Morning Links: LA advocates sue over Glendale-Hyperion redesign; bike lanes and bikeshare dominate the news

For the first time in memory, LA bike and pedestrian advocates are taking to the courts.

According to LA Streetsblog, a coalition calling for Safe Streets 4 All has filed a lawsuit over the city council’s rushed vote to approve the ill-conceived and unsafe design for the coming rebuild of the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge.

The suit challenges the city’s declaration that the removal of a sidewalk from one side of the bridge would have no impact on the environment or public safety — even though it would force pedestrians to a) take an unsafe half-mile detour to use the sidewalk on the opposite side, b) walk in the bike lane, forcing riders out into traffic, or c) just give up and drive.

While LA is already overly litigious, with self-described community groups filing suit at the drop of a hat to halt any project that threatens their perceived interests or keep tourists from besmirching their streets, this is one that is both necessary and predictable, given the council’s failure to live up to their own calls for a safer and more livable community.

Then again, the suit might also have focused on the council’s apparent violation of the Brown Act, as demonstrated by once again unanimously approving a controversial project with little public discussion.

Which, unless the councilmembers share a hive mind, raises the question of just where that discussion is taking place and why the public isn’t allowed to participate, as the law requires.

Maybe the next lawsuit should be over the ability of individual councilmembers to halt bike lanes on Westwood Blvd and North Figueroa, even though they were previously approved by the full council with a similar unanimous vote.

……..

There seems to be a common theme to today’s news.

Contra Costa County’s El Cerrito plans improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians, including bike boulevards. LA riders are still waiting for the first bike boulevard — aka bike friendly street — that actually goes somewhere. Anywhere.

A proposed Phoenix sales tax increase would fund an expansion of light rail, as well as over a thousand miles of new bike lanes.

Construction begins Monday on Boulder CO’s plan to right-size several major streets to make more room for bike lanes. Meanwhile, a DC-area street shows the long-term benefits of eliminating excess road capacity to make room for bikes and parking.

The Orlando Sentinel calls funding for bike trails the one bright spot in the state’s new budgets.

Looking north of the border, new protected bike lanes will open in Saskatoon next week.

Unfortunately, not all the work is going in the right direction, as Edmonton, Canada votes to undo a road diet and strip out a lightly used pair of bike lanes, much to the glee of a cranky local columnist.

……..

The other theme to today’s news is bikeshare, as the Times’ Laura Nelson explains the state of bikeshare in the LA area, and it’s ability to solve the first mile/last mile problem.

Boise’s new bikeshare system suffers growing pains.

Chicago’s Divvy bikeshare offers a $5 annual membership for low income users, saying Divvy is for Everyone. Something operators of the upcoming bikeshare systems in LA, Long Beach and Santa Monica should seriously consider, since not everyone can afford a high annual membership or rental fees.

Like bicycling in general, New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare faces a gender gap.

……..

Germany’s Tony Martin takes the yellow jersey with a solo win on the cobblestones in Tuesday’s stage of the Tour de France, while Andre Greipel takes stage five in another wet and crash-filled day.

Some of the leading competitors dealt with the cobbles by changing bikes, others with suspension systems. Am I the only one who thinks you should have to ride the whole race with the bike you started on?

A body-cam video captured by a team mechanic shows the chaos of Monday’s massive crash.

Does anyone really care who will be on what pro teams in 2016 when we’re still in the middle of this year’s racing season?

And with all the attention paid to the hour record lately, no one seems to have noticed there’s a women’s record, too.

……..

Local

The annual summer concert series at the Santa Monica Pier kicks off this Thursday with 80’s funkmeisters Morris Day and the Time. Along with free bike and skateboard valet.

CiclaValley lists 10 streets in the San Fernando Valley in need of a Complete Streets makeover. That may be possible now that Tom LaBonge isn’t in office anymore to block them. Although pseudo-environmentalist Paul Koretz still is.

 

State

Santa Maria-area bike thieves take advantage of the fireworks to stage Fourth of July break-ins in one Orcutt neighborhood.

NorCal’s Caltrain moves to make more room for bikes onboard. But you may have to hold it until you get off. And I don’t mean your bike.

A Calistoga cyclist is blamed for making an unsafe turn into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

 

National

People for Bikes asks bike lane designers to complete a short 15-minute survey.

A Portland bikemaker is building beautiful wooden bikes ready for the road. Or maybe you’d prefer this stylish three-speed roadster from New York.

Portlander Elly Blue’s latest Kickstarter project is a book of feminist zombie bike fiction. When the zombie apocalypse finally arrives, it will start with people on the same drugs I take at night for my neuropathy.

Sad news from Arizona, as a married couple have both died as a result of a collision last week; they owned a bike shop in Lake Havasu, and had won a number of cycling championships.

A Denver bicyclist asks for justice after a pickup driver accelerated over his bike and body to flee the scene.

A Denver man was riding to work when he saw the barrel of a gun emerge from a passing car moments before he was shot with a pellet gun.

Wyoming cyclists get a new three-foot passing law, but only if space exists and only if they’re riding legally. And even then, it’s only a $70 fine. Apparently it’s okay for a driver to Jerry Brown you if he thinks you shouldn’t be in the traffic lane.

Fort Worth’s bike-riding mayor leads a series of rolling town hall meetings every summer. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti agreed to meet and ride with cyclists as part of the LACBC’s candidate survey before he was elected. But to the best of my knowledge, no one has asked him to do it yet. Maybe it’s time we did.

Missouri celebrates the 25th anniversary of the 240-mile Katy trail, the nation’s longest rail-to-trail conversion.

An upstate New York public radio station catches up with the Bike and Build tour, as they ride across the country building homes for Habitat for Humanity.

 

International

The Calgary Stampede provides corrals for more than just horses this year. The horses probably don’t get valet service, either.

A London cyclist makes a lucky escape from a collision with a large truck; his bike didn’t fare as well.

A Brit bike rider receives a bottle of Prosecco as an apology after another rider locked his bike to hers. Then again, that’s also a common technique for bike thieves, who come back later to steal it. Locking to your bike that is, not leaving you sparkling wine.

The 2014 Tour de France’s Grand Départ has had lasting benefits for England’s Yorkshire region, financially as well as increasing ridership.

A British nurse leaves a note for the lowlife scumbags who stole her bike. Her words, not mine. Though I wouldn’t disagree.

 

Finally…

Bad enough to threaten someone with a gun, but what kind of schmuck abandons his bike in a ditch? Or throws it through a restaurant window to break in and drink Tabasco straight from the bottle?

And if you’re planning to fall off your bike, learn how to do it right.

 

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