Big news in the L.A. bike world.
What, is it February already?
In what is, for L.A. at least, a seemingly ambitious plan, LADOT is proposing 200 miles of new infrastructure — in addition to what’s already funded or in progress — at a rate of 40 miles a year for the next 5 years.
Not quite New York’s 50 miles a year, let alone their recent 200 miles of new bikeways in just three years. But it’s a start, assuming it’s not the biking equivalent of vaporware. And that the city actually funds it and follows through, which is far from a given.
The blog — which has become surprisingly good at providing the department’s perspective — says the new plan will go well beyond the traditional Class 1 Bike Path, Class 2 Bike Lane and Class 3 Bike Routes by introducing a number of new-to-L.A. innovations:
Bicycle Friendly Streets – Bicycle Friendly Streets are a bit of a catch-all for streets where we don’t have the room to install bicycle lanes, but we still want to make the street as safe and useful for bicyclists as possible. Treatments for Bicycle Friendly Streets could include Sharrows, traffic circles, bulbouts, choker entrances, bicycle loop detectors, traffic diverters, lane striping, and other traffic calming devices – depending on the type of street and volume of traffic. This coves a lot of streets in the mid-Wilshire area, where the streets are already pretty tight and there’s no way to fit in more infrastructure. If you’ve seen the Bicycle Boulevards in Berkeley, you’ve got a good idea of what we’re aiming for.
Pilot Streets – These are streets that may be good candidates for the California Traffic Control Devices Committee (CTCDC) and federal (FHWA) Department of Transportation experimental project studies. By arranging to do a CTCDC or federal project, the City can experiment with new infrastructure methods that normally aren’t allowed by Caltrans’ Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices(CA MUTCD). As part of the federal experimental project, the federal government assumes legal liability for the project and offers technical and advisory assistance to the City in implementation. The City, in turn, would be responsible for filing regular progress reports to the federal government. For those who are fans of what Long Beach is doing for bike infrastructure, a lot of their projects were made possible through federal pilot projects.
Enhanced Bicycle Routes – Enhanced Bicycle Routes are current Bike Routes that the city would like to beef up. These Bike Routes are usually on high-volume arterial streets that cannot fit a bike lane. While these streets are too much of a thoroughfare to qualify for the treatments prescribed for “Bicycle Friendly Streets”, Enhanced Bicycle Routes may be eligible for Sharrows installation and enhanced signage. The 2010 LA Bike Plan hopes to use Enhanced Bicycle Routes as a tool for “gap closure”, connecting the gaps between existing bike lanes on streets where a bike lane would not fit.
Transit Bike Lane – A Transit Bike Lane is a dedicated bus lane that also allows bicycle traffic. You’ve probably seen signs on Figueroa Street near downtown to that effect. City Planning hopes to implement similar Transit Bike Lanes in all places where dedicated bus lanes are going in, Wilshire Blvd. being an example.
We understand the community’s concerns about proper placement of sharrows and we agree that in addition to getting sharrows on our streets the goal is to ensure that best practices are achieved. After contacting multiple bicycle advocacy organizations from different cities that have painted sharrows, LACBC has found that many place their sharrows at 11 or 12 feet and have reported positive reactions from local cyclists. We have also found that some cities paint them in the center of the lane or at 13 to 14 feet from the curb depending on lane width with very positive reactions from the community as well. Most of these cities reported following the guidelines as recommended from the San Francisco study and CAMUTCD code which states that the sharrow marking should be placed at a minimum of 11 ft, but optionally, the distance from the curb may be increased.
Moving forward, LACBC recommends that LADOT carefully consider alternate placement locations for sharrows depending on the lane width, traffic volume, size of parking lane, and other important factors that determine where they should be placed in order that sharrows are used effectively and appropriately when installed in the future. We also request that LADOT make it clear what the goals of the study are and maintain as much transparency as possible in order to build more trust within the community.
I rode the new 4th Street sharrows myself on Wednesday night, as I enjoyed an exceptionally pleasant rush hour ride to Downtown with a friend who knew all the back routes that I didn’t.
And while I didn’t measure them myself, they certainly seemed far enough from the curb. In fact, they were actually a little too far out in the lane for my taste.
But maybe I’ve just gotten a little too comfortable skirting the edge of the door zone over the years.
RAAM continues as riders tweet from the Midwest. Spanish competitor Diego Ballesteros was hit by a car just east of Wichita when a driver drifted off the road and struck him from behind. He was airlifted to a local hospital in extremely critical condition, though reports indicate that his prospects for full recovery are good following surgery.
Mark Cavendish finds himself shaken, but not stirred, following his major crash in Tuesday’s sprint to the finish in the Tour of Switzerland, as other competitors protest his tactics and road rash takes him out of the competition. In non-Cavendish news, Rabobank’s Robert Gesink takes stage 6 and the overall lead. Meanwhile, the fallout from Landisgate continues.
Cyclelicious reports that Gil Garcetti signed copies of his new book Paris, Women & Bikes — with forward by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Jen Klausner — Thursday night at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica. I flipped through the book at the River Ride earlier this month, and it’s a beautiful collection of photos on the subject; if you’re a fan of cycle chic, it’s worth checking out. The LACBC may have copies for sale soon.
If that name doesn’t quite ring a bell, Garcetti was L.A.’s District Attorney for eight tumultuous years, including the O.J. Simpson Trial; Thursday marked the 16th anniversary of the infamous slow speed chase. And rumor has it that Gil’s kid has a pretty good political career going himself, as well.
Here’s your chance to run L.A.’s other leading biking organization, as C.I.C.L.E. looks for a new executive director. Following the other day’s SMIDSY report, L.A.’s most entertaining bike blogger asks if an attractive woman in a pink dress riding a cargo bike with a huge potted plant can’t be seen by a driver, who can? Gary grows impatient with impatient drivers. LA Weekly reports on last week’s L.A. edition of the World Naked Bike Ride; not safe for work, as the Weekly notes; thanks to George Wolfberg for the link. Travelin’ Local looks at Los Angeles and Cities for Cycling. Dave Moulton offers a contrarian look at the recent Critical Mass Takedown. San Diego’s killer bike lane finally gets repaved. The bike-riding hit-and-run driver charged with intentionally attacking four cyclists in San Francisco pleads not guilty. The Reno paper looks at bike lawyer Bob Mionske prior to a speaking engagement in the other Nevada gambling town. New York police officers are in hot water for failing to report hitting a bike rider while driving on the wrong side of the street. A Phoenix rider is glad to have his bike lane, even if it is one just .117 of the time. The Obama administration is spending $1.2 billion to promote walking and cycling in the U.S.; thanks to Dr. Michael Cahn for the link. A federal study shows that biking and walking now account for 11.9% of all trips, while fatalities are down 12% and 22.3% respectively. Rock hopping and other stunts on a carbon Raleigh roadie. Scofflaws are scofflaws, regardless of vehicle. How to avoid big trouble with big trucks. How to stay cool in the long hot summer. Trek kills Gary Fisher, sort of. Bikes belong everywhere says Bikes Belong. The former Ugly Betty looks pretty good on her bike. A New England cyclist frightens drivers without even trying. Two St. Louis riders are shot by bike riding robbers. Brit train operators are trying to be more bike-friendly. A Prague tram driver chases down his runaway train by bike after it leaves the station without him.
Finally, five men have been found guilty for causing the death of a London cyclist who was inadvertently caught up in a two-vehicle dispute over a puppy. Yes, an innocent man died because fight over the price of a puppy.
And am I the only one who thinks Texas Rep. Joe Barton nominated himself for biggest political twit of the year Thursday morning?