Archive for Streets and Infrastructure

Morning headlines: Another day, another three Times bike opinion pieces — and this time, they get it right

Wednesday was a good day for the LA Times editorial department.

First up is a ringing endorsement of the seemingly troubled My Figueroa project, which would create the city’s first complete street if the local councilmember and various bike lane-hating businesses — hello Felix Chevrolet! — would just get out of the way.

Yes, they note, the project may result in some traffic congestion until motorists adjust their routes or adapt to other forms of transportation. But as they put it —

Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council should not let fears of traffic congestion turn this transformative project into another incomplete street.

Meanwhile, another writer for the Times notes that bicyclists are not the only ones who will benefit from the project.

But only if City Hall has the courage to say yes to a project that will benefit everyone. Including the people and businesses currently opposing it.

On a related subject, Times writer Paul Thornton correctly calls the city out for failing to patch the roadway before painting bike lanes.

Like the cracked and badly patched pavement the passes for a bike lane on 7th Street, which too often calls for an ice pack in a very private place by the time I get home. Over in the UK, they sue for that sort of thing.

And Cycling Unbound takes on Tuesday’s Times opinion piece that tacitly endorsed running down cyclists who have the audacity to complain about nearly getting run over.

Funny how bike riders’ instinct for self-preservation so often looks like self-righteousness to uncomprehending motorists.

……….

A high desert official says if cars can’t pass your bike safely and there’s no place to pull over, you have to get off and walk your bike.

Uh, no.

You are required to pull over and let cars pass if, and only if a) you are on road with only one lane in your direction, b) you are traveling at less than the speed of traffic, and c) there are at least five vehicles stuck behind you and unable to pass. If they can go around you, you aren’t impeding anything.

And there is absolutely nothing in the law that would require you to get off your bike.

However, that’s not to say you can’t be polite and pull over to let cars go by. Anytime I take the lane, I try to move right and wave trailing traffic around me when it’s safe to do so.

……….

Mentioned this one over the weekend, but it bears repeating, as Sheriff’s investigators prepare to turn the results of their investigation into the death of cyclist and former Napster exec Milt Olin over to the DA’s office for evaluation. Don’t hold your breath for criminal charges, though; I suspect this one would have been brushed under the carpet along time ago if it had just been you or me under that deputy’s car.

The LACBC calls on Metro and LA County to fight for our share of active transportation funds.

Outgoing County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky looks at Metro’s Bicycle Roundtable, and notes that bicyclists are no longer the squeaky wheel that gets ignored. Even if there is room for improvement.

Long Beach’s traffic calming dinosaurs go the way of the stegosaurus and non-speeding motorists.

San Diego’s Bicycle Film Festival starts this weekend.

Cyclelicious explains why the Fourth Power Rule means cyclists shouldn’t have to pay for the streets we ride on. Or if we do, SUV drivers should be prepared to write a very large check.

San Francisco okays a project to give unclaimed bikes to the poor, starting with low-income at-risk youths. Now that’s a program I can get behind.

When you’re raging against a driver, remember you’re the one who’ll come off looking like a jerk, no matter how much he or she may deserve it. Which explains why some of the videos I record will never see the light of day.

It’s a mixed bag in court for the fallen king of pro cycling, as Lance loses in Texas and wins in LA. But aside from his financial advisors, does anyone really care anymore?

The Canadian politician who killed cyclist Darcy Allen Sheppard is attempting to make a comeback five years later. Unfortunately, his victim won’t be making a comeback anytime soon. Or ever.

A South African bike commuter races for his life to escape armed robbers chasing him in a car, before finally giving up his bike at gunpoint.

A reminder from Tokyo to ride safely around pedestrians. And not just because it could be you that ends up going to the hospital.

Oh, so that’s the reason women don’t ride in greater numbers: it’s the helmets. Or maybe not.

Finally, a Jupiter FL cyclist gets a $3 million dollar settlement for a dooring — yes, million — and his wife gets over half a million for loss of consortium.

Don’t tell my wife, or she’ll ask me to start riding in the door zone. Something tells me she’d gladly trade consortium for a cool half mil.

Your decidedly un-presidential President’s Day bike news roundup, including mayoral support for MyFig

Oddly, it doesn't look any different.

Looks like cyclists could be getting some support from City Hall after all.

Lots of weekend news to catch up with on this semi-observed holiday.

And for a change, most of it is good.

……….

LA’s bright and shiny, barely broken in new mayor offers a look at a better, brighter and bike-friendlier city to come, and wants to connect LAX to the Crenshaw Line to serve everyone coming for the 2024 Olympics.

He also comes out in favor of a freeway CicLAvia in the first story. And he sides with the embattled My Figueroa project; the question is whether he’ll throw enough support behind the project to win the day over entrenched auto-centric opposition.

……….

The proposed Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles is now available for online review, along with the Mobility Plan 2035 and re:code LA.

I haven’t had a chance to dig into the 193 page Mobility Plan (pdf) yet, even though this is the document that will shape our streets — and how they’re used — for the next 20 years, which could be close to how long it will take me to get through it.

However, the LACBC says it will add:

 …a 180-mile network of protected bikeways and high-quality neighborhood streets that will “provide safe, convenient, and comfortable local and regional facilities for cyclists of all types and abilities.”

A series of seven citywide meetings will be held to discuss the plans starting next month.

……….

It looks like LA is finally getting serious about hit-and-run, at least after the fact, with a proposal from CD15 Councilmember Joe Buscaino to offer $50,000 rewards in fatal hit-and-run cases, and lesser amounts for injury and property damage cases.

Of course, the key is stop drivers before they flee by eliminating the incentive to floor it after a collision.

But this is a valuable step until we can get Sacramento to wake up and give a damn.

……….

In the wake of the recent announcement that the Tour de France will be adding a women’s race on the final day, the Amgen Tour of California doubles up with a second women’s event at this year’s tour.

It’s not enough.

But at least it’s a move in the right direction, and a step beyond the tokenism of giving women a single stage during the ToC. Though not the full multi-stage race women riders deserve.

Now if they’d just do something about the embarrassingly anachronistic podium girls. Women belong on the podium because they earned it with their racing skills, not because some guy did.

……….

The city begins work towards improving the decidedly bike and pedestrian unfriendly Lincoln Blvd bridge over Ballona Creek; personally, I don’t even like driving over that one. LA Fire Department transports a cyclist hit by a car in Northridge today; hopefully, not you or someone you know. Wolfpack Hustle has good advice for group riders. More and presumably better bike parking at Dodger Stadium. Wayfinding, restriping and pop-up cafes on the LA River bike path. The less-than-bike-friendly Boulevard Sentinel disputes statements that the York Blvd road diet was conducted to improve safety. Better Bike calls for a Beverly Hills Hovenring; funny thing is, it actually makes sense and it’s no more unrealistic than my own Wilshire Blvd pipe dream. Santa Monica Next’s Gary Kavanagh offers a defense of the humble traffic diverter in the wake of neighborhood objectors. You don’t have to drive to the El Monte Metro bus station anymore, as a dedicated entrance has been opened for cyclists using the Rio Hondo Bike Path; thanks to Bike SGV for the link.

An off-road rider in the San Diego area survives a frightening face-first fall into a ravine. The usual dispute over parking spots rears its ugly head in a fight over a San Diego bikeway; so why are a relative handful of on-street parking spaces for cars more important than improving safety and mobility for people? An upcoming Carlsbad roundabout promises to ease traffic and made a dangerous intersection more bike-friendly. Two Simi Valley cyclists are injured when one gets her wheel trapped by a train track and the other falls over her. A call for Vision Zero in Kern County. An Aptos rider was flown to a Bay Area hospital after getting doored Sunday morning; fortunately, the injuries aren’t life-threatening. A Sausalito cop recognizes a wanted bike thief. Looks like you’ll be able to keep renting bikes in Yosemite after all.

Portland becomes the latest city to commit to a Vision Zero; here in LA <crickets>. Life is cheap in New Mexico, as a Border Patrol agent faces a sentence of as little as five days and $25 for killing a cyclist in a suicide swerve last August; thanks to Michael McVerry for the heads-up. Two cyclists are hit by a left-crossing, non-signaling driver near my hometown; a local LCI says it’s time to talk about hit-and-runs involving bicyclists. Continuing today’s theme of multiple riders down, four cyclists are seriously injured in an apparent bike-on-bike collision in a Texas women’s stage race. A new Bike Pittsburgh campaign says pass with care, because we’re people, too. Boston officials say if you want your bike paths cleared after every snow storm, move to another city. Must be some damn good drivers in the Big Apple, as 32 cyclists are cited for moving violations in one precinct, but no motorists are ticketed. NYC cyclists are getting a portable bike counter. The wife of a fallen Long Island cyclist says the law has too many loopholes, as the methadone intoxicated driver who killed him gets a six-month sentence. Why the Big Easy is not, in fact, the worst place in the world to ride a bike. Miami cyclists remember a fallen comrade and call for tougher penalties for dangerous drivers.

