Morning Links: Bonin addresses traffic in Playa del Rey, bike boulevard coming to East LA, and upcoming bike events

Playa del Rey’s angry drivers are claiming victory today for bending Councilmember Mike Bonin to their will.

Even though Bonin did exactly what he said he would all along.

Bonin announced Thursday that he’s instructing LADOT to add a second eastbound lane on Culver Blvd in Playa del Rey to alleviate the morning traffic backups, while keeping the new bike lanes in place.

I committed to you that I would listen to what you had to say, seek out the data to inform us about what we could do to improve the situation, and continue to ask for your input on what needed to be done. I heard from thousands of neighbors who called, emailed or completed the online survey we created to gather input, and your feedback has been informative and enormously helpful.

Based on your input and the feedback of other neighbors in Playa del Rey, and on the recommendation of our traffic engineers who have vetted and analyzed the traffic data, LADOT is making an immediate change to the project that will address two of the biggest problems you have reported to us: gridlock on eastbound Culver Boulevard during the morning commute; and the abrupt and difficult transition from Nicholson Street onto Culver, which is causing additional congestion on Pershing Drive.

In order to address those issues, LADOT will restore a second eastbound lane on Culver Boulevard between Nicholson Street and Jefferson Boulevard, while keeping the new bike/walk lanes that run along the road. The additional lane will ease the morning commute, which is far more concentrated than the evening commute, and will make it easier and smoother to merge from Nicholson onto Culver. LADOT crews will restripe the lanes, and add bollards to both sides of the street to separate the driving lanes from the bike/walk lanes.

Bonin has said all along that the projects would be evaluated at regular periods, and adjustments would be made as needed to improve safety and keep traffic flowing. Something that seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

Which is why advocates have been urging outraged drivers to take a deep breath, and give things time to settle in, rather than demanding that the desperately needed safety improvements be ripped out at the first sign of problems.

Then there’s this from LA Curbed’s Allissa Walker, which sums up the situation in Playa del Rey better than any other explanation I’ve seen. Or written, for that matter.

A group now known as Open Streets PDR is being promoted by several prominent members of the tech community who want to eliminate the changes, many of whom are passing through Playa del Rey from their homes in Manhattan Beach to jobs in Playa Vista, Venice, and Santa Monica. The supporters are proposing plenty of tech-based solutions—streaming camerassocial media campaignsdata studies—but not to make streets safer, to help them move more quickly through them.

A high-profile crowdfunding effort for Open Streets PDR that has been shared by many tech leaders on social media has now raised over $18,000 to “fight LA gridlock.”

But until the people sitting alone in their cars tapping away at their apps realize that they are the gridlock, nothing will change.

Because the only way these tech leaders could truly solve LA’s traffic problems—including reducing LA’s traffic deathsand tackling climate change—is by helping as many people as possible take public transit. Or feel safer riding bikes. Or, on a larger scale, live closer to work.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers a follow-up on last night’s Venice Neighborhood Council meeting. He calls for civil discourse in the debate over the Venice Blvd Great Streets project, noting that he has never seen so much anger in his time on the Mar Vista Community Council. Yeah, good luck with that. Hell hath no fury like a driver scorned.

………

Lost in all the back-and-forth over the Mar Vista and Playa del Rey safety this week has been news that long-ignored East LA is getting a bike boulevard.

Aurelio Jose Barrera forwards news that LA County is installing the bikeway on Hubbard Street, along with a bike route on 6th Street as part of the county’s Safe Routes to Schools program.

Which begs the question, if the county can do it, why can’t Los Angeles seem to be able to build any of the euphemistically named Bicycle Friendly Streets contained in the city’s mobility plan?

………

Santa Monica will host a Kidical Mass Ride tomorrow, followed by a ride with the city’s mayor the following weekend.

A public meeting will be held on Monday to discuss plans to Re-Imagine Ventura Blvd in Woodland Hills.

You can voice your support for the Venice Blvd Great Streets project, including parking-protected bike lanes through Mar Vista, at the Mar Vista Community Council meeting on Tuesday.

The South Bay Bicycle Coalition is hosting the Guided Sunset Strand History Tour in Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach on Wednesday, July 12th.

Helen’s Cycles has a number of rides on tap for the next two weeks, including a women’s only mountain bike ride on the 15th.

………

The big excitement in Thursday’s stage 6 of the Tour de France came from a wayward umbrella.

No surprise here. Peter Sagan’s appeal of his DQ from the Tour has been officially denied by the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Ella Cycling Tips reports on stage 7 of the Giro Rosa, with four stages left to go. However, 21-year old Italian cyclist Claudia Cretti was seriously injured after hitting her head on a guard rail at around 56 mph (scroll up).

More reviews of HBO’s cycling and doping sendup Tour de Pharmacy from Outside Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter and VeloNews.

………

Local

Metro celebrates the first anniversary of the Metro Bike bikeshare as it prepares to launch in Pasadena; the system has logged 182,482 trips covering 452,840 miles.

