Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council Exec. Committee Sets Record Straight on Colorado Blvd Bike Lanes

Editor’s Note: When people don’t like a project, they sometimes criticize the process that lead to that project. We are passing along a recent email blast from the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council that set the record straight on the extensive public outreach process that lead to bike lanes on Colorado BoulevardThe Colorado Blvd bike lane implementation process have been criticized by some candidates running for Los Angeles City Council District 14.

SBLA is a non-profit, we cannot and do not endorse any candidates in this race, but we do tell the stories of, and the processes that lead to, bike infrastructure in Los Angeles. Below is the text of an open letter that Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council (ERNC) President David Greene sent to all Council District 14 candidates:

Colorado Boulevard Bike Lanes Fact Sheet

I.

The bike lane story is summed up in the May 24, 2013 Department of City Planning Recommendation Report about bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard and North Figueroa Street. In addition to a comprehensive analysis of the project by the City of Los Angeles, it contains a list of the public meetings held about the project, and a summary of the feedback from those meetings. Specifically mentioned in the document are:

  • A public hearing on February 13, 2013 at the Los Angeles River Center at 570 W. Avenue 26.
  • A webinar-style public hearing on February 20th, 2013 where interested public could provide feedback on all of the proposed bicycle lanes in Year of the First Five-Year Implementation Strategy.
  • Numerous public meetings held by community groups like TERA, Take Back the Boulevard, Council Districts 1 and 14, and the various Neighborhood Councils in those districts where the City of Los Angeles planned to install bike lanes as part of the backbone of the city-wide 2010 Bicycle Plan.
Flier for Colorado Boulevard Bike Lane Meeting
Flier for Colorado Boulevard Bike Lane Meeting. Image via ERNC

Among those meetings, the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council either held or attended forums specifically about the 3 miles of Colorado Boulevard bike lanes on the following dates:

  • ERNC board meeting of March 5, 2013. Agenda is here. The meeting minutes are here. At this public meeting, the ERNC discussed but deferred a vote on the Colorado Blvd portion of the bike lanes, so that even more public input could be gathered at a March 27 meeting held by Councilmember Huizar’s office. As reported in the ERNC newsletter, which is distributed to 1,500 stakeholders, and is reprinted by news organizations and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment:

“The City of Los Angeles has offered several chances for Eagle Rockers to learn about the possibility of bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard, and what they might mean for traffic speeds, pedestrian and bicyclist safety, health, and commerce. With the help of CD-14, TERA, Take Back the Boulevard, the Chamber of Commerce, and the ERNC, they’re doing it again — this Wednesday, March 27, at 7pm at Occidental College.”

“At the April ERNC Board meeting, a packed house (and more!) listened to almost 2 hours’ worth of public speakers, City officials, and ERNC members explain, discuss, and opine on bike lanes along Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock. By the end of the meeting, it was abundantly clear that Eagle Rockers wanted buffered bike lanes installed along the length of Colorado — and soon — and the ERNC voted unanimously (12-0) to support them.”

  • CD-14 Town Hall Meeting on June 3, 2013. The ERNC attends another large public meeting held by Councilmember Huizar’s office, which is held after the Planning Department’s report is issued, but before work is begun. It features a revised lane design based on public input at previous public meetings. As reported in the ERNC newsletter:

“The ERNC voted unanimously last April to support the DOT’s buffered bike lane plan for Colorado Boulevard, based on the overwhelmingly positive public input we received from residents and business owners. One of the concerns we heard from individuals and especially businesses was that while bike lanes were a good idea, there were other problems on Colorado that needed to be addressed… Some of you suggested that since all the paint is going to be stripped off the streets when the bike lanes go down, why not use this opportunity to fix a whole host of existing traffic problems? We’ve tried hard to make sure that the good folks at the DOT and Mr. Huizar’s office heard this message — and now they’re coming to town with a revised plan for the bike lanes that is way more specific than it’s been in the past. And they’re asking for your input about the design.” 