Uruguay’s capital city wants to become bike friendly. Two UK riders become collateral damage in a deadly police chase. Daily bicycling wards off heart disease, and bike share benefits outweigh any risks. A drunk Polish father calls his 8-year old son to ride his bike to a bar and drive him home, with predictable results. The Finnish hockey team bikes to their first game at the Olympics, and it clearly hasn’t hurt them; thanks to Ness for the tip. Indian cyclists want to know why they can’t ride to work in their own city. An Indian cop rear-ends a cyclist while attempting to get around a road barricade. An Aussie site offers a realistic look at practical riding attire. A Kiwi cyclist makes the oft-repeated call that everyone should be required to ride a bike before they get a driver’s license.

Finally, when N+1 meets S-1, some subterfuge — and a cooperative bike shop — is clearly called for. A UK call girl is really looking forward to the arrival of all those Tour de France cyclists this summer. And it turns out the trolls who leave hateful comments online really are horrible people.

Well, no shit.

Metro speaks, but could maybe do a little more listening; New York county official says never ride on two wheels

I tried.

No, really, I did. I blocked out this past Tuesday evening over a week in advance to attend the latest Metro Bike Roundtable at Metro Headquarters.

Then as so often happens, I just couldn’t make it work out on a day when I found myself pulled in too many directions with too many deadlines.

Fortunately, a friend and sometimes contributor was also planning to attend, and graciously agreed to fill in for me at the last minute, though she requested that I keep her name out of it.

Here’s her take on the meeting.

……….

The so-called “roundtables” aren’t what they used to be. They’re useful, and good at what they are, but they’re nothing like the first exciting year of bike roundtables. Mind you, I’m not whining. The initial roundtables were absolutely instrumental in shaping policies & implementing some terrific changes. Now, though, they’re just lovely informative meetings with a series of brief presentations along with updates on new & ongoing projects.

Significantly, the meetings continue. They haven’t been squelched without reason by Metro or killed by lack of interest. And important people show up. By “important people” I mean “the folks who are generally enthusiastic about bikes & knowledgeable about what’s going on,” if you accept this as a definition. BAC reps, politicians’ staffers, community leaders, lone wolf activists, they were all there. True believers like Lynne Goldsmith (in gorgeous black easy-to-pedal-in boots) & Dave Somers (DCP here representin’, YO!), LACBC & SRTS. And a schlub or two like me. The mix is good, but attendance is a lot smaller than the very first SRO meeting, and it’s really no longer about soliciting input.

I wish to repeat that I’m not in any way criticizing the importance of these meetings, because they’re more than informative. They’d be exponentially more helpful if they allowed for more input from the community, and were followed by a happy hour. No, I’m not joking about the happy hour thing. Shiny happy people talking bikes? For an extra hour? NOT a bad idea. There’s certainly no point in trying to suggest this, or anything, because the roundtable no longer focuses on collecting input.

For example, I would have liked to point out that the new wayfinding signage that allegedly directs riders from the El Monte Transit Station to the San Gabriel River Path is insufficient. Of course, I base this exclusively on the tiny data set of “my repeated failures to locate it.” On the most recent visit, I asked for directions from no fewer than nine people (including two Sheriff’s deputies, four cyclists, the Foothill Transit customer service girl & a security guard), in addition to walking around and getting yelled at/threatened for hovering at the invisible boundaries of off-limits areas. Next time, I’ll attack from the river path, and work my way back. It would have been useful to get this info at the roundtable so I could use it myself and disseminate it, but now I face the added hassle of exploring and then writing a strongly-worded letter to the people who are patting themselves on the back for accomplishing the task of installing invisible signage. Also, when I do eventually find the signs, I will cringe at my own goddamn stupidity, and Metro will never apologize for or even acknowledge their complicity.

The subject of the useless stair rails at the aforementioned transit station came up as well. Metro’s thrown a study together, because in the future they’ll be installing the ramps at other stations. Well, hopefully not the same type of ramp, because as stated, the ones at El Monte suck. There’s just no euphemism. I have dozens of pictures of people giving up and just carrying their bikes, and I feel really bad for the folks who struggle — the ones who really need to use the elevator but attempt, with hope and gallantry, to use the little ramps. These ramps are an expensive kick in the dignity of multi-modal transit users. Incidentally, these rails do not accommodate any of my bikes (all fixes), period. Pedal strike, you know. Which is fine ’cause I feel like a total bad-ass hauling a 19 lb. bike up a couple flights. Not so fine for the guy with bad knees and two full-time jobs and a heavy Walmart “mountain bike” and the added burden of shame for looking like a simpleton who’s too stupid to figure out some self-explanatory stair rails.

Anyway, there was cheerful stuff on the agenda too. Planning for Bike Month is well underway, with the following laid out for Bike Week so far:

  • May 10th: Get Ready and Fix Your Bike!
  • May 11th: Bicycling is for Everyone Celebration!
  • May 12th: Kick-off Bike Week LA
  • May 13th: Blessing of the Bicycles
  • May 14th: Guided Ride Day: Bike Lanes and More!
  • May 15th: Bike to Work Day
  • May 12th-18th: Bike Local

This was copied verbatim, but personally I think they need more exclamation marks. It’s nice to see maintenance/repair clinics on the list, and I’m particularly impatient for more details on the guided rides. “Bike Local” will encourage ridership because everybody likes a discount. Also, on May 3rd, there’ll be a ride in conjunction with Union Station’s 75th anniversary.

The 2014 messaging campaign will be revealed in May, and will build off the success of “Every Lane is a Bike Lane.” (As an aside, I was rolling homeward from Bike Night at the Hammer in a group that included two prominent biketivists when a group of drunks hollered “EVERY LANE IS NOT A BIKE LANE!” at us. So the message definitely reached its intended demographic, though its educational effect is questionable.)

Metro’s already submitted an application for an OTS grant to fund their bicycle safety campaign in 2015.

Metro will continue to sponsor CICLE’s group rides, the next one being Saturday’s Ride for Love (and what nobler reason is there?!) in Watts.

The exciting Open Streets timeline was presented. The final application package was revealed at last month’s Open Streets Program Workshop, and applications are due by March 14th. In June, the Metro Board will make their approvals of recommended events, and in summer, they’ll execute agreements for funding Open Streets events for Fiscal Year 2015. It’s gonna be CicLAvia-a-Go-Go in L.A. County!

And about Bike Share. Last fall, Metro initiated a bike share industry review. Last month, they reported the results of this review to the Board. They’ve identified potential pilot (“Phase 1″) locations, and are preparing to launch an implementation plan. They’ll be reporting back to the Board with an update in April. The identified pilot sites are in downtown LA, Pasadena & Santa Monica, and the program includes future coordination with the City of Long Beach.

……….

Just a couple other quick notes.

In case you missed it — and I can’t imagine how with the furor that has erupted in the bikeosphere over the past few days — a representative of the Suffolk County NY Legislature responded to a high school student’s urgent pleas for bike safety by telling him to give up and get a car.

The young man’s own mother had been hit by a car, as had four friends. But this auto-centric jerk — and I use the term advisedly — offered little sympathy and no hope for those on two wheels.

I have lived in West Islip most of my life and my personal feeling is that no one who lives in our hamlet or for that matter in Suffolk County should ever ride a bicycle or a motorcycle. I cannot tell you how many constituents over the years have told me that they are taking up bicycling for pleasure and exercise. I have told them not to do so but they usually do not listen – 90 percent of those people eventually were hit by an automobile many like your mother with serious physical injuries.

So instead of lifting a finger in his official capacity to make the streets safer for the people he was elected to represent — especially with such an astounding rate of injury — he insists streets are for cars.

And if you don’t like it, tough.

Let’s hope his constituents run him out of office. Hopefully on two wheels.

……….

As noted the other day, Santa Monica’s city council has unanimously approved the city’s first neighborhood greenway, as well as Safe Routes to School improvements around Santa Monica High School; Santa Monica Next and Santa Monica Lookout offer more information.

……….

The Voice of America says bike trains beat LA traffic.

……….

Touring Westwood by complimentary hotel bike.

……….

The LAPD is cracking down on traffic crime in the Northeast division; now if they could just extend that throughout the city our streets might finally be a little safer.

……….

