Tag Archive for road diet

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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: Lawyer says mayor criminally liable for bike lanes, and meetings on Venice and Temple

Try to read this one without laughing.

I dare you.

A lawyer and regular contributor to City Watch insists that Mayor Garcetti could face criminal liability for a Mobility Plan that places bike lanes on city streets. Where riders are forced to suck in the air pollution from passing cars in what he describes as a violation of California’s CEQA laws.

He even says city officials may be held criminally liable for battery and homicide, comparing the situation to the tainted water in Flint, Michigan.

Which almost sounds sort-of semi-reasonable, until you consider just how far off base it really is.

Starting with the fact that it was the City Council, not Garcetti, which was responsible for the city’s Mobility Plan and the bike lanes proposed therein.

And that several studies have shown that the air inside motor vehicles is dirtier than the air bike riders breathe. Or that the health benefits of bicycling far outweigh the risk posed by bad air.

Not to mention that bike lanes are found on busy city streets in virtually every major city around the world, with no apparent mass die-off of bike riders gasping their last due to auto exhaust.

And never mind that Los Angeles already conducted an environmental review of the city’s bike plan following the debacle in San Francisco, where a single disgruntled man held up implantation of the city’s bike plan for years using a CEQA challenge, until a judge finally threw the case out.

Or that bike lanes were exempted from CEQA review four years ago when Governor Brown signed AB 417 as a result of that case.

Although you’d think a decent lawyer might have looked that up.

But if you ever need someone to file a writ ordering kids to get off your lawn, he may be your guy.

………

If you’re not completely burned out after tonight’s argument over friendly discussion of the Venice Great Streets project at the Mar Vista Community Council meeting, you can do it all over again tomorrow when the Palms Neighborhood Council takes up the subject.

And a public safety meeting will be held tomorrow to discuss a planned road diet on Temple Street in Echo Park and Historic Filipinotown; the Vision Zero project would reduce the street to one lane in each direction, with bike lanes and a center turn lane.

………

The 2018 Giro d’Italia will start just slightly outside the county — in Jerusalem.

Only a handful of riders can still challenge Chris Froome in the Tour de France. And he denies barging into one of them.

Polish rider Rafal Majka abandoned the Tour de France after falling in Sunday’s ninth stage.

Italian cyclist Adriano Malori announced his retirement from racing on Monday, nearly two years after being placed in a medically coma following a crash in Argentina’s Tour de San Luis.

Cycling industry insiders set up a fake motor doping website to see who’d be interested; cycling team managers, industry publications and individual cyclists who wanted to cheat their fellow racers took the bait.

Scottish track cyclist Katie Ford set new records for the greatest distance covered in both six and eight hours, despite suffering from epilepsy.

………

Local

LA County has agreed to settle the case of an unarmed man killed by sheriff’s deputies for $2.9 million; 23-year old Noel Aguilar was shot when he fled after deputies tried to stop him for riding his bike on the sidewalk.

LA Downtown News looks at the first anniversary of the Metro Bike bikeshare program, noting it costs more than similar programs in other cities and doesn’t have a discount program for low-income users.

Architects present plans to revitalize the LA River.

 

State

Solano Beach will raise funds for bike lanes and pedestrian paths by adding a $15,714 fee to the cost of every new single-family home and $11,206 for each new apartment. Which means improving alternative transportation at the expense of desperately needed new affordable housing.

San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies are on the lookout for a BMX-riding booze shoplifter who punched a Rite Aid employee in the face to make his getaway.

Bakersfield police somehow mistake a 5’2”, 115 pound, 19-year old bike-riding black woman for a bald, 5’10”, 170 pound machete-wielding man. So they pulled a gun on her, punched her in the mouth and set a police dog on her.

Santa Cruz installs its first bike box to improve visibility and safety for bicyclists.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition opposes a proposed ordinance that would ban bike chop shops in an effort to reduce bicycle theft, saying it doesn’t get to the root of the problem. The roots of the problem are addiction and homelessness, which are much more difficult to solve. And neither of which are helped by looking the other way while addicts deal in stolen bicycles.

Sacramento is preparing to boot bikes off some sidewalks in the downtown area. But not all of them, since they don’t have money to build bike lanes. Which means, unless they post it on every block, people will have no idea whether or not they can legally ride on any given sidewalk.

The Lake Tahoe basin is transforming itself with 50 miles of existing shared-use trails and another 6.5 miles currently under construction, with plans for nearly 26 miles more over the next five years.

 

National

Ford patents a retractable bike rack that would actually be built into your vehicle. Or you could just forget the car and ride your bike.

A woman is riding from California to Maine to collect stories from inspiring women.

A group of cops and other first responders will ride 500 miles from Dallas to Baton Rouge to honor the eight officers killed in the two cities last year.

Caught on video: This is why you don’t lock your bike to a street sign; a thief simply removes the bolts holding a sign in place and lifts it up to steal an expensive ebike.

A candidate for governor of Massachusetts is one of us, suffering minor injuries when he was thrown from his bike after hitting a pothole.

She gets it. A writer from Massachusetts says the car is not king, and instead of stenciling sidewalks to ban riding bikes, the city should improve bike lanes so people don’t feel compelled to use them.

New York bicyclists are banned from a popular bike path so electric cars can race, instead.

Virginia officials decide to squeeze a bike trail between an expanded freeway and a sound wall, since neighbors won’t allow the bikeway on their side of the wall.

 

International

A poignant story, as a bike-riding former Ottawa, Canada heroin addict who saved the lives of 130 drug overdose victims has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer; a crowdfunding campaign has raised nearly $12,000 to send him home to see his parents one last time.

Caught on video too: A pair of British riders are taken down by “yobs” who rolled an old bike into their path. Warning: You may have to sit through an interminable movie trailer to get to it.

A UK police inspector sticks up for officers who intentionally doored a bike-riding theft suspect to make an arrest, even though the helmetless rider could have been seriously injured.

 

Finally…

Either a Virginia newspaper is in desperate need of punctuation, or a bicyclist crashed into a disregarded stop sign. If you’re going to ride drunk, try not to pee on the cop who busts you for it.

And seriously, don’t try this at home, especially not at 62 mph.

In flip-flops.

 

Morning Links: Venice NC supports data-based decision, angry Playa del Rey Op-Ed, and war on bikes goes on

Chalk up one small victory for the Venice Blvd Great Streets project in Mar Vista.

John Montgomery attended last night’s Venice Neighborhood Council meeting, where a motion to immediately undo the recent lane reduction and installation of a parking protected bike lane was under discussion.

Here’s his report.