II.

Business support for Colorado Blvd bike lanes. Image via ERNC
Business support for Colorado Blvd bike lanes. Image via ERNC

The ERNC’s vote to support the installation of bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard reflected overwhelming neighborhood support for the project. No vote in the recent history of the ERNC was as well-informed.

  • The ERNC received (and read) at least 117 letters and emails specifically about the bike lane implementation plan, from stakeholders who listed their zip codes.
  • In addition to dozens of speakers at 4 public meetings attended by hundreds of stakeholders living in Eagle Rock’s 90041, 42, and 65 zip codes, the ERNC heard a report from two board members who personally visited almost every business on the Colorado Boulevard bike lane route, to inform them of upcoming meetings about the bike lanes, and to listen to their opinions.
  • The ERNC also separately received a list of 50 Eagle Rock business owners on or near Colorado Boulevard, who signed letters of support for the Colorado Boulevard bike lanes. (See flyer.) Here is a sample of one of the business owner letters.

III.

The ERNC prides itself on informing Eagle Rock stakeholders about important local issues and events, and making sure Eagle Rockers’ voices are heard loud and clear — as well as accurately and proportionally. The Colorado Boulevard bike lane issue was a shining example of how the Neighborhood Council system in Los Angeles can be a vital link between individual stakeholders and their Council District representatives that ensures every voice is heard.

  • HighNoon

    Love the bike lanes. Hardly bike on Colorado, but drive and walk Colorado all the time and there is no noticeable difference to congestion or travel time for vehicles. The main difference is that it is a nicer place to be with a more balanced allocation of public space to better move all people.

    In fact, a few months ago several more lanes were closed near Trader Joe’s and I was left wondering how that could be made permanent… seemed to work just fine to me.

    People raising a stink about this have very little to go on in terms of facts, but a lot of emotion and unfounded hysteria.

    Thanks to the ERNC and CM Huizar for their important leadership on this.

  • Alex Brideau III

    Any possibility on the horizon that the bike lanes and street parking could be switched so the parked cars could serve as the buffer between the people biking and driving? That, and it would allow the painted buffer to instead serve as a buffer between the bike lane and the deadly door zone.

  • michael macdonald

    I think there is interest in that. The issue (as you may know) is loss of some curb parking to accommodate turn pockets, and the added cost separate turn signals, should LADOT deem they are necessary at intersections.

  • ubrayj02

    This article has glaring holes in it:

    (1) No mention of U.N.’s Agenda 21 to herd us into FEMA camps with only bikes and public transportation to make us pliant and immobile

    (2) No mention of the money that the LACBC and CICLE and anyone associated with bike riding and walking issues receives from foreign interests, unspecified developers, and salaries paid by any public agency I can dream up.

    (3) The hours of congestion motorists have to sit through now that traffic has been made worse. Never mind any so-called “data” collected by either man nor machine that tells you otherwise. I have several overweight stuck-in-their-sofas local experts who can give you the rundown.

    (4) The fire department and police response times that have gotten slower since the cars are all backed up. Don’t go asking about actual response time data either because that is all faked because of pressure from developers.

    (5) The fact that all bike riders want to be Lance Armstrong

    (6) The fact that they should all wear helmets and be licensed and taxed to pay for the streets

    (7) That this is both the creeping hand of communism AND the hammer of global fascism strangling our liberties.

    (8) That anyone who sells or repairs bicycles is a disgusting self-interested liar. Anyone who sells or repairs cars, exotic soda, or burgers is a hard working local business owner unless that business owner supports bike lanes in which case they are also disgusting liars and on the payroll with the LADOT, MTA, LACBC, BSA, EPA, UN, and probably a card carrying member of the ACLU and PETA.

    All of this is backed up by copious amounts of data but it is all censored and replaced with so-called studies by alleged experts who cram fake information into all government documents and have even got the whole Neighborhood Council on the payroll to fake their votes which never actually took place and which are all in violation of the Brown Act if they did because of insufficient posting of their agendas and also holding their meetings during airings of American Horrors reruns.

  • Steve Rosenthal

    So ernc who supports the bike lane project spearheaded the outreach…hahaha. thats like the fox guarding the hen house. .No one I know knew about it. Maybe because my neighbors and places I shop are not on ernc’s list.

  • Guest

    you lost all validity when you said “agenda 21” but i went ahead and read your whole comment anyway. and whoa… wtf. you have serious problems.

  • brianmojo

    This is not meant to sound snarky, but a legitimate statement: there are a million things that neighborhood councils do that people never hear about. And that’s not for lack of trying! They can only reach out so far — at some point you have to be an engaged citizen if you want to have some say about how things are done.

  • brianmojo

    You missed the joke. The above is tongue in cheek. Give it another read with that in mind :)

  • brianmojo

    I’m starting to hear this request from casual bikers as well as more serious ones. I’m hoping the city starts converting lanes, it would really be a step in the right direction.

  • Steve Rosenthal

    I’m quite engaged thank you. Appreciate your suggestion.

  • Observer

    Steve, that list of businesses is not very obscure, they are some of the most popular restaurants in the neighborhood. CD14 sent out newsletters informing people about the meetings. As did TERA, ERNC, and Chamber of Commerce. Eagle Rock Patch wrote articles before and after each meeting that took place. The Boulevard Sentinel wrote (biased and inaccurate) articles informing people about meetings and the importance of getting involved. Boulevard Sentinel had covered bike lane plans for Colorado from as early as 2012 and included early renderings in the monthly newspaper. Several businesses had signs both for and against bike lanes in their windows in the weeks leading up to the final bike lane meeting, including Tritch Hardware and Casa Bianca. If none of this reached you I suspect you do not do much to engage yourself in the community and that you do not spend much time on Colorado Boulevard (or if you do, that you simply zoom by and never stop to walk the boulevard).

  • Alex Brideau III

    Good to hear. I am definitely one of those “casual bikers” and while it’s heartening to see a few more painted-buffer bike lanes appearing these days, on Grand Ave in DTLA, I frequently see impatient car and bus drivers simply decide to drive on the paint to cut around traffic. Unfortunately, mere paint is no deterrent to LA drivers. While I’d prefer to see parking used as a buffer, in the interim at least some rumble strips or turtles might discourage scofflaw drivers from using the bike lanes.

    However, I’m even more perplexed when I’m travelling on a non-parking street and see a bike lane with the painted “buffer” between the bike lane and the *curb*, not between the bike lane and the mixed-traffic lanes. And it’s not like the gutter seam would be smack-dab in the middle of the bike lane either. To me this would be the definition of lowest-hanging fruit for a better-protected bike lane (delineators, bollards, planters, etc.), but alas….

  • Alex Brideau III

    What? And no complaints about “illegals”? :-)

  • Daniel

    We’re a car culture in the second largest city in the United States. This isn’t Greenbow, Alabama folks. The bike lane is ludicrous and a waste of money. Traffic congestion is the real problem and needs a serious solution.

  • bikecar101.com

    The bicycle lanes along Colorado are a great addition which we enjoy weekly when riding our bicycles from Glendale to Pasadena. Thank you to those who fought hard for a change that is appreciated by all cyclists. We especially like the fact that when the residents and business owners speak up for change (i.e., addition of a bike lanes) — change occurs. Thank you for the historical account of the addition of bike lanes along Colorado.

  • The Real

    doubtful considering the amount of ruckus raised by EVERYONE especially that fat idiot that publishes that blvd sentinal flyer.

  • skinny dude w/ thick thighs

    serious solution is to get your fat highnee out of your car.

  • ubrayj02

    I only got halfway through my list of insane statements against changing the status quo on our streets. Apologies.

  • ubrayj02

    Okay, I think I understand now. When you say “solution” you mean “make all the bad things go away while changing nothing about how we do things”. In other words, magic.

    I recommend joining a sect or using some psychedelics to get over your messed up way of thinking.

  • ubrayj02

    It wasn’t on the TeeVee and it wasn’t on the radio but just about every other outlet for information had constant news stories, petition gatherings, public meetings, etc. on the issue both for it and against it. It was the talk of the town for many months and still is. You can live your whole life and never hear about some very significant life-altering decisions in this town – but that isn’t necessarily the fault of the people debating about those issues. This is a big place. As these things go, bike lanes and road diets have been very well covered in NELA – almost to the exclusion of other issues.

  • Jeff Jacobberger

    There are some real safety concerns with parking-protected bike lanes at unsignalized intersections. or more than half the intersections along Colorado Boulevard. When bicyclists are separated from motorists by a row of parked cars, it is very hard for motorists to see the bicyclists. Thus, they are likely to make right or left turns across the bike lanes, creating “right hook” and “left hook” situations. Motorists who want to make right turns on red are liable to creep forward to the travel lanes, completely blocking the bike lanes. The solution: signalize all the intersections, while allowing turns across the bike lane from Colorado only on a right-turn arrow or left-turn arrow, and prohibiting right turns on red for cars approaching Colorado from side streets. That would be quite expensive—hundreds of thousands of dollars per intersection–as well as disruptive to traffic. you need dedicated right-turn and left-turn lanes at every intersection, which could mean removing a lot of street parking (or cutting into the medians).

  • Salts

    While maybe ideal, you don’t necessarily need signalized intersections to make cycle tracks, look at Copenhagen, or San Francisco, or Temple City. Parking is already prohibited by intersections so the visibility isn’t as bad as you may think and pedestrians on sidewalks are as just as vulnerable to right-hooks as a bicyclist in a cycle track. You would only need a dedicated right turn lane if your goal is to have minimal impact on car travel times. The way you’re framing it makes it seem damn near impossible, dangerous, and prohibitively expensive to install cycle tracks in Los Angeles. This is not true, other cities prove it.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Celebrate Two Streetsie Wins This Friday in Eagle Rock

|
Streetsblog is excited to confirm that we will have a small celebration of the 2014 Streetsie wins of Jose Huizar and Nate Lucero this Friday in Eagle Rock! Following a brief bike ride from Organix on Colorado Boulevard we will have a brief presentation of our Elected Leader of the Year and our Journalist of […]

Tonight! Eagle Rock! Streetsies! Huizar! Lucero!

|
Tonight! We’re riding and celebrating in Eagle Rock with two of our 2014 Streetsie winners: Elected Official of the Year Jose Huizar and Journalist of the Year Nathan Lucero. Councilmember Jose Huizar set a Streetsie record by garnering over 5,000 votes in his race against Joe Buscaino for the 2014 Streetsie award. Heck, Huizar got more votes […]

Ride Colorado and Celebrate

|
The recent changes along Colorado Boulevard in Eagle have been documented. A buffered bike lane, zebra-striped crosswalks, 60 bike racks, modifying median striping, speed-feedback signs, and lighted crosswalks are some of the improvements that will make the street more community-oriented and safer for all road users. Join Councilmember Jose Huizar, Take Back the Boulevard, LADOT, the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council, Safe […]
LADOT recently installed protected bike lanes on Foothill Boulevard in Sunland-Tujunga. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

New Protected Bike Lanes on Foothill Blvd in Sunland-Tujunga

|
In early April, LADOT added protected bike lanes to a 0.7-mile stretch of Foothill Boulevard in the Sunland neighborhood of the city of Los Angeles. The protected lanes extend from the Tujunga Wash bridge (just west of Wentworth Street) to Sunland Boulevard. The project closed a gap between existing bike lanes on Sunland Boulevard and […]