South L.A. Cyclists Call for Price, Garcetti to Implement Central Ave. Bike Lane

People of all ages and backgrounds need access to Central Ave., including this adorable ninja turtle. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
People of all ages and backgrounds need access to Central Ave., including the family of this adorable ninja turtle. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

“What do we want? Safe streets! When do we want them? NOW!”

So went the chants as approximately 40 members of the South Central community headed north toward City Councilmember Curren Price’s constituent center on Central Avenue yesterday evening.

Members of the South Central community head for the CD9 Constituent Center chanting in favor of safe streets and bike lanes. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
Members of the South Central community head for the CD9 Constituent Center chanting in favor of safe streets and bike lanes. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

They were headed there to speak with the group of stakeholders that recently got the green light to initiate a ballot process for the formation of a Business Improvement District (BID). The marchers were eager to register their concerns regarding the councilmember’s effort to have the Central Ave. bike lane excluded from Great Streets’ plans for the section of Central between Vernon and Adams and removed altogether from the larger Mobility Plan 2035, which envisions a protected bike lane running the 7.2 miles from Watts to Little Tokyo.

Addressing the meeting attendees, Malcolm Harris, Director of Programs and Organizing at TRUST South L.A., gestured toward the crowd that had piled into the conference room and said, “Our constituents here want to have safer streets…[and] we want there to be engagement around this issue before any [city council] motion is taken out.”

Malcolm Harris of TRUST South L.A. addresses those gathered to further the formation of a BID at the CD9 Constituent Center. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
Malcolm Harris of TRUST South L.A. addresses those gathered to further the formation of a BID at the CD9 Constituent Center. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

Organizers of the BID received the testimony but reiterated that, as they were still in the process of formation, they had very little power to do anything other than listen to the community’s concerns and ensure they were incorporated into efforts to build consensus around the future form of Central Avenue.

Given residents’ frustration that so much of the planning for the street had already happened behind doors that even the prospective BID members had been shut out of, it wasn’t the cathartic moment they were hoping for. But news that next month’s meeting would entail more hands-on engagement with the design of Great Streets project slated for the street (below), many resolved to come back and participate.

The reconfiguration of Central Avenue, as proposed by Great Streets, includes a road diet, extended sidewalks, and the shifting of the bike lane planned to run from Watts to Little Tokyo over to Avalon. Source: Great Streets
The reconfiguration of Central Avenue, as proposed by Great Streets, includes a road diet, extended sidewalks, and the shifting of the bike lane planned to run from Watts to Little Tokyo over to Avalon. Source: Great Streets

Then, just as suddenly as they had arrived, the marchers headed back out into the streets to hold a press conference at the intersection of Vernon and Central.

Community members head back to the intersection of Vernon and Central to hold a press conference. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
Community members head back to the intersection of Vernon and Central to hold a press conference. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

Those that took the megaphone to speak on the corner of Vernon and Central had ties to South L.A. advocacy organizations TRUST South L.A, Community Health Councils, and Ride On! bike co-op, but all were residents in the area and regular users of the street. And, for most, a bicycle was their primary form of transportation.

For Nancy Flores, who grew up in the area and now had two small children, safety was key. To get around and shop for her family, she said, she had to ride a bike every day. “We, as cyclists, also have a right to be on the streets,” she said, and a bike lane would slow the street down and make it safer for everyone.

Maria Almeida stands with her children after the press conference. Her bike is outfitted with a saddle on the crossbar where her youngest child sits. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
Maria Almeida stands with her children after the press conference. Her bike is outfitted with a saddle on the crossbar where her youngest child sits. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

For Maria Almeida (above), who has rigged her bike so the youngest child can ride in a crossbar saddle in front and the second youngest can ride on the back (see photo here), safety was also an issue. Not owning a car but needing to take her kids with her to visit the markets and clinics on Central, she started training them to ride with her when the youngest turned two.

People are surprised to see me, she said in Spanish. They ask, ‘How is it that [the kids] behave so well?'” [don’t goof around or fall off].