The Venice Neighborhood Council Parking and Transportation Committee met at Canal Club in Venice on Wednesday night and most of the evening was spent discussing the Great Streets project in Mar Vista. About 40 people attended, with approximately 15 residents of Venice taking part. Of the 15 Venice residents, at least seven turned out in support of the changes in Mar Vista in addition to several folks outside the area from various non-profits focused on pedestrian concerns. The rest were from Mar Vista, with some from the Playa area.

All-in-all the meeting was well run and controlled — and there was very little ugliness that often occurs at meetings where attendees are passionate about their views. I give committee chair Jim Murez credit for this — he was very quick to keep people focused and in line. I don’t agree with all of his views, but I do appreciate his effort to try to make it a positive meeting. Having served time on the Venice Neighborhood Committee, I know how difficult his job is.

The main discussion was a resolution apparently passed by the Mar Vista Transportation & Infrastructure Committee towards the end of June, which is very different from the motion listed in the Agenda (which is filed before the meeting). The very last paragraph of the motion demands that the changes be immediately reversed back to the previous three lanes in each direction.

Attendees discussed concerns about gridlock (20 to 30 minute travel times through the corridor), poor response times from first responders, the “incredibly unsafe” changes (such as not being able to see cyclists behind the cars in the buffer zone), and the fact that this “came out of nowhere.” The advocates, to a person, worked to dispel some of the myths that were brought up, focusing on the positive aspects about making a more livable Mar Vista “downtown,” as well as the fact that anecdotal evidence was not a way to make a sensible decision. They also brought up that this process was public since the middle of 2015 and numerous community outreach attempts were made…it was kinda hard to miss IMHO.

In my personal experience, travel times do increase during commute times (never as bad as 20 minutes) but at other points in the day traffic flows safely and normally — and I have GoPro video to document it. Several of us pointed out that the type of street changes implemented have almost unequivocally shown to increase safety when implemented in other areas, states, and countries. It is true that there is a learning curve with this type of implementation, but after the initial period the changes do end up being safer for everyone.

I was really impressed with the eloquence and thoughts of the cycling advocates (though I’m admittedly biased), who were incredibly positive about the changes while expressing empathy with some of the opponents’ perspective.  A main focus of advocates was to let this trial period play out and use actual data to back up decisions. LADOT’s Nat Gale spoke about all the data that was being collected, and that by the end of this week there would be a LADOT website about the project and the data being collected. He also announced that there would be an open house on Saturday, July 22nd (time and location to be determined) where the initial information would be shared and could be discussed with LADOT employees.

The only really ugly part of the night came when one of the residents opposed to the Great Streets project make a joke about a pedestrian being injured…which drew laughs/chuckles from a few in the audience. I’m sorry, but nothing is amusing about that. At all.

On the positive side, thanks to the advocates who turned out, the committee removed the last paragraph and instead replaced it with one requesting that the data be examined, that a meeting be held in Venice with Councilman Bonin, and that it not have a negative impact on the Venice community. The committee very much agreed that actual data should be used in such a decision and not simply anecdotal evidence.

I spoke with the committee after the meeting and thanked them — reminding them that almost half of the people who took the time to show up from Venice were in favor of the changes. After all, the committee is “Parking and Transportation,” so the deck is somewhat stacked against cycling advocates with the focus on parking. It was heartening to see my fellow Venice resident cyclists take the time out of their evening to show up and support a cause which I feel will benefit the community of Mar Vista. I especially appreciate their ability to separate the hype and anecdotes from fact.

Venice Neighborhood Council Meeting at the Canal Club; photos by John Montgomery

Venice residents who came out to support the Great Streets project

………

Meanwhile, a trio of angry drivers take aim at Councilmember Mike Bonin over the safety improvements in an Op-Ed in The Argonaut.

Think the same sort of sputtering anger you hear from a road raging driver, but in print.

In last week’s issue of The Argonaut, Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin justified his newly implemented “road diets” with an insulting diatribe about rich commuters from outside of our communities using our residential streets as highways. The truth is that Bonin’s “road diets” are wildly unpopular with his constituents and he refuses to admit it. He is replacing arterial lanes with bike lanes and parking on the premise that safety and commute times are mutually exclusive. Rather than objectively looking at facts, data and the numerous solutions that can truly make our streets safer, Bonin is misrepresenting details and using divisive rhetoric to force his personal ideals on us.

Note to angry Op-Ed writers: No need to put “road diet” in quotation marks; that’s what they’re called.

Of course, they then go on to compound their hyperbole with an un-objective look at the facts, data and solutions, reacting as only angry drivers can when they lose some of their precious road space in the name of safety.

Other than confusing the average of six collisions annually that result in serious injury or death with the 13 fender benders they site, they offer a collection of anecdotes with a complete and total lack of data to back it up.

And never mind that LADOT will study the results of the road diets, just as in the Mar Vista project cited above, and report back with actual stats and data on their effectiveness before any decision is made on whether to make them permanent.

It’s going to be a very long, angry summer.

You can show your support by signing the petition to keep Playa del Rey streets safe.

………

Today’s common theme is the war on bikes, which rages on.

A Seattle woman was shot with a pellet gun from a passing car while riding home with her husband. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

A Chicago man is under arrest for pulling a load gun on Critical Mass riders after some idiot sat on the hood of his car.

A FedEx driver in upstate New York faces a felony theft charge for taking a bicyclist’s phone after he tried to take photos of the driver during a dispute.

A Florida woman is accused of using her SUV to intentionally run down a bike rider she knew, then coming back to attack her again.

A road-raging Winnipeg, Canada driver repeatedly bumped a woman’s bike and shouted homophobic slurs, apparently for the crime of being in his way when he wanted to turn right at a red light.

A British bike rider was knocked off his bike, gouged in the eye and dragged by his dreadlocks after confronting a man over rumors he’d been insulting him.

Caught on video: A British truck driver drifts into a cyclist, who barely manages to stay upright after the truck sideswipes him and forces him off the road, then jumps out and starts screaming that the rider was at fault. Which he wasn’t, unless being in the same space the driver wanted to occupy is a crime.

On the other hand, police in the UK are looking for an “aggressive” cyclist accused of shouting abuse at parents as they pick up and drop off their kids at school. My guess is he’s just fed up with drivers cutting him off and blocking the roadway. Or maybe I’m just projecting from my own experiences with school-bound parents.

………

In today’s relatively spoiler-free racing news, the yellow jersey switched hands in Wednesday’s stage of the Tour de France, while Italian champ Fabio Aru sent a message to the peloton. And American Andrew Talansky is off to an uneventful start in the Tour.

The debate over whether Peter Sagan should have been elbowed out of the Tour goes on, with almost universal disagreement with the decision; one track cyclist points the finger at Cavendish, instead.

