Tag Archive for crumbling infrastructure

Morning Links: Motions to inspect broken bike lanes move forward, and keeping dangerous drivers off streets

Maybe our broken bike lanes might get fixed after all.

Streetsblog is reporting the approval of both of motions calling for the inspection and maintenance of LA’s bike lanes and bike paths at Wednesday’s meeting of the City Council Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee.

However, assuming the motion passes the full council, there’s still a long way to go, as Joe Linton points out.

Greg Spotts spoke on BSS’s (Bureau of Street Services) efforts to address issues keeping street pavement in good repair. The city faces a reported $3-4 billion backlog in street maintenance. With some recent street repaving monies from the S.B. 1 gas tax and Measure M, BSS is stepping up its efforts to inspect and maintain streets, and now has dedicated staff working to inspect and repair asphalt on city bike lanes.

Spotts noted that BSS has identified 300 bike network locations that need “large asphalt repair.” BSS crews are currently working their way through these sites, having completed 19 repairs to date.

And those are just the ones they know about.

But at least the city has hired six new people to fix and maintain bike lanes.

Meanwhile, there may be hope for LA’s crumbling streets.

Councilmembers Mitchell Englander and Joe Buscaino say at current rates, streets and sidewalks in Los Angeles won’t be repaired in time for the 2028 Olympics — missing the games by a mere 20 years or so.

But money from Measure M and the new state gas tax increase could provide a source of funding that would allow the city to speed up those repairs.

We can only hope.

Of course, if the proposition calling for the repeal of the gas tax qualifies for the ballot, and California voters decide they’d prefer crappy streets and lower gas prices, all bets are off.

………

I’m not always a fan of Bike Snob.

But he nails it this time, saying our current system of licensing drivers and motor vehicles is “woefully ineffectual and does little to keep dangerous drivers off the streets.”

Meanwhile, a Canadian writer asks if driving is a privilege, why is it so hard to revoke?

It’s like Traffic author Tom Vanderbilt put it — a driver’s license is too easy to get, and too hard to lose.

………

Curbed’s Alissa Walker takes a deep dive into the subject of sidewalks, and comes to the conclusion that they’re not even necessary.

Yes, the CEO of Ford, the company that essentially put automobiles on U.S. streets, is calling for a “complete disruption and redesign of the surface transportation system.”

What Ford is preparing for—and championing through its bike share and microtransit shuttle services—is the fact that streets will no longer be planned around this binary use of cars versus everyone else. And the place for new modes to mix is not a narrow broken sidewalk: It’s the safe, shared, slow, well-maintained street that has walking at its core.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all equation of lane widths calculated to move cars quickly, with pedestrians pushed off to the side, the definition of a city street will change based on what people need, neighborhood by neighborhood, says Greg Lindsay, director of strategy for the urban mobility festival LACoMotion.

It’s a great read. And may challenge your concept of what a street should be.

It did mine, anyway.

………

Great idea. A new youth racing program at the LA Velodrome aims to develop at least one track cyclist for the US Olympic Team at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

………

Local

Westside bike co-op Bikerowave is hosting a fast, 25 – 30 mile woman-led ride tonight, and every Thursday. The co-op is also hosting a moderate paced ride to the East LA Art Walk this Sunday.

Sant Monica Spoke and the Santa Monica Planning department are hosting a Kidical Mass ride this Saturday.

 

State

San Luis Obispo decides to move forward with a modified version of the bikeway that’s been drawing all the bike-hating NIMBYs out of the woodwork. Proof that not all NIMBYs live in Los Angeles. It only seems that way.

A new bike and pedestrian trail project would connect downtown Redding to the Sacramento River Trail.

 

National

Streetsblog questions whether the dockless bikeshare revolution is just a mirage.

A former pro explains how he learned to love wearing a helmet mirror.

