Friday Bike Stories Round-Up: Recent Lanes, Metro Bike Share, Rail2Rail

Metro now anticipates starting Rail-to-Rail path construction this May. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Metro now anticipates starting Rail-to-Rail path construction this May. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
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Below are some recent bicycle facility stories:

Metro Board Extends Bike-Share Contract

This week the Metro Board of Directors extended its Metro Bike Share contract through July 30, 2023. The item approved includes a $15 million one-year extension of the current contract with Bicycle Transit Systems (BTS), plus another $2 million to replenish bicycles and other equipment. Costs will be partially shared by the city of Los Angeles.

Metro Bike Share has now completely converted to the more secure smart-dock system, as thefts had severely depleted smart-bike service areas. According to the Metro staff report, the “bike share industry average for bikes lost, stolen or damaged ranges from 1 percent to 2 percent per month” and Metro Bike Share staff are actively working to reduce theft and increase recovery, with a goal of containing loss to less than 1 percent per month.

Metro is looking to re-tool its model for Metro Bike Share at some point in the near future, as there is no permanent/indefinite approved ongoing funding stream approved for bike-share. Metro has been using short-term extensions of Measure M funding to keep bike-share operating. Metro, with an annual $6+ billion annual budget, can find billions (and growing annual expenditures) to widen highways, but struggles to approve ten-to-twenty million annually to operate and further expand bike-share. And, SBLA acknowledges that even though bike-share has slowly expanded and its usage is growing (see staff report), the system has not caught on widely largely because cities – and their elected officials – have failed to make streets safe enough for more of the public to embrace bicycling.

Metro Rail2Rail Hesitatingly Moving Toward Breaking Ground

Streetsblog has more coverage of Metro’s Rail-to-Rail bike/walk path project coming shortly. Briefly, though, this week, the Metro board approved an increase to the project budget [Metro staff report], because L.A. City changed its approach. Instead of contributing in-kind services (constructing sidewalks, etc.), L.A. City now plans to instead contribute funding.

Rail-to-rail construction, which had been announced to kick off last February, is now expected to begin this May. Rail-to-Rail is the initial phase of the longer Rail-to-River path that will eventually connect the Crenshaw Line to the L.A. River (mostly) via the Slauson corridor former railroad right-of-way.

Rail-to-Rail project schedule - via Metro presentation at this week's update meeting
Rail-to-Rail project anticipated schedule – via Metro presentation at this week’s update meeting

Recent Bike Lanes Added in Van Nuys…

As pledged by L.A. City Councilmember Nithya Raman, the city of L.A. Department of Transportation (LADOT) recently added new bike lanes to Burbank Boulevard.

New bike lanes on Burbank Boulevard in Van Nuys
New bike lanes on Burbank Boulevard in Van Nuys

In the L.A. City neighborhoods of Sherman Oaks and Van Nuys, the new Burbank Boulevard bike lanes extend a half-mile from Hazeltine Avenue to Van Nuys Boulevard. Importantly, these lanes  closed a gap, resulting in just over 4.5 miles of continuous bike lanes on Burbank. LADOT announced the new Burbank lanes in an April 4 tweet.

…and South Los Angeles

LADOT also recently added a one-way southbound bike lane on 2nd Avenue in South L.A.’s Hyde Park neighborhood, which is represented by City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

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New bike lane on Second Avenue in South L.A.

The 0.3-mile new bike lane extends the existing 2nd Avenue bike lanes installed in 2012. The facility is better than nothing, but the southbound lane is coupled with northbound sharrows, on a two-lane street that is sixty feet wide. Apparently diagonal parking made it difficult to fit the northbound bike lane (though it’s a somewhat tight fit, it seems like the bike lane could have been squeezed in using a configuration similar to Eldridge Avenue in Sylmar – which is also a two-lane sixty-feet wide street with diagonal parking on one side).

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Northbound sharrows on 2nd Avenue

LADOT announced the new 2nd Avenue lane in a January 13 tweet.

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