San Diego has a new pro-bike, pro-gay Republican — yes, Republican — mayor.

……….

Nicholas Santiago has reportedly pled guilty in the semi-hit-and-run that took the life of 78-year old Moorpark cyclist Bernie Cooper. Santiago’s car hit Cooper’s bike with so force his body was found in the branches of a nearby tree; he left the scene before returning to take responsibility.

……….

A Palo Alto columnist looks at the laws governing cyclists. And somehow manages to get it wrong.

……….

Top South African track cyclist Jeanne Neil was killed after getting trapped between two other riders while competing in a Cape Town keirin race.

……….

Finally, in case you’ve wondered just why our streets are so dangerous, consider this:

A drunk Portland nanny picks up four kids from school with a BAC over four times the legal limit, pulls to the curb, cries, passes out, hits a bike rider, flees the scene, lets the kids out, passes out again, then fights with paramedics who come to help her. And gets probation and a suspended license — even though it was her third offense.

Too easy to get, too hard to lose.

Update: I knew I forgot something. LADOT announces that the city’s first Bicycle Friendly Business District is coming to Northeast LA. Maybe Westwood can be next, if the local councilmember can be convinced that bikes are good for business.

An open letter to cyclists from the Rock Store photographer, and a warning about a dangerous NELA bike lane

Cyclists tackle The Snake on Muholland; photo by Paul Herold

Cyclists tackle The Snake on Muholland; photo by Paul Herold

Sometimes, my posts get written for me.

Not that I’m complaining.

This is one of those occasions, with an open letter to cyclists from a well-known motor sports photographer. A couple of videos. A request for witnesses from an LA bike lawyer.

And a friend who played an unwanted game of bumper bike near Westside Pavilion on Pico Blvd.

……….

First up is that open letter to cyclists who ride the famed Snake on Mulholland, aka the Rock Store ride, from Paul Herold, known around the world for his photos of the cyclists, motorcyclists and high-end sports car drivers who test their skills there.

I can’t say I agree with everything he’s written. On the other hand, I don’t ride there; some cyclists who do tell me his advice is spot on.

Either way, it’s worth a read.

Dear Velonauts,

Rumour has it that Amgen’s 2014 Tour of California will be returning to The Snake (the Rock Store climb) this May with the same circuit format we all enjoyed so much back in 2010. While I can find no confirmation on the TOC web site, I see ample support for the rumour in the faces of scores of new visitors I am seeing every weekend. Enthusiasm is not the only thing I am seeing in those new faces though….fear, horror, dread, anger frustration and rage are there too, mixed in with the usual fatigue and desperation. I can’t help much with fatigue. But perhaps I can help ease some of the fear, dread, loathing and rage.

And there's the problem; photo by Paul Herold

And there’s the problem; photo by Paul Herold

After sitting on The Snake camera in hand for seven years of weekends and holidays, I have some ideas to help make your ascent or descent of the Rock Store more enjoyable and safer. First, some perspective.

The Snake is one of the greatest 2.3 mile stretches of tantalizingly twisty tarmac on the West Coast. Located on Mulholland Highway north west Los Angeles County, the road is accessible to millions of car enthusiasts, motorcycle riders and cyclists. And it ain’t no secret. Crash videos from The Snake on YouTube are viewed by tens of millions viewers world wide. Visitors from South America, Europe and Asia are on the hill every weekend to witness the spectacle in person. Unsurprisingly, the top sweeper known as Edward’s Corner, is probably as famous and recognizable as any street curve in the world.

Local car clubs regularly include The Snake on their weekend cruises. National car clubs run The Snake for their national events. Individuals in everything from tricked out Civics to convertible Bugatti Veyrons run The Snake on a normal weekend. And the vehicles Jay Leno brings are sweet enough to ruin your diet.

Photo by Paul Herold

Rider down; photo by Paul Herold

Motorcyclists from all over the USA ride The Snake too. For some, it is a jumping off point for hundreds of miles of canyon and coastal riding. For many, many others, it is an end destination.  I have seen individual riders pass me over 50 times in the course of a day, up and down, again and again loving every minute. The mix of motorcycles is split between crotch rockets, sport tourers and cruisers.

So…how do you stay safe on your bicycle, amidst the mechanized din? Here are my suggestions.

  • Please ride single file. Don’t force overtaking traffic into oncoming lanes. If you are riding with two friends or twenty please respect the rights of the traffic behind you.
  • Lose the ear buds. It is unlawful and dangerous. Not every motorcycle or car has loud pipes.
  • Ride early….or late. The mechanized madness peaks between 10am and 3pm.
  • Hug the white line. I read many years ago that if you can’t keep your road bike on the line, you shouldn’t be on the street. The white line is your friend. Hug it robustly.
  • Generally, the higher the RPM of the vehicle approaching you, the less skilled the operator. Stay alert.
  • Don’t stop and sightsee in turns. Step over the guardrails if you must, unless a wheelchair sounds like fun.
  • Another rider down; photo by Paul Herold

    Another rider down; photo by Paul Herold

    Imagine an out of control car or bike heading your way from the other side of every blind apex…and pick your line accordingly. If a driver or biker is going to lose control, it will usually be at the exit of a turn.

  • While climbing, courteous riders vacate the apex post haste. There is only one ‘best line through’ any turn. If you don’t need that line, don’t hog it
  • If you didn’t climb it, don’t descend with abandon, because you don’t know what road hazards may await…oil, wet patches, gravel….
  • Ride with a GoPro or dash cam. If you complain to me about a car or motorcycle, I can’t educate/mediate/excoriate unless I know who it was.
  • Prepare your body. Out of shape climbers rock to and fro enough to move themselves around within their lane.
  • Prepare your mind. This is not an abandoned country road. You are going to get ‘buzzed’. You are going to hear a horn or two. And you will certainly hear some throaty exhausts.
  • Prepare your bicycle. The Snake is not where you want to discover a slow leak or frayed cable.
  • I keep water, velo tools, tubes (thank you Ashton Johnson of Franco) and air in my truck at all times. So if you are in need, find me on the hill.
  • This is what you may see coming from behind; photo by Paul Herold

    This is what you may see coming from behind; photo by Paul Herold

    STAY OFF THE YELLOW PAINT! It is slick as bal… er, uh… ice. If you try and corner on the yellow lines, you will go down.

  • Be especially vigilant on the first Sunday of each month. A well attended Valley automobile event gets a lot of motors running, usually between 9am and noon.
  • Be prepared for anything. A group from Helen’s on a break neck descent came around a fast curve only to confront an armada of three radio controlled cars screaming towards them in the wrong lane. Semis, garbage trucks and longboarders are also sighted frequently.
  • Road shoulders at the exit of any turn are not the place for repairs. Cross the road or get well off to the side.
  • The better the weather, the more mechanized company you will have.
  • RIDE SINGLE FILE!

In these past few years, I have taken over I million photos on The Snake. In that time, I am aware of only three incidents in which a cyclist was hospitalized, and know of only five incidents involving motor vehicles vs. cyclists. The catalog of close calls and WTF’s could fill a reservoir, but the safety record still isn’t bad.  I’d guess that despite the frenetic nature of a sunny Sunday prime time on The Snake, you are still safer here than you would be on PCH…or in Kabul. ;).

Major speed differential creates danger among the various road users; photo by Paul Herold

Major speed differential creates danger among the various road users; photo by Paul Herold

And there is no real enmity among the motorcyclist towards the cyclists. The moto riders’ #1 complaint is when cyclist ride two or more wide. Conversely, the number one complaint I hear from cyclists is that they were buzzed by a motorcycle. Seems to me that if fewer cyclist rode in social formation, there would be fewer incidents of ‘buzzing’.

My experiences, observations and suggestions are limited specifically to weekend conditions on The Snake, but may have general applicability to narrow canyons throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. As May approaches, there will be more and more riders heading for the Rock Store climb, as our heroes will be doing in the 2014 Amgen Tour of California. The purpose of this letter has been to give you some perspective about The Snake and offer some suggestions that will keep you and everyone else safe.

Come. Ride. Enjoy. Buy pictures! And remember….You Will Never Ride Alone.

Ride safe,

Paul Herold
RockStorePhotos.com
 

………

Next up, Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney Josh Cohen offers a warning about a dangerous stretch of bike lane on westbound Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock. And he’s looking for witnesses familiar with that hazard for a case he’s handling representing an injured bike rider.

