Tag Archive for traffic congestion

Morning Links: $19 billion tab for LA traffic congestion, and the stupidest things people have said about cyclists

Somehow we missed this one last week.

CityLab reports that traffic congestion cost Los Angeles $19.2 billion — yes, with a b — in 2016. Which works out to an average cost of $2,828 per driver.

So sure.

Let’s just follow the lead of LA’s traffic safety deniers and do nothing to provide viable alternatives to driving, while dumping tens of thousands of new cars on the city streets every year.

That will somehow magically make everything better.

Right?

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Another great piece from Peter Flax, as he builds an Anti-Bike-Crank Hall of Fame based on the 10 stupidest things people have said about cyclists.

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Local

A UCLA professor will take part in a three-week, 1,000-mile bike ride along the California coast to talk climate change.

Curbed looks at how Los Angeles walking advocate Jessica Meaney gets around. Hint: It’s not by driving.

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from LA Bike Dad, who examines whether you should consider getting a bakfiets, aka cargo bike. To answer the unasked question, you pronounce bakfiets like what I have to wipe off after the Corgi goes out in the rain, along with her front fiets.

 

State

LimeBike is bringing their dockless bikeshare to San Diego, undoubtedly to the chagrin of the beachfront bike rental owners who just got the city’s bikeshare docks removed from near their stores. Thanks to Frank Lehnerz for the heads-up.

Streetsblog talks with a bike-riding San Francisco firefighter about Vision Zero and his department’s windshield perspective.

A Marin man has been ordered to stand trial on four felony hit-and-run charges for ramming four cyclists in last year’s Jensie Gran Fondo, apparently intentionally. Although he should also face charges of assault with a deadly weapon, with potential jail time of a lot more than just five years.

 

National

Despite improvements in automotive safety, US traffic deaths remained over 40,000 for the second year in a row.

Bicycling lists the commuter cycling gear you need this year. Apparently oblivious to the fact that many people seem to get to and from work just fine without any of it.

Seattle proves that it is in fact possible to add jobs while dramatically cutting traffic. Your move, Los Angeles.

If Utah adopts a version of the Idaho Stop law, it will be just the third state in the US to allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as yields. Which means there’s just 47 more to go.

Colorado lawmakers block an attempt to ban red light and speed cameras in the state. Speed cameras are currently illegal in California, while red light cameras are prohibited in Los Angeles. Which makes the Rocky Mountain State smarter, and safer, than either one of them.

Laredo TX opened a new bike and ride plaza to allow people to safely store their bicycles when they take the bus.

Kansas and Missouri are working to have sections of the famed Route 66 designated as a US Bicycle Route.

A Memphis newspaper looks at the city’s plans to build out their existing bicycle network, six year’s after they were named America’s most improved bike city.

People in Charlotte NC love the dockless bikeshares that have appeared in the city under a trial program. Or hate them.

 

International

Your next bike mechanic could have an international certification.

The Economist says to improve cities, we need to focus on the 95% of the time when cars aren’t being used.

British Columbia bicyclists cheer plans to replace an 81-year old bridge, which has a shared bike and pedestrian lane so narrow that bikes coming from opposite directions can’t pass one another.

A travel writer for the Washington Post rides end-to-end across Britain.

Caught on video: A British van driver inexplicably decides to hover next to a pair of bicyclists, less than an arm’s distance away.

A New Zealand man lost 220 pounds after his doctor gave him a bicycle; now he fixes bikes and gives them away to encourage others to ride. If more doctors would prescribe bicycling to their patients, we might have a much healthier and happy population.

Indian cyclists are giving up their desk jobs to open high-end bike shops.

 

Competitive Cycling

Turns out The Big Lebowski helped inspire ex-Tour de France winner Floyd Landis’ unlikely comeback as a purveyor of fine medical dope products.

A Morgan Hill columnist is getting hyped for the city’s turn to host a stage of the Amgen Tour of California.

No, pro cyclists are not welcoming Chris Froome back with open arms while a doping cloud hangs over his head, despite what he says.

 

Finally…

Upcycling classic bicycles is one thing; buying a second-hand Penny Farthing is another. Apparently, all the good bikes under three grand are on the radar.

And forget motor doping, mountain ebike racing will now be a thing.

 

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

Hell is about to freeze over.

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

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

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

The work should be done sometime this spring.

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

Myself included.

Photo from Beverly Hills website.

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I’d give this econ professor an F.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As an economics professor, he should understand that.

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

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

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

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

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

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Local

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

 

State

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

Zen and the art of bicycle maintenance in Minneapolis.

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

 

Competitive Cycling

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

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

 

Finally…

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

And today is International Winter Bike to Work Day.

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

Morning Links: Road raging New York mobster, LA transforming to city of the future, and a kindhearted bike gift

These are the people we share the roads with.

