Tag Archive for Great Streets

Morning Links: New Mar Vista website, LADOT debuts micro-sweeper, and Caffe Luxxe hosts vintage bike exhibit

LADOT has put up a website to keep track of updates on the Venice Great Streets project in Mar Vista.

Which should come in handy both to explain what’s going on and why, and to keep up with what promises to be an endless series of public meetings defending the project.

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Speaking of LADOT, they unveiled their new micro-sweeper to remove debris from protected bike lanes, demonstrating it in the protected bike lane next to City Hall on Los Angeles Street.

Let’s just hope it’s powerful enough to suck up all the police cars that are usually parked in it.

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Just in time for the finale of the Tour de France, Santa Monica’s Caffe Luxxe is teaming with Helen’s Cycles to host an exhibition of rare vintage bikes starting today — July 20th, not January — through the end of September.

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LA County will host a safety training workshop for people walking and riding their bikes in the dangerous Florence-Firestone area this Wednesday.

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A writer for a Jewish magazine questions whether the legendary Italian racer Gino Bartali really saved Jews during WWII, despite his recognition as Righteous Among the Nations by the World Holocaust Remembrance Center’s Yad Vashem.

Michelle Sarfatti bases his refutation on Bartali’s famed reluctance to discuss his work during the war, and a problematic book written in the 1970s which was the first to claim Bartali had hidden forged identity papers in the frame of his bicycle to smuggle them past the Nazi’s.

Yet the Yad Vashem page cites Holocaust survivors whose identity papers were delivered by Bartali, and notes that he told his story to the daughter of the rabbi who founded the resistance network.

And the BBC reports that he told his story to his son in bits and pieces over the years, but made him promise not to tell anyone. A promise he kept until his father’s death.

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From ski jumper to Tour de France stage winner in just five years.

America’s only remaining Tour de France winner says Warren Barguil will be the next French Tour winner — once Chris Froome gets tired of winning it, that is. Although Rigoberto Uran has shown himself to be Froome’s most dangerous challenger this year.

Bicycling looks at the science behind those WTF areo tucks.

If you haven’t seen it yet, this is what racing 100-plus miles every day for three weeks does to your legs.

It’s a start. Spain’s Vuelta has eliminated the obligatory kisses from podium girls, and will have podium boys — aka hosts and hostesses — as well.

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Local

Marketplace talks with the founder of LA-based Thousand, asking if a better looking helmet will keep people safer on their bikes. Short answer, probably not. Longer answer, only if it gets people who wouldn’t otherwise wear one to strap it on.

A professor at LA-based Concord Law School offer five steps to follow if you’re involved in a bicycle crash.

Cal Poly Pomona is finally fixing deadly Kellogg Drive to make it safer for people walking or riding bicycles, four years after student Ivan Aguillar was killed while riding his bike to campus, and 13 years after another student died walking in a crosswalk. Although the reason for fixing it has nothing to do with safety, of course.

The Montbello Bicycle Coalition is hosting a Thursday Night Ice Cream Ride tonight.

 

State

The Orange County Register’s David Whiting rides the Santa Ana River Trail, saying OC hikers and bike riders are giving up on it now that it’s become a linear homeless encampment.

La Palma is putting its cops back on bicycles, a decade after cutting the bike cop program due to budget cuts. Meanwhile, a police website explains why bike cops matter.

San Diego police are stepping up efforts to bust bike thieves using GPS-equipped bait bikes, making 109 arrests in three years — with 107 convictions. Yet the LAPD is still reluctant to give it a try, fearing accusations of entrapment.

An Escondido bike rider was injured, apparently seriously, when he was hit by a truck Wednesday morning.

In an effort to encourage bike tourism, Ventura has declared itself a Bicycle Friendly City, just two months after getting a bronze-level recognition from the Bike League.

A Bakersfield artist is holding an exhibition of artwork from a cyclist’s perspective.

Sad news from Oakland, where a 60-year old man was killed in a hit-and-run while riding his bike, and his companion injured; a third Bay Area bike rider was injured in another hit-and-run.

 

National

Bicycle Times considers the etiquette of passing on a busy bike path.

A Seattle writer insists smoking dope makes him a better cyclist, and wonders if it will help with swimming. Probably not. On both counts.

That didn’t take long. Just days after Oregon passed the first country’s first bicycle tax, an anti-tax Colorado state senator proposes a similar bill. Because nothing encourages a healthy, non-polluting, non-destructive form of alternative transportation like taxing it.

A new Utah study says invest in bicycling and walking to improve the state’s economic and physical health.

A Missoula newspaper provides an obituary of Dennis Bernard Sparrow, a noted 1980’s frame builder and member of the 1960s proto-punk band The Missing Lynx.

Bad enough that thieves in a passing car mugged a Lincoln NE man and stole his BMX bike, along with his cellphone and cash; they also stole his puppy.

A Chicago writer questions whether the city’s Vision Zero plan has enough teeth to achieve its ambitious goals. Which is the same question many of us are asking about LA’s plan.

Minneapolis police are looking for a bike rider who may have witnessed officers attempting to resuscitate the unarmed Australian woman the cops shot after she had called 911 to report a sexual assault.

A Kentucky pickup driver is a hero after rescuing a man who wrecked his bicycle and taking him to the ER.

A Philadelphia man was sentenced to 29 to 62 years behind bars for gunning down a 16-year old kid as he rode his bike, following a dispute three months earlier. If he’d used a car instead of a gun, he might be looking at 62 weeks, instead. Or maybe days.

Talk about going the wrong way. Atlanta is the latest city to rip out an apparently success bike lane — in this case one built with the support of REI and People For Bikes — and replaced it with parking.

A Florida woman testifies that her boyfriend convinced her to take the blame after he ran down a bike rider while driving on a suspended license.

 

International

Bike Radar lists five cycling debates that just won’t die, from headphone and helmets to doing the wave.

Canadian bicyclists are calling for a change in the law in Nova Scotia, where dooring a bike rider remains perfectly legal.

A UK letter writer says enforcing the equivalent of a five-foot passing distance will cause gridlock on the streets. Which is pretty much the opposite effect of what it’s had anywhere else.

South African cyclists are planning a ride calling for enforcement of a safe passing distance, and the prosecution of drivers who crash into bike riders. Proving that bicyclists face the same problem exist everywhere.

Cyclists in Sydney, Australia are complaining about cars parked in a bike lane, putting children at risk from oncoming cars when they have to ride into traffic to get around them. Proving once again that the same problems exist everywhere.

Caught on video: An Aussie cyclist is lucky to escape when a driver zooms across his path at the last second.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to steal a bicycle, try not to take it from the local DA. Two drivers collided on a Minnesota bridge, so it’s the drunk bike rider’s fault.

And this pretty well sums up the absurdity of the great LA road diet debate.

Morning Links: Fletcher Drive and Venice Blvd meetings this week; Vision Zero improvements for Temple St

It’s a busy week for the LA bike world.

From Vision Zero and Great Streets, to the grand re-opening of a popular bikeway.

There’s a follow-up meeting to discuss the proposed Vision Zero improvements for Fletcher Drive this Wednesday, as local business groups post misleading information to oppose it. And count KTLA traffic reporter Ginger Chan in the anti camp, evidently.

The battle over the Venice Blvd Great Streets project goes on, with the next skirmish scheduled for an open house in Mar Vista this Saturday. And yes, the folks opposed to the changes are calling for a big turnout. Thanks to Lynn Ingram for the heads-up.

The LACBC posted photos of the proposed Vision Zero improvements for Temple Street, including bike lanes and a 2.3 mile lane reduction.

And the Coyote Creek bikeway is finally reopening tonight in Los Alamitos.

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The yellow jersey comes and goes, and comes back again, though Chris Froome nearly lost the day to a broken spoke on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Guardian features notes from the past week at the Tour de France.

Good question. A Cycling News Op-Ed offers a nuanced take on cycling’s hypocritical and uneven handling of past dopers, questioning why we pillory Tom Simpson, Lance or Jan Ullrich, while giving other riders from the doping era a pass.

A Scottish newspaper addresses the rampant sexism in pro cycling, where podium girls are more visible than women cyclists.

A 21-year old Zimbabwean cyclist has risen to become the nation’s road and mountain bike champ, despite not even owning his own bicycle. Someone get this man a sponsor, stat.

Nice gesture from the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, which gave a new bike, helmet and an autographed pro cycling team jersey to a six-year old Idaho girl suffering from hearing loss.

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Local

Bike riders continue to complain about homeless encampments encroaching on the Orange Line bike path between Sepulveda and Hazeltine, although local businesses say they’re beginning to see improvement as the city steps up enforcement efforts. Part of the problem is that the encampments are on private property, limiting what authorities can do to remove them.

Santa Monica police bust a thief who stole a $1,250 bike when the owner left it unlocked outside a restaurant. Which is sort of like leaving your laptop or smartphone on the sidewalk, and trusting it will be there when you get back.

 

State

Bad news from Laguna Nigel, where a man suffered severe head trauma after losing control of his bike and hitting a tree face first. Let’s hope he makes a full and fast recovery.

A letter writer calls for a walkable, bikeable Mariner’s Mile that will serve as a Main Street for Newport Beach, not a freeway that slashes across the community.

Tragic news from Vallejo, as the 16-year old boy who was hit by a pickup while riding with his father on Thursday has died three days after the crash. Something is seriously wrong when a boy can’t safely go for a ride with his dad.

A Chico letter writer calls on bike advocates to clean up the mess made by homeless camps on a bike path. You know, just like drivers pitch in to clean up the roads they use.

 

National

NASCAR champ Dale Earnhardt Jr. rides his bike to earn more beers.

A Nebraska judge tossed a case against an alleged meth dealer after a cop stopped him for riding in a crosswalk — which isn’t illegal in the state — making everything they found on him inadmissible.

The Nashville Tennessean says yes, cyclists and pedestrians need to pay attention, but if drivers aren’t willing to watch the road, they shouldn’t be on it. Meanwhile, the widow of a fallen rider says to pass bicyclists like you love them. Which is good advice for anyone, no matter who you’re passing or how.

A Central New York bike ride appears to have set a new record for the largest classic bicycle parade, with 158 people riding bikes built as far back as 1923.

 

International

Combine your love of bikes and food with eight culinary bike tours for from around the world. Or maybe you’d prefer a beautiful tour mixing bikes and trains.

This is why you don’t run red lights. Dash cam video captures a Ottawa, Canada bike rider going through a red light and riding directly into the path of an oncoming car; fortunately, the rider was not seriously injured.

A Canadian writer says there’s not a number on your back in a group ride, so don’t treat it like a race.

Not surprisingly, Manchester, England is having the same problems with dockless bikeshare bikes nearly every other city has. Including a London borough that ordered them removed.

After someone stole a British woman’s bicycle, she just stole it back. Even though this turned out okay, it’s always best to let the police handle it; there have been several cases that didn’t end as well.

Now that’s more like it. A British judge sentences a drunk hit-and-run driver who seriously injured a 16-year old bike rider to three years in jail, and revokes his license for more than eleven years, while calling for stiffer penalties for hit-and-run drivers.

A Scottish model is riding the length of the UK to raise funds for children in Cape Verde, but describes the ride as “horrific.”

New stamps from Germany, Switzerland, and Bosnia and Herzegovina commemorate the 200th anniversary of the bicycle, while French stamps honor the invention of concrete.

An Indian man rides his bike over 1,200 miles through the Sahara Desert in 28 days.

An editorial in an Aussie paper says the government should come to its senses and reverse oppressive fines on cycling and the removal of bikeways.

 

Finally…

How many people can say their bike lights are literally out of this world. If you’re going to use your smartphone while you ride, try to look up before crashing into a police car.

And if you think bicyclists are lunatics waging an idiotic war with anyone normal, while riding one yourself, what does that make you?

Just asking.

 

Morning Links: Insights on the Venice Great Streets debate, and Complete Streets discussions in the South Bay

Streetsblog reports on Tuesday’s Mar Vista Community Council debate over the Venice Blvd Great Streets project.

The quasi-governmental body defeated a motion to reject the Venice Great Streets project and return the street to its previous six-lane configuration, before voting 10-1 to support Vision Zero and a six-month reassessment of the project.

Two hours of public comment were roughly evenly divided, with nearly 60 speakers on each side.

Project proponents emphasized the need for safety in response to personal histories of collisions, injuries, and relatives’ traffic deaths. Speakers also brought up climate change, noise pollution, excessive space still dedicated to cars, and improved conditions for seniors and disabled. Proponents emphasized giving the recently opened project a chance to prove itself.

Project opponents raised issues of impacted commute times, emergency response delays, tsunami evacuation routes, disabled access, scofflaw cyclists, excessive Westside development, worsened air quality, and untrustworthy city data – questioning whether the project actually makes the street safer. Ironically, supporters held up orange paper signs stating “stop the unsafe streets project.” Opponent statements included “we want our lane back now,” “L.A. runs on four tires and an internal combustion engine” and “this is not Amsterdam, this is Mar Vista.”

After the meeting, one supporter offered these thoughts after finding himself surrounded by opponents of the Great Streets project, which provide some valuable insights going forward.

(I’m withholding his name due to the vitriol and anger displayed by some of the opponents, and have edited his comments slightly).

The anti crowd was for the most part older, and extremely entrenched in their viewpoints. Their perceptions, accurate or not, will supersede anything put forward by any of us, but especially those of Councilmember Bonin and the LADOT. It doesn’t matter that these perceptions were most likely forged while the project was under construction and therefore the most disruptive. I believe that the way forward is not through this crowd. They will not be moved regardless of how well the project proceeds. At best they’ll quietly subside over time.

Even before the meeting began I heard repeatedly that bicyclists are lawless, always running stop signs and red lights, have no regard for the rules of the road, and “if I hit one I’ll be to blame.” This sentiment was expressed in varying forms every time a professed bicyclist spoke to the council. Being a bicyclist in their minds somehow qualifies one as an activist and therefore not entitled to voicing an opinion. Never mind that pretty much everyone in attendance was an activist simply by attending.

Simply put, I believe the anti crowd feels they are the victims through all this. They see themselves as being overrun by an “elite” bent on making war with their entitled right of dominance of access. It’s almost impossible for them to fathom that a grown person would use a bicycle as anything other than recreation.

However, aside from a few disparaging remarks about victims of traffic, it was clear that the pedestrian safety component of the project transcends the divisions on the other issues. While I have my personal opinions about their concerns over safety, it was heartening to feel even a tiny bit of consensus.

Then again, those opposed to the Great Streets project might want to consider the results of this road diet in Orlando FL before making any rash decisions.

Because of this project, College Park’s main street has become a thriving corridor. Safety greatly improved after the project: total collisions dropped by 40 percent, injury rates declined 71 percent, and traffic counts briefly dropped 12 percent before returning to original levels. Pedestrian counts increased by 23 percent, bicycling activity by 30 percent, and on-street parking—which buffers the sidewalks from automobile traffic—by 41 percent.

In addition, the corridor has gained 77 new businesses and an additional 560 jobs since 2008.

The value of property adjacent to Edgewater and within a half mile of the corridor rose 80 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

That’s what Mar Vista residents have to look forward to, if they just have the patience to let it happen.

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Hermosa Beach will discuss the city’s Bicycle Transportation Network at a special city council meeting next Monday, as part of the PLAN Hermosa (scroll to bottom).