Spending as much time as they did in transit on the bike, it seems, the kids had absorbed the danger that the streets presented and understood that they had to behave and hang on tight.

Frustrated that training her kids still wasn’t nearly enough to keep them safe, she called on drivers to be allies to cyclists.

“…Que se unan a nosotros y que nos apoyan,” she said. “Porque los carros no nos respetan.” [I hope that they ally themselves with us and support us, because [right now] cars do not respect us.]

Araceli Alvarado holds a map of Central Ave. showing the number of collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
Araceli Alvarado holds a map of Central Ave. showing the number of collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

For Araceli Alvarado (above), riding with her kids had not gone so well. Back when her son was in middle school, he had been hit by a car making a right turn and dragged a short distance. Now in his late teens and headed for community college, he is finally interested in taking up cycling again to get back and forth to class, but she is nervous about letting him ride. And her 10-year-old daughter rejected cycling outright after trying it once.

“She gave the bike away [almost immediately],” said Alvarado. She was too intimidated by the crush of traffic along the avenue.

“What is the point of me feeding good food [to them] if they can’t also get exercise?” Alvarado asked. For her family, and by extension, the larger community to be healthy, she felt, one without the other wasn’t going to do much good.

Kids call for a safer street. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
Kids call for a safer street. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

Central needed a bike lane, she reiterated, because “most people use this street to bike. They need this street.”

The importance of Central was something many of the residents I spoke with alluded to.

Andres Ramirez-Huiztek of Community Health Councils said a slower street would both save lives and give people the chance to appreciate Central Avenue. Such a historic street deserved that. Adé Neff, founder of the Ride On! bike co-op, spoke about his reliance on a bike for transportation and the need for infrastructure on Central.

“It’s a main artery; everybody uses it. We want people to slow down…and appreciate the businesses.”

Adé Neff, founder of the Ride On! bike co-op, speaks about his experience cycling in South L.A. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
Adé Neff, founder of the Ride On! bike co-op, speaks about his experience cycling in South L.A. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

Noticing that by having gathered on the corner of Vernon, the group of residents was inadvertently pushing sidewalk cyclists into the street, Will Holloway, CEO and founder of the South L.A. Real Rydaz, said, “Now, that’s why it is important to get these [bike] lanes in here.”

Will Holloway, president of the South L.A. Real Rydaz, calls for road sharing on Central. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
Will Holloway, CEO and founder of the South L.A. Real Rydaz, calls for road sharing on Central. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

Forcing pedestrians and cyclists to share a sidewalk made things uncomfortable for everyone and clearly wasn’t doing much for the business environment.

Besides, Holloway argued, the streets were wide enough for bikes: “They’ve got enough room!”

It was the trucks that needed to move, not the cyclists.

“These streets aren’t built for big rigs,” he said, describing the struggle of trucks to make turns and the way they “tear up the streets” and destroy the asphalt.

Darryl Johnson (Unique Riders), Tyrone "T-Money" Williams (Real Rydaz), and Henry Jackson (Real Rydaz) support a bike lane on Central. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
Darryl Johnson (Unique Riders), Tyrone “T-Money” Williams (Real Rydaz), and Henry Jackson (Real Rydaz) support a bike lane on Central. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

For Darryl Johnson (Unique Riders), Tyrone “T-Money” Williams (Real Rydaz), and Henry Jackson (Real Rydaz), a bike lane would give cyclists the protection that the 3-foot passing rule (law that drivers must give three feet of space when passing them) was not.

“Drivers need to be more cautious,” said Jackson, shaking his head. “They don’t give you the three feet.”

Williams agreed, saying, “You shouldn’t have to be riding in fear like that.” Getting a ticket for sidewalk riding at night had been a regular thing at one time, he said. Meaning that cyclists felt pressured to be in the street. And, as all three agreed, many side streets were still off-limits to riders — even those that wanted nothing to do with gangs and had no problem getting along with everybody. Leaving most lower-income cyclists no choice but to use busy arterial streets like Central or Gage.

“We just want [drivers] to be more mindful,” concluded Johnson.