A serious injury has been reported due to a dangerous condition in the center of the westbound bicycle lane on Colorado Boulevard, between Vincent Avenue and Mount Royal Drive, in Eagle Rock. The condition is a deviation in the center of the lane that runs for several yards parallel to and directly between the lines that delineate the bicycle lane. It consists of an undulating ledge that has formed where the asphalt of the roadway dips into a shallow trench where it meets the concrete that forms the gutter and sidewalk. Cracks also exist between traffic side lane line of the bicycle path and the number two vehicular lane (and bus lane). There is also a bus stop just west of and adjacent to the hazard, which makes navigating this section of roadway even more treacherous. Cyclists riding along this section of lane should use extreme caution and be especially mindful, as following the arrow at Vincent Drive that directly them into the bicycle lane on Colorado forces them into having to choose between avoiding a series of cracks on the left side, the ledge on the right, and possibly a bus that may be merging across their path.

Anyone with first-hand information or experience with this situation is urged to call him at 323/937-7105 or email josh@paulfcohenlaw.com.

……….

Okay, so it’s not LA. Or even Southern California.

Or the US, for that matter.

But I was forwarded this short video from Vancouver Cycle Chic about a veteran Vancouver politician, the man who loves him and their mutual love for bicycling. And liked it enough to share with you.

……….

I’ve long considered Streetsblog’s Damien Newton a friend, sometimes collaborator, occasional employer and always, editor of the best transportation website in the city.

On Wednesday, we can add dooring victim to that list.

Damien was riding his bike east on Pico Blvd between Overland and Beverly Glen Blvds — a busy stretch of roadway which inexplicably used to be considered a Class 3 bike route and isn’t anymore, for good reason — when he was dangerously buzzed by passing driver who nearly didn’t.

Riding my bicycle on Pico Blvd. going east between Overland and the really hilly section a driver buzzed so close to me (note: the lane to his left was empty) that I veered right…right into an opening car door that was opened inches in front of me. As I struggled to maintain balance, another car buzzed me and this time I toppled over onto my right side into an empty parking space directly in front of the Beverly Hills Bike Shop.

I probably terrified the woman in the car. To be fair, I doubt she was at fault. I came at her at a funky angle after reacting to the “Jerry Browning.” Frustrated, scared and filling up with adrenaline I took my helmet off and slammed it into the ground as Gunpowder clattered itself on the asphalt and I walked to the sidewalk. A 6’2 guy acting erratically after a high-stress incident probably seemed like something from another planet to this elderly woman who was gripping her steering wheel and staring at me.

Thank goodness he was able to limp away.

It could have been so much worse.

……….

Broadway make-over; photo by Patrick Pascal

Broadway make-over; photo by Patrick Pascal

Downtown’s Broadway has long lost the luster that made it the heart of pre-war LA. Now it looks like it could once again become the heart of a revitalized Downtown, as the city gives it a pedestrian, if not bike, friendly makeover.

Frequent bike commuter Patrick Pascal shares a photo showing the work has already begun.

……….

One of yesterday’s links was to the story of a Bermuda Dunes bike rider who was seriously injured in a hit-and-run. Now more information has come out.

And as too often happens, the truth is worse than anything most of us may have imagined.

According to MyDesert.com, 20-year old Liliana Avalos was talking on her cell phone as she drove down Country Club Drive at a high rate of speed, weaving through traffic and passing vehicles in the left turn lanes and right shoulder. She was attempting to pass yet another car on the right when she entered the shoulder and struck the 28-year old victim from behind before speeding off.

And in a sign of just how seriously the courts don’t take traffic crime, she was released within hours on a mere $25,000 bond.

No, really.

And we wonder why so many people don’t take traffic laws seriously.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

……….

Finally, music videos featuring the LA bike scene are becoming a very crowded sub-genre these days.

The latest is from Nashville-based indie-rock band And the Giraffe, who rigged a camera onto the front of a bike with some strapping tape, and rode around greater LA from PCH to the high desert, capturing a number of recognizable vistas.

The whole thing cost them about $200 to make; I’ve seen far worse for a comma and two or three zeros more. They talked about it with KPCC.

Not a bad song, either.

Dr. Thompson disappears, why ghost bikes are needed, and Times Steve Lopez says LA isn’t doing enough

Evidently, the rumors were true.

A search of the state’s prison inmate locater no longer shows Christopher Thomas Thompson in Norco prison, or anywhere else.

He’s done his time, and deserves a chance to put his past behind him.

On the other hand, anyone who uses a motor vehicle as a weapon should never be allowed to drive again.

……….

If you’ve ever questioned the need for ghost bikes, take a moment and read this. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

But grab a handkerchief first. You’ll need it.

………

Now that you’ve dried your eyes, here’s a great piece from the LA Times Steve Lopez, in which he says the city’s plan for bikeways and a 5% bike commuter share aren’t bold enough.

That’s not (LADOT Senior Bicycle Coordinator Michelle) Mowery’s fault. She’s dealing with infrastructure limitations and all the usual political realities. Too many motorists, merchants and homeowners stand in the way of a bold transformation in a city that desperately needs one, and no public official past or present has been brave enough to stand up to them for the greater good. But do they really think we can just go on adding cars to already clogged roads?

If the goal is to get more people to consider commuting by bike, we need more than painted white lines on the road and the rare buffer like the one in the tunnel. We need fully protected bikeways, so people of all ages can go for a ride without fear of getting hit by a bus.

It’s a good read.

And great to have Lopez on our side.

……….

Speaking of good reads, BikeSD’s Sam Ollinger offers up the perfect polite, yet firm response to a woman who wrote to complain about scofflaw cyclists.

Bookmark this one. And use it as a template the next time someone expects you to take responsibility for bad bike behavior by others.

……….

Cyclists ride from Bell Gardens to the Downtown courthouse to attend a preliminary hearing for Wendy Villegas. She’s the 21-year old woman charged with driving under the influence, felony manslaughter and hit-and-run in the collision that killed bike rider Andy Garcia and seriously injured two other riders.

One of the riders was Garcia’s mother, who asked for tougher penalties for hit-and-run. Unfortunately, as usually happens with preliminary hearings, the hearing was rescheduled.

……….

OC cyclists ride to honor Irvine Jax employee Joe Robinson, killed by an 18-year old alleged meth-using, drunk and speeding hit-and-run driver.

Much respect to the folks at Jax Bicycle Center, who have gone out of their way to show some for one of their own, including raising funds for Robinson’s family. These guys definitely have their hearts in the right place.

Meanwhile, the alleged drunk and speeding hit-and-run driver who killed Robinson was due to be released without charges on Tuesday.

Eighteen-year old Sommer Gonzales was being held without bail since her arrest following the Sunday morning collision on Santiago Canyon Road. However, California law only allows a suspect to be held for 48 hours without charges being filed, and the OC DA’s office wants CHP investigators to look into the case further before deciding on charges.

Reports are she’s due to be arraigned on Thursday.

But why they couldn’t file preliminary charges to keep her custody in the meantime is beyond me.

……….

The Torrance substance abuse counselor who ran down and killed a pedestrian — hitting him so hard he was knocked out of his underwear, then drove over two miles with his body lodged in the windshield — has been convicted.

Fifty-two year old Sherri Lynn Wilkins was found guilty of 2nd degree murder, DUI and hit-and-run; she was over twice the legal limit when she killed 31-year old Philip Moreno.

Wilkins now faces 55 year to life.

And no, I can’t remember anyone facing a sentence like that for killing a cyclist.

Ever.

……….

HuffPo writes about the problems facing the previously approved My Figueroa project; if Mayor Garcetti really wants to create great streets, why is he keeping quiet? At the other end of the street, all Fig4All is asking for is better safety for everyone. Councilmember Paul Koretz, who single-handedly killed the long-planned Westwood bike lane, submits a motion to extend the Expo Greenway the full length of the train line and bike path. Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says walkability is key to the success of bike share, which means it could be a problem for LA. A woman’s journey from Israeli soldier to LAPD bike cop. Culver Blvd is getting a makeover east of Sepulveda Blvd, including a separated bikeway. Anyone interested in participating in this year’s Climate Ride is invited to attend a Meet & Greet at the Federal Bar in North Hollywood on Wednesday, February 12th — and don’t forget the Ride With Greg Laemmle contest that could pay your entry fee and most of your fundraising amount, while providing free Laemmle movie passes for the rest of the year. Eleven-year old Rosemead boy suffers a fractured skull in collision with a pickup.

