian collisions in 2011 with 3. Then it drops for 2012 drastically, with just 12 collisions overall and no bicyclist/ped-involved collisions. Read more…

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Fixing a roundabout that isn’t, Just a Block from the Beach

The difference between a roundabout and a traffic circle? One misplaced stop sign.

When is a roundabout not a roundabout?

Evidently, when it’s located roundabout the beach in Santa Monica.

It’s not that the city by the sea hasn’t made great strides in recent years, particularly in justifying its designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community. The new Green Street on Ocean Park Blvd. shows Santa Monica’s commitment to re-imagining streets to accommodate all road users, as well as the environment.

On the other hand, some of the legacy streets could stand to see some improvement. Like tiny Bay Street between Neilson Way and the beach, for instance.

One of the problems for those of us who ride our bikes to the beach from points further inland is how to access the popular Santa Monica and Venice sections of the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path (pdf) that runs along the coast from Pacific Palisades to Palos Verdes.

The bluffs that protect the city from the sea also limit direct access to the coast, as does the dangerously high-speed traffic that careens along PCH all day and night throughout the week.

For some, the answer is the walkway that runs under the coast highway at West Channel Drive, allowing riders to walk their bikes down a flight of stairs and underneath the speeding traffic. Assuming they don’t mind traversing a dark and secluded walkway, completely hidden from public view.

While Gary Kavanagh is on a short hiatus, Ted Rogers and Juan Matute will cover the Santa Monica beat for Streetsblog. This column is supported by Bike Center and the Library Alehouse

Read more…

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Long Beach: Livingston Drive Repaving Comes with More Sharrows and Wider Sidewalks

Map of improved Livingston Drive via City of Long Beach

The 3rd District of Long Beach is home to the first Sharrow lanes in the city  on 2nd Street in Belmont Shore. Today, the 3rd is expanding its number of Sharrows as it prepares to repave Livingston Drive between 2nd Street and Termino Avenue.

The stretch of road–a little less than a half-mile–desperately needs repaving. Councilmember Gary DeLong claims the project will only get more expensive if the city continues to wait. As with all street designs, city staff tries to take bike mobility and foot traffic into consideration, while also trying to maintain parking spaces–particularly in crowded parking areas like Belmont Heights.

“Retaining parking spaces was an important criteris and this design protects the existing parking,” said DeLong.

Heading westbound on 2nd Street takes you to the Livingston Drive fork, where heading westbound on Livingston eventually takes you to Ocean Boulevard towards downtown via three lanes. One of those lanes will now be a service road with a protective median and the parking spots lining it will remain intact; traffic engineers have claimed that the loss of the third lane will not exacerbate traffic congestion. Along with the median for bicyclist protection, the road will have Sharrow markings to remind motorists to share the road with bicyclists and guide cyclists to the safest place to ride on the road. Read more…

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L.A. City Adding New Bikeways, Will They Reach Pledged 40 Miles by June 30?

New bike lanes on Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood - among the 12 new miles of bike lanes implemented in late 2011.

The good news: the city of Los Angeles is implementing more bike lanes than ever before. From July 2011 through December 2011, the city of Los Angeles has implemented 12.5 miles of new bike lanes. This is by far the highest total for any six-month period since at least 1996, and probably the most ever. For the past decade or so, the city has averaged roughly two-to-three miles of new bike lanes every six months.

The bad news: according to Streetsblog’s accounting, despite the stepped-up efforts, the city is not quite on track to fulfill Mayor Villaraigosa’s directive “to build 40 miles of bikeways a year” beginning with Fiscal Year 2011-2012.

After the jump, this article will enumerate just what new bikeway mileage has been done, and how the city may be able to get the 40 new bikeways pledged.

First some background. Read more…

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20 Miles of Sharrows in One Weekend…More Facts and Figures from LADOT

Photo of the new Sharrows on Arden: Joe Anthony/Bike Commute News

Last weekend, in an impressive display of what LADOT can do on city streets when it puts its mind to it, 4 teams of LADOT employees spread out throughout the city and placed 803 Sharrows over 20.61 miles of city streets.

LADOT caused some controversy when it announced it would include these Sharrows as part of its commitment to “40 miles of bike infrastructure every year.”  Including those Sharrows with other infrastructure, mostly bike lanes, that have been installed LADOT has installed 30.3 miles of bike facilities since the fiscal year started on July 1.

Starting last Friday night at 9:00 P.M., the first crew took to the streets with the last one starting at 2:00 A.M. on Saturday morning.  Crews worked around the clock until the 803′rd Sharrow was placed on the ground at 2:00 P.M. on Sunday.

LADOT lays out the case for Sharrows both at the LADOT Bike Blog and a Fact Sheet (available here) handed out at this morning’s CicLAvia press conference.  The Bike Blog adds that some Sharrows made the final list that weren’t on the original list in part so that there would be some Sharrows on the CicLAvia route. Read more…

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Sharrows Appear on Motor Avenue

Photos: Jonathan Weiss

When Jonathan Weiss emailed me two weeks ago announcing that Sharrows placeholders appeared on Motor Avenue, I didn’t think too much of it. After all, stencils marking a place for bike racks have been on the ground next to my Big Blue Bus stop for almost five months.

However, apparently LADOT contractors were working overtime again, because yesterday morning Weiss grabbed the above pictures while out on a Sunday morning Constitutional. He was greeted by these views cycling Southbound on Motor Avenue.  New Sharrows have already been spotted on Arden Ave.,  Fountain Avenue, Yucca Street and Vine Street in the Mid-/K-/Downtown areas.  If you see more Sharrows on the street, drop us a line and let us know.

