Tag Archive for bike plan

LAPD seeks yet another hit-and-run driver; West Hollywood is in the market for a bike plan consultant

Los Angeles police are looking for a driver who ran down a cyclist near USC and fled the scene, leaving him to bleed in the street.

The rider was hit by a small white car at the intersection of Vermont Ave and 36th Street around 1:30 Friday morning. The cyclist, described only as non-USC student in his 20s or 30s, suffered major non-life-threatening injuries.

Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD South Traffic Division at 323/421-2577.

It’s long past time to get heartless cowards like this off the streets and behind bars where they belong.

Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

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The City of West Hollywood is looking for a firm to help update the city’s bike plan.

Let’s hope WeHo, self-proclaimed as The Creative City, will take a creative approach to carving out a significant chunk of street space to keep cyclists safe and encourage more people to ride. While the city has made some recent moves to accommodate bikes, it’s time to show cyclists the same welcome and tolerance they famously show everyone else.

You don’t have to do a lot of riding, walking or driving in West Hollywood to realize that the relatively compact, traffic-choked city could benefit greatly by providing more viable alternatives to driving. Aside from some steep climbs on the lower reaches of the Hollywood Hills, it is — or at least, should be — a near ideal location for promoting bicycling.

And maybe they could show the Biking Black Hole to their west how it’s done while they’re at it.

While it’s still early in the process, the best way to ensure your voice is heard in the new plan is to join the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition, an LACBC affiliate chapter that does a great job of engaging civic leaders and fighting for the rights of bike riders.

Many thanks to Matt Baume for the tip. And hey, I’m more than willing to consult, if they’re willing to waive all those technical requirements and stuff.

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The first section of the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk bike and pedestrian path is scheduled to open on December 12th. Richard Risemberg notes the new BMW of Beverly Hills bike shop. Everybody has a favorite bike shop, right? A Napa motorist faces up to one year in jail for killing a cyclist last August.

Looks like America’s only Tour de France winner is officially out of the bike business. Alta Bicycle Share is looking for a Portland-based Marketing Director. The Blackhawk CO bike ban heads to the Colorado Supreme Court. A Montana man says a local road diet was imposed by unelected D.C. bureaucrats, and implies cyclists belong on sidewalks. An Albany NY cyclist becomes collateral damage when he’s killed by a fleeing driver in a police chase. Jackson, Mississippi considers joining other local cities in requiring helmets for cyclists. An Arkansas father and minister is killed while riding in Georgia. Nice to know a Florida deputy didn’t run over a cyclist on purpose.

A fight for the leadership, and nature, of the Belize Cycling Association. Good to know Canadian drivers can kill a cyclist without doing anything wrong. UK bike scribe Carlton Reid points out that hatred of cyclists has a long, rich history. The Evening Standard asks how we can make London safe for cyclists. Seven tips for effective bike lobbying. Cyclists touring Bath, England will soon enjoy Europe’s longest cycling tunnel at over a mile long. An Edinburgh cyclist blames bad roads for a serious fall. Danish cyclists complain a new law requiring bike lights is unenforceable. How a single picture started the Cycle Chic movement. An Aussie cyclist suffers a broken collarbone when someone slaps her on the ass from a passing car.

Finally, a UK hospital receives well-deserved criticism for removing bike parking for a smoking area, even if it will result in a net increase in bike spaces. And it may not necessarily be bike related, but I love these haunting photos of Scotland in winter from my favorite Scottish novelist and bike blogger.

Last chance to influence the bike plan, Karabian pleads no contest, cyclecross comes to Griffith Park

Your final chance to comment on the latest draft of the 2010 bike plan comes at 8:30 am on Thursday, when the Los Angeles City Planning Commission meets in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

However, you may not want to rush, since it’s item 10 on a very crowded agenda. You may want to pack a lunch.

LADOT Bike Blog says the long process is finally coming to an end, while Joe Linton examines what a long, strange trip its been.

Damien Newton says TranspoComm chair Bill Rosendahl promises that he won’t let the plan leave committee until the cycling community is happy with it, but it’s better to fix it now — and notes there are still problems to fix.

The ultimate local cycling odd couple of CicLAvia meister and LACBC founder Joe Linton and Bikeside President Alex Thompson join with Bikeside’s Rach Stevenson to say cyclists will be worse off if the bike plan is adopted, and offer a detailed evaluation to back it up.