Meanwhile, Ella Cycling Tips offers an update on stage 6 of the Giro Rosa.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman writes about comforting an injured woman who was hit by a driver, saying we don’t appreciate the vulnerability of pedestrians until it’s too late.

A Marina del Rey teenager raised $12,000 for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation by riding from Mar Vista to Del Mar, stopping at several fire stations along the way.

 

State

An off-road rider was rescued by authorities above Ojai after apparently suffering heat exhaustion. A reminder to be careful riding in the extreme heat predicted for this weekend; bring plenty of water, and avoid riding in the heat of the day, if possible.

A moving new Salinas mural honors a fallen cyclist next to his ghost bike, three years after he was killed by a hit-and-run driver who was never caught.

San Jose will be installing several road diets and bike lanes over the summer. Which means San Jose bike advocates will get to have the same sort of fun we’re having with drivers enraged over losing a small amount of road space.

The San Jose Mercury News reviews Andy Samberg’s cycling and doping sendup Tour de Pharmacy, which airs this weekend on HBO.

Caught on video: A San Francisco driver gets out of his car to argue with a bike rider following a punishment pass. While the story correctly notes that police have to actually witness an infraction to write a ticket or make a misdemeanor arrest, the driver could have been charged with assault simply for getting out of his car to confront the rider. Thanks to Cyclist’s Rights for the link.

Sacramento is building a three-quarter-mile long bike path along the American River, part of a planned bikeway leading to the Cal State Sacramento campus.

 

National

A new study examines the reasons people don’t use bikeshare; no surprise that the leading reason for all demographic groups was fear of traffic.

Another new study examines driver’s attitudes towards bicyclists, suggesting that the roadway is a battleground for social domination, rather than just a competition for space. Which explains the outrage over road diets.

An Op-Ed in a bicycle trade publication questions the lack of women in the bike industry, while noting the situation is poised to change.

Seattle is ready to make its third attempt at bikeshare, with as many as ten dockless bikeshare companies looking to enter the market; however, users are still required to have helmets, which may doom them all.

The massive Outdoor Retailer trade shows will be moving to Denver, in response to Utah officials support for downsizing the Bears Ears National Monument.

A Colorado man writes that he was hit by a speeding car while riding his bike, but instead of ticketing the driver, the cop lectured him about the wisdom of riding a skinny-tired bike on the street.

Nebraska will change the way it installs rumble strips to improve safety for cyclists.

 

International

London’s former cycling czar accuses the new mayor of subverting plans for cycle superhighways, and maintaining capacity for motor vehicles even if it causes conflicts with cyclists.

An 18-year old British man has been sentenced to four years behind bars for killing a middle-aged man by scissor kicking him as he was riding his bike while walking his dog. Violence is never the answer, though the victim had provoked his attacker by repeatedly insulting him using racist terms.

Someone posted a handwritten sign urging drivers to slow down at an English intersection where a bike-riding father was killed, adding that it’s frightening to be passed by drivers going too fast and too close. And it is.

Caught on video: A bike-riding couple in the UK got dangerously buzzed by a speeding motorcyclist.

Better buy that $7,800 graphene-infused bike now; high-end British bike maker Dassi Limited was threatened with insolvency for failing to file required paperwork.

NPR looks at Copenhagen’s efforts to use technology to avoid bicycle traffic jams.

Get your bicycle tuned up. Hanoi, Vietnam has announced plans to ban motorcycles by 2030, the leading form of transportation in a country where few can afford cars.

 

Finally…

Looks like you can keep taking that EPO after all. Proof that there’s more than one way to lockup a bike; thanks again to Megan Lynch.

And some things are just too cute not to share.

………

Thanks to Joni Yung for today’s featured image of the Venice Blvd Great Streets project.

Morning Links: Proposed Atwater Village road reduction, photos from Ride the COLT, and a CicLAvia chicken

Here’s your chance to help make one deadly street a little safer.

Los Angeles is considering a proposal to extend the Fletcher Drive road diet south through Atwater Village as part of the city’s Vision Zero program.

This is the area where 19-year old Ryan Coreas was killed by a hit-and-run driver as he attempted to cross Fletcher last December on his way to get a soda.

There’s something seriously wrong when someone can’t cross a damn street on a simple little errand like that without getting killed.

And in this case, it’s the street itself.

A meeting will be held tonight to discuss the options for improving what is one of the city’s most dangerous streets, included in the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network. Which of course means the NIMBYs and cut-through drivers will be out in force doing their best to keep the street dangerous.

If you can’t make the meeting, here’s a sample email that was forwarded to me that you can send to voice your opinion. Especially if you live or work in the Atwater Village area, or reside in Council District 13.

Dear Councilmember O’Farrell-

I am a resident of [NEIGHBORHOOD] and write to express my support for LADOT’s Fletcher Drive safety improvement project ‘Alternative 1.’

I was saddened to learn of the death of Ryan Coreas at Fletcher Dr & LaClede Ave at the beginning of the year, and appreciate your office’s leadership in improving this dangerous street. If Los Angeles is going to end traffic-related deaths as the City’s ‘Vision Zero’ policy dictates, we need to make safety the first priority and work quickly to fix dangerous roads like Fletcher Drive that encourage speeding.

Alternative 1 is the only option that would improve safety for all road users, but especially for pedestrians when they are most vulnerable at night. Alternative 1 reduces crossing distances for pedestrians and unsafe speeding by incorporating curb extensions. Alternative 1 adds center turn lanes that will make accessing businesses and residences by car safer, while simultaneously improving access for emergency vehicles. Alternative 1 has an added benefit of extending existing bike lanes on Fletcher Drive, providing a safer bike connection between Northeast Los Angeles and the L.A. River Bike Path.

I know from driving on Fletcher Drive regularly that existing traffic congestion is not of a level that makes safety improvement prohibitive. The 2 Freeway also parallels this street, providing access for drivers seeking to bypass the area. Right-sizing Fletcher Drive will discourage cut through traffic while improving mobility options for those accessing local businesses in Atwater Village, Frogtown, and Glassell Park.

I urge you to support Alternative 1 to improve the safety of Fletcher Drive.

Sincerely,

[NAME]

[ADDRESS]

Thanks to Michael MacDonald for the heads-up.

……….

David Drexler did the double on Sunday, taking part in Chartsworth’s Ride the COLT in the morning, before rushing over to participate in the Glendale to Atwater Village CicLAvia in the afternoon.

Where he befriended a bike-riding chicken.

No, seriously.

Here are some of his photos from the COLT ride — and posing with his newfound CicLAvia buddy. You can read his take on CicLAvia here.