The same night, there will be a public workshop in Manhattan Beach to discuss Living Streets and Complete Streets in the South Bay.

Although you might ask them why complete, livable streets are okay for the South Bay, but not Playa del Rey.

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CNN takes a look at bicycling travel destinations around the world, starting with ten bicycling international routes that will take your breath away, including the Great Divide trail and a rail-to-trail conversion in Montana and Idaho. As well as the five best bike paths in Sydney, Australia.

And follow up by offering their own listing of the most bike friendly cities in the US.

None of which are named Los Angeles.

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No surprise who won the sprint finish in Wednesday’s stage of the Tour de France, which Bike Snob says has outlived it’s usefulness.

Bike Radar writes about trained boxer turned cyclist Nacer Bouhanni throwing a punch during Tuesday’s 10th stage, but all they really seem to care about is his new bike.

Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang will continue in the Tour, despite suffering two small fractures in his left arm after colliding with a teammate on Wednesday; the San Francisco Chronicle responds to all the injuries this year by calling the race a full-contact sport.

A ceremony will be held today on the slopes of Mont Ventoux to honor fallen cyclist Tom Simpson, who died on the ascent during the 1967 Tour de France; race leader Chris Froome plans to honor him during Thursday’s stage.

Former pro Danny Summerhill accepted a plea deal that will keep him out of jail for firing his gun into a hill between two Colorado homes because he was having a bad day on a training ride. Of course, the unanswered question is why he had a gun on his bike, and where he kept it.

Now that’s the right kind of podium girl. German cyclist Florenz Knauer got down on one knee on the podium to propose to his girlfriend after winning a British Columbia grand prix.

A writer for the Guardian says Philippa York can be the trailblazer who hauls cycling into the 21st Century, following her transition from Scottish cyclist and journalist Robert Millar.

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Local

The LA Weekly considers why there are no bike lanes in Skid Row, as residents call on the city to treat them fairly.

The SCV Bicycle Coalition is providing a free bike valet at Saturday’s Concert in the Park by an Earth, Wind and Fire tribute band in Santa Clarita.

A dozen people learned mountain biking skills and etiquette at a free month clinic offered by the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) at Malibu Creek State Park.

CiclaValley has a blast descending Old Topanga Canyon.

 

State

San Clemente has opened a new two-way cycle track along El Camino Real, along with a separate pedestrian walkway.

Former world champ and Olympic cyclist Amber Neben worked with special needs kids in Riverside to learn how to ride an adaptive bicycle.

Ventura County is planning to install three miles of bike lanes along Potrero Road near Thousand Oaks.

Caltrans proposes filling a gap in a Shasta bike trail in hopes of bringing more tourism to the town.

 

National

No surprise here, as a new study shows that people who live in areas with more transportation options have better health.

Strider has formed a non-profit to help distribute their balance bikes to children with mental, physical, or financial challenges.

A Gold Star mother and father stopped in Albuquerque on their four-month bike tour across the US to honor their sons, and all the military men and women killed since 9/11.

Sounds like fun. A Wichita KS bar hosts a show for “freak bikes” or “rat bikes” — aka any funky, weird or unusual bike.

A Wisconsin airman is back to serving as an MP, after two years of training fulltime as a cyclist as part of the Air Force’s World Class Athlete program.

In a sign of just how seriously authorities don’t take traffic crimes, a Wisconsin man was held on a ridiculously low $1,500 bond after he was arrested for attempting to intentionally run over a bicyclist while driving drunk.

A Michigan driver lost control and rolled his car down an embankment. So naturally, the guy on the bike gets the blame.

The Tennessee hit-and-run driver who ran down a bike rider on the Natchez Trace Parkway originally told police a man and a woman on the side of the road threw a bicycle at him.

City Lab looks at the battle over bike lanes in Baltimore, where the mayor had threatened to remove a protected bike lane before being stopped by a court order.

 

International

The crowdfunding campaign we mentioned yesterday for a Calgary cyclist clotheslined by barbed wire strung over a trail has been frozen after the victim closed the account; a police sweep of the trail found no safety issues. And yes, something smells very fishy.

There’s a special place in hell for the men who stole a nine-year old Winnipeg boy’s bicycle, then dragged him behind their pickup when he tried to stop them.

A Halifax randonneur became the first woman to complete a 621-mile Nova Scotia brevet in 74 hours or less, finishing with 10 hours to spare.

Singapore-based Obike becomes the first dockless bikeshare system to open in London, competing with the well-established Boris Bikes.

 

Finally…

Bicycling can make you a better surfer. No need to worry about road debris when you have your own leaf blower bike to blow it away.

And clearly, nothing has changed on LA streets in the past 96 years.

Morning Links: Mar Vista votes to keep road diet, and Manhattan Beach still not happy with Playa del Rey changes

Two up, two down.

Following the lead of the Venice Neighborhood Council, the Mar Vista Community Council voted Tuesday night to keep the Venice Blvd Great Streets project in place.

The board also called for continued study of the project, which removed one traffic lane in each direction on Venice Blvd, while adding parking-protected bike lanes on either side.

And as Rabi Abonour pointed out, even the opponents of the project professed their love for bikes, if not the people on them, before spouting their vehement opposition.

According to Councilmember Mike Bonin, the first round of data for the Venice Blvd Great Streets project will be presented in a public meeting on Saturday the 22nd.

Evidently, some of the media attended a different meeting, though.

Even though reports were that comments were evenly divided between supporters and opponents of the Great Streets project, KABC-7 apparently only heard — or cared — about the people up in arms over it, falsely reporting that Mar Vista residents strongly opposed it.

Fox-11 was a little more balanced in their reporting, however.

Meanwhile, KCBS-2 got the whole concept of Great Streets wrong, insisting that the plan was to conduct a road diet and add bike lanes and parking on one major thoroughfare in every council district throughout the city.

While there will be a Great Streets project in each district, it’s a community-driven process, and up to local residents to decide just what changes to make.

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Needless to say, Manhattan Beach isn’t satisfied with the change to the Play del Rey lane reconfigurations to reduce traffic congestion, preferring that LA rip out exactly the kind of road diets they use in their own city.

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You’ve got to be kidding.

The driver charged in the Tennessee hit-and-run caught on video over the weekend claims he never saw the victim, and didn’t even know he’d hit anyone until he got home and started receiving death threats.

Although given the force of that impact, you’d have to question whether the driver would have to have been in some sort of altered state to not even notice the crash.

Meanwhile, cyclists aren’t letting the incident stop them from riding the 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway, where the wreck occurred.

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A great new British TV spot tries to encourage grown ups to get back on their bikes.

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A pair of British publications remember fallen cyclist Tom Simpson on the 50th anniversary of his death on Mont Ventoux during the 1967 Tour de France.

America’s only remaining Tour de France winner says the hell with unwritten rules, cyclists should attack if anything happens to the race leader during a stage, or sponsors should demand their money back.

Peter Sagan got booted from the Tour de France for what may have been an inadvertent elbow thrown at Mark Cavendish, but France’s Nacer Bouhanni just got a lousy $216 fine for actually punching Kiwi cyclist Jack Bauer.

Afghan sisters Masouma and Zahra Alizada have joined a French cycling team. Not were bought, as the headline says; slavery remains illegal, even in cycling.

Atascadero’s Brian Lucido won the 2,800-mile Great Divide Mountain Bike Race in 14 days, 23 hours.

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Local

KCET reports the recently approved $100 million in state funds completes a trifecta of funding for LA River improvements, much of which will go towards parks and completing the bike path.

Santa Clarita installs new wayfinding signs on local bike and pedestrian trails.

The rich get richer. Bike-friendly Santa Monica is spending nearly $500,000 to improve bike and pedestrian access on the main road leading through the Santa Monica airport, including new sidewalks and a two-way cycle track.

A Redondo Beach woman has taken it on herself to throw away the ghost bike and memorials to 13-year old fallen bike rider Ciara Smith, forcing friends to replace it twice — apparently because it was blocking a sign designating PCH as the Vietnam Memorial Highway.

 

State

California commute times are the longest in the nation. Which may be the best argument yet for riding a bike.

Parking in bike lanes poses a danger to more than just people on bikes. A San Diego man is dead after crashing his car into the back of a semi illegally parked in a bike lane and extending out into the traffic lane.

San Francisco votes to move forward with bike lanes on upper Market Street over the objections of a citizen watchdog who tried to halt them, citing concerns over fire safety.

San Francisco approves rules for dockless bikeshare systems.

 

National

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss and adventurer Brendan Leonard will begin writing weekly columns for Outside Magazine.

Hawaii’s visually impaired Bike Man costumed superhero rides to the top of the 4,200-foot Mauna Kea volcano.

An Oregon bike shop owner says the state’s new bicycle tax will be bad for business, even if it only adds $15 to the cost of any bike over $200.

A South Korean bike tourist feels showered with support when Portland residents pitch in to help after his bike and all his gear was stolen in the city.

Seattle residents debate a hypothetical and highly impractical bicyclist licensing scheme.

A bike-riding Las Vegas thief wins the ingenuity award for using a pole to steal a woman’s purse off the kitchen counter through the doggie door.

Denver puts its money where its mouth is, announcing a $2 billion — with a B — Mobility Action Plan designed to get people out of their cars.

A Milwaukee report concludes poorer neighborhoods provide less access to bike trails. Pretty much like virtually every other large city. Including Los Angeles.

A St. Louis nonprofit is nearing 30 years of helping kids earn a free bike.

A Vermont bakery peddles — and pedals — its wares, towing fresh baked goods in bike trailers to hawk on the streets.

A Savannah GA writer says it’s important to remember that safe streets aren’t a luxury, and being able to ride a bike safely is a necessity for many people.

Nice story from Florida, where a group of cyclists pitch in to buy a new bike for a special needs man after his was stolen, even though he frequently clashed with them.

 

International

The Calgary mountain biker who was clotheslined by barbed wire strung at neck level over a riding trail has started a crowdfunding campaign to pay his medical expenses, as well as buy security cameras for the park he was riding in.

London’s Mirror gets it, writing that “using a phone behind the wheel is like doing a Rubik’s cube while juggling shotguns.” And adds that we forget cars are dangerous because we drive them all the time without incident.

Proving that it is in fact possible to enforce a three-foot passing law, a British truck driver was fined the equivalent of over $1,300 after being ticketed for a too-close pass.

A Glasgow mother used social media to track down the teen who stole her son’s bike, and gave him a life lecture and a hug when she posed as a buyer to reclaim it.

The Department of DIY strikes in Dublin, Ireland, where 17 people formed a human chain to keep drivers from parking in a bike lane.

A woman with Type 1 diabetes rode her bike over 11,000 miles from Italy to Singapore to encourage other diabetics to live their dreams.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to be attacked by a road raging driver, at least request the salted caramel. You could one day race a bike in space.

And yes, bicycling can enlarge your labia, for those of you who have one.

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Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for his generous donation to help support this site, and keep bringing you SoCal’s best bike news every morning.

 

Making the case for desperately needed bike lanes on embattled Westwood Blvd

Maybe.

Just maybe, we may finally be seeing progress in getting desperately needed bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard, after earlier plans were summarily canceled by CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz at the urging of a local homeowner’s group.

Now local traffic planner Ryan Snyder has come up with a new plan that won’t result in the loss of a single traffic lane or parking space.

Westwood homeowner and bike advocate Calla Weimer has once again offered a detailed and insightful analysis of the plan and why it’s needed, this time in the form of a presentation to the Transportation Committee of the Westwood Village Improvement Association.

I’m posting it below with her permission.

She also notes there will be another meeting to discuss the plan at the WVIA Town Hall at 5 pm on February 23rd, at 10880 Wilshire Blvd.

Given the rampant objections to bike lanes on Westwood, there’s still a lot of opposition to the plan, even though it won’t affect anything.

Except to improve traffic flow and make a dangerous street safer for the bike riders who will arrive in droves once the Expo Line opens on the Westside.

So support from cyclists will be vital to get it approved.

Note: I initially used the term NIMBYism to describe opposition to bike lanes on Westwood Blvd. While I feel the term aptly describes many residents in the area, where even dancing is banned in Westwood Village at the insistence of local homeowners, it does not further the conversation in this instance. Terming people who object to bike lanes as NIMBYs and those who want bike lanes as activists merely results in talking past one another, and failing to engage in a genuine conversation between people with differing concerns, making consensus difficult, if not impossible. As a result, I have rewritten this piece to remove the term.

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Bike Infrastructure for Westwood Boulevard

Remarks Submitted to the Westwood Village Improvement Association

4 February 2015

Calla Wiemer*

The challenge of transitioning from a car centric streetscape to one that is bike and pedestrian friendly is nowhere more pressing than on Westwood Boulevard. This heavily biked corridor exhibits an alarmingly high incidence of car-bike collision and cyclist injury. With the Westwood station of the Expo light rail line slated to open later in 2015, interest in biking the boulevard can be expected to ramp up sharply, compounding the conflict between bike and car.

This submission to the Westwood Village Business Improvement Association makes three points:

1) The incidence of car-bike collision and cyclist injury on Westwood Boulevard is unacceptably high.

2) Bike infrastructure should be developed as a network and integrated with rail transit. The Ryan Snyder “Remove Nothing Plan” jump starts the conversation on this for Westwood Boulevard.

3) Mayor Garcetti’s “Great Streets” designation for Westwood Boulevard calls on us to aspire to more than just removing nothing.

 

Collision & Injury

First, a few summary statistics on collision and injury for the whole of Westwood Boulevard will be presented. Following that, conditions will be analyzed and collision counts reported segment by segment for the length of the boulevard. Data on collision and injury are drawn from the Transportation Injury Mapping System of the University of California, Berkeley. Case identification numbers for the collisions along with explanatory notes are provided in an appendix.

  • The five year period 2009-2013 saw 36 collisions reported between bikes and motor vehicles along the 2.7 mile length of Westwood Boulevard.
  • Four of the cases were felony hit and runs.
  • The cyclist was at fault in only three cases, the motorist in 26, with no fault assigned in the 
remaining seven.
  • The cyclist was injured in all 36 cases; no motorist was injured.

Collision incidence varies along the length of Westwood Boulevard commensurate with discernible differences in conditions. The table that follows distinguishes four segments, presenting collision counts and distance in miles for each. It should be borne in mind that ridership decreases appreciably from north 
to south. Counts taken during the peak hours of 7:00-9:00 am and 4:00-6:00 pm on November 6, 2013 tallied 256 riders at LeConte Avenue, 157 at Santa Monica Boulevard, 116 at LaGrange Avenue, and 110 at Ashby Avenue (source here).

Location

Collisions

Miles

LeConte-Wellworth (incl)

5

0.5

Wellworth-Santa Monica

10

0.6

Santa Monica-Pico (incl)

18

0.8

Pico-National

3

0.8

Along the most northerly segment of Westwood Boulevard through the Village, motorized traffic moves very slowly. The large number of pedestrians crossing at intersections helps to animate driver attention. Only five of the 36 collisions occurred in the half mile stretch between LeConte Avenue and Wellworth Avenue (inclusive of cross streets at both ends). This is despite the much higher ridership at the north end of the boulevard.

Bike lanes begin at Wellworth Avenue and extend to just north of Santa Monica Boulevard. These bike lanes, however, are narrow and pass through the door zone of parked cars that line both sides of the street. The lanes are often obstructed by double parked cars or cars in the process of parking or exiting parking. Motorized traffic along this stretch can move at high rates of speed. Ten of the 36 collisions occurred along this 0.6 mile stretch.

By far the most treacherous segment lies between Santa Monica Boulevard and Pico Boulevard. Motor vehicle travel lanes are too narrow to allow the three feet of passing space required for overtaking cyclists. On the northbound side, street parking is suspended during peak hours with two lanes then allocated for travel. During these hours, most cyclists cling timidly to the curb, enticing motorists to try to squeeze by within the same lane in disregard of the three-foot law. On the southbound side where parking is
permitted at all times, most cyclists cleave to the door zone, again tempting motorists to pass within the same lane. Fully half of the 36 collisions took place on this 0.8 mile stretch. This high incidence of collision occurred despite a much lower ridership than further north.

The most southerly segment from Pico Boulevard to National Boulevard carries much lighter traffic than parts north. A dedicated left turn lane is little used for the purpose since cross streets are few and lightly traveled. Thus northbound, where there is only one travel lane, motor vehicles overtaking cyclists tend to move into the center lane to afford comfortable passing space. By contrast, with two travel lanes southbound, conflict between cyclists and motorists in the rightmost lane is a problem. Still, only three of the 36 collisions occurred along this 0.8 mile stretch.

To put these numbers into perspective, consider that car-bike collisions on Westwood Boulevard occurred at a rate of 2.7 per mile per year during the period 2009-2013. For the segment between Santa Monica and Pico Boulevards, the rate was 4.5 per mile per year. By contrast, for Los Angeles County as a whole in 2011, the rate was 0.24 per mile. The rates on Westwood Boulevard are thus higher by more than an order of magnitude than for the county generally. This calls for community action to meet a reasonable standard of street safety.

 

The “Remove Nothing Plan”

The “Remove Nothing Plan” by Ryan Snyder takes as its premise that no motor vehicle travel lane or parking space should be given up. Even under this severe restriction, the plan finds scope for bike safety enhancements for each and every diverse segment of Westwood Boulevard. The plan provides a fine point of departure for discussion. By addressing Westwood Boulevard as a comprehensive whole, it stands up to a political process that has in the past treated the street in fragments affording any neighborhood association or influential local figure veto power against change. But a transportation system must function as a citywide network. It cannot be patched together at intervals counted in blocks. And with rail lines going in and interest in cycling surging in the city of Los Angeles, Westwood Boulevard cannot stand apart.

If any portion of Westwood Boulevard is dangerous for biking, the corridor itself is dangerous. Safe passage must be afforded from end to end to create a viable transportation link. For the most dangerous stretch of the boulevard between Santa Monica and Pico, the “Remove Nothing Plan” proposes sharrows (arrows painted on the pavement to indicate bikes and cars must share the lane) and signage. This would constitute a significant improvement over the status quo. When the lane is too narrow for cars to overtake bikes legally, the safest behavior for a cyclist is to take the lane. This forces motorists to move to the adjacent lane in order to pass. Cyclists who are bold enough to take the lane now on Westwood Boulevard are often met with honking and shouting. Many are too intimidated to hold their ground. Sharrows and signage would help check threatening behavior by motorists and encourage cyclists to claim a safe space.

The dangers on the Santa Monica to Pico stretch of Westwood Boulevard are of such magnitude, and the proposed mitigation measures of such ease, that the measures should be implemented without further delay. The conversation should then move on to the larger issue of how the community can best make use of its limited street space. Perhaps this discussion will be catalyzed when motorists find cyclists claiming their shared lane at a rate of one every minute or two during peak hours, especially when that means a given motorist must often overtake the same cyclist repeatedly as they leapfrog along together through stoplights. So, what other approaches might there be to not only accommodate existing cyclists, but motivate people in greater numbers to get out of their cars and take to their bikes? On this note, the discussion should turn to the mayor’s “Great Streets” initiative.

 

Westwood Boulevard as a Great Street

Mayor Garcetti has invited us to re-envision Westwood Boulevard as a “Great Street”. His designation applies specifically to the stretch that runs through Westwood Village, but the community has every opportunity to expand on that. For a street to merit the label “great”, it should act as a safe and welcoming public space. It should accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists, and not allow human life to be crowded out by motorized traffic and parked cars. It should be graced with sidewalk rest spots and beautiful landscaping and should support thriving businesses.

To achieve such a vision will involve change. Street space on Westwood Boulevard is now given over almost entirely to motor vehicles, many of which sit empty. Street parking should be on the table for discussion. Parking can be provided off street – and indeed is overwhelmingly provided off street already – whereas mobility in its various guises cannot be. Along the dangerous stretch of Westwood Boulevard between Santa Monica and Pico, more than 90 percent of parking is currently provided off street (source here). The less than 10 percent of parking that is on street unquestionably yields benefits to some individuals. But whether this is the best use of a public resource under today’s changing circumstances is a discussion the community ought to have.

People in increasing numbers do not wish to be encased in steel and glass and powered by fossil fuels for their every move about town; not when the alternative is the exhilaration of riding a bicycle. This change in lifestyle could be a great thing for public health, for the environment, and for street life. It could be a great thing for Westwood Boulevard.

 

Appendix

Collision data analyzed in this document are taken from the Transportation Injury Mapping System of the University of California, Berkeley (website here). Case identification numbers are given below.

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

4034615
4234410
4344350
4385290
4492457
4512304
4629058
4640680
4643254
4820508
5015804
5112556
5194281
5219033
5219037
5289084
5354124
5354132
5361255
5385158
5453135
5474924
5667951
5760408
5900383
5950842
5960237
5975338
6008917
6065016
6086196
6137746
6260375
6260378
6287803
6305334

Cases were selected only if Westwood Boulevard was reported as the primary street. This means collisions that occurred in an intersection with Westwood Boulevard given as the secondary street were not selected.

Data for 2013 are provisional and incomplete.

* Calla Wiemer owns a home just off Westwood Boulevard and bikes the corridor on a regular basis. This document can be found along with her other writings on bike lanes referenced herein at http://www.callawiemer.com/Pages/BikeLanes.aspx.

 

Weekend Links: First Great Streets unveiled, say hello to Allo, and bikes as weapons of war

I wasn’t expecting any bike news in Mayor Garcetti’s State of the City address.

So I confess, I wasn’t paying that close attention as I worked on other things. Fortunately, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton confirmed what I thought I heard on Thursday.

And that is that six LA streets have been identified as the city’s first to be unveiled under the mayor’s Great Street’s initiative:

  • Crenshaw Blvd
  • Figueroa Street
  • Gaffey Street (San Pedro)
  • Reseda Blvd
  • Van Nuys Blvd
  • Westwood Blvd

Hats off to the mayor for selecting streets that represent a broad cross-section of the city. Only Westwood could be described as passing through an upscale neighborhood, while Crenshaw and Figueroa are every bit as iconic as Wilshire Blvd, home of last Sunday’s CicLAvia.

The goal is to make these streets accessible to everyone — including bicyclists, pedestrians and the handicapped — with green streets, plants, art and people-focused plazas.

It will be interesting to see how far Garcetti’s initiative gets in the face of Westwood’s infamous NIMBYism, and local Council Member Paul Koretz opposition to bike lanes on the street.

……….

The Kickstarter for the Allo combination speaker and handlebar cell phone mount has been fully funded, so you’ll soon be able to listen to music, use navigation, make phone calls or use any app you want while you ride. And now you can pre-order your Allo for $35 until the campaign ends on Sunday.

Personally, I’d rather keep my hands on the handlebars and my attention on the road in front of me.

But that’s just me.

……….

Local

Metro honors six-month bike commuter Nick Rosenblum as part of their monthly Why You Ride series.

How to report broken LA bike racks or other street repair problems.

USC’s Neon Tommy talks with Maria Sipin, one of the city’s leading — and one of my favorite — bike and transit advocates.

MIT Media Lab has combined LAPD records and Google Map data to create a detailed map of LA bike crashes. Not surprisingly, the worst streets are Olympic, Venice and Sunset Boulevards.

 

State

I shoehorned this one in at the last minute last night, but it deserves more attention. Historically risk — and modern times — averse Caltrans has adopted the forward-thinking NACTO Guide, which could be a real game changer for California streets and cyclists. Streetsblog explains why it matters.

Bike Newport Beach calls for more, and more visible, bike cops to improve safety. And they suggest taking your helmet off when you’re not actually on your bike.

San Diego County goes all eminent domain on property owners’ asses to build seven miles of bikeways, but regional leaders still think freeways first.

A memorial ride will be held Saturday for fallen San Diego cyclist David Voight, killed by a suspected drunk driver in a stolen car last month.

San Diego bike thieves target high-end bikes.

Stockton police are looking for a woman wearing a purple coat and head wrap, riding a purple bike, who whipped another woman in a dog dispute; no word on what her rival, or the dog, was wearing.

Ciclovia comes to Yosemite, as 17-mile Yosemite Road opens to bikes only this weekend.

 

National

A new Minneapolis study shows bike lanes don’t adversely affect vehicular traffic if you put them in the right places.

Wisconsin gets a new vulnerable user law; a similar bill is under consideration in California.

 

International

Maybe they need to bring back the mythical war on the car in Toronto. See below for just the bikes to do it with.

Brit advocacy group protests the incredibly light sentence given a youthful careless driver who took the life of a cyclist out for the maiden ride on his new bike.

The Guardian asks if shaming bike riders is a good thing when the cams are turned back on us.

A 125-year old Yorkshire cycling club discovers materials documenting members returning to bicycling after coming home from the war. In 1919.

David Hembrow says shared spaces don’t protect the vulnerable, but prioritize the powerful.

Former Amgen Tour of California and defending Vuelta winner Chris Horner suffered serious injuries when he was apparently hit by a car while training near Italy’s Lake Como.

 

Finally…

A new Japanese bike is designed to unfold into a wheelchair, allowing riders to turn into rescuers in emergency situations. Or it could come in handy the next time I attempt to ride Wilshire on a non-CicLAvia.

And Rex Reese forwards word that the peaceful, unassuming bicycle has had its place as a weapon of war in sometimes silly, sometimes frightening ways. Which could also come in handy the next time I try to ride Wilshire. Although that photo of the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corp posing in Yellowstone in 1896 is seriously cool.

 

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