Sisters are doing it for themselves when it comes to advancing bicycling in California. This is why you’re likely to get screwed in your next collision: California has the nation’s second lowest liability insurance requirement. Cyclists on an early morning ride discover a woman’s body in Yorba Linda. A cyclist is seriously injured when he’s run down from behind in a Bermuda Dunes hit-and-run. Santa Cruz Tesla driver faces charges after killing a cyclist while literally asleep at the wheel. San Francisco’s Municipal Transit Agency has adopted a Vision Zero plan to eliminate bike and pedestrian deaths within a decade; here in Los Angeles <crickets>. Oakland’s famed Telegraph Avenue could soon get slower traffic and protected bike lanes. After a Turlock driver knocks a cyclist off his bike at 60 mph, another driver hits his bike and drags him 100 feet; it’s anyone’s guess which one killed him. Mountain View considers naming a city bike-ped czar; here in Los Angeles <crickets>.  Yuba City mother calls on hit-and-run driver who seriously injured her bike riding son to do the humane thing.

If car culture is really dying, it’s a long, slow, complicated death. US business leaders are finally getting the message that Danish-style bicycling infrastructure is good for business. Lovely Bicycling considers rural transportation cycling; one of my favorite bloggers often writes about biking through the Scottish countryside. The road raging Tucson driver who hit a group of pro cyclists gets a whopping seven days in jail. Evidently, road rage is a real problem in Tucson, as a driver is suspected of murder after punching a bike rider who died hours later. A lot of Seattle fans biked to Super Bowl parties. A Colorado Springs man gets his $5000 bike back from an armed thief after spotting it on Craigslist. Minneapolis cyclist does everything right, yet still gets killed by a drunk driver; then there’s this: “Remember, bicyclists are not putting themselves in danger when riding — people driving vehicles are.” Eight years in prison for a Chicago-area bike thief and long-time criminal. Pennsylvania man overcomes cancer to ride his bike around the world five times. I like it, as a PA bike shop owner gets a bicycle funeral after passing away a age 99. Evidently, New York bike riders are behaving better. Two Chattanooga teens have finally been charged in the assault on a cyclist that caused nationwide outrage. No bikes involved; just three killed when a 79-year old Florida woman backs over a crowd of pedestrians after church. Florida moves to strengthen laws against hit-and-run; the Miami Herald says it’s time to stop the mayhem on the streets. Autistic Florida boy gets his bike back after thieves take it.

Turns out that pre-ride sugary goop may not do you a damn bit of good. New study suggests ways to detect bicycles through crash-prevention video imaging systems. Maybe being blinded by the sun isn’t a Get Out of Jail Free card for British drivers after all. Women finally gain access to the Tour de France as something other than podium girls, thanks to a circuit race through Paris on the final day. Evidently, the better looking you are, the more likely you are to win the Tour de France, which is why Adam Levine is penciled in to win this year’s tour.

Finally, Fat Cyclist urges you to get in shape to ride out the coming zombie apocalypse. And remember, I don’t need to outride the zombies, I just need to outride you.

Unconfirmed rumor says Dr. Thompson may be back on the streets soon; LA BAC meets tonight

It’s possible LA’s bicycling Boogey Man could be getting out of jail soon.

If he hasn’t already.

Rumors are swirling that Dr. Christopher Thompson, the road raging driver responsible for the infamous Mandeville Canyon brake check that seriously injured two cyclists, was due to be released from Norco prison yesterday.

I haven’t been able to find confirmation one way or the other yet.

But Thompson is four years into a five year sentence. With good behavior, it would make sense that he would be due for release soon.

The question is, should we care?

Yes, he did a horrible thing. But he’s apologized, and he’s done his time.

Maybe it’s time to simply put him in our unpleasant past, and get him get on with his life.

And us with ours.

……….

The LA Bicycle Advisory Committee meets tonight with a long agenda, including discussion of bike lanes on Figueroa Street.

Bicycle Advisory Committee of the City of Los Angeles
Agenda
Tuesday, February 4, 2014, 7:00 p.m.
Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall ‐ Community Room
6501 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90028

PLEASE NOTE

  • Public participation in Bicycle Advisory Committee meetings is welcome.
  • This agenda is tentative and may be updated as the meeting date nears.
  • Items may not be considered in the same order as this Agenda.
  • Meetings start promptly at the posted time
  • Sign Language Interpreters, Communication Access Real-Time Transcription, Assistive Listening Devices, or other auxiliary aids and/or services may be provided upon request. To ensure availability, you are advised to make your request at least 72 hours prior to the meeting you wish to attend. Due to difficulties in securing Sign Language Interpreters, five or more business days’ notice is strongly recommended. For additional information, please contact: Shelly del Rosario at LADOT at (213) 972-5980

1. Call to Order – Count for Quorum – Member Sign In
2. Approval of Minutes from December 2013 Meeting
3. Introduction of Committee Members
4. Public Comment: Non Agenda Items: All speakers must submit a City of LA Speaker Card before they will be
recognized. Public Comment is limited to two (2) minutes per speaker.
5. Los Angeles Police Department Report
a. Discussion and possible action re LAPD/LACBC handout re rules of road for bicyclists.
6. LADOT Bikeways Program Report
7. LADOT Bikeways Engineering Report re Bikeways Installed and In Progress
8. Bikeways Subcommittee Report:
a. 20‐Mile Sharrow Package
b. Discussion and possible action re Planning Department request to fund and staff “metrics”
c. Discussion and possible action re LADOT funding and staffing levels
9. Advocacy and Education Subcommittee Report:
10. Planning Subcommittee Report:
a. Discussion and possible action re Year 2 Environmental Review Package
b. Discussion and possible action re Mobility Element Update
11. Planning Department Report:
12. Metro Update
13. Update re status of Bike Plan Year 1 Environmental Package Projects (see next page):
a. Discussion and possible action re North Figueroa Package
14. Update re other projects
a. My Figueroa
b. Hyperion/Glendale Blvd Bridge:
c. Signage on LA River bike path
15. Involvement with Other City Departments:
a. City Attorney
b. Recreation and Parks
c. Public Works‐Bureau of Engineering
d. Public Works‐Street Services
16. Upcoming Events/Activities:
17. Officer Reports – Chairman – Vice Chairman
18. Member Reports – Emphasis on Council District Meetings and Projects
19. Adjourn

Next Meeting – April 1, 2014

……….

Boyonabike calls for an end to car-centered culture at Caltrans. The LAPD is increasing bike patrols along the Venice Boardwalk; hopefully they’ll bring a little peace to the bike path, as well. Sweet Ride USA releases a mouth-watering Episode Three featuring Peddler’s Creamery and DK Donuts; they’re featured in this month’s Bicycling. In his new role reporting for Streetsblog, Joe Linton asks if LA bridge builders can reconfigure the Riverside-Figueroa bridge; welcome back to one of LA’s most knowledgeable and influential bike, transportation and river advocates. Pink and daughter take a “strenuous” ride along the beach in Santa Monica; meanwhile, the singing Braxton sisters learn to ride a bike on TV, sort of.

A San Diego cyclist sues over a bad crash caused by a broken sidewalk. An 11-year old Bakersfield boy is killed by a car while riding his bike. Santa Barbara is letting 30-year old bike lanes near a school fade to oblivion in favor of parking. A Fontana cyclist escapes robbers who attempted to form a human barricade on a bike path. Jury deliberations begin for a man charged with attacking a rider on a bike path.

How to improve traffic safety for older adults; something has to be done to get dangerous drivers off the road while allowing safe ones to keep driving. New medical study shows master’s cyclists up to 71-years old maintain muscle mass as well as much younger riders. How to create a pop-up protected bike lane for just $600. New wireless hi-def bike cam released by Shimano, as well as new models by other makers. A man and his bike make beautiful music together. No more Viva Bike Vegas gran fondo in Las Vegas following Interbike this year. Anchorage motor vehicle laws stack the deck against cyclists; same story could be written just about anywhere. Tucson looks to build protected bike lanes; they could beat out LA for the Green Lane Project funding if the My Figueroa project fails to move forward. Going carless with bike and car share in Denver. A Houston area cop teams with Walmart to replace a boy’s stolen bike. St. Louis County votes for Complete Streets, despite protests from some cyclists decrying bike lanes and the “bicycle industrial complex.” A Delaware cyclist is ticketed for riding his bike safely and legally. Fortunately, not many bike riders are found on freeways, as a South Carolina driver is stopped for weaving in and out of traffic at 107 mph, while drunk — and with a open, half-empty gallon bottle of vodka — and no license. Sorry Houma, Louisiana, a shared lane may be many things, but it’s not a bike path. A 21-year old Tampa man faces prison for killing a bike rider while drag racing.

British experts say it will take more and better data to cut rates of bicycling injury and deaths; “Every death through cycling is entirely preventable, with countless lives shattered by the ripple effect of these tragic events.” Bike-hating Top Gear hosts take a ride through the streets on London. After barely surviving a collision with a car, a UK cyclist has to wait to learn if she can have her missing teeth replaced. Nottingham bike lanes are a “waste of cash and unwanted;” except by the people who might ride them, of course. The Tour of Dubai could help counter anti-bike fear-mongering. It’s war out there as Adelaide drivers and cyclists do battle daily on their commutes. It’s legal to cross a double line in Australia to pass a cyclist safely; not so in California, thanks to our veto-pen wielding governor.