An 82-year old New York mobster skated on charges that he participated in the legendary 1978 Lufthansa heist that inspired the movie Goodfellas.

But now he’ll spend the next eight years behind bars after using a law enforcement database to track down a driver who cut him off on a freeway, and setting the man’s car on fire.

Evidently, road rage is dish best served cold.

Unless you get caught.

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Nice KCRW interview with UCLA urban planning professor Bryan Taylor, who says LA’s traffic problems are the result of the city transforming from a “bucolic Southern California bungalow environment” to an “urban global city of the future.”

And one in which people will walk, bike and take transit in denser communities — and where the 30-mile commute is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

I think that the idea that we should build a system that allows someone to live 30 miles from where they work is ridiculous. If you went that far in Tokyo, you’d cover an area that has most of the population for California. The expectation that someone should be able to get in their car and drive through one of the largest cities in the world unimpeded from one end of the metropolitan area to the other is an expectation that could have existed when L.A. wasn’t a global city of that scale. We now have 17 million people. It’s just not going to be possible for them to live in in Pasadena and drive to Santa Monica and feel like they can do that comfortably. Those days are over.

Which is a point I’ve been trying to make with drivers and reporters for some time, with limited success.

As in none.

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This is by far the best news story of the day.

After an Indiana woman’s bike broke down on her way to work Christmas Eve, a kindhearted stranger stopped to help. And ended up giving her a bicycle she’d bought for her grandchild’s Christmas present.

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Local

Metro Bike is planning to expand into the San Gabriel Valley, Culver City and around USC, while it struggles to meet ridership projections in the face of competition from dockless bikeshare.

Curbed offers 18 things to look forward to this year, including the opening of the long-delayed My Figueroa Complete Streets project on South Figueroa, and September’s Disney Hall to Hollywood Bowl CicLAvia.

You have until noon tomorrow to vote for Streetsblog’s annual Streetsie Awards for Elected Official, Civil Servant, Media/Journalism, Individual Advocacy, and Advocacy Group of the year.

The latest episode of Bike Talk interviews prolific bike writer Peter Flax, one of the journalists nominated for a Streetsie this year.

South Bay bike riders can now go to bicycle traffic school instead of paying a fine for traffic tickets. Los Angeles has been talking about doing that, but so far, it doesn’t appear to have moved beyond talk at this point.

A man on a bicycle shot a Norwalk man in the hand after talking with him briefly; police suspect it may have been gang-related.

 

State

San Diego opens the new bicycle-themed Bikeway Village along the bayfront bike path in Imperial Beach.

An Aussie BMX champ vowed to walk down the aisle to marry his fiancé on New Year’s Eve in San Diego, where he’s in rehab for a training accident that left him paralyzed for awhile.

A couple hundred Bakersfield riders get the new year started right with an early morning ride. Although that doesn’t compare to riding with a wind chill factor of 12 below.

Things are getting better for bicyclists on the Bay Area’s Mount Diablo after a number of safety improvements designed to reduce conflicts with motorists.

Sad news from San Raphael, where a bike rider died after hitting an object on a paved trail.

 

National

Motor vehicles are now the leading source of CO2 emissions in the US, as what now passes for the EPA is busy dismantling regulations intended to protect us.

Oregon’s new $15 tax on new bicycles over $200 went into effect yesterday.

A Tucson woman is looking for the beloved bike belonging to her late brother, which was stolen shortly after he died of pancreatic cancer.

Life is cheap in New Mexico, where a man convicted of careless driving in a crash that severely injured a woman riding her bike walks with just 90 days probation, and a whopping $156 court fee that the judge may have waived.

Engineering students at the University of Colorado build an adaptive bike for a girl with autism and limited motor skills.

A Denver paper says ebikes could help reduce traffic congestion, but questions whether they belong on singletrack trails.

While some Los Angeles residents are demanding that the city rip out bike lanes, residents of Amarillo TX are begging the city to put bike lanes in their neighborhood to slow speeding traffic.

A San Antonio man is finally under arrest, seven months after he fatally ran down a bike rider while struggling with a couple of passengers trying to stop his out-of-control driving.

A recovering addict from Missouri rode 3,300 miles across the US to promote recovery.

 

International

A new book tells the story of four young Canadian women who took off on a 400-mile bike ride in the middle of WWII.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 81-year old man rode 4,300 miles across Canada. So much for all those people who say older people can’t ride bikes.

Young Toronto residents are passing on getting a driver’s license, and choosing to live in complete communities where walking, biking and transit take precedence.

Bike advocates are fighting plans to block an abandoned British rail tunnel, hoping it can be converted to the country’s longest underground bikeway instead.