The new chairman of the Federal Reserve is one of us, as he struggles to convince his security detail to let him keep up his eight-mile bike commute to DC.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune offers tips on how to ride your bike at Mardi Gras, for those lucky enough to go. Pro tip: Avoid Mardi Gras Day, when it’s too crowded move, and go the weekend before when the crowds are smaller and it’s more fun.

 

International

How to roll the dents out of your steel frame bike.

Canadian bicyclists are urged to bike commute tomorrow as part of the international Winter Bike to Work Day. Try not to suffer too much under LA’s sunny skies and 80° temperatures.

Here are ten beautiful places in the UK to add to your bicycling bucket list.

British advocacy groups are “deeply concerned” about plans to ban bikes from a highway that’s a popular time trial route.

In a win for the gig economy, bicycle couriers for Britain’s National Health Service win full employment rights, after their employer had argued that they were self-employed contractors.

That gold-inlaid custom bike built for Irish mixed martial arts champ Connor McGregor cost the equivalent of nearly $21,000.

More proof that bike riders face the same problems everywhere. An Aussie bicyclist complains about pedestrians and dog walkers making a beachfront pathway a nightmare.

 

Competitive Cycling

Australia’s 3,500-mile Indian Pacific Wheel Race has been cancelled following the death of pioneering ultra-distance rider Mike Hall in a collision during last year’s race.

A French design firm reimagines the dreaded broom wagon. Although they somehow think riders in the Tour de France will be able to hop on board to catch a rest, then rejoin the race when they’re feeling better.

 

Finally…

Why should ‘bent riders miss out on all the fat bike fun? Anyone can race a dual snow slalom on skis; try it on a bicycle instead.

And when a dockless bikeshare company fails, it becomes the UK’s cheapest bicycle.

In every sense.

Morning Links: Don’t blame bike lanes for bad pavement lawsuits, and a call to ban cars from Rose Bowl loop

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says not so fast.

Despite what Councilmember Mitch Englander asserted in his recent motion, Los Angeles hasn’t paid out tens of millions of dollars for injuries to bicyclists due to bad pavement in bike lanes.

In fact, only one of the seven recent bike-related settlements with the city was due to a crash that occurred in a bike lane.

The rest took place on the sort of infrastructure-free streets most LA bicyclists have to ride every day due to the lack of a even the most basic bicycle network in most of the city.

And on the same crappy streets you’ll find on most city streets.

The City Council Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee will discuss two motions mandating much-needed inspections, and possibly repairs, to pavement in the city’s bike lanes and bike paths at 1 pm today.

But let’s not confuse that with the real problem.

Which is the city’s failure to build out the 2010 bike plan as promised. And the failure to the maintain streets we all have to use.

………

He gets it.

A writer for the Pasadena Star News says instead of adding stop signs to the Rose Bowl loop, which would effectively put a halt to the popular cycling, why not ban cars instead?

Why not, indeed.

………

We’re less than a month away from the annual Oscar ceremony. Which brings up the annual question, will anyone bike to the red carpet in Hollywood?

Environmentalist and actor Ed Begley, Jr. has done it before. In a tux, and despite the rain.

But no word yet on whether anyone will do it this year.

………

Local

In news that should surprise absolutely no one, a new report shows Los Angeles has the world’s worst traffic congestion for the sixth year in a row. And it will only get worse unless the city and county provide people with viable alternatives to driving.

Atwater Village residents say they don’t feel safe walking or riding on the LA River bike path due to homeless camps along the river.

Bike SGV will hold their first general meeting of 2018 tomorrow night.

 

State

California’s only emperor was one of us.

The 9th annual Jim Rogers Memorial Ride rolls in Nevada City this Sunday.

 

National

The art of mountain biking.

Bike friendly Boulder CO debates whether to allow ebikes on open space trails.

Ride Chicago’s bikeshare system ten times this month, and they’ll pin a medal on you and invite you to a party.

The NYPD puts out a wanted poster for a group of reckless teenage bike riders.

 

International

A writer for the Guardian discovers firsthand what it’s like to be doored.