Finally, a New Zealand study shows cycling is safer than you think — in fact, a two-hour ride is six times safer than riding a horse, 15 times safer than a day on the slopes and 35-times safer than playing rugby.

City Council PLUM committee punts on My Figueroa; major sub-human scum steal an autistic girl’s e-bike

Four years ago Bill Rosendahl fought for bike riders; will anyone step up now?

Four years ago Bill Rosendahl fought for bike riders; will anyone step up now?

Four years ago, former Councilmember Bill Rosendahl famously declared the era of LA car culture was over.

Yesterday’s meeting of the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee head-scratchingly yawned otherwise, as a car dealer and seemingly confused councilmember teamed to throw a monkey wrench into plans for cycle tracks on South Figueroa.

The long-planned and bid-ready My Figueroa has been delayed, perhaps fatally, by the owner of the Felix Chevrolet group of car dealerships, who inexplicably claims to support the project while simultaneously threatening to sue to stop it.

And by Councilmember Curren Price, who has previously proclaimed his support for bicycling, as well as the Figueroa cycle tracks, but now wants further study of a project that has already been studied to death, and consideration of options that have already been rejected for good reason.

And let’s not forget a little bike hate from Hollywood thrown in for good measure, which wants to keep parking their trucks on the street instead of paying for parking like every other Angeleno. Evidently, they’re not satisfied with merely watering down our formerly effective Spring Street green bike lanes, and won’t stop until they’ve turned the entire city into their exclusive back lot.

As Damien Newtown put it on Streetsblog, the project needs a hero.

Unfortunately, Rosendahl has retired. And no one, as yet, has stepped up to claim his mantle in fighting for the rights and safety of LA cyclists on the city council.

The vacuum that exists at the top of the LADOT flowchart means no one there will take on the fight, as the mayor continues to drag his feet on appointing a permanent leader for the department, and prime candidates like New York’s Janette Sadik Khan and Chicago’s Gabe Klein move on to less problematic pastures.

Meanwhile, the mayor himself has yet to publicly take a stand in support of bicycling, other than to sign on to the city’s application to the Green Lane Project — which could be jeopardized by the turmoil over My Figueroa.

That follows other city leaders washing their hands of cyclists, as Westside Councilmember Paul Koretz killed planned bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, and self-proclaimed bike-friendly Councilmember Tom LaBonge has single-handedly stopped major bike projects on 4th Street and Lankershim Blvd, while supporting a killer redesign of the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge complex.

Meanwhile, newly elected Councilmember Gil Cedillo has inexplicably halted all progress on shovel-ready bike lanes on North Figueroa that he previously supported, apparently in a fit of pique directed at his predecessor.

The only action taken by the committee on Tuesday was to ask city staff to study the issues they’ve already studied, using money that has already been spent.

And to report back in 30 days to explain why they recommend what they’ve already recommended.

Maybe it will be enough political Kabuki theater to suggest to opponents that the council members really did consider their objections before going forward with what they should have gone forward with anyway.

Or maybe Koretz, LaBonge and Cedillo will step up and battle for bike lanes, as long as they’re not in their own districts.

And maybe that bacon I had earlier in the week will reconstitute into its original porcine form and aviate out of my ass.

……….

In a major display of sub-human greed, a pair of lowlife schmucks have stolen a custom-made tandem e-bike from a severely autistic 12-year old girl.

The bike has a raised seat back and seatbelt that allows the girl, a double transplant recipient, to ride a bike, which would otherwise be impossible for her. And which render the bike pretty much useless for anyone else.

It was stolen November 30th at 2:32 am from a home in the 4200 block of Marina City Drive in Marina del Rey. Surveillance video shows two men — if you can call them that — carrying the bike over a locked gate at the Marina City Club condo complex.

Chances are, after two months, the bike — which was donated by the Make-A-Wish Foundation — has long been stripped and sold as parts. But the jerks who stole it are still around somewhere, and need to be taken off the streets.

For a very long time.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Sheriff’s Detective Keysha Gipson at the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station, 310-482-6022.

Thanks to Cynthia Rose for the heads-up.

……….

The LA Weekly begs to differ with the LA Times Op-Ed about the living hell Santa Monica has become. Because of, you know, bikes.

Evidently, all those cars streaming in and out of the city have no effect on traffic. Or livability, for that matter.

……….

Britain’s advertising authority bans a Scottish bike safety commercial because 1) it features a cyclist riding without a helmet, and 2) the rider doesn’t cling dangerously to the gutter in an attempt to ride as far right as possible.

The Guardian rightly asks, are they daft?

Note: As Nik points out, that should be “ride as far left as possible.”

Update: In the face of massive blowback, the ruling on road positioning has been suspended; the ruling on helmet use appears to remain in force, even though helmets are not required in the UK.

……….

Finally, Bangkok closes key intersections to become the Copenhagen of the east, even if bikes can hide bombs; thanks to Vanessa Gray for the link.

……….

Thanks to Erik Griswold for his generous donation to help support this site; contributions of any amount are deeply appreciated.

Help a badly wounded rider get back on his feet, BAC Bikeways subcommittee minutes, and ride with Greg Laemmle

There’s no shortage of good causes these days, especially when it comes to bicycling.

But this one really deserves your attention.

On November 27th of last year, David Enright was riding his bike to pick up a U-Haul to start a new life in Seattle with his fiancé.

That’s when his life nearly ended.

As he crossed the intersection of Eagle Rock Blvd and Avenue 36 around 10:50 am, a car ran the red light and hit him from the side. Enright suffered a broken left forearm, right elbow and clavicle, as well as seven factures to his pelvis; he credits his helmet for sparing him from head injuries.

Do I really need to add that the driver was unlicensed and had no insurance?

Enright spent the past two months confined to a hospital bed, unable to move. Two weeks ago, he was finally released, though confined to a wheelchair, and immediately began the long and painful road to rehabilitation.

Friends say he has the strength, in both mind and body, to make it all the way back. On the other hand, that new life he was starting hasn’t exactly gone the way he planned.

In addition to crushing medical costs, he’s looking at a full year of lost wages and legal fees, as well as unexpected housing and storage costs.

And that’s where you come in.

A fundraising page has been established in his name. Donate just $40, and you’ll receive entry and drink tickets to a fundraising party at The Record Parlour in Hollywood on Sunday, February 9th.

One week later, a fundraising ride will roll from Intelligentsia Coffee Bar in Pasadena to the flagship Inteligensia in Silverlake, passing through historical landscapes, quiet ravines, bustling neighborhoods, and around the breathtaking Silverlake Reservoir. Suggested sponsorship is $200, however, sponsorship is not mandatory.

All proceeds go to help Enright’s long road to recovery.

Like I said, it’s a good cause.

……….

It’s also hard to keep up with all the important bike meetings in and around the City of Angels these days.

One of the most important is the work being done by the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, particularly the Bikeways Subcommittee.

That’s why I’m pleased to share the minutes of their most recent meeting:

Bicycle Advisory Committee of the City of Los Angeles
Bikeways Subcommittee
MINUTES
Sunland Room, LADOT, 100 Main St., Los Angeles CA
Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 1-3 PM

1. Call to Order

2. Introduction of Subcommittee members and City staff

In attendance: Jeff Jaccobberger (BAC Chair), Herbie Huff (BAC Bikeways Subcom Chair), Jonathan Weiss (BAC Advocacy and Education Subcom Chair), Michelle Mowery, Nate Baird (LADOT Bicycle Outreach and Planning), Tim Fremeaux, Paul Meshkin, Carlos Rodriguez (LADOT Bikeways Engineering), David Somers (LADCP), Dennis Hindman (public)

3. Current bike lane designs for review

a. 48th St: Crenshaw Blvd to Normandie Ave

This is an HSIP project being led by Carlos Rios. It’s a road diet with a new signal at 11th. Design work will be completed in February.  

b. Lakme Ave: M St to G St

b, d, e, g, are all in a package in Wilmington. Most of these are ‘drop-in’ bike lanes that don’t require lane removal. Some of these projects are adding a center-turn lane. Most of these neighborhoods are residential, and some are mixed light industrial. Bike lanes have had a lot of support and success in this working-class community, and the department is looking forward to seeing the results of implementing a network of bike lanes here.

c. Loyola Blvd: Westchester Pkwy to Lincoln Blvd

This is a small section. Someone asked about a portion of an existing bike lane here, where current department practice would dictate the addition of painted buffers to the bike lane, but there are no such buffers. Tim Fremeaux noted that historical bike lanes are updated opportunistically with repaving.

d. McDonald Ave: Denni St to C St

e. Denni St: Fries Ave. to Banning Blvd.

f. San Vicente Blvd: Beverly Blvd. to Burton Wy. (E/B) Wilshire Blvd. (W/B)

Design of this bike lane discussed at a previous Bikeways Subcom meeting. The reason for the varying extents is that the E/B side is in the City of Beverly Hills. Tim has verified that Beverly Hills has the right-of-way to implement a bike lane. LADOT has shared the plans with the City of Beverly Hills.

g. St: Wilmington Blvd. to Watson Ave.

h. Valley Vista Blvd: Woodvale Rd. to Sherman Oaks Ave

i. San Vicente Blvd: Redondo Blvd. to La Brea Ave.

