Tag Archive for Expo Line BAC

An open letter to the Expo Line Board of Directors

Maybe I just don’t understand the planning process.

It was my understanding that the Bicycle Advisory Committee for the new Expo Line extension was formed to get the input of knowledgeable bike riders prior to construction, in order to develop a safe, separated bike route stretching from the beach to Downtown to encourage more people to leave their cars at home.

I didn’t realize that it was just an attempt at greenwashing. Or that the apparent purpose in forming the Expo BAC was simply to placate the bicycling community while dangerous, cost-cutting designs were forced through by those charged with planning and building the bikeway.

At least, that’s how it looks right now.

Members of the Expo BAC have complained both publicly and privately that their input has been ignored, and that corners are being cut in a rush to complete the designs and speed up construction. And that as a result, dangerous design flaws are being incorporated into the plans that will put riders at risk and discourage usage — ensuring the expensive failure of what has long been one of the county’s most anticipated bikeways, and which, if designed properly, should be one of the most heavily used.

I implore you use your authority to step in and slow down the process, and require that those charged with designing and building the Expo line extension and its associated bikeway listen to the bicycling experts you yourself appointed, and work with them to incorporate their suggestions.

The success of this project — and the safety of those who use it — depends on it.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers
Bikinginla.com

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Tyler Farrar takes stage one of Colorado’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge, as Levi Leipheimer defends his title. The Denver Post asks why not let the peloton ride through the famous Tour of the Moon course through Colorado National Monument.

Meanwhile, the uglier side of cycling rears up once again as the judge dismisses Lance’s case against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

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Planning begins for a CicLAvia to the shore. The Los Angeles bike parking map is now available online. Once again, Beverly Hills goes for the short-term money, rather than open up the city for bikes and pedestrians. A Baldwin Park cyclist is injured after reportedly riding into traffic; funny how often cyclists are blamed after they’ve been taken from the scene by ambulance. CLR Effect, aka the former Claremont Cyclist, reminds riders to contact their Assembly Members prior to Friday’s vote on the state’s proposed three-foot passing law; Better Bike urges you to help make safe passing a reality here. Long Beach considers signing up with Bike Nation.

Orange County will spend $9 million to install 28 miles of new bikeways. Former World Champion OC cyclist Mark Hoffenberg still wears the rainbow bands on the podium. A 16-year old San Diego girl rides her bike to the hospital after being stabbed in a fight. A bicyclist hit by an Imperial County Irrigation District meter reader reportedly came out of nowhere, riding on the wrong side of the street. Sunnyvale becomes the latest city to adopt L.A.’s groundbreaking anti-harassment ordinance. A commenter first says cyclists need to obey the law, then says the law has to be changed when others point out what he’s complaining about isn’t actually against the law; thanks to former LADOT Bike Blogger Christopher Kidd for the heads-up. Neighbors say the 81-year old road raging motorist who drove onto a golf course to run down a cyclist is a nice, non-testy individual and say the rider must have had it coming; a writer says it’s time to change the conversation. A 75-year old Burlingame cyclist is killed after swerving into a  truck passing from behind — something many cyclists would recognize as a possible reaction to a too-close pass.

If you’re afraid to ride, try riding in ways that don’t terrify you at first. Too many people are dying on the streets of Las Vegas, the sixth most dangerous metro area in the U.S. Bikeyface suggests better urban planning. Seventy-nine year old Willie Nelson cancels a Colorado show, in part, due to a bicycling accident. A brief list of rules for riding in my hometown. Another day, another pedestrian injured by a New York cyclist. A Pittsburgh paper says cyclists aren’t always to blame in collisions; in fact, riders are only responsible for about half. A Tampa Bay cyclist collides with a crossing guard trying to avoid a motor vehicle collision.

Bicycling asks the Cannibal what made him the greatest cyclist of all time. Yet another list of the top 10 bike-friendly cities around the world — and once again, only one is in the U.S. ER docs think an injured Calgary cyclist suffered a stroke until GPS data shows he was the victim of hit-and-run. In just a tiny overreaction, a London cyclist spends a night in jail for riding in a no-biking zone. A London police office went airborne while driving at twice the speed limit before hitting a cyclist. A UK auto magazine says three-quarters of cyclists break the law — but cites offenses that aren’t against the law. An Aussie nurse saves a severely injured cyclist from an internal decapitation.