From the mouth of babes... Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
From the mouths of babes…”Save Lives Build Bike Lanes.” Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

While riding to the gathering on Central yesterday afternoon, I was horrified to see young men stop to scoop up an indigent cyclist that they had knocked down with their car and carry him over to the sidewalk.

To symbolize the very real cost cyclists pay for their vulnerability, Danny Gamboa (Ghost Bike Documentary) and Samuel Bankhead put a ghost bike up at the corner of Central and Vernon.

The struggle for equitable transportation infrastructure in lower-income communities is real and it is urgent.

Whether the councilmember or the Mayor’s Office — which oversees the Great Streets program — will hear these concerns and be responsive to them remains to be seen.

Given all the fanfare surrounding both the signing of the Vision Zero directive (the effort to reduce traffic deaths to zero by the year 2025) and the approval of the Mobility Plan 2035 (the effort to transform the way Angelenos get around their fair city) last month, one would expect it to be easier for a community with so many high-injury arterials to get the ear of elected officials.

But it also would not be the first time that politics got in the way of safety. Nor would it be the first time that the needs of lower-income communities were ignored.

  • ubrayj02

    Let’s hope that they succeed. Curren Price tried to remove Central Avenue from the Bike Plan during the Mobility 2035 vote last month.

  • disqus_i5jUqHQUwT

    Why is the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition not involved? Oh right, they only serve certain parts of the county…

  • Slexie

    Still have no idea why Central is being designated as the correct street for a bike lane. That lady whose daughter gave her bike away because it’s too dangerous to ride here also had her son hit and dragged by a car. I don’t see why putting in a bike lane is going to make the drivers any more cautious. The 3-ft rule is basically useless, because the police have already said they will not accept any film or pictures as evidence of anyone violating the 3-ft rule. So unless they see it, it’s not enforceable. The kid who was hit and dragged happened when a car was turning, and that has nothing to do with speed. The best solution for the whole thing would be to have a wide bike lane on it’s own median going down the center of Central. Bikes should not be forced to share the road, because people are getting killed every week. They have a right to take the same route, but forcing cars to accept cyclists on the same road is unrealistic. I can’t believe that lady still expects her kids to bike on that street after one of them was nearly killed. That’s ridiculous.

  • sahra

    Central is the most heavily trafficked street by cyclists in all of South LA, and possibly in the city. It puzzles me greatly that some people think that people on bicycles have less of a right to be able to get to work than people in cars. That’s ridiculous.

  • sahra

    No, that’s not true, actually. The LACBC is and has been a great ally to orgs. in the area. But sometimes when you are dealing with local politics, the most powerful voices are those of their constituents.

  • Slexie

    Who needs safety? Isn’t that ridiculous? Sure, you have a right to be on the road, but is that the safest way? Nope. The reason a lot of people don’t bike in LA is because they don’t feel safe. So let’s pick a busy street, that is already dangerous, and put a bike lane on it? Because that makes sense. Like I said, a median with a bike path like they have on Chandler in the Valley is much safer than putting bikes with cars. I drove home on Rowena Thursday night during rush hour and saw 4 bikers, and 2 of them were on the sidewalk. I bike all over LA and I know I’m taking a risk. None of my friends want to bike the streets, they are too scared.

  • Greg Frost

    That Central is currently dangerous for multiple road users is a compelling reason to redesign it. I don’t think anybody here is suggesting that the city just stripe a door zone bike lane and say “Good luck, LOL” to people who want to walk or bike. A comprehensive redesign is needed to lower speeds, provide dedicated bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and disincentivize through use by trucks.

    Note too that most people in the area use Central because it is considered less dangerous than the parallel neighborhood streets as a result of gang activity.

  • Alex Brideau III

    I think the key is not accepting that any street must remain dangerous. Instead we need to do what we can to make it safer. Sometimes that includes traffic calming, adding a bike lane, installing curb extensions, etc.

    A bike path in a median would be great, but is unlikely to be affordable enough to implement in the near term. A simple painted bike lane is less than ideal, yes, but a small start that can (and should) be built upon later.