This is a short addition on a repaved segment, to add to bike lanes the department recently painted on the lower section of San Vicente.

4. Exposition Neighborhood Greenway

Because of the adjacent City park planned as a part of the Westwood Neighborhood Greenway, BAC member Jonathan Weiss wanted to determine the precise location of the Expo Bike Path between Westwood and Overland. Project lead Carlos Rodriguez explained that the bike path will be basically adjacent to the Metro ROW and the train tracks, running along the soundwall (with a 5’ landscaping buffer) and minimizing the disruption to the park. There will be a parallel pedestrian path on the park side of the bikeway which will act as an access route to the park.

5. Cesar Chavez: Mission to Sunset

The department is planning to add a bike facility here. This will be a difficult project, for which there is no off-the-shelf design. Some of it will be a continuation of the bus lanes on Sunset Blvd. Hill to Mission is the difficult section. The intersection at Vignes will be especially tricky because this is the location with the most bus boardings in the City, even more than in Patsaouras Plaza. The eastbound bus stop on Chavez at Vignes sees over 100 buses an hour. Tim shared a preliminary idea which is to add bike lanes on the bridge with turn lane removal. Jonathan Weiss recommended barriers in the tunnel similar to the ones that were recently implemented on 2nd St.

6. Wayfinding sign project – opportunity for input on sign placement

LADOT will release a public version of the location of the signs soon via the bike blog. BAC members should look for any errors and do basic fact-checking in their districts.

7. 20 mile sharrow package – discussion and opportunity for input

LADOT shared a draft sharrow package. BAC members felt all the streets were well chosen. Herbie will give Gregg Spotts from BSS a call about the fact that 4th St. sharrows need to be replaced after being slurried over. The request would be that if streets to be slurried can be known in advance, LADOT can wait until they are slurried before laying down the sharrows.

8. Approval of next meeting date: Weds, 3/19/2014

Please note that meetings will be on the 3rd Wednesday rather than the 1st Wednesday from now on.

9. General Public Comment

A few other notes:

DCP is looking to create a data unit in response to the Mayor’s emphasis on metrics.

DOT bikeways staffing is an issue. The department has requested an additional position in Bikeways Outreach and Planning this year’s city budget. BAC members and advocates should follow the budget to see if this is granted by the Mayor’s office.

10. Adjourn

……….

More on Francisco Alvarez, the 78-year old Glendora rider who died after he was hit by a car last week; the devoted grandfather was a popular Spanish Language poet with over 3,600 sonnets and other poems.

……….

LACBC board member Greg Laemmle is once again leading the bike coalition’s entry for the annual Climate Ride. Tell them why you want to ride with Greg, and you could win free entry to the ride, $2500 towards your fundraising commitment, and an Unlimited Laemmle Movie Pass for the remainder of this year.

……….

A new LA bike commuter is born. Writing for the Eastsider LA, Severin Martinez of Walk Eagle Rock says it’s time to take traffic safety seriously in Northeast LA; actually, it’s long past time to take it seriously everywhere. Broadway traffic lanes will be reduced from six to three in order to improve livability in the heart of Downtown. Valley Councilmember Bob Blumenfield leads a successful community ride in his district; hopefully this will inspire other councilmembers to lead rides in their own districts. Streetsblog adds more details to the story of hit-and-run victim Damian Kevitt’s Finish the Ride event on April 27th; they also say Mayor Eric Garcetti’s support of the city’s application for the Green Lane Project means he now has skin in the game for My Figueroa. The People St. parklet program goes citywide this week.

Ghost bikes are multiplying in the Inland Empire. Sixteen-year old San Diego bike rider injured when he’s hit by a 76-year old driver. Police ask for help tracking down the driver who ran down a Santee cyclist last week; fortunately, the rider was not seriously injured, though his bike looks badly mangled. The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition launches a Youth Bicycle Fleet. Sacramento bartender faces DUI and vehicular manslaughter charges for killing a cyclist last April. Sounds like authorities are taking this one seriously for a change, as an El Dorado County driver is booked on $1 million bail after disappearing on a warrant for the suspected DUI death of a cyclist last year.

A blogger falls in love with bicycling. Scary collision as a resting Seattle cyclist is slightly injured after being knocked off an overpass. For the first time I can recall, a bicycle is part of the traditional mayors’ Super Bowl bet. A Tucson filmmaker says it’s time to let women ride in the Tour de France; past time, if you ask me. Clearly, hit-and-run is not just an LA problem, as police seek the motorist who killed a cyclist near my hometown. Bicycle tourism is starting to have an effect on businesses’ bottom lines in Montana. San Antonio artists create breathtaking underpass chandeliers from bike parts. Chicago merchants are discovering bike lanes are good for business. Northwestern University students develop a smart bike to help prevent collisions.

The Times of London absurdly claims bike riders pose as much risk to pedestrians as motorists do; yeah, that’s one way of looking at it. Indian MAMILS put pedal to the metal. The bike racing season is off and running as Aussie Simon Gerrans wins the Tour Down Under.

Finally, this is why you don’t want to tempt fate: minutes after pointing out to a riding companion where he’d want his ashes scattered, a UK rider is killed in a solo fall. And a writer for Outside magazine says it’s time to fight back — metaphorically, if not literally — against jerks who attack cyclists.

Lots of news — SaMo Blvd bike lanes, CicLAvia 2014, misguided SaMo Op-Ed piece, possible Olin charges

Sold out auditorium for the recent Southern California Cycling Summit; see below.

Sold out auditorium for the recent Southern California Cycling Summit; see below.

Let’s catch up on some of the recent news.

……….

First up, Westside riders owe a big thanks to Mark Elliott of Better Bike.

Elliot has led the fight — almost single-handedly at times — to improve safety and ridability in the traditionally bike-unfriendly Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills.

A comparison to a lone salmon swimming upstream would be putting it mildly; the mythical Sisyphus would be more apt.

Yet somehow Elliot persevered, resulting in a 1-year “pilot program” to install bike lanes on Burton Way, and bike lanes and sharrows on North Crescent Drive. While I’ve never had cause to ride Crescent, the Burton Way bike lanes have become my favored eastbound route out of the city — when I’m willing to risk my life riding through Downtown Beverly Hills to get there.

For the past year or more, Elliot has led the fight to include bike lanes on a reconstructed Santa Monica Blvd when it goes under the knife in 2015, providing a vital missing link between existing lanes in West Hollywood and Century City.

Despite overwhelming odds and the opposition of the city’s paid consultant and members of the Blue-Ribbon Committee established to study the issue, his efforts have once again carried the day, winning approval by a 9-2 vote of the committee.

Then again, the fight isn’t over yet.

The committee’s recommendation now goes to the Beverly Hills City Council for approval next month, on a date to be determined. Hopefully, we’ll get enough advance notice of the meeting to show up and voice our support.

But for the first time, it looks like we might actually get a near-continuous Santa Monica bike lane stretching from the 405 in West LA to east of La Cienga in WeHo. And we have him to thank for it.

Of course, there still are problems to be solved.

……….

Next up is the newly announced CicLAvia schedule for 2014.

This year offers three of the exceptionally popular Open Streets events, minus last year’s overly crowded CicLAvia to the Sea and the long-rumored San Fernando Valley CicLAvia. Both are promised for next year, though the former may see a reconfigured route to overcome some of the problems that resulted in near-impassible blocks of bike-congestion on Venice Blvd.

Yet even with just three events on the calendar, it looks like a strong line-up.

The Iconic Wilshire Boulevard route returns on Sunday, April 6th, once again following LA’s main street from Downtown to the Miracle Mile — although Mark Elliot has hinted that Beverly Hills might like to get in on the action. The route visits some of the city’s finest architecture and historical sites, as called out in this guide from the Militant Angeleno.

