Villaraigosa Pushes Metro for Bike-Friendly Policies

Villaraigosa hasn't turned his back on cyclists following his big promises from this summer.
Villaraigosa hasn't turned his back on cyclists following his big promises from this summer. Photo: ##http://bikininla.com##Ted Rogers at Biking In L.A.##

Nobody is going to get Los Angeles mixed up with Portland or Copenhagen anytime soon, but a new motion that will be heard and voted on at this Thursday’s Metro Board Meeting by Los Angeles’ newly-minted bike-friendly Mayor would move Los Angeles’ transit agency several steps closer.  While some activists have worried that the Mayor’s office isn’t reaching out on bicycle policy, that he’s taking a “look before you leap” approach, the Mayor’s Office has worked closely with the staff at Metro and has taken input from Metro’s bicycle roundtable meetings before moving this motion.

The “bike-unfriendliness” of Los Angeles County’s transit agency has long been a point of consternation among cyclists.  From angry confrontations to bus riders, to just a general feeling of disrespect because of announcements such as this one; Metro and the cycling community haven’t always had the closest of relationships.

But Villaraigosa is seeking to change that.  The Mayor has introduced a motion that if passed and enacted would change the way the agency treats cyclists.  You can read the text of the motion on the Board Agenda or just read on after the jump.  In short it would increase Metro funds available through the Call for Projects, require bicycle design be included in all Capital projects, upgrade bicycle racks on buses so that they can fit three bicycles instead of two and retrofit existing rail stations with signage directing cyclists and other people with large cargo to the part of the rail car that has appropriate space.

While the motion is a big step forward for Metro, in baseball terms it’s a solid double not a home run.  Metro has some “catch-up” to do with the most progressive rail and bus carriers in the world who have clear policies regarding bicycles being allowed on buses and have either “bike cars” or hooks in regular commuter rail cars to increase bicycle capacity.

Because the motion was approved in committee by a unanimous vote, it appears on the “Consent Agenda” on Thursday.  That means that it could be approved by voice vote without discussion by the Board.  However, the public will be given a chance to testify before passage.

EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT AND AUDIT COMMITTEE RECOMMENDED (4-0) approving:
VILLARAIGOSA MOTION that the MTA Board direct the CEO to do the following and report back no later than the December 2010 Board cycle:
Funding
1.    Recommend increased bicycle funding in the 2011 Call for Projects (tentative goal increasing modal category from 7% to 15%, subject to future MTA Board approval)
Current Transit System
2.    Develop a phased plan for the installation of triple bicycle racks on all MTA buses (estimated cost $1.6 million)
3.    Develop a cost estimate, implementation schedule, and possible funding sources for retrofitting MTA trains for bikes
4.    Propose a Revised Customer Code of Conduct and develop a “How to Ride Metro” document that helps customers with bicycles and other large belongings, including luggage, strollers and rolling briefcases, safely board and ride MTA’s system during peak hours
5.    Identify the feasibility and cost of adding bicycle racks to the back or top of MTA vanpool vehicles
EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT AND AUDIT COMMITTEE – Continued
(Continued from previous page)
6.    Provide an estimated cost and potential funding source to install improved bicycle/stroller/luggage wayfinding signage at all rail and bus stations
7.    Incorporate bicycle mode messages in all marketing materials and campaigns and provide an update on the status of MTA’s Bicycle Safety Advertising Campaign on buses
8.    Work with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Transit Security Bureau to summarize crimes on MTA property affecting bicycles and bike facilities and recommend appropriate measures to improve bicycle security
Future Transit Projects
9.    Include in all future transit station designs stair channels or ramps so that bicyclists can wheel their bikes safely up and down staircases
10.    Incorporate robust bicycle facilities in all transit project designs (e.g. increase bicycle parking at high demand stations, adjacent bike lanes or bike paths, i.e. Expo and Orange Line) to facilitate first mile/last mile transit access by bike
FINANCE AND BUDGET COMMITTEE
10.
FINANCE AND BUDGET COMMITTEE RECOMMENDED (4-0) adopting:
A.    a resolution approving extension of the term of the Proposition A Sales Tax Revenue Commercial Paper Program to June 30, 2017, and providing for automatic one-year extensions to maintain the seven-year term of the program and authorizing Seventh Supplemental Subordinate Trust Agreement; and
FINANCE AND BUDGET COMMITTEE
B.    a resolution approving extension of the term of the Proposition C Sales Tax Revenue Commercial Paper Program to June 30, 2017, and providing for automatic one-year extensions to maintain the seven-year term of the program and authorizing Amendment No. 6 to First Supplemental Subordinate Trust Agreement.

  • Transportation Demand Management funds should be funnelled into bike projects as well.

    There is a reasonable concern about this leading to decorative, and unused, bike paths being installed around suburban office parks – but that is why the mayor needs to push for comprehensive monitoring of the traffic on our streets.

    We have very poor data on the number os cyclists using our streets, where the most dangerous, or most used locations are, etc.

    If data collection were already being done, opening up TDM (and other) funding sources would be relative snap of the fingers.

  • I attended the board meeting and the motion passed without a discussion. It’s great to have the mayor on the Metro board as a advocate for bicycling. This motion should speed up the implementation of some of the recommendations that were presented at the bicycle roundtable meetings. I was beginning to wonder if attending the roundtable meetings was ever going to have any benefit in furthering cycling in Los Angeles.

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