LACBC: If You Want More Bike Facilities, Tell Metro

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The Los Angeles County Bike Coalition is urging cyclists everywhere to submit comments on Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan. As we’ve noted here before, Metro isn’t just a transit agency, but also the main transportation planners for LA County. While the current Draft Long Range Transportation Plan is long on deserving transit projects, the total amount of funds that will be available for bicycle and pedestrian projects is between one and two percent of the total budget for the next thirty years.

Of course, the plan is still a draft and changes can be made…which makes getting written comments to Metro by April 25th asking for greater investment in bicycle and pedestrian projects all the more important. The LACBC has put together some talking points and all of the necesary contact information that you can find after the jump.  If you’re interested in reading my testimony, you can find it here.

Dear Fellow Cyclists,

As some of you may know, I have just recently started working at the LACBC as the Outreach Coordinator. I’m writing to alert you about an important county-wide planning process that needs your input immediately.

Metro has issued a Long-Range Transportation plan draft (www.metro.net) and has been holding meetings to get community input. Dorothy and I have been going to some of these meetings to make sure that Bicycles are included in their plan. They are encouraging us to give input into what we would like to see implemented.

They have indeed included a small percentage of the available funding to bicycle planning, but definitely not to the extent it should be. Right now only 2% of the budget is allocated to bicyclists and pedestrians. I have encouraged Metro to double the budget allocated for bicycle ways, lanes and routes, and that bicycle facilities and lanes should be included in all of their transportation projects.

I have spoken to Carol Inge, planning director at Metro and she agrees with us that we need to change the way people think, and get them out of their cars in order to reduce congestion, reduce air pollution and reduce green house gas emissions. What she needs is to hear from us, so that they can include our ideas into the plan. We need to tell them what we would like to see.

That is where YOU come in. LACBC needs you to write a letter today I have put together a couple main points that a few of us consider as key. If we come together on these, If enough of us speak up now, we will dramatically improve conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians today.

Here are some suggestions:

1) Increase the amount of money for bicycle and pedestrian projects in the strategic plan.

The budget allocated to bicycles should be at least $24 million a year.

Metro should commit to funding bicycle and pedestrian improvements every year- even using local sales tax monies if state monies are not available.

In order to create safer streets for cyclists we need more bike lanes and more bicycle facilities throughout the city.
Metro talks of "changing the way people think". But you need to make it possible for people to change their behaviors. We need to encourage people to ride their bikes. Designating specific parts of the road for bike use and shared use will encourage people to ride their bikes and incorporate the bicycle as a viable form of transportation. It will also improve motorist behavior about cyclists and improve cyclist safety.

By encouraging people to ride their bikes, you are addressing Metro’s vision of creating a more "balanced transportation system", of reducing congestion, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing our air pollution, and encouraging a healthier and better quality of life. Bikes are the solution.

The rest of the nation has realized this, the rest of the world has realized this. Now it’s time that Los Angeles realize this. Metro can help make it happen. We would like to see at least $24 m/yr budgeted to making Los Angeles a cleaner and healthier city by increasing bicycle facilities and bicycle awareness throughout the city.

2) Every project initiated should include bicycle facilities, bike lanes, and bikeways to create alternatives to driving.
This would actually help to reduce extra spending if these initiatives are incorporated during the initial phases, instead of regarding it as separate projects.

Projects in all modal categories that include bicycle accommodations should be given more points in Metro’s scoring criteria. For example:an RSTI project that includes bike lanes should be given more points in that category. A pedestrian sidewalk improvement project that includes bike racks should be given additional points, etc.

Include bikeways paralleling the Metro transit projects; include feeder projects; link public transportation hubs with bicycle lanes;
This addresses the needs of under-served populations.

Metro should provide funding for roadway resurfacing on regionally significant corridors. Poor road surface conditions create a larger hazard for cyclists than any other road user.

Email comments by April 25th to:
CalixR@metro.net
LITVAKJ@Metro.net
metroplan@metro.net

I encourage you to cc an MTA Board member. These elected officials need to hear your suggestions.
You can go to http://www.metro.net/board members for a list of current Metro Board Members.

Mail comments to Attn: Robert Calix, Transportation program Manager
One Gateway Plaza
Mail stop:99-23-2
Los Angeles, CA 90012-2952
Go to these upcoming meetings to get your voice heard:

LRTP Community Meetings

April 22, 2008, 6:30pm
North Los Angeles County
Larry Chimbole Cultural Center, Lilac Room – First Floor
38350 Sierra Highway
Palmdale, CA 93550

April 23, 2008, 6pm
San Fernando Valley
Marvin Braude Constituent Service Center, Room 1B
6262 Van Nuys Bl
Van Nuys, CA 91401

Thanks so much for taking the time to write, and for all of your support of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to get more involved.
Ride on!
Aurisha

Photo: Damien Newton

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