Draft Bike Plan Looks to Move Forward. Problems Still Remain.

It's time to say it.  Bike route signs are next to useless, and can cause more problems than they solve as this route in West Hollywood shows.
It's time to say it. Bike route signs are next to useless, and can cause more problems than they solve as this route in West Hollywood shows.

(This is the first of a two-part series on the Bike Plan before it’s heard by the Planning Commission.  Part II, by Joe Linton, is coming tomorrow. – DN)

This Thursday morning, at 8:30 A.M., the Los Angeles City Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the 2010 Draft Bike Plan and vote on whether to move the plan to the full City Council.  If they approve the plan, the plan could clear the Transportation and Planning and Land Use (PLUM) Committees by early December, and the full Council by the end of the year.

In other words, if there’s any chance to improve the Draft Bike Plan, the time to mobilize is now.  City Council Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl has vowed that the Plan will not leave his committee unless it is “fixed,” meaning that the bike community is happy with the plan.  While Streetsblog applauds the Councilman’s pledge, do we really want to wait for the last second to have politicians fix a planning document during a public meeting?  Or do we want get involved to make sure that their job is easy when the plan comes to City Council committees?

The answer is obvious.  We want the problems fixed before the plan gets to the City Council.

And there are still some serious problems with the Draft Bike Plan.  True, the most recent draft of the plan is a huge improvement from earlier drafts.  However, earlier drafts were so bad that pretty much anything would have been an improvement.  Whether the current draft is better than the Plan of Unfulfilled Promise (aka the 1996 Bike Plan) isn’t even clear.  What is clear is that the Draft Bike Plan, even if fully implemented, isn’t going to make Los Angeles a world class city for bicycling.

At Bikeside, Alex Thompson takes a look at the current draft of the plan and finds it extremely lacking.  Thompson lists nine major problems with the plan, and it’s hard to take issue with anything he writes.  You can read Thompson’s full article by clicking here, or read more Streetsblog after the jump.One of my main problems with the plan, and one shared by Thompson, is that a lot of the plan exists on paper.  At the LADOT Bike Blog, they opine that:

A bike plan that cannot be implemented is worth less than the paper it’s printed on.  At the end of the day, the new plan gives the LADOT Bike Program a broader toolkit and a stronger mandate to implement bicycle infrastructure throughout the city.

While that might be true, the Draft Bike Plan reads more like a wish list than a full plan.  The plan promises 1,600 miles of new bikeways.  Thompson explains the problem with that number:

Sure, the draft has hundreds of miles of bike lanes “designated”.  But when you get down in the details you find out 511 of those miles fall in the “further study” category – a category that has previously gone by the name “potential” and “infeasible”.  Only 56 miles of bike lane are left.

Another issue with that number of “1,600”?  It includes “Bike Routes.”  Since arriving in Los Angeles, I’ve been amazed that anyone would consider “Bike Routes” a safe place to bike on city streets.  Just slapping a little green sign on a poll and acting as though it makes a street bike-friendly is wildly ineffective.  I’m hardly alone in that view.  As a matter of fact, it’s shared by LADOT Senior Bike Coordinator Michelle Mowery.

The problem with bike lane and bike route designation is just one example of the issues that remain with the improved Draft Bike Plan.  If you have issues of your own, the best way to influence the final document at this point would be to make a showing at the Planning Commission this Thursday.

After all, if it gets past them, it’s in the hands of the politicians.  And for every ally cyclists have on the Council, there’s another member of the City Council that will want to rubber stamp the plan and move on to something else.


Planning Commission Leadership Strengthens Bike Plan

Yesterday morning, at its meeting at the Van Nuys City Hall, the city of Los Angeles’ Planning Commission approved the latest draft of the city’s Bike Plan. In November, the commission’s hearing was contentious and drawn-out, resulting in a vote to continue the plan, essentially sending it back to Planning Department for revisions. Yesterday’s hearing saw […]

Also Coming Later Today: L.A.’s Bike Plan

Excerpt from the 2009 Draft Bike Plan Via the LADOT Bike Blog comes the news cyclists and community activists have been waiting for: The Department of City Planning and LADOT will finally be releasing the final draft of the Bike Plan, a mere half a year behind schedule.  Sources at LADOT have told me to […]

Light Appears at the End of a Long Bike Plan Tunnel

The city of Los Angeles’ update to its 1996 Bicycle Master Plan has been years in the making, and it looks like there’s finally some light appearing at the end of the bike tunnel. City work began in 2007, with an initial round of public meetings in early 2008. Shifting 2009 drafts drew near-universal derision from local […]

Updating the Bike Plan: Well, How Did I Get Here?

The city of Los Angeles is updating its Bicycle Plan. The city staff report (p.20) states that this plan will “springboard the city of Los Angeles into the forefront of bicycle planning and establish the steps needed to ensure that Los Angeles become a world-class city for bicycling.” That’s an actual quote. Really. Perhaps it’s some sort of […]

Attendence Down at Bike Plan Hearings (Updated, 3:16 P.M.)

(Note: There is a Bike Plan meeting tonight in South L.A. and Saturday in Van Nuys.  Check out the Streetsblog calendar for more information.  A list of Streetsblog’s complete coverage of the Bike Plan from the launch of this website can be found here.- DN) In February of 2008, the LADOT, City Planning, and consultants […]