Stephen Box says when it comes to the bike plan, the city Planning staff is guilty of embellishing reality. And Josef Bray-Ali had previously called it the best looking pile of horseshit he’s seen in ages.

The LACBC contends no plan is ever perfect, and this one includes a number of hard-fought recommendations — including giving priority to projects that will benefit low-income riders and provisions for accountability — and deserves our support.

My take is that, as it stands now, the plan provides a decent framework to move forward, but could still stand significant improvement. Whether or not it will make a difference on our streets depends entirely on what kind of support it gets at City Hall, and how it’s interpreted by the next head of LADOT.

If Mayor Villaraigosa can somehow entice New York’s Janet Sadik-Khan or Long Beach’s Charlie Gandy to come to Los Angeles, this plan could make L.A. a cyclist’s paradise. But if the city promotes or hires someone with the same old auto-centric focus that has destroyed the livability of so many parts of our city, it will be a roadmap to failure.

But the real question is, what do you think?

If you can’t make it Downtown on Thursday, you may want to drop into room 280-A of Beverly Hills City Hall to hear an update from that city’s new Bicycle Ad Hoc Committee; the meeting begins at 9 am.

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Walter Karabian, the former State Assembly leader who drove his car into a parking lot attendant at a USC game — apparently intentionally, since he hit her several times — pled no contest to a lesser charge on Tuesday. He was sentenced to a paltry 40 hours of community service and three years probation.

So the next time a parking attendant won’t let you into a full lot, feel free to run her/him over; evidently, it’s really not that big a deal.

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The Long Beach Post interviews Ronnie Sandler, one of the organizers behind Friday’s failed Long Beach Critical Mass, who details their many attempts to get a permit for the ride — the lack of which was cited as a primary reason for the heavy-handed police crackdown.

The article also states that Long Beach courts have already ruled that fixed-gear bikes don’t need a separate brake, since they are able to comply with the requirement that a bike be able to leave a skid mark on clean, dry pavement — which seems to be one of the key issues here.

It will be interesting to see how the city attempts to rebuild the bike-friendly image that has been shattered virtually overnight, or if they simply ignore it and hope we’ll all forget.

And there were problems with the Los Angeles Critical Mass, too, as bike cops reportedly waived cyclists through red lights while motorcycle cops ticketed the riders for following their instructions.

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USA Cycling considers a ban on helmet cams, and carbon bikes for junior riders. UCI president Pat McQuaid says the ban for doping cyclists should be doubled to four years. Disgraced ex-Tour de France winner Floyd Landis and his coach face charges for hacking into the French anti-doping lab. The Los Angeles grand jury not officially investigating Lance Armstrong will hear from long-time teammate Yaroslav Popovych today. The first-ever champions of the new Colorado High School Mountain Bike League.

And clear your schedule for the weekend, as cyclecross racing comes to Griffith Park this Saturday.

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LACBC joins with LADOT and other city officials to examine the proposed 4th Street Bike Boulevard, while Stephen Box points out the city’s failure to fix the roads extends even there. LACBC introduces their new and improved bike valet. LA Streetsblog has a new Facebook page. The Daily Bruin says riding to campus just got easier, thanks to UCLA’s new bike library. Will timelapses his ride through the Arroyo Seco, parts of which seem more mojado than seco. Flying Pigeon offers a new online store. A view from Canada at the Wilbur Ave road diet dispute doesn’t bode well for that country’s cyclists. If you’re looking for work, Felt needs a Demo Driver Sales/Tech Rep in Irvine/Ontario. In yet another case in which cyclist discourtesy has nothing to do with Orange County collisions, a Placentia rider is hit by a red light running driver. Momentum offers a look at cycling in San Diego, from one of my favorite writers at Bike San Diego. A new bike advocacy group takes root in El Dorado Hills.