Finally, Town Mouse buys a Paper Bike for her Mum.

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On a personal note, thanks to Bike and Hike LA for renting a bike to my 15-year old nephew from Colorado last week. After a highly enjoyable ride on along the beach, I think he’s even more committed to becoming an Angeleno at the earliest opportunity.

And I learned that it is in fact possible to have a good time while riding slowly.

Who knew?

Urgent action needed on Expo bikeway and Beverly Hills; more breaking news on the legal front

Big news on the legal front to start your week.

Along with a call for urgent action on the Expo Bikeway, and to fight hit-and-run in the seemingly heartless biking black hole of Beverly Hills.

As well as your chance to be an ambassador for bicycling in your own neighborhood.

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Let’s start with the long-awaited Expo Line bikeway, which appears to be rapidly turning into a train wreck for Westside cyclists.

Expo Bicycle Advisory Committee member Damien Newton offers a detailed background on just how and why the plan is riding off the rails. It’s a must read for anyone who cares about the safety of cyclists on our streets.

Which is where cyclists will end up when the planned bikeway forces them onto dangerous crossings. Or when they avoid the bikeway entirely because they feel safer on busy high-speed streets than on a badly designed, rushed and corner-cutting bikeway.

Fortunately, you still have a chance to put your foot down and demand the Expo Line Authority start listening to the BAC they appointed, rather dictating bad design from above.

The LACBC is calling for concerned cyclists — and yes, you should be very concerned — to attend the next Expo BAC meeting at 8 am tomorrow at the Skanska-Rados Joint Venture Field Office, on the 3rd floor at 11390 W. Olympic Blvd.

If you can’t make it, they — and I — urge you to email the list of Expo Directors on their website today to demand a safer bikeway from Downtown to Santa Monica. They also provide a sample email you can use as a template.

It will only take you a few minutes to write and send an email.

And the bikeway you save could be your own.

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Meanwhile, Don Ward, aka Roadblock, calls on cyclists to attend the next Beverly Hills City Council session on Thursday to demand an end to their local — and hopefully unofficial —policy of letting hit-and-run drivers off the hook without even the slap on the wrist they get in most jurisdictions.

Ward points out a recent case in which a cyclist was severely injured, and the driver actually came forward to confess. Yet the case was so badly bungled by local authorities that no charges were ever filed.

According to Beverly Hills PD a break came the next day when the alleged driver, Victoria Chin, phoned in to confess her crime. Detectives arranged for her to turn herself in that day. They requested she bring the car in as well. This is where things apparently got complicated for the Beverly Hills Detectives. After flaking on her first appointment, Chin showed up the following day along with a lawyer but without her car. Beverly Hills Detectives acknowledge that they failed to process her confession and they sent her home without booking or arresting her.

Months later, citing issues not fully understood, the case was declined by District Attorney Steven Katz. Katz claims that since there was no car in custody, and the woman confessed on the phone and not in person, there was not enough evidence to move forward with a case. Questions arise of whether this is an isolated incident or part of a larger pattern of Beverly Hills apathy towards cyclists… Paul was not the first hit and run victim in recent memory to be denied justice by the city.

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Brett Morin, the other driver charged in the road racing death of pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado, has accepted a peal deal. He’s scheduled for sentencing on October 3rd; considering the gift of a sentence given the driver who actually killed Alvarado, don’t expect more than a slightly harsh caress of the wrist.

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Our anonymous Orange County source reports that we finally have convictions in the case of two allegedly drunk Huntington Beach speed racers who flew off the road, critically injuring a cyclist riding on the beachfront bike path.

Yes, even separated bikeways aren’t safe from speed-crazed Southern California drivers.

And yes, both have once again gotten off with a relative slap on the wrist — even if one appears to be a tough sentence for that particular judge.

Which says far more about our SoCal court system than we should be willing to tolerate.

Glenn Michael Moore & Michael Dennis Roach are the scumbags who were skunk drunk at half past eight on a Sunday morning and racing each other down PCH (can’t be late for church!!!) when they clipped each other.  Both speeding vehicles flew down an embankment.  Moore’s car slammed into Richard Lauwers as he rode his bike on the completely segregated beach bike path.  The next speeding vehicle on PCH was the responding ambulance.

Lauwers was having a nice quiet ride after a leisurely weekend breakfast at our famous Sugar Shack.  He would’ve been home in another twenty minutes.  Instead he ended up in the ICU, where he spent six days.

On Wednesday, Moore pleaded guilty to all counts against him.  He was sentenced to fines & restitution, one year in jail (stayed), three years of formal probation, and a  “First Offender Alcohol Program.”  Oh, and his license was suspended for a year.  I can’t figure this one out, because I’m working with insufficient data here.  IF Moore was before Judge Adams, who generally presides over that particular courtroom and is lenient, AND had a good lawyer (and by all accounts his lawyer is very good), AND he doesn’t have an extensive rap sheet (he’s pretty clean in OC at least), then this is a surprisingly tough sentence.  It’s still insufficient, but it’s certainly on par for Judge Adams and our overtaxed justice system in general.

Meanwhile, Michael Dennis Roach appears to have three separate sentences for the single count of engaging in a speed contest with injuries to another: two sentences for 90 days in jail, and a third for 90 days of service in lieu thereof.  Also, three years of formal probation as well.  Dunno what this is about, but there’ll be further proceedings on the 28th. Also, the OCDA unearthed a DUI with property damage that Roach had committed in November 2001 (while driving on a suspended license, but never mind that); a second DUI within 10 years could have resulted in a stiffer sentence, but oddly, his DUI charge and its enhancement were dismissed.

Did I ever mention that I have a real problem with drivers who put everyone else at risk because they can’t keep their damn feet off the accelerator — let alone get behind the wheel when they’re drunk or stoned?

The good news is that Lauwers is okay, and back on his bike.

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The LACBC is offering a way to become more active as a bicycling advocate in your own neighborhood. And make a real difference where you live and ride.

The new Neighborhood Bike Ambassador program is designed to empower you to influence the implementation of the L.A. bike plan, as well as programs developed by the LACBC.

The first kick-off meeting takes place tonight in the Valley, followed by four others throughout the L.A. area over the next 10 days. The meetings — and the program itself — are open to everyone; you can sign up to be a Bike Ambassador here.

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Finally, a few other brief notes from the world of bicycling.

In a truly shocking case, a Santa Rosa driver takes his road rage off road, chasing a cyclist 100 yards onto a golf course before running him down with his car. The good news is, an arrest has been made; the bad news is, the 81-year old driver has done it at least twice before. And was still allowed to drive.

Thanks to Emily C for the heads-up.

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The schmuck who kidnapped and murdered Louisiana cyclist Mickey Shunick pleads guilty to first degree murder in her death, as well as that of another woman. Hopefully they’ll shove him so deep into the living hell that is Louisiana’s Angola Prison that he’ll never see the light of day again.

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Police may have solved the recent rash of Calnago thefts. The Orange County Bicycle Coalition reports hat two stolen Calnagos have been recovered when they were abondoned by the thieves outside an OC Dennys, and a third was recovered in a West Hollywood pawn shop through stolenbikeregistry.com.

No word yet on arrests in the case.

The L.A. Times offers a nice profile of Cypress Park’s Flying Pigeon bike shop and the eponymous Chinese bikes they love and sell.

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And a PA cyclist moons a couple in a passing car, then threatens them with his bike seat before crashing into a police cruiser.

Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.

A little this, a little that — Expo bikeway heads off the rails, Long Beach writer gets it mostly all wrong

I’ve been hearing a number of reports that the westward extension of the Expo Line bikeway is rapidly going off the rails.

Instead of prudently incorporating a safe, separated cycling facility along the full route, word is that Metro and LADOT are cutting corners and giving riders short shrift — including those recruited to serve on the line’s Bicycle Advisory Board, who complain that no one seems to be listening to them.

Which begs the question, why have an advisory board if you’re not going to listen to their advice?

This bikeway has long been a dream for riders who are desperate for a safe, efficient route between Downtown and the Westside.

But despite repeated promises in recent years, it sounds like we may have to keep dreaming.

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Once upon a time, journalists had standards.

Or so I’m told.

Writers — even columnists — were expected to get the facts straight before they went to press. And editors were expected to hold their feet to the fire to ensure that every item in the paper was as accurate as possible.

Seems like a long time ago, in that golden age before the current revenue crunch caused most papers to lay off too many of their editors. And allowing the few remaining writers to slip their erroneous flights of fancy onto newsprint and online without being challenged.

Then again, some papers never did have standards.

I’m not sure which case applies here.

Tim Grobaty, a columnist with the Long Beach Press-Telegram — who surely should know better, given the city he works in — could have gotten it right with just a little research. But apparently didn’t bother.

All it would have taken is a simple trip to the DMV website, where he would have learned that cyclists are expected to use left turn lanes. And which took me roughly 10 seconds to find via Google.

Instead, he offers the following advice.

1. Bicycles aren’t cars. Don’t act like you’re driving one by tying up the left-turn lane. Conversely, bicycles are cars. Don’t pedal through stop signs.

At least he gets the last part right.

Somehow, though, I manage to get through left turn lanes on my bike just as fast as the drivers in front or behind me, if not faster. So how, exactly, am I tying up anything?

He also instructs cyclists not to employ the common courtesy of calling out “On the left” when passing pedestrians, because it confuses him.

Maybe he should carry a pebble in his left hand when he walks to avoid stepping in the wrong direction.

One of the biggest complaints from pedestrians is that they don’t get any warning when riders are about to pass. But evidently, Grobaty would rather see cyclists refrain from offering walkers a verbal warnings, and is willing to accept the inevitable increase in collisions between bikes and pedestrians that would result, as if there aren’t too many already.

And yes, bike bells are friendlier.

But they don’t give walkers or slower riders any idea whether they should move right, left, go straight or levitate the hell out of the way.

All they tell you is that a bike is nearby.

And that an angel just got its wings.

Of course, it’s not just Grobaty.

We live in a society where the voices of those with little knowledge of a given subject carry as much weight as those who actually know what they’re talking about. Especially if they have their own TV or radio show.

Or newspaper column.

And don’t even get me started on the royal we Grobaty uses. Unless he has multiple personalities, in which case I owe him an apology.

Of course, the main point in his column is that Long Beach has spent $20 million on making the city safer and more inviting for bicyclists, and that retailers are starting to see a return on that investment as sales from cyclists increase. But people who drive to stores continue to spend more.

He’s right, of course. The overwhelming amount of retail sales continue to result from driven trips, even though numerous studies are starting to show the economic benefit of encouraging bicycling.

But he fails to consider the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been invested in streets and other infrastructure that allow people like him to drive a few blocks to the corner store.

And which is paid for in large part by every pedestrian, bicyclist and transit user, as well as drivers, whether or not they ever get behind the wheel.

Wake me when, or if, that ever gets repaid.

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In a horrifying report, a 13-year old Milwaukee girl is charged with the hit-and-run death of a cyclist while street racing friends in a stolen car. A passenger in the car suggests she may have intentionally steered towards the bike rider, later laughing about it and saying he shouldn’t have been on the street.

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Looks like LADOT hasn’t forgotten the Westside after all. Niall Huffman notes preliminary bike lane markings have gone down on Ohio between Bundy and Centinela, where the street becomes Broadway as it crosses into Santa Monica. And where they should join up with the Broadway bike lanes, providing a continuous route from Bundy to downtown Santa Monica.

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LADOT Bike Blog looks at what the new Federal transportation plan means for local cyclists. Streetsblog’s Sahra suffers a cracked wrist jumping out of the way of an apparent drunk driver. A restored Tujunga Wash includes bike and walking paths. Support is growing for a NELA bike network. A bike ride will be held this Saturday to protest the coming Walmart in Chinatown; hopefully, they won’t attempt it on Walmart bikes. Flying Pigeon hosts the popular Get Sum Dim Sum ride this Sunday. The 4th Annual You’re Not Worthy Summer Century Ride rolls Sunday, August 25th. How to use bike racks on Metro buses. Better Bike says it’s time to hold Beverly Hills accountable when it’s not practicable to ride to the right on Santa Monica Blvd, even though parts of it are getting better; then again, they tried a patch job a couple years ago, and that only lasted a few months. Santa Monica allocates $164,000 for a planned Michigan Avenue Greenway connecting SaMo High with Bergamot Station. Manhattan Beach receives a nearly half-million dollar Safe Routes to Schools grant. Turns out I’ve been throwing bananas away when they reach their most healthful stage. More on the SoCal Colnago bike thief. The aptly named Hotter N’ Hell Mt. Baldy Hill Climb makes a comeback this Saturday,

