Morning Links: Bonin declares Mar Vista a Great Streets success, and LAPD gets it wrong with hi-viz for jaywalkers

It’s the last three days of the 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Just three more days to support SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy. It’s easy to donate via PayPal, or through Zelle with the banking app that’s already on your phone, using the email address you’ll find on this link.

Any amount will help, and is truly and deeply appreciated, no matter how large or small. 

We’ll even take the change under your sofa cushions. Or whatever you have left once your holiday shopping is over.

So what are you waiting for, already?

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It looks like the traffic safety deniers were wrong. And the Mar Vista Great Streets project is here to stay.

Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin released a four-minute video yesterday touting the success of the lane reductions and bike lanes on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista.

Despite the claims of opponents, who seemed to be operating from their own set of alternative facts, the newly configured road has resulted in far fewer serious crashes, while carrying just as much traffic, just as quickly, as it did prior to the new design.

In fact, peak travel times are only 30 seconds slower than before.

But while bicycle counts dropped 16 percent, the number of people walking on the street jumped by a full third over the year before. And Mar Vista business is booming.

So much for the specious claim that no one goes there anymore.

This is what one reader, who forwarded the video to me, had to say.

I’m sure you saw this, but Bonin just sent out a pretty encouraging video on Mar Vista Great Streets.

The 1-year LADOT report is apparently favorable on safety, bike/ped/scooter volumes, and (even) car travel times. (Not sure if the report is out yet.) Seleta Reynolds is recommending that the street configuration (i.e., bike lanes, I think) be made permanent, with Bonin recommending that as well.

They had some big numbers about business activity & business openings being *way* up year-on-year. (My take is this probably has more to do with the macroeconomy than the bike lanes, but it at least proves that bike lanes haven’t “killed” Mar Vista)…

Bonin also announced a bunch of traffic changes to reduce cut-through traffic on the side streets around Venice/Centinela, including some protected left turns and longer right-turn pockets on the arterials, as well as more stop signs on Victoria & Charnock.

I was hoping it’d be an announcement about more protected bike lanes, but after the last couple years, anything that’s not moving backward feels (alas) like a victory.

Unfortunately, the report hasn’t been released, and no word yet on when it will come out. Correction: The report was released the same day as the video; you can read it here. Thanks to Eric B for the heads-up.

And I’m sure whenever it does, opponents will once again deny virtually everything in it, just as they’ve done for the last year since the project was installed. Note: The traffic safety deniers are already hard at work in the comments to the YouTube video.

But maybe, just maybe, we can finally get city officials to start making decisions based on actual facts and real world experience, instead of just listening to whoever screams the loudest.

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An op-ed in the LA Times ridicules the LAPD’s program to give jaywalkers a reflective vest and clip-on lights in lieu of a ticket.

And justifiably so.

It goes on to say defensive walking is not the antidote for the city’s high rate of pedestrian deaths.

Or bike deaths, for that matter. 

Because, while we all need to take practical steps to protect ourselves, the real problem is cars, and the distracted and overly aggressive people in them.

And dressing up like a glow-in-the-dark clown isn’t the answer.

It should also be pointed out that every corner has crosswalk in every direction, painted or not, unless crossing is specifically prohibited with posted signage.

And jaywalking isn’t against the law unless there’s a signalized intersection on both ends of the block.

Too bad the LAPD doesn’t seem to think any of that is worth mentioning.

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Don’t make her beg. Support the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive today.

Local

Mashable promotes sale prices on a pair of bikes from Burbank-based Pure Cycles.

The LA Times examines the practicality of Elon’s Folly, the underground tunnel system he promises will whisk cars at high speeds underneath Los Angeles. Although I’m in favor of anything that would get more cars off the streets, even if that means sending them down into the bowels of the earth.

State

No more $2 bus tours of Camp Pendleton any more, but you can still visit the Marine base by bike — if you plan ahead and apply for a permit in person, in advance.

San Francisco debunks the common argument that protected bike lanes will interfere with fire trucks. And moves forward with another protected lane as a result.

It’s been a deadly year in San Jose.

A Marin newspaper says Mill Valley’s new designation as a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community is well-deserved.

National

The Seattle Times asks if Seattle’s new transportation director can build detente with the the city’s sparing drivers, bike riders, pedestrians and transit users, like he did in DC.

The former sex change capital of the world — and the halfway point by rail between Los Angeles and Chicago — will host the first Southwest Chief Bicycle and Comedy Festival next May, combining a “love of the outdoors, bicycle fetishism and the obligatory live entertainment-and-partying.”

In a battle of letter writers, a Colorado Springs CO bike rider says he doesn’t want the bike lanes the city is forcing on residents, while another rider correctly notes that people on bikes are subsidizing the people in cars (2nd and 3rd letters).

‘Tis the season. A Chicago nonprofit refurbished 50 bicycles for kids in Gary, Indiana, part of the 1,400 bikes they donate in the Chicago area, and up to 8,000 bicycles they send to Latin America and Africa.

Condolences to bicyclists in Adrian MI, who are getting new sharrows and being told it’s infrastructure instead of what they really are, arrows designed to help drivers improve their aim.

Honda is testing a smart intersection system in an Ohio city that warns drivers if a pedestrian or bicyclist — or a red light running driver — is about to cross their path. But only if they have the connected car system installed.

Gothamist says New York bicycling deaths have plunged to a record low as the city built nearly 21 miles of protected bike lanes this year. But Streetsblog says no they didn’t, unless you count five miles of lanes without protection as protected.

Frightening and inspiring story from New Jersey, as the long-time lawyer for the state’s governing body for high school sports makes a miraculous recovery from the nearly fatal bike crash that left him paralyzed, after the riders ahead of him went down on a high-speed group ride.

International

Cycling Weekly presents nine Christmas experiences every cyclist will recognize. Unless, of course, like me, you don’t.

Cycling Tips shares their favorite bikes of 2018, sans price tags, unfortunately. On the other hand, you can get a new and improved Oi bike bell for just $36.

No bias here. A British Columbia letter writer says new bike lanes in downtown Victoria have given bike riders a lawbreaking sense of entitlement.

The Evening Standard asks if soaring ebike sales could help London clean the air.

Yes, please. British police plan to use virtual reality to teach dangerous drivers what it feels like to be passed too closely.

BikeBiz says it will take a fresh approach to make the roads safer, as six UK bike and pedestrian advocacy groups band together to get more people riding.

A pair of bike riders are raising funds for charity by biking from London to Tokyo for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, riding over 12,000 miles through 26 countries.

Bikes are being stolen from an English train station because the bike racks are merely bolted to the ground, allowing thieves to simply remove the bolts and walk off with the still-locked bicycle. Which is why you should never use a rack unless it’s embedded in the concrete.

A police union official says separate rules for bikes, ebikes, scooters, mini electric cars and hoverboards are turning bike lanes in the Netherlands into a living hell. Raise your hand if you’d gladly trade the streets you ride for Dutch bikeways, hell or otherwise.

The rich get richer. The Netherlands is investing the equivalent of $390 million to build 15 bicycle freeways and an additional 25,000 bicycle parking spaces to get another 200,000 commuters on two wheels — and paying bike commuters 22¢ a mile to ride to work.

A Palestinian writer calls on the UK to cut ties with what he calls Israel’s oppressive regime, saying he’s being sent to prison for riding a bike during a protest.

No bias here. A Hong Kong letter writer asks who needs bicycles when you can use the city’s speedy, efficient transit system — especially when they annoy people like him.

Competitive Cycling

Forget doping. The way to get a real — and legal — edge in bike racing is supercomputing.

Finally…

Is that a bikeable alley, or an overly realistic trompe l’oeil painting? When your annual bike ride is like a “naked Christmas episode of Doctor Who.”

And if you haven’t signed a pro cycling contract by the time you’re 11-years old, you’re already falling behind.

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Thanks to John C for his generous donation to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive to keep this site coming to your favorite screen every morning! 


3 comments

  1. keith says:

    At first I thought the vest & light seemed like an ok idea. But who the hell’s going to remember to have their vest at the ready before crossing the street. Of course the initial get a jay walking ticket or wearing the vest – not a prob, everyone will wear it like a dunce cap to avoid a hefty fine.

  2. David Erickson says:

    Regarding the linked article about the bike rider who was injured in New Jersey (Frightening and inspiring story from New Jersey), there are a couple of cringeworthy sentences in the article:

    “carbon fiber bike and sped faster and faster down the winding, country roads”

    “group of 20 cyclists flew down the road as fast as 30 MPH, their wheels separated by less than a foot”

    I am not blaming the victim, but the outcome is not surprising.

  3. David says:

    My response to the Bonin Video I wrote on YouTube:

    Thank you Mike Bonin for this great video. It brought tears to my eyes I was so happy to finally see positive changes in the community. I look forward to rolling out the same or similar plans to the entire city. Let’s have everyone benefit from more open and safer streets for cyclists and pedestrians.

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