More than $1 billion in federal funding for bike and ped projects this year; don’t count on that next year with the GOP in control of the House. The 50,000 mile interstate bike route may become a reality. How to safely use a bike lane. Daily exercise such as cycling can improve your immune system, cutting the risk and severity of colds. The country’s most bike-friendly city still doesn’t have a single singletrack trail. Mas macho advice on urban commuting.  A Kansas lawyer warns drivers that some cyclists know the law. A Carolina cyclist hit while riding on her birthday dies 10 days later. The hard part of vehicular cycling is feeling guilty because you’re in someone’s way. An American set a new world record by riding a stationary bike 222 hours, 22 minutes and 22 seconds.

Bell’s newest helmets feature built-in headlights, but is that enough to overcome the geek factor? The Guardian looks at the race to improve nighttime visibility. Great Britain’s transportation department wants children to play a game where they get run over if they aren’t wearing bright colored clothes — even if they do everything else right. A 10-year old cerebral palsy victim has a life-changing operation that may allow him to fulfill his dream of riding a bike. An Aussie police chief says cyclists who ride without headlights are just as dangerous as drivers who don’t use them; as the Witch on a Bicycle points out, he could use a refresher course in physics. Cyclelicious looks at Japan’s mamachari blog focusing on that country’s Mama bikes.

Finally, Dan Maes, the tinfoil hat-wearing candidate for Colorado governor who suggested that Denver’s bike share program was a UN plot, may not have been the night’s biggest loser, but with just over 10% of the vote, he was close. And the bike-friendly Denver mayor behind the program was elected as the state’s new leader.

TranspoComm Chair Rosendahl draws a line in the sand

It hasn’t been easy watching the City Council this past year.

Especially the Transportation Committee.

I’ve watched as council members requested a response from various city agencies on issues ranging from the long-delayed Sharrows pilot project to the LAPD’s flawed response to the Hummer Incident.  Only to see them sit back and accept lame excuses from the people who supposedly work for them — to the point that I’ve wondered who really runs this city.

Sort of like watching someone tease a caged animal that has long ago given up fighting back. And yes, I have seen that, in a less enlightened time and a far less enlightened place; it evokes the same sort of stomach-twisting pity I’ve felt watching our government in action.

Maybe that changed yesterday.

This is how the Transportation Committee chambers looked when the hearing was scheduled to begin

After a seemingly endless delay in the scheduled 2 pm start time that left cyclists wondering if the committee had blown them off — followed by visibly livid committee member Richard Alarcón storming out of the meeting just moments after the members finally arrived and an impromptu hearing on the issue of overnight RV parking in Venice — the nearly bike-only Transportation Committee meeting finally began.

And truncated though it was, it was worth the wait. If only to watch committee Chair Bill Rosendahl get his back up and start demanding answers from the people who work for this city.

Because of the late start, two items — updates on the Sharrows program, which has been delayed to near-infinity, and the proposed bike-sharing program — were dropped entirely.

A third motion to increase the number of bike parking spaces required for new developments was touched on briefly, only because an audience member wanted to comment on it after going out of his way to attend the meeting. Although why it should be limited to new developments is beyond me, when City Hall doesn’t even offer adequate bike space.

This is what passes for bike parking at L.A. City Hall

From the beginning, Rosendahl ran the short-handed meeting with a firm hand. In addition to the Alarcón storm-out, Bernard Parks was missing in action and Tom LaBonge had to leave before the last, and most important, issue was discussed — leaving just Rosendahl and the recently elected 5th district representative Paul Koretz.

When the representatives from LADOT and the Planning department mentioned Federal funding that may be available in connection to the new bike plan, Rosenhdahl asked, “Do we need a resolution to get that? Because I want to get that money.”

He followed up with a list of 12 hard-hitting questions prepared in conjunction with bike activists Stephen Box and Alex Thompson; to be honest, though, the limited responses offered were far less important than the fact that someone was finally starting to ask them.

Bike Coordinator Michele Mowery’s insistence that the plan the city presented was the one that Alta Planning delivered brought audible murmurs of “bullshit” from the audience — or it could have just been me. Her answer may have been technically correct, but very few people actually believe this is the plan that Alta wanted to deliver.

She also was taken to task by audience members for “playing the race card,” suggesting that L.A.’s diversity makes it more challenging to build to a functional bikeway system than it is in a city like Portland — “a homogeneous community that is very white, and very progressive with respect to transportation,” while L.A. is a “very diverse, disjointed city of 4 million people.”

Dr. Alex has already written a very hard-hitting response to that; if you haven’t read it, click here and read it now. Well, maybe when you’re done with this. But seriously, read it.

