Tag Archive for green bike lanes

Morning Links: Green bike lanes coming to Beverly Hills, and windshield bias from Pepperdine economics prof

Hell is about to freeze over.

After years of telling us it was impossible and repeatedly voting it down, Beverly Hills has given final approval for bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd, between Wilshire Blvd and Doheny Drive.

The city council also overrode a staff recommendation for white striped lanes with a little green paint at key conflict zones, instead voting for green lanes the entire length, at a cost of around $100,000 — nearly triple the staff’s $35,000 budget.

Which should give you an idea just how cheap bike lanes really are.

The work should be done sometime this spring.

Thanks should go to Beverly Hills’ bike-friendly Mayor Lili Bosse, as well as Better Bike’s Mark Elliot, who continued a quixotic and nearly solitary fight for the lanes, long after others had given up.

Myself included.

Photo from Beverly Hills website.

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I’d give this econ professor an F.

In an Op-Ed for the Orange County Register, Pepperdine’s Gary Galles writes that transit use is down because cars remain popular.

And that the reason they are so popular is because they are “vastly superior” transit and other forms of non-motorized transportation.

Many things are already in motion to solve transit agencies’ problems. For instance, in 2015, Los Angeles began a 20-year plan to remove auto lanes for bus and protected bike lanes, as well as pedestrian enhancements, diverting transportation funds raised from drivers and heightening congestion for the vast majority who planners already know will continue to drive.

Such less than effective attempts to cut driving by creating gridlock purgatory suggest we ask a largely ignored question. Why do planners’ attempts to force residents into walking, cycling and mass transit, supposedly improving their quality of life, attract so few away from driving?

The reason is simple — cars are vastly superior to alternatives for the vast majority of individuals and circumstances.

Of course, what he fails to consider from his windshield-perspective perch overlooking PCH is that drivers around Southern California already complain about massive traffic congestion.

And, in fact, one of the reasons bus use is less attractive that driving is that bus schedules are constantly thrown off by all those people in cars jamming streets beyond their practical capacity.

So what traffic planners are attempting isn’t to create a gridlock purgatory.

It’s dealing with the traffic congestion hell we already find ourselves in, and preparing for an otherwise dystopian future in which more and more people try to jam themselves into an already built-out traffic system that can no longer be expanded.

So unless we provide those people with safe, practical alternatives to driving, our streets will continue to get worse with every new car added to the grid.

That means more frequent and reliable transit, and safer walking and biking. Which in some cases will require making traffic worse in the short term in order to make it better in the long term.

As an economics professor, he should understand that.

But as a shill for the motor vehicle industry, he’s doing a damn good job.

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The Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council will discuss the draft Hollywood Community Plan at the William & Ariel Durant Library, 7140 West Sunset Blvd on Wednesday, Feb. 21, from 6-8 pm.

If you live, work or ride in bikeway-challenged Hollywood, you’ll want to be there to support the bike lanes described in Section 6 of the plan.

Because the Hollywood Hills homeowners will undoubtedly turn out in force once again to complain about density and traffic congestion. As well as bike lanes, if they think it will contribute to either one.

Thanks to the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition for the heads-up.

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Local

A Pacoima square will be dedicated in honor of fallen cyclist Saul Lopez, the 15-year old boy who was collateral damage in a crash between two cars at Glenoaks Boulevard and Vaughn Street after one of the drivers ran a red light.

 

State

Coronado, where bike lanes give residents vertigo, considers improving bike safety by replacing stop signs with roundabouts; needless to say, not everyone approves.

The annual Tour de Palm Springs rolls this weekend, and a letter writer says it’s rude to ride two or more abreast and force drivers to change lanes (scroll down) to go around them. Even though that’s exactly what drivers are supposed to do, unless there’s a solid yellow line.

A Bakersfield columnist shares the joys of his regular Saturday morning group ride, which has been riding together for over 20 years.

Not so fast on the bike boulevard in San Luis Obispo, as the cycle track portion of the project has been put on hold after residents rise up to demand their God-given right to free street parking.

