Rumors are swirling that scofflaw cops may mean the death of 1st Street’s buffered bike lanes

I read and hear a lot of rumors.

Many don’t pan out after a little investigation; others can’t be verified one way or another.

Then there’s the ones reliable sources tell me have been confirmed, usually off the record, by people who should know. Like the one I recently heard about the relatively new buffered bike lanes in front of the LAPD headquarters on 1st Street in Downtown L.A.

It seems that certain scofflaws in blue can’t resist the temptation to park in the bike lane. Which is just as illegal for them as it is for anyone else.

And which puts cyclists at just as much risk on a dangerously busy street as when anyone else does it.

Of course, the obvious solution is to simply park somewhere else.

The not so obvious solution is to restripe the street to eliminate the bike lane. Or at least the buffer, turning what has been one of the city’s best bike lanes into just another door zone lane.

Guess which option seems to be gaining favor with police and officials at LADOT, run by former Hummer-driving Deputy Mayor Jaime de la Vega?

Of course, there is another possibility that no one seems to have considered. The buffer zone could be reconfigured as street parking — possibly even reserved for police vehicles — while maintaining the curbside lane for cyclists.

The result would be the parking police officers can’t seem to do without — except legally, this time.

Along with L.A.’s first protected bike lane, which could serve as a model for countless other areas around the city.

It makes perfect sense. Which is why it will probably never happen.

So be prepared to kiss your buffered bike lane goodbye.

Or so I’m told.

………

A must read two-part piece from Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman. The first is a moving and enlightening account of the aftermath of a bicycling collision in which both the driver and the victim go out of their way to help one another. The second, an examination of why South L.A cycling collisions too often go unreported — and the harm that can do.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog calls for donations to continue their vital work covering transportation in Los Angeles. And they need volunteers to help out with ARTCRANK on December 8th.

………

Congratulations to exceptional Santa Monica bike, transportation and planning wonk — and Streetsblog contributor — Gary Kavanagh as he receives a well-deserved nod as one of Planetizen’s Top Twitter Feeds for 2012; they might want to spell his name right, though.

Gary also offers his thoughts on the next steps for the Santa Monica bike movement.

………

Confessed doper and Lance compatriot Tyler Hamilton says he thinks 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins rode clean. Marianne Vos is named Velo’s International Cyclist of the Year. And Exergy is the latest company to drop its sponsorship of men’s pro cycling; their women’s team will not be affected.

………

UCLA sees a sudden spike in bike thefts. The mayor’s office gives itself high marks for its transportation efforts; although if the mayor really wants to make a big move in transportation he could endorse the GRID Project. New bike lanes adorn Santa Monica Blvd in East Hollywood. Flying Pigeon’s monthly Brewery Ride rolls this Saturday. More extensions are in store for the L.A. River bike path. The First Annual Santa Monica Family Bike Fest is scheduled for Saturday, December 8th; although it’s not actually an annual event until the second one. Burbank insists NBC Universal extend the L.A. River bike path as a condition for their planned expansion. Installing fenders for winter riding, and designing away the excuses for not riding for transportation.

Cycle tracks could be the answer for a dangerous San Diego road.  Maybe now that the doping scandal is behind us — as if — we can focus on the upcoming Amgen Tour of California, which reverses course for 2013. Respected bike-riding San Bernardino redevelopment lawyer Timothy J. Sabo died Wednesday after a long illness. An allegedly heavily intoxicated rider is injured in a Redding collision. Rancho Cordova police are investigating the case of a man found beaten to death next to his bike in front of a pet shop. It’s been a dangerous few days for cyclists in central California, as a 15-year old rider is killed in Fresno.

Do cheap Bicycle Shaped Objects from mass market stores discourage riders in the long run? Maybe your next bike could come with anti-lock brakes. New rechargeable, hard-to-steal bike lights. A volunteer explains how the Bike Library in my hometown really works. Bikes could be banned from a reconfigured Continental Divide Trail in southern Colorado. A Tulsa driver is charged in the hit-and-run death of a 71-year old bike rider; anyone who claims they thought they just hit an animal after killing a human being should have their sentence doubled. A Manhattan lawyer is being sued for violently jerking a cyclist off her bike. Not surprisingly, actress Kerri Russell looks pretty cute on a bike. DC cracks down on U-turning drivers after discovering they were involved in 11 of 14 bike collisions on a center bikeway. Cycling Nirvana offers advice on collision avoidance for new road riders. A Florida cyclist is the victim of a fatal double hit-and-run.

Young Canadian racers are about to get a boost. Sidewalk cycling is a symptom of the failure to provide safe and convenient bicycle routes. As you probably suspected, sitting on your couch is more dangerous than riding a bike. The latest in a string of projected bike lights is this Batman-style beacon that casts the image of a bike 20 feet ahead of a rider. A Liverpool cyclist was killed by a motorcyclist who was doing wheelies and riding 70 mph in a 30 mile zone. A Nigerian racer is nipped at the finish line after celebrating her victory a tad too early. Turns out staying upright on a bike is a lot more complicated than it seems. A Sydney bike thief is caught on video.

Finally, a cyclist tries — and fails — to jump a moving car coming directly at him.

7 comments

  1. Psy says:

    It’s such a shame about the buffered lanes – but of course the sensible solution will probably be cast to the wayside. Maybe there are some members of the LADOT or LAPD that are cyclists and will help sway things in the right direction, but I won’t hold my breath.

  2. The Caltrans’ Highway Design Manual classifies a bike lane buffered by a parking lane as a Class I bike path. Such a project would have to conform to the bike path design requirements instead of the ones for bike lanes. Which makes parking-buffered bike lanes that much harder to implement.

    A shame, because that block of first street, with no driveways or curb cuts, is a great location for parking-buffered bike lanes. Additionally, Main Street being 1-way at the eastern end of that block means there is no right-hook threat for bicyclists emerging from a parking-buffered bike lane when traveling eastbound. It’s like that block was built for it.

    • Guest says:

      Currently the buffer and the lane combined are not wide enough to be replaced by a parking zone and bike lane that meet the minimum width standard. If that standard can’t be met then placing the parking in the buffer won’t be feasible.

  3. [...] Do LAPD Scofflaw Parkers Endanger the 1st Street Buffered Bike Lane (Biking In L.A.) [...]

  4. PaulC says:

    Has anyone gone to the LAPD and tried to educate them on this issue? Maybe all this needs is some good ol’ dialog?

  5. [...] week, Biking in L.A. reported on a persistent rumor that an educational campaign wasn’t the LAPD’s only [...]

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