No bias here. A non-scientific survey of Brit drivers shows 73% want to force cyclists to wear hi-viz, and 80% want bike riders to carry mandatory liability insurance.

A UK letter writer says bikes were here first and it’s not the fault of bicyclists that roads are getting more dangerous, while another letter writer reminds motorists that cars are dangerous machines, and says drivers who kill should be banned for life.

Finland plans to become a bicycling mecca by 2050, with most commuters riding company-supplied ebikes. But why wait another three decades?

Sweden is now offering a 25% rebate on the purchase of an ebike, as research shows electric bicycles often replace cars.

Caught on video: A Polish mountain biker completes the world’s first backflip in the Superman position.

A 19-year old Indian woman will attempt to set a new record for being the youngest and fastest woman to complete an unsupported, 18,000-mile ride around the world.

Caught on video too: An Aussie bicyclist is caught in a left hook crash, the Down Under equivalent of our right hook, as the writer says the driver was legally at fault but the victim shares the blame.

Caught on video three: A trio of Australian bike riders were lucky to stay upright when they were passed way too close and too fast by the driver of a massive truck.

After two Australian cyclists were sideswiped by the driver of a rental camper van, all the driver had to say was “Big mirror. Sorry.”

Nothing like having to dodge a car thief speeding down an Australian bike path.

Britain’s Sky News says abandoned dockless rental bikes have turned into a social menace in China. Meanwhile, CNN says Chinese dockless bikeshare has turned into a bubble.

 

Finally…

Nothing like a purple, bike-riding octopus. Go for a New Year’s swim, come up with a new bike.

And don’t steal a bike from a pack of Santas.

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Thanks to Gil S for his generous donation to help support this site. While the annual holiday fund drive may be over, contributions are always welcome.

And on a personal note, today is the first day my wife has been back at work in nearly two months. So let me offer a heartfelt thank you to everyone who have offered so many kind words and support over the past several weeks.

 

Morning Links: Playa del Rey non-traffic, 30-second delay on Venice Blvd, and more City Watch inanity

After all the horror stories, a rare moment of clarity in Playa del Rey.

If you’ve been following the news, you’ve undoubtedly heard motorists ranting that the recent road diets in Playa del Rey have been an unmitigated disaster. Resulting, they swear, in endless traffic backups that have cost people their jobs and stolen time from their families.

Maybe not so fast.

It’s always possible that Jon Phillips happened to ride Culver Blvd through Playa del Rey on an exceptionally light traffic night. Or maybe those horrendous traffic backups had dissipated by the time he rode through at 6 pm.

But other than a brief backup caused by the traffic light at the transition from Jefferson to Culver, it’s nowhere to be seen on the bike cam video he captured Monday evening, as he rode from Jefferson and Lincoln to Vista del Mar on Culver Blvd.

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Streetsblog’s Joe Linton attended Saturday’s workshop to discuss the Venice Blvd Great Streets project in Mar Vista, where LADOT revealed the changes to the road have increased evening peak travel times by just 30 seconds, and not at all in the morning.

Which, unsurprisingly, commenters to the story promptly called fake news.

It’s one of the major problems in American society these days that far too many people are willing to throw actual research and facts out the window, and refuse believe anything that contradicts their own prejudices.

And anyone who has ever driven a car — or ridden in one, apparently — seems to consider themselves experts in traffic planning.

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The hack jobs go on at City Watch, where a pair of reading-for-comprehension challenged columnists take issue with the scoring system used by Vision Zero LA, which gives more weight to injuries and deaths of people on foot or bikes than in cars.

So why are traffic collisions involving vulnerable road users considered more important than motor vehicle crashes?

Because, according to Vision Zero, “They account for roughly 15% of all collisions, but approximately 50% of all deaths.” Or in other words, are a little more than three times as likely to be fatal.

Which is right in the second paragraph of the page these self-appointed transparency advocates link to that explains how the scoring system was used.

Evidently, they missed that part.

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Business Insider says credit Chris Froome’s four Tour de France victories on his unique physiology, while a writer for the Irish Times says don’t count on him making it five.

A Canadian cycling magazine offers a post Tour wrap-up.

A sprinter loses his shot at victory in an Oregon bike race when the men’s field catches up to the women near the finish line, and he collides with another rider.

Bicycling looks at the rich history of the cycling jersey.

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Local

An urbanist website looks at the expansion of bikeshare and parking-protected bike lanes in DTLA.

The Better Bike Share partnership offers an exit interview with the LACBC’s outgoing Executive Director Tamika Butler. Speaking of which, you still have a few weeks to get your resume in to replace her.

Every superhero has an origin story. The LACBC’s Zachary Rynew, aka CiclaValley, tells how he really became a cyclist. And gives this site some of the blame credit for inspiring him.