San Diego cyclists get a new Whole Foods bike repair station; the city’s annual Midnight Madness ride rolls this weekend. Reducing the stress of riding across town. The latest version of California’s proposed three-foot passing law continues to move forward; Better Bike points out safe passing laws are literally all over the map. San Jose police decline to pursue a bike thief, even after he’s identified by the victim. Watsonville police warn cyclists about brakeless fixies following a serious crash. A 13-year old Sonoma cyclist faces a civil suit for running down and seriously injuring a 72-year old pedestrian; the city of Sonoma is also named for allowing bikes on the sidewalk. A boy scout on a bike tour through Fortuna finds fortune is not in his favor when he’s hit by a bus while crossing a freeway off ramp; sounds like the cyclist should have had the right-of-way since vehicles exiting a highway are required to merge safely, despite the biased press report.

Even Paralympic cyclists are doping now. According to the NHTSA, a pedestrian is killed in the US every 2 hours — with an injury every 8 minutes; but hey, it’s just an accident, right? Hats off to former framebuilder Dave Moulton for correctly calling our massive automotive infrastructure a waste of space, although I might quibble with his take on Olympic BMX racing. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske examines whether Strava can be held accountable for its members behavior. Five great American cities for cycling vacations; link courtesy of I Block the Bike Lane. Turns out my brother isn’t the only Iditarod musher to take up cycling. A Flagstaff paper appears to misunderstand a commonly misunderstood law regarding taking the lane. A Utah woman is critically injured trying to retrieve a bicycle than had fallen off her car on I-80. Rocky Mountain National Park considers opening a trail to mountain bikes. Former Angeleno Amanda Lipsey and her dog gear up for a week-long self-contained bike trip. West Texas cyclists don’t feel safe. Cyclists need better education, but let’s remember that the greatest threat to everyone on the road comes from motor vehicles. The founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works says Just Ride. A HuffPo writer says New York’s delayed bike share program will result in carnage once it opens. A prominent blind Detroit attorney is injured in a collision with a cyclist in New York’s Central Park — and he wasn’t the only one. A Washington writer says biking changed her life. A Florida cyclist is seriously injured in a hit-from-behind collision, but the driver isn’t expected to face charges.

Guadalajara businesses fund their own DIY bike share system; thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up. Six scandal ridden team jerseys you might want to avoid. A passing driver helps save the life of a cyclist after he’s stricken with a heart attack while riding, then leaves without taking credit. The UK’s success in Olympic cycling inspires Brits to take up riding and is making those cash registers ring. London cyclists may not get safe roads, but they are getting a two-day bike fest next year. Turns out that the highly reported increase in serious collisions after some UK cities cut speed limits to 20 mph resulted from a statistically meaningless jump from six incidents to seven. Dublin coroner calls for making helmets available with the city’s bike share. Former Northern Ireland Olympian Billy Kerr passes away at age 67. Olympic gold medal winner and former doper Alexandre Vinokourov calls it a career. Namibia riders call for a ciclovía of their own. Aussie pro cyclist Robbie Williams is killed in a solo fall as a result of an undisclosed medical condition. Melbourne bike lanes are being remade to reduce dooring.

Finally, it turns out that inflatable bike helmet that’s suddenly making all the news again was actually invented in the U.S. decades ago; thanks to Steve Herbert for the first link.

Personally, all this talk about a $600 single-use device brings out my inner cranky old man and makes me want to yell at them to get off my lawn. I’d rather see an actual helmet that can provide real protection beyond the current 12.5 mph standard — and one most cyclists can actually afford.

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