  • Slexie

    I don’t think the drivers in LA are cautious or caring enough of cyclists. The cyclists need their own road because putting them on the same street as cars is too dangerous. Would you let your kids ride their bikes on Central with all those trucks? I wouldn’t. I also don’t see the point of a temporary fix. That seems like a waste of money.

  • Slexie

    Sorry, but that still doesn’t make sense. How ridiculous to say, “Well, we can’t stop the gang activity, so let’s take a dangerous road and put bikes on it instead”. Really? Sahra said until they get better schools, roads blah blah blah that the gang activity won’t stop, so Central is their only choice. I don’t agree with that. Putting more lights and a wider sidewalk on a parallel side street would make it more difficult for the gangs to conduct business. Let the trucks have Central. Put the bike and wider sidewalks on a side street because it’s safer.

    So what if trucks use Central? Everything north of the 10 in that area is industrial. How else are those companies supposed to get their goods? A lot of that area is industrial and you will see traffic get worse on the remaining side streets, as Central is already taking the overflow from Alameda. How else are those companies supposed to operate? I also am skeptical of those numbers of one bike per minute passing through on Central. That would be a ton of bikes and I’ve never even heard of that many bikes on any street.

  • Juan Lopez

    Are bike lanes needed for the safety of the small (very small percentage) of bike riders – Yes!! This is going to turn in the My Figueroa project where “advocates” are basically spending money to improve the main road leading into USC. You watch – in a few years from now, these same “advocates” will be complaining that USC is taking over the My Fig corridor when these “advocates” are handing it to them now.

  • Greg Frost

    As you say, Central is dangerous. One of the reasons for that is the heavy truck traffic. I think it’s worth finding out where those trucks are coming from, where they’re going, and whether either of those two points is in the area between I-10 and I-105. If not, perhaps they should be using a different route.

    The majority of the land on either side of Central from I-10 to I-105 is residential, with at least four elementary schools, one high school, and one major park bordering the street. The goal is to make the street more usable for people who live and work in the area. Currently, Central is a stroad that prioritizes the convenience of people who travel through the neighborhoods to get somewhere else.

    What’s the point of encouraging the use of Central as a cut-through route to avoid I-110, I-710, or Alameda? It’s not like taking a longer route around is going to bankrupt the companies sending those trucks or prohibit goods from reaching their destinations. If traffic stacks up, some companies may choose to change their delivery times.

    Reducing truck traffic on Central will improve safety for people biking and walking. Again, I’m not suggesting we just throw in a door zone bike lane and call it a day. The necessary improvements would likely include a road diet, speed limit reduction, and dedicated bike infrastructure (including signals), in order to turn the stroad back into a street.

    I know you’d rather put the bike route on a parallel street, but I don’t know how effective that will be. The existing demand is on Central. As dangerous as it currently is, people are still using it to bike. You’re welcome to perform your own count to check Sahra’s numbers, but for now I’ll take them as the most accurate and current information. The result suggests that the lack of social safety on side streets outweighs the lack of subjective safety on Central. It seems like it would be more effective to address an existing need than to try to lure bikes to another route.

  • sahra

    I feel like you might not be that familiar with Central? It is a lengthy shopping district. There are schools on either side of it, services that serve youth on either side of it. But it is, at heart, a commercial corridor with some industry (i.e. produce warehouses, the coca-cola bldg, etc.) in the downtown area. You also might not be familiar with how gangs work? Wide sidewalks are no impediment.

    Alameda is a truck route. Central cuts through a community, much like Sunset Blvd. does through Silver Lake. And the planned road diet, which would narrow the travel lanes to a single lane each way, is intended to push that truck traffic to another street. Either way, slowing the street down and narrowing it would make cycling safer, so that’s why it is possible to think of cars and bikes co-existing. As I’ve mentioned before, I think there has to be more in the works than just a road diet and the crossing of the city’s fingers in alleviating the traffic problem or the socioeconomic issues. But I’ve seen little in the way of solutions on either score as yet.

    And you can be as skeptical as you like about the one cyclist per minute, but I actually counted them myself in 2013 and again this year. I did it because I wanted to be sure and because I am an academic who tends not to trust other people’s numbers until I have verified them myself. Whether you trust me is up to you, but others from Jefferson HS were out there with me this year, and they came away with the same observation.

  • calwatch

    It should be noted that right now, Hooper (the parallel street 1/4 mile to the east) IS getting Class II striped bike lanes in the unincorporated County master bike plan.

  • calwatch

    I’m getting confused, since the bike lanes would take up the pedestrian space unless the constituents want to eliminate one lane of parking to create the bike lane. Currently Central is two lanes in each direction with parking on the right and with 7 foot sidewalks and 5 foot parkways. The proposed Great Street would eliminate one through lane in each direction, create a left turn only lane (the best practice for road diets), and widen the sidewalks.

    What road use would the activists like to see be downgraded? Eliminating a lane of parking will cause parking issues with merchants and residents who need to move in/out or get dropped off. Eliminating the center turn lane will add to congestion any time someone wants to turn. Going with the “bike lane” option proposed by Great Streets would not add to walkability (since sidewalks would remain seven feet wide) and would create a door zone bike lane. You’re seeing the cyclists because they are obvious and visible, but the pedestrians have just as much of a right to request a wider sidewalk, but because they are spatially distributed they are harder to reach.

  • Alex Brideau III

    I agree that drivers in LA are not very cautious and that puts vulnerable road users at risk, but we still allow vulnerable pedestrians to use the roadways with only a few inches of curb and possibly parked cars as protection. So it doesn’t make sense to hold bike riders to a different standard.

    And I can’t see any scenario in which the city would build a Class I bikepath there. So we’re left with the status quo or at least make some improvements. I would choose the latter. (My preference is to see a parking-protected bike lane as it allows bikes a measure of protection, but acknowledges that they do and will continue to bike on Central.)

  • Greg Frost

    Cool. I hope you’re not suggesting, however, that the installation of a Class II lane on Hooper eliminates the need for bike facilities on Central. If we are following the best models for a comprehensive grid system, we should have city-level protected bike routes (Class IV or Class I) no more than 1600 feet apart, district-level bike paths in the range of 600-1000 feet apart, and neighborhood-level bike lanes (Class II or Class III with traffic calming) approximately 300 feet apart. The point is to make it possible to get everywhere you need to go safely.

  • Slexie

    I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you’re saying. Bikes are held to a different standard as they are considered vehicles, pedestrians are not. Lumping all of them together and saying, “Well it’s all unsafe” is just another form of denial.

    If the city wants less pedestrian deaths and less accidents, it shouldn’t try to make that happen by using cyclists and pedestrians. If they want more bikes on the road, then make it safe for them to be on the road. There is also published material from the city basically saying that the key to getting more bikers on the road is to get women biking. Women bikers encourage more cycling, because women are seen as vulnerable and cautious, so if they feel safe biking so will everyone else. Now that doesn’t bother me, but where is the support? If you want more bikes on the street, then make if freaking safe. Not some half baked, well it’s better than nothing attitude. Taking out a lane and making cars swing into the bike lane to make a right turn is dangerous. I will keep riding in LA, but I will continue to avoid cars. If the city wants less death and injuries to peds and bikers, then penalize speeding and reckless drivers, create intersections that aren’t a deathtrap, and make people accountable for accidents. It seems like the city is too big to be patrolled and the laws are for enforcing occasionally. For example, the police have already said footage or pictures are not admissible to show a car breaking the 3ft rule. So unless a cop sees a car passing too close, it’s not an enforceable law. That doesn’t sound like Great Streets to me.

  • sahra

    Currently, Great Streets’ proposal is for something akin to Broadway’s configuration. Which also doesn’t add to walkability because it isn’t a sidewalk. And it wouldn’t be able to be used by cyclists, so it doesn’t help on the walkability score either (as they’ll stay on the sidewalk). There are more cyclists than pedestrians at most times of the day, save right before school in the morning (that I’ve seen) or right when school lets out. So the standard bike lane with the road diet is what folks are looking at now, but that is still being decided upon. Walkability would be enhanced if the cyclists were moved to the street…so you wouldn’t have a wider sidewalk, but you would be less likely to be run over on it, and more able to have outdoor movable furniture if you wanted it.

  • sahra

    True, but that is way far south of the section of Central we’re talking about. Everything widens considerably once you are south of Slauson, including Central. And Hooper is hella fast. There are already some bike lanes on it, but traffic moves quite fast around some curves and it can be very dangerous. And no one I know would switch to Hooper from Central. Once you are north of Slauson, it is a very uncomfortable and unsafe squeeze. Some of those intersections (41st, especially) feel chaotic. Things that make sense on maps sometimes make no sense on the ground because of the way neighborhoods work, and this is one of those cases. But thanks for that link!

  • Slexie

    Really? Because I saw reported 200 pedestrians and bikers in 2 hours. Not a biker every minute. I actually drove home on Rowena, another road diet street during rush hour last week and saw 4 bikers. 2 in the bike lane and 2 on the sidewalk. So I guess all the bikers are on Central? Sunset through Silver Lake is not nearly as industrial as the area around Central.
    A great deal of Central is industry. That’s why I asked you if you had ever biked Central, because everything east of Washington is industrial. It’s all big home stores, parking lots and there is even a stretch of loading docks with tons of semi trucks backed up into it’s individual stalls. So since those trucks using Alameda have been squeezed out to other streets like Central, how are they supposed to get their goods delivered if they are squeezed off of Central? You counted bikes and peds, did you count trucks? Those are the goods being taken to the businesses all along that street. Where are those trucks supposed to go? If you’re all about coexisting, aren’t you supposed to look at both sides of said coexistence?

  • Alex Brideau III

    It seems like you’re arguing that the only way to make bike riders safe is to put them on a separate bike-only path, right? If that’s indeed what you’re saying, I could agree that bike-only paths do indeed feel safer to me than sharing a lane with cars and trucks.

    I don’t disagree with the concept of Class I bikepaths (indeed, I feel the most comfortable biking on them), I’m just saying it’s 99% unlikely to happen, at least not near Central. And Class I paths are not the only way to make bike riders feel comfortable. I’m a fairly timid bike rider, but I would feel more comfortable using a protected bike lane than a standard bike lane or no bike lane at all.

  • sahra

    That was on the west side of the street, as I mentioned in the article. There were more on the other side, which were counted by NHF and Jefferson HS students. So, yes…those numbers stand. And yes, things well east of Central are industrial. (And yes, there are traffic counts…bike and ped counts were started because vehicular traffic counts were all we had to judge how streets were used.) And there needs to be a solution to the need to move trucks and people north-south, as I’ve mentioned and agreed with you on. The city can’t continue to do what it is doing now, which is to go about crossing its fingers and hoping traffic patterns and transit habits will change just because it narrows a street for a few blocks here or there with some silly polka dots and planters. But the community is also paying a price for not having the means to be able to escape more oppressive traffic conditions, and that’s not fair either and needs to be addressed…that is the coexistence you speak of. You seem to have an axe to grind with me which I find confusing, because I have done my best to answer your concerns. And which also makes it hard to pick through your comments to find what is a legitimate concern and what is just noise. I’m happy to answer whatever I can and to give you an honest take on whether or not I think something is viable. But nonsense like “I saw 4 bikers on Rowena” (one of whom was probably me, actually, and which is an observation which has no value because of course you don’t see the ones that were there before you spent three minutes driving along that section or the ones that came after you…) is stuff that makes taking your questions seriously a bit harder. So, I’m going to sign off on commenting on this issue here now, and hope our future conversations are a bit more productive.

  • Slexie

    You are free to ignore my comments as much as you like. As you have made yourself the face of this whole road diet on The Eastsider, I hardly think you should be surprised if people who have questions or don’t agree with you would direct their inquiries to you. Is that so hard to believe?

    Yes it is ridiculous to see 4 bikers on Rowena during rush hour. That’s the time people are going to and from work, when traffic is heaviest, and when one would expect to see more bikers in the bike lanes. And I sincerely hope you were NOT one of the bikers in that bike lane. The bike lane ends going east just before the curve starts leading to Fletcher. There is no marked lane on that curve and it is VERY dark. The rider I saw had no lights on their bike and was not wearing a helmet. Also, if you think anyone is getting through that stretch driving in 3 minutes, you are mistaken. Traffic is backed up all the way around the turn at Fletcher.

    You are aware the citizens in the area are trying to get that road diet repealed aren’t you? Have you seen the videos posted on youtube by the residents of the surrounding streets near said road diet? There is more than one. Do those residents not have a say in what happens in their neighborhood?

    Saying I saw 4 bikers on Rowena during rush hour when the hope was to get people out of their cars is something you don’t want to hear. How silly! How silly to use an actual experience I had to make a point. But let me be even sillier and remind you I also saw 2 bikers on the sidewalk too. Why? Maybe because the bike lane doesn’t seem as safe as it’s supposed to be. Hmmmm…is that what you call “just noise”? Because the cars zipping through there aren’t going any slower. They are still driving as fast as they can, maybe more to get away from that traffic nightmare that is squeezed into one lane. But hey, if that’s “just noise” as you see it, fine with me. Let’s not use speed limits or the law to penalize those cars that speed. Let’s put the cyclists on the road with angry cars and see what happens. I see gridlock on side streets, angry residents, one biker still not wearing safety gear (of the 4 I saw), and still traffic backed up on Rowena.

    I’m sure you won’t answer my questions as you have said you don’t understand what I’m saying. So let me be clear: Have you ever seen the bike median on Chandler in the Valley? THAT is the proper way to construct a bike lane. The bikes are away from the cars completely. Taking out 2 traffic lanes can not be any more or less expensive than putting a median in then center of any one of the streets they are pushing a road diet on.

    Feel free to ignore what I’m saying, because you don’t understand, or I’m not clear. It’s up to you.

  • Slexie

    Yes, that is the only way to feel safe as a cyclist. That’s the only way the occasional rider is gong to use a bike. Leave the road to the cars.

  • Slexie

    And where are all those trucks supposed to go? You’re assuming all those trucks use the freeway or are even coming in the same direction as the freeway. Those trucks are mostly overflow from Alameda, so how are they supposed to get their goods to their businesses? Air drop? Carrier pigeon? Have you seen the choking gridlock on the sides streets around Rowena because of the road diet? The residents are circulating a petition to end the road diet because their streets are clogged with drivers who want to get through without using Rowena. And there are little to no bikes using the bike lane on Rowena! They want to slow down traffic on the backs of bikers and pedestrians and I don’t agree with that. It’s going to be a disaster.

  • Alex Brideau III

    Protected lanes make cyclists (myself included) feel safer. A bike-only roadway is a solution, but it’s not the only solution.

  • Matthew Kimball

    The Road Diet on Rowena main intention was not to add a bike lane onto Rowena. The road diet on Rowena is being used to slow traffic in the area. Taking Rowena down from four lanes to two makes Rowena safer. It makes pedestrians safer by cutting in half, the lanes that pedestrians need to cross at a light. It also slowed traffic to the posted speed limit on average. I think you are mistaken to blame this on the bike lane. It is only a small part of the equation.

    Also, the reason that you don’t see many bikes on Rowena is that the bike lane isn’t connected to any other bike lanes and to get to it.

    As more lanes are made and connected to Rowena, there will be more traffic.

    Lastly, I travel Rowena 4-5 times a week. Mind you, not at rush hour, but at 9 and 3 Monday -Friday and I have not witnessed a huge delay in where I am going.

    Drivers just need to relax. Bicyclist need to follow the rules. Pedestrians need to use common sense. Is it takes 2 minutes more to get somewhere, then so what?

  • Slexie

    I would suggest you watch the videos I posted to see how the neighborhood feels and what has changed since the road diet. If you are not there during rush hour then you can’t really say much about it.