………

Writing for City Watch, an attorney demonstrates that he didn’t bother to do a basic Google search on road diets before going off on the mayor for inflicting them on the city’s poor, suffering drivers. As well as ranting that LA is being sued for forcing poor, innocent kids to suck in toxic fumes because he — the mayor — insists on putting bike lanes on busy streets.

Because as we all know, little kids are the only ones who ever ride bicycles, especially on busy streets. And no one would ever want to use a bike lane to actually, you know, go somewhere.

………

A fundraising account has been established for track cyclist John Walsh, who was seriously injured at the SoCal State championship on Sunday. As of this writing, it has raised nearly $5,000 of the $30,000 goal.

………

Local

More semi-NSFW photos from LA’s cheekiest road safety protest ride.

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman examines the Vision Zero plans to improve safety in South LA.

CiclaValley celebrates the three miles of bike lanes coming to Sepulveda Blvd in the north SFV.

KFI’s John and Ken go off on the road reconfigurations currently underway in Playa del Rey, which seem none too popular with the drivers who used the deadly beachside streets as virtual commuter highways. If you can listen to more than a few minutes of this crap without throwing your device out a window, you’re a stronger person than I am.

Trial began on Monday for a Long Beach man who faces life in prison after getting beaten by police when they stopped him for the crime of riding without a light.

 

State

Wacky Coronado will talk about how bike riders can safely get from here to there; let’s hope the proposed sharrows and greenways don’t make any more residents dizzy.

A Santa Clara driver complains a bicyclist swore at him after he pulled into a bike lane when his car suffered a mechanical problem. Seriously, don’t be a jerk. On the other hand, bike riders might be more understanding of emergencies like that if so many people didn’t drive in bike lanes just because they can.

San Francisco’s bikeshare system begins its expansion throughout the Bay Area.

It takes a major piece of walking human scum to steal the wheels off a ghost bike.

The Woodland branch of a national non-profit donated ten adaptive tricycles to special needs kids.

A Eureka writer says sometimes you have to get back on your bike or stay face down in the gravel. Literally, on occasion.

 

National

Consumer Reports offers tips on the proper care and feeding of your bike helmet.

Steve Katz forwards news of a bizarre case in Austin TX, which began when a driver plowed into a group of cyclists Saturday morning, injuring four, after claiming he’d fallen asleep. And ended when a witness stopped to help, only to have a passenger in the driver’s car steal his Jeep.

A Missouri church took up a collection to buy a new adult tricycle for a special needs man after his was stolen.

Bicycling talks with the survivors of the Kalamazoo massacre one year later.

Chicago finally releases its Vision Zero action plan for the next three years.

A Michigan woman will spend at least three years and three months behind bars for fleeing the scene after seriously injuring a bike rider in a crash, with a blood alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit. So no, WTVB, she’s not headed to jail for merely hitting a bicyclist with her car.

Sad news from New York, where an investment banker was killed by a bus, becoming the first Citi Bike bikeshare rider to be killed since the program was introduced four years and over 43 million rides ago; he’s just the second person killed since bikeshare came to the US in 2010. Thanks to Alan Thompson and Jeff Vaughn for the heads-up.

A Pennsylvania mom plays detective to get her son’s stolen bike back.

A Baltimore letter writer asks if the mayor is trying to drive Millennials out of town by ripping out a protected bike lane.

Miami gets its first protected bike lane. If you can call a lane separated with nothing more than flexible plastic posts “protected.”

A kindhearted Florida deputy gives a man a new bike after his was destroyed in a hit-and-run.

 

International

Architectural Digest ranks the eleven most scenic bike rides in the world, having evidently never ridden through the Rocky Mountains. Or the American prairie, for that matter.

After a British man gets knocked off his bike by a car towing an RV, he gets even by applying the van’s handbrake, and filming the driver’s wheels spinning as he tries to move forward.

Three out of four daily bike riders in Ireland are men. Which is a stat that could be cited, give or take, for virtually any first world country outside northern Europe.

A soccer coach is bicycling the full length of Italy to fulfill a promise after his team avoided relegation.

A look at the 200th anniversary of the bicycle, from the country where it was born.

Iranian women are ignoring a fatwa from the country’s supreme leader prohibiting them from riding bicycles in public, and posting videos of themselves doing it anyway.

A Kazakh tribesman has left his families flocks behind to compete as an amateur cyclist in China.

 

Finally…

Nobody likes bike thieves, but this is going way too far. Your next bike bell could ring inside cars.

And if you think doping is crappy, you may be right.

Or maybe not.

 

Morning Links: KNBC jumps the gun with complaint over NELA safety project that hasn’t been built yet

You’ve got to be kidding.

KNBC-4 ran a story on Friday about the horrible, terrible, unbearable delays caused by a traffic calming project on Fletcher Road in Glassell Park.

Never mind that it hasn’t even been built yet.

Citing unnamed residents opposed to the project, they then proceed to talk to just one, who is up in arms — not over the project itself — but simply over the start of construction, claiming to have “road diet refugee post traumatic stress disorder”* after having fled from Rowena Avenue following that successful road diet.

Only to find that her drive to her kid’s school is now inhibited by the very start of a project designed to improve safety so maybe her kids won’t have to be driven to school.

This is how a local resident in the area, who prefers not to be named, explained the non-controversy to me.

The Fletcher Streetcape project (a plan first initiated in 2006, by then-Councilmember Garcetti) includes bike lanes, new crosswalks, new curb ramps, benches, 70 trees and a landscaped median in the one mile corridor. A woman who claims to have moved to Glassell Park/Mt. Washington, away from Silver Lake because of the road diet there, was angry when she noticed construction had begun on this project last week.

She posted a rant titled ‘road rage’ on social media site Next-Door about how she had only seen one cyclist in her ten years of driving there, how all cyclists on that street are just headed to the LA River, how she was a cyclist in NYC for 20 years but that she would never ride in LA… she even went so far as to say that the notorious Avenues gang is active in this area, and she worries the DOT didn’t take this into account.

Basically, she was able to incite lots of hate which prompted over 100 replies, some of which agreed with her and some which pointed out for all her complaints about supposed “congestion,” the goal is safety.

The irony is that she moved out of Silver Lake because of the road diet, but now drives back there daily to take her kid to school. And of course, she ignores the fact that the street she was using as a speedway is home to two schools.

KNBC is undoubtedly patting themselves on the back for getting this “controversy” out there, when they should be hanging their heads in shame for taking such a negative view of such a badly needed project to improve safety for everyone, not just people on bicycles.

Maybe next time they could wait until it’s finished before pushing any more complaints out onto the public.

*Not a recognized psychiatric disorder

………

If you were assaulted by an SUV driver while riding at the intersection of Lucille and Griffith Park Blvd, contact weshigh, who may have a photo of the vehicle; he says the same driver nearly ran over him and his wife as they walked in a crosswalk.

………

There’s a new leader in the Vuelta, as the Tour of Spain is now being led by a Spaniard. Riders competing in the race call it insanely hard, as the projected leaders fear showing their hand too soon.

Many riders may be more concerned about securing a contract for next year than winning the next stage.

And Frank Schleck won the equivalent of $2.23 million from his former team after he was dumped 11 months into a one year doping ban.

………

Local

The LACBC is hiring a full-time Development Director and an Organizing Director.

LA Bike Dad looks at the moments of serendipity that only come from riding a bicycle.

A Manhattan Beach author is riding cross-country to gather stories for a book exploring the emotional and psychological impact cancer has on a variety of people.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson recommends daytime riding lights in his own inimitable style.

West Hollywood’s WeHo Pedals bikeshare has its official grand opening tomorrow.

Orange 20 welcomes the return of the New Urbanism Film Festival this October.

 

State

Over 3,500 San Diego cyclists take part in the annual Bike the Bay over the Coronado Bridge.

A San Marcos street in a former industrial area has been reborn as a 1/3 mile complete street with broad sidewalks, bike lanes, angled parking and new landscaping fronting the area’s new apartment buildings.

Santa Clara bike riders could lose a popular bike and pedestrian bridge originally built by Intel as a temporary bridge over a gully two decades ago.

Sad news from Sacramento, as a 92-year old bike rider was killed when he allegedly veered out of the bike lane; friends remember him as a fun loving, giving man who didn’t let his age get in the way of what he loved doing.

 

National

Access Magazine looks at how improving safety and providing better access for bike riders could encourage more people to ride.

The leading candidate to operate Seattle’s struggling bikeshare system proposes converting to an all-electric bike fleet to encourage riding in the hilly city.

Indiana cyclists have to contend with angry and impatient motorists. Then again, New Zealand is no bargain, either.

Brooklyn’s bicycling culture is not enough to protect cyclists on the streets of New York’s most bike-friendly borough.

There’s a special place in hell for the thief who stole a truck filled with $37,000 worth of bikes and parts from the Wounded Warrior Project in Pittsburgh.

Ann Holton, the wife of Virginia Senator and Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, is one of us; she formed a bike club for neighborhood women called Mother Bikers. Then again, Kaine is one of us, too.

 

International

A new study shows moderate walking or biking can cut the risk of cardiac death by 50% for people over 65.

A Brit cyclist rides 65 miles a day to combat the effects of PTSD.

A Scottish writer says Great Britain’s domination of Olympic cycling is great, but won’t improve safety on the country’s roads.

An Edinburgh man circled the world in 12 months on a singlespeed bike; surprisingly, he found Iran the most welcoming country on his trip.

Be grateful you only have to take off your shoes to go through airport security. An Indian paracyclist says he was humiliated when he was forced to take off his prosthetic leg.

Caught on video: An Aussie cop knocks a 13-year old boy off his bike after the boy swore at the officers when they told him to get off the road.

Just days after a Japanese driver killed a pedestrian while playing Pokémon GO, a cyclist was killed as a driver was distracted by charging his cellphone after running the battery down playing the game.

 

Finally…

Most bicycles hardly ever burst into flames. Not only is bicycling the new golf, it’s the new real estate agent, as well.

And why bother with selfies and helmet cams when you can film your next offroad descent by drone?

 

Morning Links: Town hall to talk 6th Street road diet, a busy Bike Week, and a hot Giant recovered in Redlands

We’re sill stuck on 14 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

So who wants to help take it up to sign up now or renew your membership to take it up to at least 15 today? You’ll help give bike riders a real voice in the LA area, and get some great LACBC gear in the process.

………

A town hall meeting will be held on Wednesday to discuss the much-needed road diet on 6th Street between La Brea and Fairfax.

As someone who used to regularly ride that stretch of road when I lived on the Westside, I can attest that it can be pretty intense, whether you’re on two wheels or four. Especially at night, when traffic lets up and drivers feel free to haul ass without regard for who or what may be in their way.

………

KPCC looks at the remaining 15 days of Bike Month, starting with today’s Blessing of the Bicycles.

West Hollywood is celebrating bike month on Thursday, with a Bike to Work Day hub near Santa Monica Blvd and Hancock Avenue; some WeHo restaurants will offer a 10% discount to bicyclists through May 28th, though details are lacking.

Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare is free this Thursday through Saturday.

And don’t forget that you and your bike get free rides on Metrolink this week.

………

Lois forwards word of recovered bike in Redlands.

From the Redlands Police Department page. RPD recovered a stolen Giant road bike.

“Police contacted four subjects in a vehicle in the 10 block of W. Colton Avenue and made several arrests for warrants and probation violations. Officers located a Giant road bicycle inside their car, and no one in the car claimed ownership of the bike. If you recently had a Giant road bike stolen, please contact the Redlands Police Department at [email protected].”

………

Maybe he should ride the wrong bike more often. A former Slovenian ski jumper wins the Giro time trial after his bike is disqualified, and he’s forced ride a backup bike with the saddle set too low, and no water bottle or computer.

On the other hand, Russian rider Alexey Tsatevich was sent home by his Katusha team for illegally drafting another rider during the time trial.

No surprise Sunday in the Amgen Tour of California, as last year’s champ Peter Sagan wins the first stage. But the second stage was a big surprise, as American Ben King won in a two-man breakaway, taking the leader’s jersey just four months after ankle surgery.

It was a perfect starting place for Stage 2 of the race for pro cyclist Geoffrey Curran, whose family has lived in South Pasadena for over 50 years.

Today’s stage starts in Thousand Oaks and finishes in Santa Barbara.

………

Local

Something’s wrong when even students at high-end private academies aren’t safe on their way to school.

Paul Koretz tells UCLA’s Daily Bruin he wants Westwood Blvd removed from the Mobility Plan before studies of alternate routes are complete, because he may not be on the council when they are finished. So basically, he wants to impose his bad decisions on whoever is elected to replace him.

LADOT’s Seleta Reynolds talks transportation in DTLA, assuring drivers there’s no war on cars, even if she does want to discuss making some Downtown streets car-free.

The seemingly omnipresent CiclaValley looks at the semi-protected bike lanes coming to Van Nuys Blvd. Apparently, CD7 Councilmember Felipe Fuentes’ staff liked the story.

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman says Sunday’s successful Southeast Cities CicLAvia was four years in the making, while KPCC says a good time was had by all. Or words to that effect, anyway.

