Tag Archive for L.A. County bike plan

One of L.A. County’s most dangerous streets gets a little safer with buffered new bike lanes on Fiji Way

Just quick update on last week’s item about pending bike lanes on Fiji Way in Marina del Rey.

A ride down to the South Bay yesterday morning showed that nothing had been done on the street beyond the preliminary markings that had gone down earlier.

Yet by the time I rode back a few hours and many miles later, the street had been transformed into, if not a cyclists’ paradise, a much safer and more inviting connection between the Santa Monica and South Bay bike trails.

And turned what has been one of the area’s busiest — and most dangerous — bicycling thoroughfares into something that promises to be significantly safer.

As you can see from the video, a bike lane has been installed on the west/southbound side of the roadway, and the much hated, and probably illegal restriction to ride single file — which is unsupported by anything in California law — has been painted over.

Moving down to the turnaround at the end of the street, near the connection to the Ballona Creek bikeway, the road narrows to a single lane, with painted separators keeping motorists away from riders. And hopefully, reducing the risk of right hook collisions.

Continuing around the turnaround to the north/eastbound side of the street reveals a road diet for most of its length to Admiralty Way.

It was unclear yesterday whether the reduced roadway was being striped for a buffered bike lane, or if the county was planning to allow curbside parking, which had previously been banned, with door-zone bike lane alongside.

But a quick conversation with a member of the county road crew confirmed that cyclists will now enjoy a wide curbside bike lane with a comfortable buffer to the left — separating riders from the high speed, and often confused, drivers who have traditionally frequented the area. And that work on re-striping the street should be finished today.

Fiji Way has long been the missing link in the Marvin Braude bike trail, the name given the full length of the bikeway connection Palos Verdes with Pacific Palisades

As well as one of the most dangerous streets for cyclists, with multiple near-daily collisions as drivers entered or exited driveways without looking for riders first — like this one. Or brushed past or rear-ended riders on the previously unmarked street.

This should go a long way towards reducing those collisions, making what had been a needlessly risky ride much safer.

And it’s a high-profile improvement that shows the county may really be committed to improving conditions for cyclists.

Bike lanes and possible road diet on Fiji Way; split decision in Earl Cox Angeles Crest road rage case

Just a few quick notes to start the week before I either A) go out for the ride I’d planned, or B) succumb to the heat and follow the dog’s example by going back to sleep.

Right now, I’d say it could go either way.

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Evidently, the county is taking their new commitment to bike-friendliness seriously, as shown by the beefed-up bike plan recently adopted by county supervisors.

A recent ride through the Marina revealed that commitment is about to make its way onto the pavement, if it hasn’t already.

Riders who take the beachfront Marvin Bruade bike path, aka South Bay and Santa Monica bike paths, through Marina del Rey have long been frustrated by the condition of the bikeway through the County-owned lands.

As if the cracked and crumbling, tree-root upraised conditions of the off-road pathway weren’t bad enough, riders have had to deal with the on-road portion on Fiji Way leading from where the off-road pathway ends to where it connects with the Ballona Creek bike path — including a painted prohibition against side-by-side riding that’s unsupported by anything in state law.

And with a nearby sheriff station to ensure compliance, if they happened to have too much time on their hands.

But it looks like things are in the process of changing.

Initial markings have appeared on the pavement sketching the outlines of an apparent road diet on Fiji Way, reducing the over-wide traffic lanes that encouraged speeding by the few car that actually use that street, and installing bike lanes for the hundreds, if not thousands, of cyclists who ride the street every hour on sunny days.

It’s hard to tell yet, but it looks the road could be cut from four lanes to two in places, with bike lanes more than wide enough to be ridden two-abreast, and placed safely against the curb in a no parking zone. And definitely reduced at the turnaround, where riders have had to contend with lost tourists and right-turning locals for far too long.

You can see the markings for that section in the short video below.

But however it turns out, it looks like a big improvement is on its way soon.

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Cyclist/attorney Dj Wheels reports that Earl Cox has been convicted of simple assault in the Angeles Crest road rage case in which he was charged with yelling at three separate groups of riders, and deliberately swerving at two of them — all because he thought they were being rude by riding in the roadway and felt a need to teach them some manners. However, Cox was acquitted on the more serious charge of assault with a deadly weapon for using his car as a weapon. Sentencing is set for September 12th in Burbank; I wonder if he’ll get more time than Patrick Roraff got for actually killing Jorge Alvarado.

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition sends word that police are on the lookout for a high-end bike thief suspected of riding off with a pair of Colnagos from SoCal dealers.

An Iowa driver ran a stop sign, swerved and hit a cyclist, then backed up, got out of his car and threw the rider’s broken bike at him before punching and kicking him. Only after he evidently felt he had sufficiently assaulted the victim — by car, bike, fist and foot — did he flee the scene. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Sam Ollinger of the must-read Bike SD sends word of a tragic man-bites-dog twist in the seemingly endless reports of bike collisions, as a car overturns after striking and slightly injuring a cyclist, killing the driver. I’m grateful the cyclist survived relatively intact, but sad that anyone has to die on our streets.

Improvements are underway on Jefferson Blvd in Culver City at the notorious stretch where an allegedly drunk and/or distracted Christine Dahab plowed into a group of late night riders, injuring 13 — some severely. The road will now include five-foot wide door-zone bike lanes from Duquesne Ave to Higuera Street, as well as bike parking and improved access to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Thanks to Dan Mick for the link.

Finally, I’m booked in the morning, but anyone who can get to Van Nuys Tuesday morning should consider attending an L.A. Planning Department hearing on the proposed expansion of Universal Studios. As you may be aware, Universal is planning a dramatic expansion of their theme park property, including a left coast version of their popular Harry Potter park in Orlando FL. The problem is, the company has consistently blocked expansion of the L.A River bike path along their property while proposing a crazy-quilt alternative virtually guaranteed to keep cyclists away. As far as I’m concerned, alternate routes are great in that biking-infrastructure-starved part of town, But they’ll have to build their park over my dead body unless they agree to extend the bike path along the river as a condition of approval — and pay for it, for that matter, just for being such jerks about it. The meeting takes place in the Council Chambers at Van Nuys City Hall starting at 9:30 am.

And yes, you can quote me on that.

Update on death of Mark Leones, a call for peace in Downey, L.A. County releases bike plan

Finally, a little more information on the death of cyclist Mark Leones in Laguna Beach on Sunday.

According to the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot, the 28-year old Costa Mesa man was riding with a group of six or seven riders when he lost control coming out of a curve on a downhill, struck the curb and was thrown from his bike, striking his chest and the back of his head.

Road conditions were not a factor, and no other bikes or vehicles were involved.

I can’t speak for you, but I’ve been in that same position hundreds of times over the years, where a slight wobble or patch of gravel could have meant disaster on a high speed descent.

We all want to credit our skill for the successful completion of a ride like that. But often, luck can be just as much a factor.

Maybe Leones pushed his just a little too far that day.

There but for the grace of God.

My prayers for his family and loved ones.

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The family of bike rider Genaro Ramirez calls for peace after his shooting death in Downey early Monday morning, and hopes no one will try to retaliate. It may already be too late, though, as the investigation continues into the death of cyclist Juan Gutierrez, who was shot and killed about 10 miles away less than 24 hours later.

My sympathy to the families of both victims.

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The County of Los Angeles unveils the final draft of their proposed new bike plan, offering a more than 500% increase in bikeways. Your last chance to comment of the plan could come before the County of Los Angeles Regional Planning Commission, Wednesday, November 16th at 9 am in the Hall of Records, Room 150, 320 West Temple Street in Downtown L.A.

Meanwhile, Oxnard’s new bike plan calls for 122 miles of new bikeways, while Bakersfield cyclists push for a new plan they can call their own.

And the City of Los Angeles is looking for federal funding to fill in gaps in the L.A. River Bike Path.

Update: I just got late word that the South Pasadena City Council has ordered its staff to draft a cyclist anti-harassment ordinance based on the recently passed L.A. law. Hat’s off to South Pass for taking this key step to protect cyclists — and taking the lead in spreading this vital law beyond L.A. city borders.

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The LACBC has reduced the price of tickets for next week’s 2nd Annual City of Lights Dinner to just $45 for both members and non-members alike. However, the planned Tour de Taste scheduled for next month as been postponed, with the date to be determined.

And Cannondale is teaming up with Junk Food Clothing to design two urban Bad Boy bikes to be officially unveiled at Antenna Magazine’s ReMix Lab in New York. The art, music, fashion and cultural festival will hit L.A. December 7th through 11th, at a site to be selected.

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My newly bike-riding brother officially announces he’ll be competing in the 2012 Yukon Quest.

With dogs and a sled, not wheels.

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In bike-riding celebrity news, Shia LaBeouf bikes his way back from a barroom beatdown, Gwyneth Paltrow rides through Central Park, and Will and Kate Boris Bike their way through London Town.

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Stephen Box offers a powerful indictment of L.A.’s frequently blocked bike lanes. LADOT explains separated bike lanes, and says the new Commuter Express buses will have triple bike racks. LA Cycle Chic discovers a new upscale bike shop on Venice Blvd. The Path Less Pedaled unveil their new 2012 Calendar; expect Russ’s usual breathtaking photos — and they’re working on new T-shirt and sticker designs to help pay their way to New Zealand for the winter. The Claremont Cyclist looks at last weekend’s Spooky Cross, and finds it spooky, indeed. Redondo Beach votes to approve the proposed South Bay Bike Plan and build it in 12 years rather than 20. Turns out California had a pretty decent bike route system over 100 years ago. Tour de Pink rolled through Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties last weekend. Doing the Furnace Creek 508 by fixie. All it takes to ruin a ride is a good screw. An angry cyclist delays a Bay Area Caltrain.

How slow is too slow for the Slow Bicycle Movement, and how chic do you have to be for cycle chic? The Urban Country explains what, exactly, a Dutch bicycle is. Dave Moulton says don’t be a gutter bunny. An unidentified Oregon drowning victim may have bought his bicycle in La Mesa, CA. Once again, an idiotic radio shock jock tries to boost ratings improve safety by calling for a ban on bikes, this time in Seattle; as long as he’s in the mood to blame the victims, how about ending armed robbery by banning banks and liquor stores? A Salt Lake City news anchor returns to the air eight weeks after being cut off by a hit-and-run driver. The recent Pro Cycling Challenge brought in $83.5 million to the Colorado economy. Oklahoma driver Tausha Borland files an appeal of her 24-year sentence for running down three cyclists, killing two, after drinking and taking pain killers; Witch on a Bicycle calls for respectful letters to the judge considering her appeal. Which one is really the a**hole — the slow cyclist or the impatient driver? No helmets necessary for New York bike share riders. A popular bayfront Brooklyn bike path is a mess; I so know the feeling. A Hudson Valley ninja cyclist is killed; always, always use lights and at least some light-colored or reflective clothing after dark. Politicians on both sides of the aisle agree bikes are cool. Maybe the tide is finally turning when it comes to justice for South Carolina cyclists, if you consider 90 days and five years probation justice. Zeke makes a mess of building a building a bike rack but gets it right eventually. Bike trails pump $42 million into the Central Florida economy; link via Baltimore Spokes. A fatal Florida hit-and-run may have been homicide, or maybe not.

Almost inevitably, fashion designers discover the bicycle. Not all bike racers ride marvels of modern science. Should corporate manslaughter charges be filed when known road defects cause bike or pedestrian fatalities? A new online photo library will offer free images of happy cyclists and positive infrastructure. A UK town provides bike lockers to protect local’s rides. A Sussex cyclist is deliberately assaulted with a jeep after asking the driver to kindly get off the sidewalk. Lancashire police are cracking down on bike theft, but does anyone ride with proof of ownership? Feast your eyes on next year’s official time-trial heavy route for the Tour de France. Riding two-way bike lanes on Vienna’s one-way streets. Copenhagen Cycle Chic on the five senses of cycling. Two Moscow cops run down a rider after getting drunk on the job. When a toddler is run down by a Chinese hit-and-run driver, bystanders just walk around — or drive over — the child.

Finally, even a clown can be a victim of bike theft. But at least they get it back. And look for a tongue-in-cheek — among other places — parody of the popular Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. But it may not be a bike he’ll be riding this time.

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