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Eyes on the Street: More Sharrows Coming to the Westside

Sharrows will appear on Motor Ave. right where that little arrow is...Photo: Jonathan Weiss

Earlier this week, Joe Linton noticed that marking were appearing on mid-town streets to mark the spot where Sharrows would be placed.  Linton is one of the harshest critics of the city’s attempts to jump off the Bike Plan to add Sharrows to city streets to reach the Mayor’s stated promise of 40 miles of bike projects every year for the next five.

Linton’s fellow Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee Member Jonathan Weiss spotted Sharrows markings (the x and arrow designating where a Sharrow should go) along Motor Avenue on the Westside.  The quick takeaway is that LADOT is serious about getting these 20 miles of new Sharrowed streets on the ground as quickly as possible.

We should note that the same section of Motor Avenue that is going to receive the Sharrows is due to receive bike lanes in the Bike Plan that was passed in March of this year.  There is no timeline on when the Sharrows will be converted to Bike Lanes.  But in the meantime, the city that took almost eight years to implement its first Sharrows now seems to be embracing them with gusto.

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The Embedded Activist

After the unanimous passage of Safe and Healthy Streets, Bogart celebrates with staff and supporters. All pics via the LACBC's Glendae website.

There’s always a risk when an advocate is hired by a government agency.  Will the advocate “go native” and be an ineffective agent of change?  Will the advocate ever be able to shake his reputation of being “just” an advocate?

When the City of Glendale and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition submitted a joint application for a Policies for Livable Active Communities and Environments (PLACE) Grant, they decided to go in a different direction then the other PLACE Communities.  While the end product of their grant is the Safe and Healthy Streets Document, perhaps the best case study for other cities is how the city, LACBC and the PLACE Grant Coordinator they both hired all worked together.

The team proposed that the PLACE Coordinator would work for the LACBC as an employee, but would be embedded full-time with city staff.  When Colin Bogart was hired to be the PLACE Coordinator, he worked out of an office in the Glendale Civic Center, not in Downtown Los Angeles in the LACBC offices.

“Even though he was physically removed from the office, it still didn’t feel like he was that far away,” remarked LACBC Executive Director Jennifer Klausner.  “Having a full time employee, dedicated to a particular place that isn’t the headquarters, can be hard for an organization.  But it never felt like he was that far away.”

It was a unique situation, even the grant makers in the L.A. County Public Health Department weren’t sure how it was going to work out.  But, three years later, the experiment was such a success that everyone I spoke with in Glendale to prepare for this series, from advocates, to city staff, all the way up to Mayor Laura Friedman were devastated to see Bogart go back to the LACBC’s Downtown offices when the grant expired on July 1 of this year.  I met with Glendale Mayor Laura Friedman two days before the grant expired and she claimed she was “in denial” that Bogart would be leaving soon.

One thing that made the PLACE Grant such a success in Glendale was that Bogart understood the advantages and limits of his somewhat unique position.  Unlike PLACE Coordinators in other cities, Bogart had direct access to the decision makers in Glendale’s government but could speak to advocates throughout the city as “one of them” and not a member of the city government.

There are several lessons that other cities, and advocacy groups can learn from Glendale, Bogart’s and the LACBC’s experience.  Here are some things to consider if you work for a city or non-profit that’s considering the embedded activist model for their city.

Lesson 1: Go with Someone You Can Trust Read more…

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LADOT Responds: 20 Miles of Sharrows Part of Mayor’s Infrastructure Commitment

Expect to see a lot more of this in 2011 and beyond. LADOT has promised to quadruple the number of Sharrows on city streets. Photo: LACBC

Yesterday, we featured a headline by our Joe Linton that pretty harshly criticized an LADOT Bike Blog posting from Monday about the LADOT’s committment to increasing the number of Sharrows on L.A.’s streets.  We summarized Linton’s post into a couple of questions and sent them on to the LADOT to get some clarification.  After all, the city is promising 20 miles of Sharrowed streets to be completed in the next year…what could be wrong with that?

Scanning Linton’s article, Streetsblog boiled down his questions and complaints to three main questions.  Would the Sharrows count towards the city’s, and Mayor’s, commitment to 40 miles of infrastructure a year, even if some of the projects aren’t in the five year implementation plan?  If so, does this mean projects are coming off the list, or is this in addition to the original five year plan?  What about the streets that are scheduled for bike lanes, but also appear in the city’s Sharrow list?

Here is LADOT’s response.

Yes, it is the City’s intent to include sharrows as a part of the Mayor’s commitment to implement 40 miles of bikeways this fiscal year.  Some streets that receive the sharrow treatment are too narrow for bicycle lanes such as Fountain St. and Arden Bl., and in that case yes the sharrows will be a permanent solution.  For others the implementation of sharrows may be an interim measure to getting a permanent bicycle lane installed while the public and political will are collected in support of installing bicycle lanes as called for in the 2010 Plan. It may take some time to complete the public process for some projects.

The Bicycle Plan is clear about our commitment to make Los Angeles a bike-friendly city. Sharrows are one of several tools that will be used to get us to the goal. Sharrows are cost-effective treatments that can be installed quickly, as we continue to work toward major bikeway improvements detailed in the plan. In some cases the newly installed sharrows will be complemented with other traffic calming devices as appropriate and as funding is available for Bicycle Friendly Streets.

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