CicLAvia takes the summer off — perhaps because that Valley route fell through? — before returning with a reconfigured Heart of LA route through the Downtown area on October 5th. This year’s route extends from Echo Park to East LA, as well as traveling the length of Broadway from 9th to Chinatown, with a stop at the relatively new Grand Park.

Finally, the first holiday season CicLAvia will take place on December 7th, with its first full foray into South LA. The route will range from Leimert Park, the cultural center of the Southside, to Central Avenue, the birthplace of West Coast Jazz and home of the legendary Dunbar Hotel. Can’t wait to read the Militant’s guide to this one.

Of course, the question is, does any of this really matter?

And the answer is, of course it does. In ways that many of us, myself included, may not have realized.

LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne has written what may be the best and most insightful analysis of what CicLAvia is and can be. And the role it plays in transforming our city for the better.

It’s a must read.

Just don’t read the comments.

……….

On the opposite side of the coin, there’s this misguided Times opinion piece from a long-time resident of Santa Monica, who blames bikes and urban planning for all the traffic problems in the city.

In it, he laments the young urbanites who have invaded his city, while simultaneously proclaiming that the majority of the city’s 92,000 residents can’t ride bikes and live too far to walk to the city’s newly hip urban core.

So wait.

Despite the influx of moneyed young people, most city residents are too out of shape — or maybe just too lazy — to get on a bicycle? They can’t be too old, given the number of riders I know in their 70s, 80s and even 90s who somehow manage to ride on a regular basis.

And if no one can ride, where do all those casual bike riders come from?

As someone who used to work in the city over decade ago, I can testify that Santa Monica’s traffic problems existed years before more than a handful of bike lanes appeared on the street. It frequently took me over an hour to drive the 6.5 miles from my beachside office to my apartment just 6.5 miles to the east — and not because of any bikes on the streets.

And don’t even get me started on virtually impassible Lincoln Blvd, which has long been avoided by bicyclists — despite being a designated bike route — because of the heavy automotive traffic.

Then he complains about bicyclists who position themselves in traffic — “because they can!” — moments after complaining about the bike lanes that move riders safely out of the way.

For someone who claims to have lived in Santa Monica for nearly three decades, he doesn’t seem to understand the city very well.

Or urban planning, for that matter.

Or bicycling, at all.

……….

The investigation into the December 8th death of cyclist, entertainment lawyer and former Napster exec Milt Olin is nearly complete. According to the LA Times, the case will be presented to the District Attorney to determine whether charges will be filed.

The Daily News reports the Sheriff’s Deputy who killed Olin when his patrol car somehow drifted into the bike lane on Mulholland Hwy could face a charge of vehicular manslaughter, or possibly even felony manslaughter.

“Could” being the key word.

It’s also possible, if not probable, that the DA will decline to file charges based on the evidence presented by the Sheriff’s investigators. And no word on whether charges will be filed against the department if it’s found that the deputy was following policy by using the onboard computer in his patrol car while driving, as some have suggested.

And while the department has gone out of its way to stress the independence of the investigation and deny any special treatment, they have guaranteed that the results will be second guessed — no matter what they conclude — by investigating a death involving their own deputy, rather than turning it over to an outside agency such as the CHP.

……….

The Metro Board approved a motion calling on the transit agency to look into a countywide bike share program (Item 58).

While there’s no guarantee such a program will actually be approved, it could provide deep pockets to back the system, while avoiding the Balkanization caused by competing and possibly incompatible programs in various cities.

………

(L-R) Anthony Reguero, President PTE Events, Chris Carmichael, author Time-Crunched Cyclist, Rahsaan Bahati, President Bahati Foundation and Michael Bell, Oakley.

(L-R) Anthony Reguero, President PTE Events, Chris Carmichael, author Time-Crunched Cyclist, Rahsaan Bahati, President Bahati Foundation and Michael Bell, Oakley.

I received a press release this past weekend from the Bahati Foundation about the SoCal Cycling Summit 2014, held at Oakley Headquarters in Foothill Ranch, CA.

Unfortunately, I found out about it long after the January 14th event was over.

I say unfortunately because I’m a big fan of the efforts of the foundation, founded by former National Criterium champ Rahsaan Bahati, to bring the joy of bicycling to inner city youths.

And because I would have enjoyed hearing from famed cycling coach Chris Carmichael, author of The Time-Crunched Cyclist.

Summit attendees representing a diversified audience that ran the gamut– Olympic medalists, serious weekend enthusiasts as well as international competitors, filled the 400-seat amphitheater to hear Carmichael discuss his revolutionary time-crunched cyclist technique. “The SoCal Cycling Summit is a wonderful platform for our foundation to share its vision in providing assistance to inner-city youth through cycling,” said Rahsaan Bahati, founder Bahati Foundation.

“Athletes want to stay engaged in the sports they love, but it can be a difficult balance for working parents and career professionals. The time-crunched athlete program is a new approach to endurance training, one that actually takes advantage of a busy athlete’s limited training time. It’s been successful for tens of thousands of athletes, and I look forward to sharing the program with everyone at the SoCal Cycling Summit,” stated Carmichael.

Maybe next year.

………

Things aren’t looking good for long-planned bike lanes on North Figueroa Blvd, which had been approved and ready to implement until new City Councilmember Gil Cedillo appeared to throw a wrench in the works — despite his previous support for the plan.

As a result, the LACBC is calling on bike riders to contact the councilmember to express their support for the lanes, especially if you live or work in the area.

Since the candidate forum we sponsored in 2013, we have seen bike lanes installed on Colorado and the Eagle Rock bike lanes extended to Colorado.  All that is left to complete the backbone network in Northeast LA is N. Figueroa.

The residents of Northeast LA are scratching their heads thinking why haven’t they been installed yet?  After all, they were packaged for last year’s projects alongside Colorado/Eagle Rock.  This is a good opportunity to raise the question and urge Councilman Cedillo to keep his promise and install bike lanes on this very important corridor. Please join us TODAY for a day of action urging Councilmember Cedillo to add bike lanes on N. Figueroa between York and San Fernando!

Call Cedillo’s office and share your thoughts.  Dial his downtown office (213) 473-7001 and let his staffer know why you think bike lanes on N. Figueroa are good for everyone.  Then, email alek@la-bike.org and let me know how it went.  Remember to stay positive!

You can find a sample script here.

………

Finally, the CEO of Ford gets it. Even if certain residents of Santa Monica don’t.

 

The greatest right of all — the right of everyone to grow up, and grow old

I, too, have a dream.

Half a century later, we have only begun to live up to the future foreseen by Dr. Martin Luther King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

In the short course of my own lifespan, I have seen our country grow from separate and unequal to a land where opportunity may not always be equal, but at least exists for more than just a single class.

Where civil rights battles have gone from integrating schools and lunch counters to dreamers and diversity, equal pay and the right to be who you are and marry who you love.

We are not there yet. We still have so very far to go to be the nation Dr. King dreamed we could be.

Yet we have come so far.

I would argue that the greatest achievement of the last half century was not putting a man on the moon, but that a man of color, born when Jim Crow still roamed the earth, could be elected President of these United States.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

Yet in one civil rights issue, we have failed miserably.

And that is the right of all children to grow up. And of all people who leave home, by whatever means, to return again safely and live out their lives in peace and freedom.

Not to be stolen from us under a bloody shroud on the streets of our cities, ripping a gaping hole in the lives of their loved ones, in our society and our world.

I have a dream that we will finally take traffic violence seriously.

That our nation will conclude, once and for all, that the 93 deaths that occur on our streets every day are 93 too many. That our world will wake up to the fact that far too many children will never grow up due to our infatuation with the motor vehicle; traffic deaths are, in fact, the leading cause of death among children worldwide.

And that most, if not all, are preventable.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream that the leaders of our cities — my city, especially — our states and our nation will say, finally, enough. And call for a Vision Zero, as has recently been done in New York and San Francisco.

Instead of canceling bike lanes on Westwood and watering-down, if not fatally delaying, plans for complete streets on Figueroa — despite the deaths of 18 bike riders in Los Angeles last year, nearly four times the number of riders killed the year before.

And God only knows how many pedestrians and motorists.

Because it’s not about the mode of transportation. Or the race, creed, class, social status or orientations of the victims.

It’s about the greatest right of all. The right of everyone to grow up, and grow old.

And enjoy the freedoms that are their birthright as Americans. And human beings.

I, too, have a dream.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

………

Thanks to Sam Ollinger for her generous donation. If you’d like to help support this site, you can donate here.

%d bloggers like this: