Extra caution required as construction projects raise risk on PCH and Temescal Canyon

A couple of quick notes from Wednesday’s PCH Taskforce meeting that could affect your rides along the coast.

First up is a stormwater treatment program on Temescal Canyon Road that will block the right turn lane off PCH, as well as intermittently blocking the uphill bike lane on Temescal itself.

The project is designed to capture the first ¾ inch of rainwater, which contains the most pollutants, allowing it to be diverted for treatment once the storm is over.

However, it could pose a risk to riders on PCH, who will be forced to share the right through lane with right-turning drivers, as well as drivers going straight. The bigger problem, though, is the blockages of the bike lane planned for the uphill side of Temescal.

Construction under the center divider will force temporary closures of one uphill lane as well as the bike lane, requiring riders to share a single lane with motorists on a road where many drivers race through far above the speed limit. And where the steep uphill means riders travel at far lower speeds than they would otherwise, creating a potentially deadly combination.

However, the solution could be as simple as the wide sidewalk on the right, if the city just invests in a few dollars worth of asphalt to build curb ramps that would allowing riders to safely bypass the construction.

Downhill traffic won’t be affected.

The second, and potentially more dangerous, problem lies a little further south on PCH at Potrero Canyon.

A project to stabilize the canyon will mean as many as 200 heavy trucks loaded with soil will soon be traveling northbound PCH every day, adding more — and more dangerous — traffic to one of the area’s most popular riding routes. Then after dumping their loads, they will turn around at the temporary traffic signal that you may have noticed being installed in that area this week, and return back down PCH towards Santa Monica.

This, in an area where the lack of an adequate shoulder means riders have to take the lane in front of frequently speeding drivers — as well as traffic that can grind to a stop due to heavy congestion.

That section is scheduled to be widened, and a shoulder added, by 2017.

But in the meantime, you should ride with extra caution and keep a wide eye open for truck drivers unfamiliar with the road, and who may not be looking for you.

On the other hand, major work on the sewer project that has affected southbound cyclists on PCH around West Channel Road for the last year, and forced a bypass to the beachfront bike path, should be finished by May; the full job is expected to be done by fall.

……..

In a surprising move, the nation’s three leading bike advocacy organizations have decided to merge their efforts.  The League of American Bicyclists, industry trade group Bikes Belong and the Alliance for Biking and Walking announced that they will join together to form a new unified organization.

What exactly that means remains to be determined.

They could unite at the top, while keeping the existing structure of the three organizations intact. Or they could merge into a single organization — though how they make that work when one is membership driven, one composed of local bike organizations from across the nation, and one made up of the nation’s largest bicycle and components manufacturers is beyond me.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive so far. But as Richard Masoner points out on Cyclelicious, a number of questions remain.

Done right, this could give us the political clout we need to avoid future disasters like the current House Transportation bill, which effectively eliminates all bike and pedestrian funding.

Or it could end up weakening — or eliminating — three organizations that have served us well over the years, and leaving us with something less responsive to the needs of average riders.

This proposed merger bears the possibility of greatness. But it’s something we’ll all want to keep a close eye on.

……..

Speaking in Los Angeles, bike racing boss Pat McQuaid finally acknowledges that women riders deserve better. Commute by Bike offers another perspective on L.A.’s green bike lane, while Flying Pigeon shows there’s a little overlap in that new agreement allowing film production trucks to park next to them. A Cypress Park middle school falls in love with bikes; while an L.A. riders says it’s okay for roadies to be friendly, too. New bike lanes land on Aviation Blvd near LAX. While L.A. works on pilot projects, Santa Monica thrives by catering to bikes. UCLA gets a new bike repair stand. Malibu moves forward with a PCH safety study. Solving bike clutter in Redondo Beach. A Redondo Beach bike sting nets career criminals. Diversifying transportation in Glendale is a necessity, not a luxury. Montrose Search and Rescue come to the aid of two stranded mountain bikers near Crescenta Valley. Welcome to the newly formed Pomona Valley Bike Coalition, the latest local chapter of the LACBC. Bikes and beer always go together, so how about velos e vino?

Following the death of a teenage cyclist, San Diego’s press belatedly discover the existence of fixies. San Diego cyclists have to deal with trash cans in the bike lanes, too. Riding on the sidewalk isn’t enough to keep a Stockton cyclist safe from out of control trucks. Texas Governor Rick Perry — the only other governor fool enough to veto a three-foot passing law besides our own Jerry Brown — will have surgery for an old bicycling injury in San Diego. Evidently, sidewalks in Atascadero have right and wrong directions, unlike sidewalks everywhere else — and seriously, even a local cop should know that riding on the sidewalk in either direction isn’t illegal under state law.

Sometimes an endorsement of cycling isn’t as glowing as it seems. Wisconsin cyclists rally for a vulnerable user law. Despite fatally dooring a cyclist, a New York driver faces just 30 days or $500 for driving with a suspended license; no, really, the NYPD takes fatal bike collisions seriously, honest. Gotham defense attorney’s love it when drivers leave the scene of a collision. A Carolina bike shop owner says cars and bikes really can get along. A Georgia bill would ban riding side by side. Why Miami is a deathtrap for cyclists; it’s not just Miami — Florida continues to be the most dangerous place in the nation for cyclists and pedestrians. It’s not the UCI that’s stifling bike frame innovation.

A Canadian cyclist is killed in a collision after running a red light, yet the Mounties insist on blaming his death on the lack of a helmet; I’d say risk factors were a) running a red light, b) getting hit by a truck, and c) not wearing a helmet, in that order. In a remarkable display, the UK’s Parliament gathered Thursday to debate bike safety — something our Congress desperately needs to do, yet which I doubt we will ever see. Two thousand cyclists ride for bike safety in London. In a rare display of Fleet Street comity, London’s Guardian endorses the Times’ Cycle Safe campaign. The risk of death is 10 times higher for cyclists in the UK’s rural areas. A British cyclist dies even though the car that hit him was only doing 10 mph. Safer cycling makes cities safer for everyone. A Scot cyclist punches a driver in the nose after getting knocked off his bike; guess which one got punished? For such a seemingly freak accident, there seem to be a lot of new stories about children killed or injured by falling on their handlebars; is this a bigger problem than we realize? Copenhagen police target cyclists for fun and profit. An Aussie cyclist explains why they’re so angry. According to Reuters, Indonesian cyclists risk their lives every day to ride to work.

Finally, another typically insightful and entertainingly artistic look at cycling from Boston’s Bikeyface. And a cyclist leaves a note for a driver ticketed for parking in the bike lane.

2 comments

  1. henry says:

    Regarding the 2nd notice of up to 200 trucks traveling daily carrying soil at Potrero Canyon.

    In addition to the extra traffic, there may be extra gravel strewn throughout those roadways.

    On rides, I sometimes encounter broken concrete pieces up to the size of a fist on the right side of the roads (and bike lanes) even in non construction zones.

    If I can stop and kick these to the curb I usually do. It doesn’t take much to take out the front contact patch so it can be deadly in traffic.

    • bikinginla says:

      Good point. Unless those trucks are completely sealed — which is unlikely — they will inevitably strew gravel across the far right lane, where it will pose a danger to riders.

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