You may never be a star of the English stage. But your bike might be.

A British city noticed that 68 near-identical bike-hating comments about a road closure came from a single computer. And 50 more came from just three additional IP addresses. In case you’ve ever wondered why there always seem to be so many public comments from people who hate bikes.

A Dublin paper asks if it’s time to give bicyclists and pedestrians a head start at red lights. That would be yes. And not just in Dublin.

Replacing delivery trucks with cargo bikes in Barcelona.

Workers for Dutch bike brand Van Moof track down a Bluetooth-equipped stolen bike, and discover a warehouse full of stolen bicycles from across Europe.

Docked bikeshare is expanding in India, while a free public bikeshare is opening at Hyderabad Metro stations.

A new Australian study shows that how you commute to work really does affect your body mass. And no, driving doesn’t make you any skinnier.

 

Competitive Cycling

Wolfpack Hustle is bringing back the Forsyth Cup at the Encino Velodrome in April, thanks to BikinginLA sponsor Thomas Forsyth.

Pro cycling’s Team Dimension Data plans to donate 5,000 bikes to an African charity this year.

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to launch yourself off the roof with an antifreeze-fueled rocket attached to your bicycle. Now you can tow your new sailboat with your mountain bike.

And forget the bike park. Try riding the waterpark, instead.

Lets have a stimulating conversation

There’s been a lot of talk lately about bailing out the Big Three automakers.

And yes, I have no doubt that it will happen. Once again, we’ll reward total incompetence in business management by bailing out the corporate leaders who forgot the painful lessons Detroit learned following the oil embargoes of the 1970s (here and here). Instead, they chose to market massive, socially irresponsible, gas-guzzling vehicles that sold millions of cars while helping to drive up gas prices — until oil prices skyrocketed, and they were stuck with cars no one wanted.

And once again, they find themselves struggling to learn the lessons they should have learned four decades ago.

So Congress will throw yet more money at yet more businesses deemed too large to fail; meanwhile, countless small businesses will go under without so much as a dime offered to help keep them, and their employees, afloat.

Just business as usual.

But what could help those businesses, and with them, the rest of us, is the proposed 2nd stimulus package that is currently under discussion in Washington.

Because this time, instead of mailing out checks to everyone — yeah, that did a lot of good — they’re talking about making a real investment in America’s infrastructure. Something that would actually help create jobs and put people to work, and at the same time, spread the wealth a little as those people spend their new paychecks.

But now it’s up to us to help keep them honest, and make sure that money is spent on something that will make a difference now, not years down the road — like the proposed Subway to the Sea, which even if they started tomorrow, wouldn’t see its first rider for decades.

The L.A. County Bike Coalition has their ideas on how to spend the money. And while it makes a lot of sense, I have my own suggestion.

Spend the money — every penny of it — on fixing bridges and roadways.

Bridges, because we all remember what happened in Minnesota. No one wants to see that kind of devastation repeated, but with hundreds, if not thousands of substandard bridges around the country, there’s a high probability it will if something isn’t done.

Roadways, because no one who rides or drives in Los Angeles has to be told how bad the roads have become. Like the corrugated surface of Pico Blvd between Sepulveda and the 405, which has been badly patched so many times it feels like you’re riding the Oregon Trail in a Conestoga. Or the intersection of Ventura Blvd and Van Nuys, where the bus-burrowed ruts are deep enough to bottom-out a small car like mine. And sometimes do.

Now multiply that by hundreds of thousands of roadways throughout California and around the nation. Roadways that waste time and gas, resulting in longer commutes, higher gas costs and more smog and greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.

All it would take is repaving those streets to cut costs, save time and reduce emissions. Not 10 years from now, but in a matter of months. And at the same time, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

And why does this matter to cyclists? Simple.

They could paint new bike lanes on every road in town. But it won’t matter if they’re too rough and rutted to ride.

So write your congressional representative (here’s mine). And tell him or her it’s time to fix the roads.

Now.

%d bloggers like this: