Tag Archive for Expo Line

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?

Catching up on the latest bike news — fighting for an Expo Bike Center, and a new Dutch bike site

After a linkless beginning to the week, here’s your chance to catch up before I batten down the hatches on a very blustery day.

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The Expo Line Authority has made a very misguided decision to delete a planned bike center from the new Culver City Expo station, saving a relative few pennies now while creating untold costs down the line.

The whole point of the Expo line is to provide an alternative to driving. Yet omitting the bike station will only encourage more people to drive — whether to the station or their destination — while discouraging people from biking to the train. And it will undoubtedly cost a lot less to build it now as part of the station than to add it on later.

The Santa Monica Spoke says it’s time to hold them to their earlier promises, whether in person at Thursday’s Expo Line board meeting or by emailing key officials. And Better Bike’s Mark Elliot shares his letter (pdf), and dissects Expo’s last mile problem.

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I got a press release yesterday from And Dutch, a UK-based website now intent on bringing authentic Dutch bikes and gear to the US and Canada through their new North American site.

With exclusive & award winning gents, ladies and children designs, www.anddutch.com, offers amongst its large product range —

  • Original Dutch Town bicycles for gents, ladies and children by BURGERS (The Netherlands oldest and first bicycle brand since 1868!)
  • Unique chainless & folding bikes by Dutch BEIXO
  • Colourful children’s balance bikes by KIDDIMOTO
  • Fixed / Free wheel bikes by FOFFA (+ free launch gift: front & rear KNOG lights worth $40)
  • Beautiful bicycle helmet designs by SAWAKO and HARDNUTZ
  • Saddles by world oldest independent Dutch saddle maker LEPPER
  • Stunning bags and panniers by Dutch NEW LOOXS
  • More (exclusive Dutch) brands to follow soon!

And also supplies other award winning brands by —

  • Dutch BASIL – with a  large array (over 70 different products!) of beautiful & high quality accessories
  • Elegant and renowned English saddle maker BROOKS
  • Must have  AXA locks
  • …and many more!

This could be a good resource for those hard to find Ditch bikes and accessories. However, you can already find some of those items right here in L.A.

Personally, I’d start your search at Flying Pigeon LA, where you’ll find a wide selection of Dutch bikes, some of which have even been road tested uphill.

If anyone knows of another local bike shop in the SoCal area that’s a good source for Dutch bikes and accessories, let me know.

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A great read from a Chicago cyclist refuting the absurd concept that supporting bikes means a war on cars. Definitely word reading.

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The county Board of Supervisors votes unanimously to request a more progressive bike plan; maybe it’s just me, but I’m starting to like these guys. The Times’ Hector Tobar takes a ride down Downtown’s new green bike lanes on Spring Street. Those quickly faded green lanes will soon be repainted; the damage occurred because the paint didn’t have time to set before the recent rains. Streetsblog names L.A. Planning intern Rye Baerg Government Worker of the Year. An overnight biking trip to Leo Carrillo State Beach. L.A. cyclist Alex de Cordoba writes for HuffPo on why more driver’s license checkpoints are needed. Two roundabout projects are moving forward on 4th Street. Practical bikes call for more practical racks; I’m just happy to find any usable rack when I get to my destination. Flying Pigeon’s next brewery ride takes place this Saturday. As if cars aren’t enough to worry about, a Burbank mountain biker encounters a black bear. Long Beach gets a new bike shop. Outside magazine names local bike scribe Patrick Brady’s Red Kite Prayer as the best of the nation’s top 10 biking blogs; can’t argue with that choice.

A memorial will be held Thursday for Anthony Martinez, the 6-year old Oxnard bike rider killed on Thanksgiving Day; nice to see a ghost bike has been installed in his honor and heartbreaking that it was necessary. A 10-year old San Diego bike rider is injured in a left cross, while another cyclist is seriously injured after getting Jerry Browned when a car tries to pass at far less than three feet. San Diego’s People’s Photographer takes a look at a bike commuting family. Take a short drive — or long ride — south to meet and ride with Mia Birk, president of Alta Planning + Design and former Portland Bicycle Program Manager. Or you can just wait until the 15th and meet her in Long Beach. A left cross is caught on camera; fortunately, the rider wasn’t seriously hurt. A San Francisco bus driver could face charges in the death of a cyclist last August. A Santa Rosa cyclist is killed after being hit by two cars. Palo Alto could get a bike bridge over Hwy 101. A bike novel by a Mill Valley writer is headed for the big screen. This is nothing to be thankful for, as California saw 27 traffic fatalities and 1475 arrests for DUI over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Biking could be beneficial to your brain. Congress may be trying to kill TIGER funding for bikes and pedestrians; can someone please tell me when and why the GOP became anti-anything but cars? New Federal regulations require consideration of cyclists when rumble strips are installed on highways. Bicycling explains how to quiet a noisy bike. A Tucson Trader Joe’s listens to complaints and installs better bike parking. Nevada is working on statewide bike plan; now there’s a concept worth exporting from the Silver State. A Salt Lake City columnist says it’s bad enough when vehicle to vehicle collisions occur, and worse when one party is totally vulnerable; amen to that. Fifty-six percent of cyclists run red lights in a new Portland State study. A Seattle driver is under arrest after running down a cyclist who refused to buy him a beer. My hometown is partnering with Colorado State University to study the economic impacts of cycling; that’s one study I’ll look forward to reading. Can a city that bans ebikes from paved trails be considered bike friendly? The city of Detroit offers great biking; some of the suburbs not so much. NYPD prepares for their latest crackdown on bicyclists, this time on the killer bikers of Prospect Park, while transportation advocates more rationally demand the city crack down on dangerous drivers. Maybe the solution is haiku traffic safety signs. Performance Bicycle has joined Bikes Belong. The right bra makes all the difference for winter riding. A long list of don’ts for women wheelers. Using your bike wheel to create animation, or using animation to explain cycling.

Canadian cyclists need more protection, and think side guards on trucks could help. Yet the country has a serious disconnect when it comes to biking, as 73% think cyclists deserve more respect from motorists, while four out of five Canadians think they won’t get it until they respect the rules of the road. British onlookers rush to the rescue when a cyclist is trapped beneath the car that hit him. The UK’s Department for Transport says slowing motorists is the best way to increase safety for cycling, yet London cyclists oddly object to being used as human speed bumps. Four people are under arrest for a hit-and-run collision that left a Brit bike cop injured. Call him Mark Cavendish, MBE. Bike journalist Carlton Reid discusses his upcoming book, Roads Were Not Built for Cars. Don’t criticize anyone until you’ve cycled in their shoes. Bicycling is vilified in Australia, despite being a nation of bike riders, but it’s getting big in Bangalore.

Finally, I haven’t always agreed with the OC Register’s David Whiting, but his latest column is dead on, noting that recent cycling deaths point out the importance of truly sharing the road. And a Santa Monica cyclist is behind bars after running two red lights with an outstanding warrant for DUI — and someone else’s wallet.

Seriously, if you’re wanted by the authorities and carrying stolen property, stop for red lights already.

Cyclists and planners talk, Metro listens

Maybe they’ve ignored us. Or maybe we’ve just felt ignored.

Either way, today’s Metro Bicycle Roundtable meeting seemed to be a new beginning for both sides.

The meeting was kicked off by Doug Failing, Executive Director of Highway Programs and Interim Chief Planning Officer for Metro, who said the massive agency was focused on cycling as a way to solve the problem of traveling the first and last mile in combination with transit, as well as finding better ways to accommodate bikes on trains.

Standard rule of thumb — the longer the title, the less power an executive actually has. We’ll hope that’s not the case here, because he comes highly recommended and has a reputation for working well with cyclists.

But he also made the point that he, and the other members of Metro in the room, were there to listen. And he meant clearly meant it, as he later interrupted a Metro staffer who attempted to defend — or maybe just explain — one of their programs.

So after a brief presentation by Lynne Goldsmith, Bike Planning Manager with the Westside Area team, the floor was turned over to the concerns of the 70+ cyclists, bike planners and other assorted transit and planning professionals from various governmental groups and cities around Southern California.

Common comments called for larger bike racks on buses, and the need to allow more bikes on trains, including calls for a separate bike car. Another common complaint covered the need to better train bus drivers to respect cyclists on the roads — which we were told Metro is currently working on.

A number of people urged a greater focus on livable streets over massive transportation projects, as well as more bike-focused staffing at Metro; that’s in addition to the two — yes, 2 — who currently work there. And putting Metro’s budget to work to fund more bike-oriented infrastructure projects, and using their creative staff to create ads to encourage cycling and safe sharing of the roads.

In fact, those in the room overwhelming encouraged Metro to use its size, funding and influence to support cycling — with the single exception of a gentleman representing the Cheviot Hills homeowners group, who insisted that the planned Expo Line bike path should not go through their neighborhood in order to reduce crime and protect their privacy.

To which someone in the back of the room replied, “Did he just say, not in my backyard?”

However, the best comment of the day came from recently elected LACBC board member Greg Laemmle, who noted the historic opportunity to build out the Expo Line, along with the associated bikeway — and at the same time, summed up the issues currently facing the city.

“Great cities,” he said, “solve problems.”

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Hey, guess who I passed heading north along the beach on a five-person bike the other day. On their way to Alaska, maybe?

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Those who weren’t invited inside to meet with Sen. Barbara Boxer and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood make their case outside. Speaking of Metro, they have funding available for a feasible new bike path along the lower Arroyo Seco. C.I.C.L.E. is working with LACBC and the Bicycle Kitchen to bring the celebrated Tour de Fat bike and beer fest — sponsored by the maker of my favorite American beer — to L.A. State Historic Park. Is it really being bike friendly to ticket high school students for riding on the sidewalk when the street is too dangerous? Riding PCH — carefully — and Latigo Canyon. L.A. compares favorably in the small percentage of people who bike to work or work at home, like me. Why the Backbone Bikeway Network isn’t a freeway for bikes, and how to find your way along it. Pasadena’s new $1.7 million bike plan goes before the public, while Glendale needs to update theirs or continue to get left out.

Reno sees two cyclists injured in crashes in two hours. An Oklahoma FedEx driver faces a whopping $100 to $1000 fine for falling asleep and killing a cyclist; see, if you’re napping behind the wheel, it’s just an accident. University of Arizona police go after salmon riders, not stop sign runners. Is it just a coincidence that all the drivers who yell “Get on the sidewalk!” look alike? Snow piled on road shoulder may be partially at fault in a N.J. cyclist’s death. A Texas town bans cyclists from a key roadway for their own good. International computer hacking suspect Floyd Landis appears on Larry King. The three foot passing law moves forward in Georgia and comes up for a hearing in Missouri. Your next bike might have a double bottom bracket and no spokes. And maybe your next helmet will protect your head from devastating injuries.

Evidently, Toronto cyclists don’t want to declare war on cars after all. An Irish driver is convicted of killing Commonwealth Games medalist David McCall. London’s mayor encourages cycling to work, yet the new the London Bridge Tower offers just 250 bike parking spaces for 6,500 occupants. UK riders plan to improve safety with mass Bike Train rides departing every 15 minutes during rush hour; no, they aren’t riding the train, they are the train. The BBC plans an upcoming show claiming 1 in 5 cyclists ride roughshod over the law. Anti-social drivers blamed for a spate of anti-bike behavior.

Finally, not only is Oregon bike friendly, so is their porn. Or maybe you’d rather have your own ghost bike; you know, without the inconvenience of actually dying.

Two-wheeled second class citizens on L.A.’s Metro rails

I’ll be honest. I’ve never ridden an L.A. Metro train.

Not the new Gold Line extension, aka La Linea de Oro. Not the Purple subway line, which promises to eventually pass just blocks from my home, giving me easy access to Downtown and the coast — provided they manage to build it within my lifetime.

Or any of the other colors in the system’s pallet, which still resembles a child’s line drawing more than a transportation masterpiece. Although it appears other cities are starting to take notice.

Not that I have anything against trains.

On the contrary, one reason I fell in love with London a few years back was the city’s Tube. As much as locals love to hate it, I enjoyed being able to walk a few blocks, board a train, and be anywhere in the city in just a few minutes.

When I lived in San Diego, I frequently hopped on the trolley rather than slog through that city’s traffic. And I long ago swore off driving in the Bay Area, since virtually any place too far to walk is easily accessible by rail.

But for those of us on the Westside, the trains are just too far away. Just getting to the western terminus of the subway takes me at least a half hour by car or bus. Or fighting my way on bike through some of the city’s most crowded and unforgiving streets.

Which is why I visit Mama’s Hot Tamales far less than I’d like.

And while I admire those who do it on a regular basis, it’s a lot easier to point my bike west and ride the relatively less-cramped routes that lead to the coast.

So I’ve been looking forward to the opening of the Expo Line, which, when it finally opens, will open up whole new vistas of the city that are currently too far or too difficult to visit by bike.

I look forward to the day I can hop on the train and be whisked away to visit my good friend in Altadena, without spending a fortune in gas and risking my life and sanity on the freeway. Or have dinner at El Tepeyac without driving an hour to get there.

And I look forward to taking my bike on the train, and hopping off to explore parts of the greater L.A. area I’ve yet to see on two wheels.

Yet that may not be a viable option, since Metro continues to treat cyclists as second-class citizens. Except instead of being made to sit at the back of the bus, we’re told that no more than two bikes per car are allowed on a train.

Or maybe not at all, at certain times or if the train is crowded.

It’s bad enough for someone like me, who looks forward to riding far flung parts of the city. But it’s a disaster for commuters, for whom a bike provides an effective means of travelling the last mile to or from work, in a city where effective mass transit is still in its infancy. Or for groups or families, who must divide themselves into separate cars — or separate trains.

Or just stay home.

And if you ride a tandem, you’re just screwed. Period.

Now contrast that with more bike-friendly transit systems, where cyclists are actually encouraged to take the train — or even allowed to ride free. Or the more enlightened approach proposed by the LACBC, which advocates accommodating everyone:

Metro must accommodate all users during regular and peak hours, and designate sufficient space for multiple bikes on trains. They must provide publications and clear signage to make it easy for passengers to see where bikes should be placed in train cars and how to enter and exit both trains and stations.

These accommodations can be implemented in multiple ways:

A) A large set aside area for bikes in either the last or first car. This car can also provide flip up seating and room for ADA (ed: Americans with Disabilities Act) accommodations. Hooks and straps can secure bikes to the floors of the train. B) Ample space in each train car for multiple bikes. The same ADA accommodations and bike-securing features can also be present in this scenario.

Instead of actively discouraging bikes on their trains, Metro should encourage cyclists to use the system as frequently as possible. An effective transportation system should offer an alternative to driving that can actually get people out of their cars and reduce pressure on our overcrowded streets.

And just like bikes on the roads, every bike on a train represents one less car on the street.

Which benefits everyone.

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More on the schmuck aspiring musician who ran down a Miami cyclist on Sunday morning, despite having over 40 traffic violations in the last 12 years. DJ Wheels notes that, as an attorney, his jaw dropped when he read the following section in of the articles above:

In an arrest form affidavit by Miami-Dade police on Wednesday, officers said Bertonatti, who reeked of alcohol and failed a balance test, refused to provide a blood sample after his arrest. Officers and firefighters strapped him down on a fire-rescue board and forcibly took a blood sample as Bertonatti continued to resist, the form said.

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Culver City’s proposed bike plan is available for review; oddly, Alta Planning doesn’t seem to be involved. Dr. Alex discusses the recent meeting between cyclists and the LAPD, while Stephen Box addresses enforcement double standards in bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills. Flying Pigeon introduces Nihola cargo bikes to L.A., and masters the art of shaft-drive bike repair. Next time you ride along Venice Beach, you’ll be even closer to the ocean. Growing tensions between cyclists and drivers in Morgan Hill, CA. A popular Miami man who recycles bikes and gives them away to youngsters is attacked by thugs following an attempted burglary. Twelve ways to reform D.C. area bike laws — including some good suggestions for us. San Antonio takes up the three-foot passing law vetoed by Texas’ governor last year. A bike riding soon-to-be-former talk show host gets a job offer from a Texas bike shop. 9,000 women in the United Kingdom petition for safer streets. Police seek a hit-and-run cyclist in the UK. An 11-year old British girl was killed when she swerved her bike to avoid a holly leaf. A helmet cam-wearing Brit bike blogger gets death threats. Google Street View captures a falling cyclist. A candidate for mayor of Toronto says he’ll tear out bike lanes on major streets, which does not go over well with his fellow cyclists. Finally, an angry driver honks when a cyclist takes the lane — not realizing he’s following a bike cop.

Oops.

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