Complementing Rosendahl’s newly newly demonstrated commitment, Koretz was also a pleasant surprise.

Throughout the meeting, he spoke very little, sitting quietly until audience members were making their comments. Then he interrupted briefly to note that he also rides a bike, but isn’t comfortable riding on L.A. city streets. And asked if this plan would allow inexperienced cyclists to get where they want to go.

The overwhelming answer was no.

Rosendahl responded firmly to my comment that all the work spent on this bike plan is a waste of time unless there was a commitment to actually build it — unlike the 1996 plan, which had no apparent use other than as a very large and clumsy paperweight.

He insisted that he will make sure the final plan is built — the first commitment any city official has made to this plan, including the people responsible for it. “There’s been enough talk,” he said. “No more words, it’s time for action.”

That attitude was also in evidence when representatives of the LAPD appeared to update the council on recent cycling cases, including the Hummer Incident, as well as the West L.A. case I wrote about recently — noting that no arrest has been made, but the matter has been referred to the City Attorney for possible charges.

When the respected Commander Greer — recently promoted to Assistant Commander of the Detective Bureau — mentioned that a report has been completed on the Hummer case, but not yet approved, Rosendahl said he wanted a copy prior to the next meeting, approved or not.

And in a huge win for cyclists, Cmmdr. Greer announced that all officers below the rank of Lieutenant will be required to complete a brief online course on riders’ rights and responsibilities, created by a group a bike officers. Rosendahl pushed them to take a step further, insisting that the department needs to create a bike training module for the police academy — something I’ve repeatedly called for on here.

Of course, it wasn’t all good news. The Commander noted that Lt. Andre Dawson, recently appointed by Chief Beck as the point man for cycling complaints, will no longer be involved in the process and asked that cyclists no longer contact him.

However, the committee saved the best for last.

The most important issue of the evening — and yes, by then it was evening — was the proposed anti-harassment ordinance.

After hearing from several cyclists, Koretz said he’d heard a few stories about the problems cyclists face on the roads, but had no idea it was so widespread. With that, he made a motion to forward the proposal on to the Public Safety Committee, which was quickly seconded by Rosendahl — meaning that it carried, since they were the only two members left at that point.

However, it was not quite the win that LAist suggested last night. What passed was merely a proposal requesting that the City Attorneys’ office write such an ordinance, similar to the one that recently became law in Columbia, Missouri. Mowery suggested that it cover such topics as hurling projectiles at cyclists, threats or verbal abuse, using a vehicle to intimidate cyclists, and passing too close to — or buzzing — cyclists.

Its small win, the first step in what will undoubtedly be a long and complicated process.

But it’s a win.

And for once, I left with a smile on my face

And without a knot in my stomach.

LA Streetsblog has more on the meeting here; and you can listen to a recording of the meeting here.

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Will Campbell has a front road seat to a bike wreck. Paul Krekorian, author of the failed Safe Streets bill, is the city’s newest council member. Sharrows pop up in Glendale — legal ones, this time. Wilshire Boulevard is 75 years old; Flying Pigeon keeps up the fight to make Figueroa bike friendly. The Pigeons are also featured on the VOA’s Persian TV. Bikerowave claims success with their recent swamp meet. Photos of the CalTrain bike car. A Tucson mother fights for a memorial for her cycling son — and politely corrects thoughtless car-head commenters. Copenahgenize reminds us that us that New York’s recently removed bike lane results from a conflict between the Hasids and the Hotties; city hall isn’t denying a deal was made, while Bike Snob suggests maybe cyclists should act like grown-ups. New bike lanes in Philadelphia have resulted in a doubling of bike traffic; just imagine what they could do here. Bikes remain banned from a primary street in De Soto, Kansas; old car-head thinking from a town that shares its name with an old car. A biking Asheville lawyer argues for equilibrium on the roads. Trust the geniuses at MIT to create a combo bike rack/tire pump. A cycling schoolgirl plunges 90 feet into a Scottish gorge and lives to tell the tale. Finally, Brit cyclists are in a tizzy over the bike-hating Mail’s obviously staged photograph, standing in a bikeway to force a cyclist onto the wrong side, then taking — and publishing — a photo of it.

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