LA’s Fox-11 asks if you can ditch your car in 2016.

Pasadena proposes spending $1.8 million to install bicycle detection systems at key intersections.

Santa Monica will host a mini-ciclovía on June 5th to help welcome the Expo Line to town.

Mark your calendar, as LA’s own Swrve hosts one of their semi-irregular warehouse sales on Saturday, June 11th.

 

State

The OC Register’s Dan Whiting looks at Wednesday’s Ride of Silence, with a record five rides planned in Orange County.

The madness continues in Coronado, as the city tosses out its already approved and funded bike plan after last year’s bizarre complaints from residents, and votes to start over.

A Santa Rosa woman clearly doesn’t get that bicyclists are allowed on the road, bike lane or not, and allowed to ride in the middle of the traffic lane. The solution to the “dangerous” conditions she describes is to drive safely, not for bikes to get the hell off the road.

This is why you don’t want to chase after bike thieves; a Fresno man was stabbed trying to get his bike back. That was just days after a Fresno bike rider was stabbed to death as he rode past a bus stop.

The woman who tried to flee after hitting a San Francisco cyclist has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon for the apparently intentional attack.

AAA is now using ebikes to rescue drivers in San Francisco’s Embarcadero.

Monterey gives free bike helmets to kids to encourage them to ride their bikes.

Sacramento is planning a $17 million, 4.5 mile rail-to-trail bike path.

 

National

Seattle is backsliding on the bikeways promised in its bike plan.

KC gets its first green bike box, with more bike racks and another 50 miles of bike lanes on the way.

A reportedly suicidal Sinead O’Conner was found safe after disappearing on an ebike ride in Chicago on Sunday.

A New York site says taming the city’s notorious Boulevard of Death is worth the effort, even though it calls plans for bike lanes on the street “radical.”

In a city notorious for vehicles blocking bike lanes — including police vehicles — the NYPD finally gets around to doing something about it. For one whole week, anyway.

Usher is one of us, as GQ uses his stylish ride through New York as the model for us all.

A Maryland county is measuring traffic stress levels to study how biking comfort affects connectivity.

The Atlanta Falcons are participating in Bike to Work Day this week. So will we see the new LA Rams on their bikes this Thursday?

 

International

A British man is convicted in the road rage stabbing of a prominent bike advocate following a traffic collision; the National Health Service admits they got things wrong in managing the killer’s paranoid schizophrenia, even though he was not psychotic at the time. His actions might tend to argue otherwise.

An English motorcyclist gets just two years for killing a bike rider while pulling high-speed wheelies.

Caught on video: An Irish paper investigates bike safety, and finds hundreds of near misses on the streets of Dublin. Although to be fair, a number of the close calls appear to be the riders’ fault.

A 14-year old Spanish cyclist sponsored by pro rider Vincenzo Nibali was killed in a collision with a garbage truck; Nibali was reportedly devastated, regarding the boy as a godson.

A road raging Spanish cab driver was charged with attempted murder for running down a bike-riding former Olympic medalist.

In Guyana, even the police are under the influence, as a drunk cop runs down a 10-year old boy while on duty.

Queensland is reconsidering its ten-year bike safety plan halfway through, as new thinking around the world threatens to leave the Aussie state behind.

 

Finally…

Maybe you need a bike with a bendy down tube. Seriously, it’s better to be arrested for outstanding warrants than get hit by a car trying to flee the cops on your bike.

And it’s probably not the best idea to run down the mayor while riding on the sidewalk.

 

Morning Links: Statewide hit-and-run alert bill in trouble; Gil Cedillo shares the outrage at tragedy he helped cause

As we noted last week, today is the last day to voice your support for the proposed California hit-and-run alert system before Tuesday’s vote in the state senate.

The bill faces unexpected opposition from the CHP, which evidently favors letting fleeing drivers get away with it.

………

Boyonabike says the death of a bike rider in Friday’s Highland Park hit-and-run is another outrage. As was the cancellation of the road diet that might have saved him; Richard Risemberg blames city council overreach for keeping our streets dangerous.

Meanwhile, Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who was single-handedly responsible for that cancellation, says he shares the outrage over this tragedy, and suggests we have to make better choices.

Let’s hope he takes his own advice.

……..

Looks like LA had a big turnout for Saturday’s World Naked Bike Ride.

LAist offers all the NSFW photos you could want, although the best photo might just be a mirror image; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, a Portland writer describes what it’s like to ride buck naked, while Breitbart doesn’t seem to get it — or the difference between #pdx and #lax, for that matter.

……..

An Aussie site looks at the big four in the upcoming Tour de France, which kicks off on Independence Day. Ours, not theirs.

Vincenzo Nibali is on a mission to defend his title, while some seem to question Chris Froome’s mental fortitude. In the absence of sprinter Marcel Kittel, it should be Mark Cavendish’s time to shine. And a parcel service offers an infographic explaining the tour’s logistics.

A team of Baltimore cyclists bike like a girl over 3,000 miles across the US while setting a team RAAM record.

Thankfully, the Danish cyclist critically injured in a collision while competing in the Race Across America is showing some improvement. Something is seriously wrong when someone can’t come to this country to compete without an American driver putting his life in jeopardy.

And UCI, cycling’s governing body, is seriously out of control as they fine an amateur racer for tweeting his objections about a lack of water and neutral support at the amateur national championships, where several cyclists succumbed to heat stroke.

Maybe someone should fine UCI for risking the safety of their riders.

……..

Local

Evidently, California’s police chiefs don’t want you to see what really happened when Gardena police fatally shot an unarmed man whose brother’s bike had been stolen.

 

State

The LA Times’ David Lazarus asks why bike riders aren’t entitled to free air at gas stations, like motorists are.

The Orange County Register explains how to report bad or hostile drivers to the DMV.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on how to get your stolen bike back, including reporting the theft for free with Bike Index. Which you can do right here; you can also register it before it’s stolen, which is a lot smarter.

One cyclist finds serenity riding the Columbia River Gorge outside Portland, while another loses his life there after losing control of his bike on a descent.

Apparently, Albuquerque bikes climb light poles.

Denver police say if you steal a bike, it just might be one of theirs; over 20 would-be thieves have taken their GPS-equipped bait so far. On the other hand, Georgia sheriff’s deputies go low tech by using scent dogs to track a 15-year old thief.

An Iowa City paper asks if removing traffic lanes can curb aggressive driving and promote bicycling. That would be, yes.

Hats off to a team of Houston cops riding to New York to raise awareness for leukemia and lymphoma, who stopped along the way to save the life of an Alabama driver after he’d gone off the road.

Vermont’s transportation secretary says the recent deaths of three bike riders should be a catalyst to further safety in order to meet the state’s goal of zero traffic fatalities.

Boston gets a new bike counter. Not that we’re going to get one, but where would we put it if we did?

A Connecticut teen steals a $3,000 bike because he got tired of walking. On the other hand, what kind of idiot who leaves a bike like that unlocked on the porch at two in the morning?

A Bethlehem NY boy gets a new bike as a reward for quick thinking after his is destroyed in a collision where he could have been collateral damage.

 

International

A new Canadian study says those scary reports that bike riding can cause prostate cancer are probably wrong.

A Canadian recreational cyclist offers tips on bicycling etiquette — including advice to ride in the door zone.

A new bike light projects symbols on your back — like a stop sign, turn signals or a bicycle — while you ride; it can also be programed to project your own symbols. Yes, even that one.

Good article from London’s Telegraph, asking why serious bicycling injuries are increasing while fatalities are going down — and at a rate greater than the rise in ridership.

Brit bike riders go back to the future. Or maybe forward to the past.

Someone stole a $100 bike 20 minutes after it was donated to a British charity store. They seem to define racing bike a little oddly, though.

The Times of London looks at Dublin’s plans to ban cars from the city center and convert traffic lanes to segregated bike paths. Riots would break out if anyone suggested that here.

A New Zealand paper says if the country’s planned bikeways do what they’re supposed to, everyone wins.

 

Finally…

At least we only have to worry about LA drivers; six Florida cyclists were injured, one seriously, when his bike slipped on the remains of a roadkill gator. When you’re chasing a bike-riding suspect on foot, be sure to lock your patrol car first.

And when you’re riding with a digital scale, meth and heroin on your bike, put some damn lights on it. And don’t ride on the sidewalk.

And don’t crash into pole trying to get away.

……..

It has nothing to do with bicycling. But just thought I’d share the view out our window last night.

Dusk-6-28

 

Guest post: BAC Vice Chair Glenn Bailey reports on efforts to undo the Chase Street road diet and bike lanes

Last week we alerted you to an attempt by the Panorama City Neighborhood Council to sneak in a last minute vote on removing the road diet and bike lanes on Chase Street through the San Fernando Valley neighborhood.

Despite the late notice, a number of bicyclists emailed to protest the blatant attempt to bypass legitimate discussion of the issue, and a handful of riders were able to attend the meeting.

Glenn Bailey, Vice Chair of the Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee, offers his report on the matter.

………

Existing bicycle lanes in Panorama City were under attack last week as both the Arleta and Panorama City Neighborhood Councils voted to support efforts to “restore” two additional lanes of motor vehicle traffic along a one-mile stretch of Chase Street between Van Nuys Boulevard and Woodman Avenue. The bicycle lanes, installed a year ago, link a major commercial district in Panorama City with the existing bicycle lanes on Woodman Avenue, and will provide a future connection for the proposed bicycle lanes on Parthenia Street, which will extend west to Canoga Park. The Chase lanes also serve the adjoining Chase Street Elementary School and nearby Panorama Recreation Center.

The removal of the bicycle lanes has been spearheaded by the Arleta “Looky Loo” Neighborhood Watch group, even though the lanes are located in Panorama City and not in Arleta. They claim traffic is delayed “up to fifteen minutes during rush hour.” (Alternatively, bicycling the route at any time of the day only takes four to five minutes.)

The Panorama City Neighborhood Council (PCNC) held its regular fourth Thursday monthly meeting last week but the Chase Street bicycle lanes item was not listed on the agenda distributed three days earlier. Instead, the PCNC issued a second agenda for a special meeting that was not publicly distributed via the City’s Early Notification System until less than 11 hours before the meeting start time.

Generally, these “special” sessions are only called pursuant to State’s open meeting law, the Brown Act, to consider items that become known within two to three days before a regular meeting. However, public records indicate that the Chase Street bicycle lanes have been agendized by the PCNC at least twice over the last two years: in April 2013 and in October 2014. The issue was most recently considered by the PCNC Public Safety Committee at a meeting held on March 11, 2015 and yet the item was not included on the agenda for the next full Board meeting held on March 26, 2015. Instead, it mysteriously appeared six weeks later with virtually no advance notice for the public.

Despite the lack of public notice, the PCNC President, Viviano Montes, reported that the Board had received about twenty emails that afternoon supporting the bicycle lanes.   Two bicyclists who live in Panorama City and who use the Chase Street bicycle lanes on a daily basis did attend and spoke passionately in favor of keeping the lanes.

Two persons spoke against the bike lanes and apparently neither live in Panorama City, but rather in neighboring Arleta.  One speaker said the bicycle lanes should be “shared” with motor vehicles, apparently unaware that a five-foot lane width is too narrow to accommodate cars and that such use is a violation of the State Vehicle Code. She claimed to have petitions with 250 signatures to remove the lanes, but apparently a copy was not provided to the Neighborhood Council so the Board doesn’t know if the signers are actually from Panorama City or not.

But that was enough to influence some of the PCNC Board members who said they would vote to represent the wishes of the “majority.”  The vote was 10-1-3 (yes-no-abstain) to “ask the city to restore Chase Street to four traffic lanes between Woodman Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard” which would necessitate the removal of the bicycle lanes. (A similar motion was passed the previous Tuesday by the Arleta NC on a 7-1-1 vote.)

According to the U.S. Census, the current population of Panorama City is 70,749 so if the Neighborhood Council wants to represent a true majority, they will need to hear from at least 35,250 more of their constituents.

Instead of undoing the road diet and removing the bicycle lanes, the City’s Department of Transportation should conduct a traffic and safety study and make recommendations to improve the flow of traffic, if necessary.  For example, the complaints about delays at the four-way stop signs could be addressed by installing roundabouts at those intersections.

The bicycle lane opponents vowed to submit their petition signatures to the local City Councilmember Nury Martinez (6th District) so stayed tuned as this story unfolds.

 

Action Alert: Panorama City NC sneaks in agenda item to remove bike lanes on Chase Street at tonight’s meeting

I just received news that the Panorama City Neighborhood Council will discuss removal of a recently installed road diet and bike lanes on Chase Street.

The group has already requested removal of the lanes in one section; now they’re planning to ask for removal of the entire road diet.

Worse, they’re trying to sneak this past the public without any real discussion by inserting a last-minute “special agenda” at the end of the previously published agenda. And allowing only eight minutes to consider the matter, effectively eliminating any possibility of legitimate discussion.

5. Consideration and possible action on the recommendation of the Public Safety committee that the Board ask the city to restore Chase Street to four traffic lanes between Woodman Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard. The Board has already taken action to request a return to four lanes between Wakefield Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard. The council had opposed lane elimination in that area when the street restriping was still in the proposal stage. Now that the restriping has occurred, a dangerous condition has also arisen at the Woodman end, where parent traffic blocks the street while waiting to turn into the alley behind Valor Academy Middle School to pick up children. The through-street’s traffic capacity reduction is also causing huge backups along the street during rush hours, and a dangerous diversion of cut-through traffic to Parthenia Street between Woodman Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard. That section of Parthenia has now changed from a quiet residential street to an arterial street. For all of these traffic disruptions, very few bicycles are ever seen occupying the two bike lanes that replaced the two traffic lanes. [8m]

If you live, work or ride in the area, you’re urged to attend tonight’s meeting:

PANORAMA CITY NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING AGENDA

Thursday, April 23, 2015, 6:30 PM
Mission Community Hospital, Medical Office Building, 2nd Floor, Room 208 14860 Roscoe Boulevard, Panorama City, CA 91402

If you can’t make it, email your comments — and your outrage at the sneak attack — to [email protected]; blind copy (Bcc) LA BAC Vice Chair Glenn Bailey at [email protected].

Demand that they allow legitimate public discussion before taking any action.

And that they allow the bike lanes to remain until people in cars and on bikes both have a chance to adjust to the new road design — and give up this ill-advised attempt to revert the roadway back to a more dangerous state.

 

Morning Links: Doublespeak in NELA, SaMo guide to Smart Cycling, and an ex-Bond bikes in the ‘Bu

Orwellian doublespeak lives in Northeast LA.

LA cyclists staged a ride and die-in in front of CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s Downtown condominium on Sunday to protest Cedillo’s flip flop — to put it nicely — on his campaign promise to support bike lanes on North Figueroa, as well as his depiction of cyclists who want a safe place to ride as “bullies.”

According to the story in the Eastsider, Cedillo spokesman Louis Reyes responded by saying the councilmember wants to improve safety for all residents, not just a single segment.

Except that studies have repeatedly shown that’s exactly what a road diet and bike lanes do, slowing traffic and improving safety for everyone. And that is what the already-approved 2010 bike plan calls for — and what cyclists are asking for.

Reyes went on to depict Sunday’s demonstration as the “tyranny of the minority.”

To paraphrase a popular movie, he keeps using that word, but I do not think that means what he thinks it means.

Someone is being a bully in this case, but it doesn’t seem to be the bike riders.

……..

Local

LAPD is looking for a bike rider who’s been groping women on a Canoga Park bike path.

CycleHop, the bike share vendor selected for Santa Monica’s planned program, has systems operating in Phoenix and Tampa, with others scheduled to open in Orlando and Ottawa.

Santa Monica produces a Smart Cycling guide (pdf) and gets it mostly right, including instructions to take the lane on narrow streets. But implies that cyclists can’t use left turn lanes unless there’s a bike box, and equates not wearing a helmet, and texting while riding — both of which are legal — with riding while intoxicated, which isn’t. And should note that sidewalk riding is banned in Santa Monica, not everywhere in the state.

The former Bond, James Bond rides his bike in Malibu.

 

State

Surprisingly, AAA embraces parklets.

Now that’s progress. Irvine approves a traffic plan study that will look at all forms of transportation — including bikes — rather than just motor vehicle traffic.

Bikes seem to be the new getaway vehicle of choice as a San Diego bank robber is the latest to ride from the scene of the crime.

San Jacinto Valley cyclists are devastated by the death of a popular rider who fell ill at a family Christmas gathering.

San Francisco’s BART transit police are using predictive policing to deal with a spike in bike thefts.

A San Rafael nonprofit donates 65 bikes to at-risk kids.

 

National

Turns out most people like protected bike lanes. And dedicated bike traffic signals are a hit with riders.

Someone spilled — or intentionally scattered — thumb tacks on a popular Portland bike route.

A Portland cyclist has started a Go Fund Me account to pay for a bait bike program to fight bike theft, while a local college is using GPS to catch thieves.

Denver drivers are increasingly turning away from cars in favor of alternatives, including bikes.

They get it. The Lubbock TX paper says bicycling would be beneficial for community and local college.

A Missouri legislator thinks your bike is dangerous, and wants to require cyclists to carry liability insurance.

A Chicago Good Samaritan uses a jack to lift a truck off a bike rider until paramedics arrived.

Now that’s serious bad luck, as a Chicago cyclist has his bike stolen at the police station while reporting a stolen iPhone.

A bike-hating DC columnist suggests bike riders should have their own paths through the woods. And then have to get off their bikes and find alternate transportation once they reach city limits.

A South Carolina driver argues than no one will ever use a bike path to commute to work simply because she won’t. And neither will her husband, so that settles it.

After ranking as the nation’s second most dangerous city for cyclists in 2012, Tampa Bay is finally getting it’s act together.

Evidently, it’s still a crime to bike while black in Fort Lauderdale.

A brain-injured man is riding across Florida to raise awareness for medical marijuana.

 

International

A new rain-proof riding jacket will indicate your turns for you.

A 64-year old British Columbia woman is arrested for allegedly booby trapping a popular mountain bike trail.

Evidently, bicycling is the new Fountain of Youth, according to a study from the UK. But you already knew that, right?

The rules have finally been changed to allow pro cycling teams to be punished when their riders dope. It’s been an open secret that many, if not most, teams tacitly encouraged their riders to cheat during the doping era. Not that anything like that would happen now, of course.

The BBC reports on Volvo’s proposed bike safety system, and new anti-theft bike pedals.

Brit bike riders are urged to watch out for trucks’ blind spots. Instead of, you know, urging drivers to watch out for bikes.

Irish cyclists call for the equivalent of a three-foot passing law, and urge motorists to act like one already exists.

A Western Australia police official calls out motorists for a lack of tolerance when it comes to bike riders, while an Aussie pub shows an apparent lack thereof after turning away a group of Lycra-clad riders.

A former bike hater finally gets it, and urges Kiwi drivers to make room for cyclists.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: A Florida bike rider is verbally harassed by a road raging driver; seriously, if you’re in that big a hurry that you can’t let a bike slow you down long enough to pass, why would you get out of your truck to yell at the rider? A Connecticut man is suing New York City for $60 million not forcing him to wear a helmet when he rented a Citi Bike; clearly, he was incapable of choosing to wear one himself, even before banging his head.

And a Brit stockbroker is fired after tweeting a joke about hitting a cyclist and leaving the scene; naturally, a petition has been started to get his job back.

……..

Thanks to Adeel Mansour for making a generous donation to support this site.

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