The Pasadena Star-News suggests bike theft — or mangling a bike trying to steal it — is apparently just part of the problems on the Gold Line. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Santa Monica city officials explain how they go carfree at least some of the time. Note to Santa Monica Lookout: If SaMo is boldly moving into the post WWII era, they’re only about 70 years too late.

Plans to revamp the failing South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach include better bicycle and pedestrian access.

The CEO of the Union Rescue Mission rode his bike from LA’s Skid Row to Sacramento to call attention to homelessness, despite losing a leg to flesh eating bacteria last year.

 

State

San Diego is dealing with the problem of bad data from cameras that are supposed to automatically count bike riders.

A Napa teenager arrived at the US – Mexico border, completing a 1,000-mile bike journey down the California coast to raise money for the families of fallen police officers.

The Ventura County Star urges local cities to follow Ventura and the county’s lead in making bicycling and bike lanes a priority.

Sad news from Salinas, where a 60-year old man died two months after he was hit by a car while riding his bike; he initially refused treatment, saying he wasn’t injured. This is why you always assume you’re hurt following any collision or serious fall; serious injuries — especially internal injuries — may not be apparent in the immediate aftermath of a crash.

Bad dog! A Riverside bike rider t-boned a pickup truck while trying to escape from the two-year old German shepherd that was chasing him; the victim suffered a compound leg fracture.

The East Bay parks district will allow ebikes on some recreational trails on a trial basis.

 

National

NPR says instead of getting self-driving cars to recognize bicyclists, bicycles may need to signal their existence to the cars.

Bicycling examines bike helmets, and what you get at every price point. For $300, the damn thing had better come with a full body flak jacket that drops down in the event of a collision. Or maybe a force field.

The next time you go mountain biking, try riding on wood, not just through woods.

The editor of Bike Portland shares his views on the new Oregon bike tax. Meanwhile, Portland may be the first US city to offer an adaptive bikeshare for people with disabilities.

A tech website compares Seattle’s new LimeBike and Spin dockless bikeshare systems, while a local newspaper looks at LimeBike’s entrance to Key Biscayne FL.

Thanks to Donald Trump, Utah’s Bear’s Ears National Monument is becoming a more popular mountain biking destination.

An Austin TX hotel and bar are both facing lawsuits for serving an intoxicated woman who then got in her car and critically injured a woman riding her bicycle. Unfortunately, under California law, bars and restaurants can’t be held responsible for serving drunks who go out and kill or injure someone here. Thanks to Steve Katz for the link.

A Texas man says he was the victim of a road raging bicyclist, who he says circled back to attack him after he slowed to wave at a friend. Which kind of stretches credibility, though it is possible the rider may have misinterpreted the gesture; either way, just don’t. Period.

Chicago’s elevated 606 Trail bikeway and green space turns one year old, while Dayton OH is considering an elevated rail-to-trail park and bikeway, even if the possible completion is years away.

Must have been a heavy bike. J. Patrick Lynch forwards news that an Illinois cop will receive lifetime disability benefits after injuring his back picking up a bicycle.

This is who we share the roads with. A road-raging 19-year old Michigan dirt bike rider was sentenced to up to 100 years in prison for beating a driver to death after arguing with him.

 

International

A Canadian researcher deconstructs the way the press reports on fatal crashes involving bicyclists, subtly shifting the blame away from the driver. Like in this one, for instance.

An Ottawa, Canada bike rider says keep your head up, so you don’t crash into other riders. Like her, for instance.

A Montreal man posted the bloodied end results of the hit-and-run involving his bike-riding mom, adding, “We would love to catch the dirt bag who thinks it’s OK to leave a bleeding woman they just hit on the street.” Which is pretty much how most of us feel about any hit-and-run.

Glasgow bike cops are caught riding on the sidewalk, even though bikes are banned on them. Sort of like the sidewalk-riding bicycling meter readers in downtown Beverly Hills.

This is why you don’t confront bike thieves yourself. A Dublin teenager pled guilty to smashing the owner of a bicycle with a hammer when he tried to stop the teen from stealing his bike.

Speaking of Dublin, bike advocates are complaining about the local tram company’s video criticizing bicyclists, accusing it of covering up for calls to improve the safety of its tracks.

Police confiscated 225 bicycles for riding on the highway in Dubai, where it’s illegal to ride a bike on any road with a speed limit over 37 mph.

 

Finally…

Riding on railroad tracks is stupid; especially when there’s a train between them and your bike. Pro tip: If police bust you for carrying a concealed weapon on your bicycle, along with a backpack full of meth, hydrocodone, Clonazepam, morphine, needles and a scale, always claim you just found it a few blocks away.

And don’t run down the person you think stole your bike.

Especially if it’s not really your bike.

 

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