The former mayor of SLO tries to out-crazy the Coronado NIMBY’s, describing the planned bikeway as “urban rape … not to be performed by a male penis, but by thousands of inanimate bicycles … .” No, seriously.

Three-time world champ Peter Sagan will host a pair of California fondos, starting with a gravel ride in Truckee this May, and a road ride in a city TBD in November.

 

National

Nice idea. In an attempt to support sustainable transportation, a Washington couple builds a small Bike Hut on the edge of their property, providing riders in need with spare tubes, chain lube and other small necessities.

A Montana paper looks at the efforts of rural towns to capitalize on bicycle tourism.

Zen and the art of bicycle maintenance in Minneapolis.

After moving off campus, a Johns Hopkins University student discovers the joys of bicycling in Baltimore and the city’s monthly Bike Party.

A writer from Los Angeles falls head-over-heels — literally — for mountain biking just a few hours outside Atlanta. And wonders why he doesn’t do it more here in California.

 

International

A couple of British pub owners ride the length of South America, covering over 3,000 miles from Chile to Argentina.

A London physician gets it, saying the city’s Camden neighborhood won’t meet its smog reduction goals without a greater emphasis on bicycling and presumed liability. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, presumed liability assumes the operator of the more dangerous vehicle is at fault in any collision, unless it can be proven that the other party is at fault, because they have a greater responsibility to avoid crashes due to their ability to cause greater harm.

A British coroner rules that a velodrome did not follow safety guidelines when a cyclist was killed in a 35 mph crash with another rider in 2014.

An Aussie letter writer says bicycles should be required to have bells, since there’s apparently no other way to politely warn others a bike is approaching. And seems to be under the illusion that drivers politely yield to people on bikes and on foot.

 

Competitive Cycling

An entre Italian amateur team gets busted for systematic doping (scroll down) following the heart attack death of a 21-year old cyclist last May. But sure, tell us again how the era of doping is over.

VeloNews previews this year’s Amgen Tour of California, and says the key stages will be the famed Gibraltar climb and the time trial in Morgan Hill. And looks at how the pros overcome the fear of failure and getting hurt.

 

Finally…

Evidently, I’m not actually a road cyclist. Maybe someday you’ll ride wearing an inflatable flak jacket.

And today is International Winter Bike to Work Day.

So pat yourself on the back if you were able to somehow endure Southern California’s sunny winter weather on your way to work this morning.

Morning Links: SoCal bike deaths drop, green bike lanes coming to Mar Vista, and cycling won’t make you limp

Sixty-two.

That’s the number of people who died riding their bikes in Southern California last year.

Which is an improvement in some ways, because it represents a significant drop from the 73 people killed in the seven-county area last year. And an even bigger drop from the 86 people killed in 2014.

But it’s still 62 too many.

LA Curbed examines last year’s deaths, including the 26 people who died in Los Angeles County last year, including my fears of what’s behind the decline.

And be forewarned before you venture into the comments there, or on Reddit.

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Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin forwards word that the protected bike lanes that were installed on Venice Blvd as part of the Mar Vista Great Streets project will be getting green paint to make them more obvious to some of the more oblivious drivers and bike riders.

As we’ve noted here before, these bike lanes were installed as a one-year pilot project, with adjustments made as needed when issues arise, or opportunities for improvements become evident.

This sounds like a little of both.

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Relax, guys.

A new study from UC San Francisco says riding a bike does not cause erectile dysfunction or infertility.

In fact, the study showed that not only does cycling not affect men’s sexual or urinary health, but that men who rode over 25 miles a day actually had better erectile function.

So you can spend all the time you want in the saddle and still get it up have kids.

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Local

You can’t ride on the 10 Freeway in Santa Monica, but you may be able to ride in a park over it someday.

A West Hollywood study suggests a number of safety improvements that could reduce bicycle and pedestrian crashes on Fountain Ave by 25% to 55%. However, bike lanes don’t appear to be among the recommendations; the street currently has sharrows despite the heavy, often high-speed traffic.

 

State

The bicyclist who posted video of the massive homeless camp along the Santa Ana River Trail now wishes he’d been a little more sensitive.

Ebike maker Haibike is moving to Simi Valley after relocating to Denver just a year ago.

Santa Maria considers a makeover of its downtown to create a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly atmosphere. Although they may discover that a $300,000 grant doesn’t go very far.

Bike Bakersfield has a new executive director.

The mayor of Mountain View is one of us, riding his bike around town and taking his helmet with him into meetings.

An armored truck hit a tree in San Francisco after driving down a separated bike lane instead of the traffic lane.

It’s always polite to fist-bump the cop who manages to chase you down on your bike before busting you for possession.

 

National

Bicycling profiles Ben Serotta as he returns to framebuilding, and examines what fear does to your body when some jerk nearly runs you off the road.

HuffPo considers how bicyclists got screwed out of their measly $20 a month bike commuting benefit in the new GOP tax bill, while drivers got to keep a $255 monthly deduction.

The people who work behind the scenes keeping dockless bikeshare working are getting screwed by the outsourcing gig economy. Or at least the ones working for Ofo.

An Idaho self-help author turns his attention advising drivers on how to coexist with bicyclists, with surprisingly good results.

Talk about a bad business deal. A Montana man is busted after buying an $1,800 stolen bicycle for $600, then pawning it for $200 three days later.

A Minneapolis paper discovers the lack of women working in bike shops — which also leads to a lack of women shopping in them.

A New York advocacy group says congestion pricing is the only way to reach zero traffic fatalities in the city, by getting more cars off the street. Something that hasn’t even been discussed in Los Angeles, where drivers would probably riot if anyone actually tried to pry them out of their cars.

This is how it’s supposed to be done. A DC-area county will build protected bike lanes for bicyclists who won’t be able to use a popular bike path during construction for a light rail line.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a trailer from Florida’s Jack the Bike Man, who gives thousands of refurbished bikes to kids every Christmas.

 

International

If you build it, they will come. After Calgary built out a complete protected bike lane network in the downtown area, the percentage of women riders rose to 25%. Which is still far too low, but at least it’s headed in the right direction.

A Montreal writer pens an ode to orphan bikes, which are forced to spend the winter cold, alone and unloved.

A London art exhibit features miniature landscapes of bike routes the artist has traveled.

A woman in the UK writes about how she fell in love with riding a bike after getting on one for the first time in 40 years.

A Brit writer relates how he failed four basic safety lessons on his first day as an amateur bike rider. Which somehow implies the rest of us are getting paid for it.

British police are looking for a bike rider who pushed a 17-year old girl over as she was walking in a bike lane. Don’t do that. Ever. Period.

After an Aussie cyclist barely avoids getting sucked under a semi, she’s victimized again by abusive online comments.

The “menace” of joyriding Malaysian stunt bicyclists is spreading across the country, despite a crash last year that killed eight teenage riders, and another that killed two others last week.

 

Competitive Cycling

A new French book suggests that Lance was doping his bike as well as his blood.

USA Today looks at the debate over testosterone testing of transgender women, two of whom are hoping to make the US Olympic cycling team, on opposite sides of the debate.

Belgian cyclist Tim Wellens says inhaler use is wrong, despite pulling out of last year’s Tour de France with breathing problems.

Sad news from the UK, where a man who had been battling depression hung himself four days after he failed to finish a 24-hour bike race.

 

Finally…

How to pedal without ever leaving home or having to deal with other humans. Seriously, how big a bike pump will it take to inflate that thing?

And this is why you stop traffic before putting up the finish gate.

Morning Links: Truck driver charged in 2015 death; LA capitulates on green lanes, and ranks low on low stress

About damn time.

After a 20 month delay, the LA County District Attorney’s office has finally charged the driver responsible for the death of Long Beach bike rider Robert Castorena in 2015.

Fifty-year old Utah resident Wesley Phil Blake was charged with vehicular manslaughter for attempting to cross under a railroad bridge in Carson that was too low for the load he was carrying on his flatbed truck. It dislodged the massive shipping container, which fell off and crushed Castorena as he rode his bike on the sidewalk.

Blake was reportedly driving as a result of a trucking strike at the Port of Los Angeles, and may have been attempting to cut corners since he was being paid by the load, rather than the hour.

He faces up to six years in prison if he’s convicted.

His victim has already been sentenced to death.

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Once again, the LA City Council has chosen the film industry over your safety when it comes to putting green bike lanes on the streets.

A compromise agreement with the city council — which reads more like a capitulation to the industry — commits the city to using a far less noticeable shade of forest green, which pretty much defeats the entire purpose of green bike lanes.

It also establishes a three-year moratorium on any new green paint in popular filming locations, and commits to notifying the city’s FilmLA before installing green paint on other high filming streets.

Yet all this is just the industry forcing the city to bend over to kiss its collective ass to its will, since the green paint can be removed in post production, and can be easily covered before filming.

Maybe we should start a crowdfunding campaign to buy some damn black mats to cover the green lanes during locations shoots, since Hollywood production studios can’t seem to find any money for them in their $100 million budgets.

And maybe remind the council that, as important as the film industry is to LA, this is a city, not a studio backlot.

And people actually live here.

This is the dull color LA’s new green bike lanes will be, as opposed to the bright, highly visible green on Santa Monica’s Main Street at the top of this page. Thanks to Michael MacDonald for the photo.

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People for Bikes has introduced a new nationwide map to show how 299 cities rate in terms of being able to ride your bike on a low stress network, determined by factors such as how easy it is to ride to school, shopping or a doctor.

Not surprisingly, many small towns rated high for low stress.

And equally unsurprising, Los Angeles scored an extremely low 19, compared to other cities, which scored as high as 80.

The site is still in beta, and looking for feedback through the 14th of next month. But they seem to have gotten our ranking right, anyway.

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The LACBC will host a ride on the lower portion of the LA River bike path this Saturday.

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The grueling Race Across America — better known as RAAM — kicked off in Oceanside yesterday; the winners should reach the finish in Annapolis MD in a little over a week.

A team of San Bernardino firefighters are competing to raise funds and awareness for their fellow firefighters with cancer.

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Yesterday we linked to the Go Fund Me page for track cyclist John Walsh, who was seriously injured in a fall while competing on Sunday. Now Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson suggests it wasn’t an accident.

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Local

Maybe he got the message. CD1’s Gil Cedillo is co-hosting a discussion with the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council next Tuesday to draft an action plan to improve pedestrian, bike and traffic safety. Show up and tell him to approve the North Figueroa road diet if he’s serious about saving lives; if not, it’s just more talk and political posturing. Thanks to Harv for the heads-up.

KABC-7 professes to offer tips to keep you safe while bicycling, but doesn’t get any further than helmets and lights. Note to KABC — bike lights are required in California, and every other state in the US. Not just Santa Monica.

A San Marino jewelry store owner has set out on a 3,000 mile ride across the US to raise funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), after his riding partner died of the disease four years ago.

LA County has issued a $10,000 reward for the capture and conviction of a bike-riding man who attempted to rape a woman on a South El Monte bike trail. Let’s hope they find this creep and lock him up for a long time.

 

State

A new UC Irvine study shows safe passing laws don’t appear to have had any effect on fatalities.

Go Human and Orange County Parks hosted a pop-up event to show how cycle tracks could connect a gap in the county’s 66-mile OC Loop bike trail network.

The Daily Pilot discovers the South African cyclist towing a replica rhino down the left coast as he pauses in Huntington Beach to raise awareness of the risks to the endangered species.

A Central California public radio station looks into whether mountain bikes should be allowed in US wilderness areas.

San Francisco’s BART rail system is testing a new smart bike lock system in their stations; the Estonian maker of the lock says not a single bike has been stolen from one of their locks in over a million uses in Europe.

An Oakland resident maps out a two-wheeled pub crawl.

A Marin columnist says separate but equal is the solution to the county’s conflict over allowing mountain bikes on the local trails.

 

National

Bicycling looks at where you can legally ride your ebike, which isn’t as simple a question as it seems. In California, ebikes capable of up to 20 mph are allowed on bike paths, and bikes capable of up to 28 mph can ride in bike lanes. Anything faster than that is legally considered a motorcycle, and requires a license and helmet.

An Austin TX bike group says the minor charges against the driver who ran down four bicyclists, claiming he fell asleep at the wheel, aren’t serious enough to fit the crime.

Nice story, as a seven-year old Louisiana girl stops in Chicago to meet with bike cops on a nationwide tour to hug police officers in every state across the US.

Police in a Chicago suburb are ticketing bike riders for good behavior by giving them coupons for free ice cream for riding safely.

After someone stole a custom tricycle from an adult man with Down syndrome, Chicago-area residents crowdfund money to buy a replacement within days.

A Massachusetts bill would establish a three-foot passing distance for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as equestrians and road workers, increasing by one foot for each 10 miles per hour over 30 mph.

The Department of DIY wins one for a change, as Providence RI replaces toilet plungers installed by a bike rider with actual plastic flex poles to mark a protected bike lane.

A Baltimore judge issues a restraining order to keep the city’s mayor from ripping out a partially installed protected bike lane in response to complaints from NIMBYs.

 

International

A Canadian consultant argues that better bike lanes don’t just improve safety, they boost the local economy.

Traffic speeds are being cut to 20 mph on streets throughout the UK through 2020 as part of a Scottish study to determine if lower speed limits really do reduce injuries and fatalities.

Why settle for one world record, when you can set four in a single day?

Yes, France’s new president really is one of us, and so is his wife and security detail.

An Aussie newspaper says cyclists can’t stay at the bottom of the street food chain.

 

Finally…

Nothing like trying to do a good deed, and going for an unexpected swim; thanks to David Wolfberg for the link. If you’re investigating a hit-and-run involving a bike rider, it might help to release a photo of the truck that hit him instead of the bike that got hit.

And when your first sentence starts “”The time of the year when middle aged morons take to the highways with their bicycles and block traffic…”, it’s smart to hide behind a paywall.

 

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day — Main Street Santa Monica goes neon green

New green bike lanes below Pico in Santa Monica.

New green bike lanes below Pico in Santa Monica.

When the revelers stumble out onto Main Street in Santa Monica tonight, they may think the street has been dressed just for those who pretend to be Irish by getting fighting drunk for a night.

But they’d be wrong.

Even if the pavement matches the green beer they’ll soon be regurgitating onto it.

Because actually, the street has been repainted for your benefit. And not just for one night.

As of Friday, the much maligned door zone bike lane on the Santa Monica stretch of Main Street has been widened, and repainted in a vivid shade of green guaranteed to cause conniptions in a Hollywood location scout.

Or at least, that’s the effect a similar shade had in Downtown LA.

Intermittent patches of green lead up to intersections.

Intermittent patches of green lead up to intersections; you can see where the lane marker has been moved left.

Maybe that’s why the lanes are only intermittent south of Pico, where they match up with LA’s normally hued lanes through Venice. And full green only north of Pico, where they pass through the city’s civic center, where presumably, fewer film permits are in demand.

Or maybe Santa Monica just recognized the risk posed by all those drivers trying to access City Hall and the LA County Courthouse.

In fact, that’s long been on of the mostly likely places to get right hooked among my usual riding routes, as confused drivers cut across the bike lane to access Civic Center parking.

Broken lane leading to the entrance to City Hall/Courthouse parking lot.

Broken lane leading to the entrance to City Hall/Courthouse parking lot.

Whether a bright shade of green will help with that, or convince drivers they don’t belong there — despite the break in the paint — and make them more likely to turn across the lane rather than merge into it as the law and safety requires, remains to be determined.

I’d rather see the full green on the south section as a vivid reminder to drivers to look for riders before opening their doors or turning across the lane. We’ll have to see if the city’s spot job will do the job.

On the other hand, that extra foot of bike lane should make a huge difference by allowing cyclists to ride further outside the door zone without having to leave the bike lane.

Here’s a fast-forward view of the civic center lanes on both sides between Pico and Santa Monica Place.

Let’s just hope they hose them down in front of the bars Tuesday morning.

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Just down the road and around the corner on Abbott Kinney, LADOT installed the City of Angels’ third and fourth bike corrals last week, on a street that has long suffered from a lack of adequate bike parking.

When every other parking meter has a bike attached — which is technically illegal, though rarely enforced — it suggests an unmet demand, which the city has wisely heeded.

Even if, on the day I checked it out, one had as many hipsters enjoying lunch in and on it as it did locked-up bikes.

Just out of the frame, one more bike and two more guys sitting on the railing having lunch.

Just out of the frame, one more bike and two more guys sitting on the railing having lunch.

A brand new bike corral, full on a Friday afternoon.

A brand new bike corral, nearly full on a Friday afternoon.

One of the new bike corrals adorned with the new LADOT #bikeLA sticker.

One of the new bike corrals adorned with the new LADOT #bikeLA sticker.

 

 

An open letter to the Los Angeles City Council — Don’t let LA down on Wednesday

You’re scaring us.

After putting off the motion from Councilmembers Huizar and Reyes to repaint the Spring Street Bike Lanes from last Friday, to Tuesday, to today, we have to wonder what’s going on.

Like whether negotiations have been going on behind the scenes that we haven’t been privy to. Or if the vote has been repeatedly postponed to reduce the number of bicyclists who can attend to argue for the motion; after all, it’s one thing to clear your schedule for a single day, quite another to clear it over and over again.

Paranoid, I know.

But that’s what happens when the lies — yes, lies — of the film industry seem to take precedence over the safety and preferences of the city’s citizens.

Starting with the absurd claim that a little bit of green paint is chasing thousands of film industry jobs out of the city, when in fact, filming in Los Angeles is up over the last year.

Then there’s the lie that no other city in country has green bike lanes, or at least this particular shade of green. When in fact they’ve been in use in cities across the country, from Portland to Chicago and New York, with more coming every day. And the new bike lanes on San Francisco’s Market Street seem to be a very familiar hue.

And don’t get me started on the ridiculous claim that the lanes are impossible to remove in post production. Or that the real problem is the reflected glow from the lanes; I can color correct video to remove unwanted tints in just a few minutes on my laptop, with a lot less computer power — and skill — than even the lowliest production house employs.

Then again, a little paint — or any of the attributes of a modern city, for that matter — never stopped the Hollywood of old, which knew how to hide problematic things before filming ever began.

John Ford, Frank Capra or Stanley Kubrick would have just covered the street with hay or a black mat to hide the offending paint. FilmLA could easily invest in a mat that could be rented to production crews on a daily basis for minimal cost.

Or just give me a couple of hours and a box of gaffers tape, and I guarantee there won’t be a hint of green in the dailies.

Then there’s the claim — okay, lie — that supporters of the bike lanes have repeatedly backed out of compromise solutions that would work for everyone, from changing the paint to a less reflective hue to dramatically reducing the surface area to be painted.

I’ve talked to people directly involved in the discussion. And each one has made it clear that it was the representatives of the film industry that backed out after everyone thought they had an agreement.

Which raises the question of what, exactly, they want.

The only answer that makes sense is they want the bike lanes to go away. Not because they actually cause a problem, but because the film industry wants to stop any future changes to what they consider their street.

But it’s not.

It’s not a Hollywood back lot. It’s our home.

We live and work here. We ride our bikes for transportation and recreation, to work and shopping, nights out and meetings — sometimes with you. And sometimes, just because it’s fun.

Those green lanes, as battered and faded as they may be, have been a huge success.

And even motorists support bike lanes, including, yes, green ones.

According to a letter you’ve already received from the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, the number of people bicycling on Spring Street increased 52% in the first year after the lanes were installed, with another 40% increase this year.

More impressive, the number of women bike riders on Spring increased 100% on weekdays, and 650% on weekends. Women tend to be more risk averse when it comes to bicycling; the fact that they are responding to this street to such a degree suggests just how safe they feel in the green lanes.

In other words, the green lanes are doing exactly what they were designed to do.

If you vote to let them die, as the film industry is selfishly demanding — and as we fear you will in the face of your continued silence —  you will send a clear message that the convenience of wealthy special interests outweighs the safety and desires of the general public.

It will also tell the bicycling community that the hard-won bike plan you approved a few years ago isn’t worth the ink on the pages. Let alone the paint on the street.

Because we’ll know that any bikeway, anywhere, can be removed on the whim of a few well-connected opponents. And that your support for our lives and safety, let alone the livability of our city, runs neither deep nor wide.

Please, I beg you, prove us wrong and dispel our fears.

Send a clear signal that you are sincere in your desire to end car culture and reshape L.A. into the livable, walkable, bikable world-class city it should be.

And that this is our city, not a Hollywood back lot.

Because Hollywood will survive, and thrive, with or without these bike lanes.

We, and the city we love, may not.

A little this, a little that — missing NY green lane, WeHo bike workshop, SaMo bike shooting suspect

Just a little light reading to get you through your Wednesday.

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Remember those vivid green bike lanes that Hollywood says don’t exist anywhere else and are impossible to remove in post-production?

Evidently, not a problem in New York.

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West Hollywood will host a workshop to help overhaul their bicycle and mobility plan this Saturday. The meeting takes place starting at 9 am at the WeHo library, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd; the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition encourages anyone who rides or walks in the city to attend to help make the plan as powerful as possible,

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Sign the petition to keep the bike lanes on Westmont Drive in San Pedro; thanks to Jennifer Gill for the link.

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Santa Monica police have identified a suspect in the shooting of a bicyclist last Sunday. Oddly, they say it doesn’t appear to be related to the shooting of two men, one fatally, in the same area Tuesday morning — let alone the nearby shooting rampage on Friday.

You might want to avoid the area south of Pico Blvd in Santa Monica for awhile until things settle down.

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A 13-year old L.A. boy has been missing since he was last seen riding his bike on Sunday. Bicycle Fixation looks forward to CicLAvia on the Miracle Mile. Bike Nation is seeking a Fortune 500 company to sponsor their bike share program; I could use one of those myself. A sponsor, that is. The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee now has a Facebook page. It’s a busy bike weekend at Flying Pigeon, with a Streetsblog fundraiser on Friday, LACBC’s RideFigueroa Saturday, and a Get Sum Dim Sum ride on Sunday. A look at the World Naked Bike Ride, L.A. edition. The L.A. Sheriff’s Department is fixing unclaimed bikes — actually, the inmates are — to donate to kids throughout the county. The woman who helped put bike lanes in Rolling Hills Estates has passed away. A Sierra Madre cyclist suffers minor injuries when a motorist fails to yield; thanks to John Lloyd for the heads-up. How not to lock your bike.

More money for bike and pedestrian projects in the new state budget, but Safe Routes to School programs are at risk. Santa Ana will build two secure bike parking facilities holding a total of just 36 bikes; evidently, not many riders need secure parking down there. It seems the facts are however you spin them, as a San Francisco grand jury says the city must do more to prevent bicyclists’ deaths — but all a Bay Area website hears is a call to crackdown on scofflaw cyclists.

Nice read on being an unwitting role model for little girls. A new Tucson Walgreens didn’t eliminate a bike lane in front of the store after all. If you’re going to make your getaway by bike, try to steal one your own size. Traffic laws apply to cyclists, even in Idaho. The teams have been announced for this year’s USA Pro Challenge. Colorado man spots his stolen mountain bike on eBay, leading to the arrest of a serial bike thief. A lesson from Kansas for all drivers — don’t kill people with cars; damn good advice if you ask me. A new Cincinnati app allows cyclists to report harassment and collisions.

Brit drivers are more miserable than they’ve been in 25 years. If you really want to be seen, ride a Penny Farthing. An Irish writer demonizes cyclists — literally — in calling for greater courtesy around pedestrians. A look at bicycling in Paris. Johan Bruyneel, former sports director for Lance’s various cycling teams, denies being a demon or putting anyone’s health at risk.

Finally, a self-identifying cyclist criticizes a “small, tiny, sub-section of cyclists” — the cam-wearing, lycra-clad aggressively mentally ill subsection, evidently. Something tells me the conversation he relates may not have occurred exactly the way he tells it.

If it occurred at all.

Green bike lanes aren’t worth a damn if they’re blocked by Hollywood production trucks

This is me, post nuclear.

I went just this side of ballistic this afternoon, when news broke on the KCET blog that an agreement had been reached that would allow Hollywood productions to continue shooting on Spring and Main Streets in Downtown L.A.

Those pretty green bike lanes were already as good as gone, victim of a claim that they would prevent the twinned streets, which had previously been among the most popular filming locations in the city, from continuing to pass for Anytown, USA.

In fact, the story quoted Paul Audley, President of FilmLA, saying that filming was already down 10% to 15% since the green lane was installed. Even though green is the color most easily removed in post-production.

But not this particular shade of green, evidently. At least not according to the filmmakers.

And even though the green lane was already doing a pretty good job of removing itself.

Still, it had become quite clear in recent days that the color-testing LADOT had promised us to ensure the green paint would last for more than a few days was not going to happen anytime soon. And while the bike lanes would remain, the green paint would soon be a thing of the past.

Of course, as the late, great Dale Carnegie once wrote, there are two reasons for anything a man — or a film industry, for that matter — does. One that sounds good, and the real reason.

And in this case, it didn’t take long for the bike-hating LA Weekly to ferret out the reason behind the reason.

While they weren’t happy with the city’s choice of USDOT-dictated green, the studios were actually upset that they’d lost their access to free curbside parking. Because, you know, all those Hollywood studios and production companies can’t manage to find offstreet parking for their massive production trucks.

Or afford to pay for it out of their mutli-multi-million dollar budgets.

Even though Downtown L.A. has more parking per acre than anywhere else on earth, according to UCLA parking maven Donald Shoup.

So having already won the Great Downtown Green War, there was only one battle left to fight.

According to the KCET story, Hollywood declared victory with an agreement permitting film crews to park those trucks on our beloved bike lanes. And nothing in that article suggested that it was limited to Spring and Main, implying that film crews could now park anywhere they damn well pleased, on any bike lane in the city.

And that, my friends, is when my head exploded.

For a change, though, I didn’t go ballistic. Instead I reached out to the people who should actually know what was really going on before going off on here. And used all my self control not to go off on them, either.

First to respond — in a matter of just minutes, in fact — was LADOT Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowery, who assured me that permits would still be required to block any traffic lane, bike or otherwise. And that lane closures for film shoots should be limited to the minimal amount required for actual shooting, and not simply to provide parking for cast and crew.

I could feel my blood pressure dropping already.

A few hours later, I got a response from Paul Audley himself, who said the article got it wrong.

Dear Ted,
The article headline is incorrect.
The DOT is allowing film vehicles in the parking lane next to the bike lanes.
Nobody wants to injure bikers!  🙂

Good to know. Although my own experience on the roads might suggest that at least some L.A. drivers might disagree with that last line.

Personally, though, as nice as they were, I don’t really give a damn whether the bike lanes are green, blue, black or pink. As long as they’re clear from obstructions and safe to ride.

But the problem is, a blocked bike lane is worse than no lane at all. Because drivers will expect you to ride in it regardless of whether or not it’s actually ridable. And aren’t likely to give you an inch if you dare to venture outside the lines.

So if Hollywood needs to change the color scheme, be my guest.

Just don’t park your trucks where they block our bike lanes.

And that goes for your little orange cones, too.

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