Tag Archive for Reinventing Wilshire Blvd

Morning Links: Multi-tool bars Streetsblog editor from Metro meeting, and Lyft re-envisions Wilshire Blvd

Streetsblog editor Joe Linton was kept out of a Metro meeting to discuss the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project until he agreed to throw his “dangerous” multi-tool and wrenches into the trash.

And was told he could fish them out after the meeting — after one of the security officers dumped coffee into it.

Just another sign of how bike riders are treated in this city.

Never mind how easy it would have been for someone, anyone, to agree to hold them for him until he came back out. Or just how stupid it is to talk about encouraging bicycling, while actively discouraging bicyclists.

And never mind the kneejerk opposition he found to including bikes in the project once he finally got inside the Metro meeting.

Photo from LA Streetsblog.

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Lyft envisions a redesigned Wilshire Blvd that reduces the street’s 10 spacious lanes down to just three narrow one, along with dedicated bus lanes, to show what life could be like in a world of shared, self-driving vehicles.

The plan also includes wider, park-like sidewalks and protected bike lanes.

The company says the narrowed street could accommodate twice as many road users and carry four times as many people as it currently does.

Wilshire capacity before redesign

Wilshire capacity after redesign. Charts from CNN

No word on whether the forces attempting to roll back road diets in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey plan to recall the president of Lyft or file suit to stop the concept while it’s still in the vaporware stage.

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A report on KABC-790 radio says evacuees fleeing the La Tuna fire earlier this month were delayed due to traffic jams caused by the road diets on Foothill Blvd. Although it’s surprising they would have been so surprised by changes that were made five months ago.

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Three-time US Olympic track cyclist Sarah Hammer retired at age 34, ending a career that began with her first junior title 22 years ago.

Next year’s Giro d’Italia will start just a little outside the country in the ancient Roman suburb called Jerusalem.

It’s official. Scottish cyclist Mark Beaumont rode around the world in less than 80 days, finishing in 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes — smashing the previous record by 44 days.

A memorial was unveiled in the English hometown of fallen cyclist Tom Simpson to mark the 50th anniversary of his death on the slopes of Mont Ventoux during the 1967 Tour de France.

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Local

An Op-Ed in the LA Times calls the cars the third rail of California politics, saying people will revolt if you slow them down or make driving more expensive. Which, as we’ve seen recently, is all too true.

Pasadena’s Art Center in planning a bikeway inspired by the historic California Cycleway to connect its separated campuses.

Parisian haute couture menswear brand Berluti has opened in Beverly Hills, with a made-to-order bespoke bicycle among the shop’s offerings.

Simon Cowell is one of us, as he goes bike riding with his family in the former Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills, which is finally starting to show some promise.

Curbed calls the Marvin Braude Bike Path through Santa Monica LA’s most beautiful bike path, even though the Santa Monica section is actually in… wait for it… Santa Monica. I’ve heard the beachfront bike path called many things in my many years here, but never The Strand.

The South Bay’s Easy Reader News looks at the controversy over Vista del Mar and the Playa del Rey lane reductions, albeit from a mostly windshield perspective.

Long Beach police are looking for a bike-riding scumbag who’s been exposing himself to underage girls.

 

State

UberEats will now be delivering some of their food orders by bicycle in San Diego.

This is why you shouldn’t chase a bike thief yourself. A pair of Visalia men nearly got shot by a bike thief after they chased him down when they saw him take a bike from their garage.

A Modesto Op-Ed calls for greater enforcement of bike safety laws, especially California’s too-often ignored three-foot passing law

The International Cycling Safety Conference in Davis will explore how smart city technology can help make urban areas more bicycle friendly.

A homeless Redding woman was stabbed by another homeless woman following an argument as the victim was riding along a canal.

Eureka police are looking for a fleeing DUI suspect who hijacked a woman’s bike at gunpoint, before trading down by jacking a car as he rode her bike through a mall parking lot.

 

National

Bicycling talks with cyclists who credit their helmets with saving their skulls.

Seattle permanently removed a traffic lane on a downtown street to make room for protected bike lanes. Despite mixed opinions, no politicians appear to have been recalled and no one’s filed suit to stop it yet, unlike a certain SoCal city we could name.

Bicycle Retailer says this week’s Interbike show in Las Vegas is still the best way for smaller brands to get noticed.

A popular Colorado man was found shot and killed three days after he disappeared while on a bike ride this past Thursday; police are treating the case as a homicide.

Counter protesters interrupted a press conference by a New York state legislator who wants to halt plans to install a protected bike lane on a deadly Queens boulevard.

 

International

A new study shows triathletes face twice the risk of dropping dead during a competition as marathon runners, with the greatest risk occurring during the swimming leg of the race.

Brakeless fixie-rider Charlie Alliston has been sentenced to 18 months after being convicted of wanton and furious driving for killing a London woman as she was crossing the street. Thanks to Allyson Vought and John McBrearty for the heads-up.

Caught on video: Nothing like a little no-hands dab and dance while riding on a British street.

British bike historian Carlton Reid examines why the country’s most bike-friendly urban design failed to encourage bicycling; short answer, they made it too easy to drive.

Bicycling deaths and serious injuries are down 20% since UK police began an undercover operation to catch drivers passing too close to bicyclists. Maybe that will convince the LAPD to finally give it a try.

Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland, will receive the equivalent of nearly $30 million dollars to convert their city centers to bike-friendly mini-Hollands.

German police are looking for a cyclist who interfered with rescue personnel to film a dying motorcyclist, rather than offering assistance before paramedics arrived as the law requires. Seriously, WTF is wrong with some people?

An Australian news site looks at what happens in the aftermath of a bicycling collision, including the obvious observation that it’s always the person on the bike who loses.

Aussie authorities blame tourists using GPS devices for a crash that injured a bike rider. So naturally, social media blames the people on two wheels.

Caught on video two: A dog sits upright in the saddle behind a bike-riding girl in an undisclosed Asian country, with its paws wrapped around her waist like a child trying to hold on.

 

Finally…

Who needs motor doping when you can just fire up the afterburners. Or maybe just let hurricane-force winds give you a gentle little nudge.

And now you, too, can own your very own Beastie.

Unless you’d rather ride a bike made of whisky casks.

 

Imagine a great city: A Wilshire pipedream

I’ve always liked Wilshire Boulevard.

With the exception of my first few months crashing on the floor of my oldest friend’s apartment — in terms of years known, not age — I’ve spent my entire time in this city living, and usually working, within a few blocks of it.

For most of the 20th Century, once the city spread west from downtown, it was L.A.’s Main Street, home to virtually every important bank, business and department store in the city. It was also the epicenter of West Coast advertising; at least until Chiat/Day started the industry’s westward migration by moving to Venice.

Now though, it’s a faded version of its former self, a street so choked with traffic and stop lights that some sections are virtually impassible most of the day. A street most Angelenos try to avoid by taking parallel streets such as 6th or Olympic; cyclists have their own bypass routes.

As Yogi Berra once said, “No one goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.”

Yet it is a street with infinite possibilities, drawing a nearly straight line from downtown to the coast. And soon, with luck, it will soon be home to the long-delayed and much debated Subway to the Sea — making it a perfect platform for a bold reinvention that goes far beyond anything this city has yet contemplated.

Imagine a Wilshire without traffic.

A Wilshire where the subway doesn’t just take a little pressure off vehicular traffic, but replaces it entirely. Where people aren’t just encouraged to take mass transit, but where it becomes the most viable and efficient means of transportation.

It’s possible.

A Wilshire Boulevard so completely reinvented, from Ocean to Grand, that alternative transportation becomes the mainstream.

Picture this:

On the far right side of the roadway in each direction, you’d have a row of parking next to the curb, flanked by a single lane of traffic. Every few blocks, a barrier would force drivers to turn right, preventing through traffic. This would allow drivers to use the boulevard to get to shops and offices, just as they do now, yet eliminate any other traffic.

Next to that would be a single through-lane in each direction for bus traffic. This would allow riders to get off the subway at the nearest stop, then transfer to a bus to get to their final destination.

Finally, the center of the roadway would be a bike boulevard — an entire traffic lane in each direction devoted strictly to non-motorized traffic and physically separated from motorized vehicles. This lane would also be free from barriers, allowing cyclists to safely travel the entire length of the boulevard, from downtown to the coast.

By placing it inside the car and bus lanes, rather than near the curb, buses could easily reach the curb to pick up or let off passengers, and cars could turn right into parking lots or pull into a parking space without crossing the bike lanes — eliminating the risk of right-cross collisions.

This could also be combined with a series of bike stations located in key employment centers, offering secure bike parking, showers and simple repair services, making bike commuting a viable alternative for many workers.

On either side of the boulevard, wide sidewalks — now free from the overwhelming noise and choking exhaust of passing vehicles — would entice strollers and shoppers with sidewalk cafes and open air markets.

It will never happen, of course.

It’s a lovely pipedream; just an exercise in possibilities.

Because something like that would take an enormous amount of money, which seems to be in very short supply these days. And it would take leaders with the genuine vision and courage to see the possibilities and turn away from the exclusively car-centric mentality this city is built on.

And that seems to be in even shorter supply.

 

Gary gets my vote for the best April Fool joke for a post so impossible it almost had to be real. Ubrayj comments on the Ponzi Scheme that is transportation planning. Metro plans an interactive chat this Friday; good place to ask why complaints seem to disappear into the void. Like the rest of us, cyclists in Long Beach want more. An older blog by my favorite Scottish bike blogger explains why London cyclists are tempted to run red lights. A Texas cyclist and custom bike builder tracks bike collisions, including a despicable hit & run in Utah and a Houston cyclist crushed by a fire truck; he also relates a harrowing story of his own recovery after being hit by a city-owned pickup truck. And finally, as if they didn’t have enough reasons to hate us, now we have a bicycling hit man.

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