Temporary plans are unveiled for the former Taylor Yards Union-Pacific Railroad site, which will eventually be the crown jewel in LA’s plans to restore the LA River, including plans for elevated walkways, trails and bike paths.

 

State

San Diego police are looking for a BMX bike-riding serial butt slapper after a college student was assaulted Thursday, the second such attack in the last two days.

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a 64-year old man has died after falling off his bike in front of a garbage truck.

A Fresno hit-and-run driver was sentenced to three years probation and 400 hours of community service for critically injuring a local doctor as he rode his bike, after the victim urged leniency and restorative justice.

A homeless Fresno man has been sentenced to 11 years behind bars for killing a bike-riding man with a single punch following an argument.

A Morgan Hill Honda dealer joined with a local advocacy group to give 35 bicycles and helmets to needy children.

A Napa County grand jury says the county’s current plans, including new bike lanes, are inadequate to alleviate traffic congestion.

The 16-year old son of a Napa cop is leaving today on a 1,000-mile long bike ride along the left coast to raise funds for the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation.

 

National

Alaska’s biggest bike race could be losing popularity.

A South Korean man’s dream of bicycling from Canada to Argentina was cut short when someone stole his bike and touring gear in Portland, just 35 days into his journey. However, the local community is raising funds and donating equipment to get him back on his way.

Oregon has become the first state to impose a tax on new bicycle sales; children’s bikes are exempt from the $15 fee, as are bikes costing less than $200. The token fee isn’t high enough to discourage anyone from buying a bike, but it won’t raise a significant amount for bike and pedestrian projects, either.

Who says Trump supporters don’t ride bikes? A Connecticut man was caught on security cam vandalizing a local playground with anti-Trump threats in an attempt to embarrass liberals; he agreed it was really stupid once he saw his face on the news. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

New York bike advocates call on the city to pick up the pace of installing protected bike lanes after four people were killed riding their bikes in recent weeks.

A New York professor is recruiting bicyclists to measure smog in an attempt to determine the point at which the effects of bad air outweigh the benefits of bike riding; unsurprisingly, people riding in parking-protected bike lanes breathe in a lot less pollution than people in door zone bike lanes.

A kindhearted Florida cop bought two new tires for a man after seeing him ride his bike with just one functioning tire.

 

International

More news from the frontlines of the war on bikes, as someone booby trapped a British mountain bike trail with coiled barbed wire; fortunately, the rusted wire wrapped around a rider’s wheel instead of his legs.

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a stripped-down performance Brompton designed by former Scottish pro cyclist David Millar, here’s your chance.

Speaking of former Scottish cyclists named Millar, ’80s cycling star Robert Millar is now Phillipa York, after the retired cyclist came out as a woman. Correction: I originally confused Robert and David Millar, who are clearly not the same person, as dodojojo pointed out. My apologies for the error.

Tune up your bike. France has announced plans to ban all gas-powered vehicles by 2040.

A German court sends a case back for resentencing after two street-racing drivers received suspended sentences for killing a young woman riding in a bike lane. Too bad we can’t appeal similar sentences here in the US.

A German aristocrat with a family pedigree dating back to the middle ages faces a charge of riding an unregistered motorized bicycle at over three times the legal alcohol limit.

Auckland, New Zealand’s Te Ara I Whiti Lightpath bikeway has been honored at the 47th Annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards hosted by the Los Angeles Business Council. Which goes to show what can be done when you care enough to do it right.

 

Finally…

Who needs an elevator when you can pedal your way up a building? Your next riding glasses could have a quad core processor and 32 gigs of storage.

And who needs a mountain bike course when you’ve got an indoor shopping mall?

 

8 comments

  1. Dodojojo says:

    Robert Millar and David Millar aren’t the same cycling pro though…I think David Millar is still a man.

    Though, wow on Robert Millar becoming Phillipa York. I guess I haven’t been following cycling news for awhile.

  2. David Drexler says:

    What’s incredible is that there are Californians that I have met over the year that establish an address in Oregon to purchase cars there because they do not have a sales tax on auto sales saving you thousands of dollars, but Oregon puts a special tax on bike sales. Maybe Oregonians will come to California to buy bikes now?

    • I know you’re just kidding around, but the population in southern Oregon and northern California is so sparse that driving to the nearest California bicycle shop would probably cost much more than the $15 tax.

      On the other hand, Portland, OR is a major population center, and it’s just across the river from Vancouver, WA, where I suppose there is no bike tax.

  3. Tyler says:

    It needs to be mentioned that the main point of this article is a lie.Bonin claimed in public that he would be evaluating and making changes as needed but when asked at the city’s block party and he told multiple people that he had no intention of making any changes for the first year. You called this change a win for us commuters but adding one lane eastbound Culver makes no sense as westbound is worse. It is nice to know after so much work making calls and signs and letters etc he would start doing at least something but it still needs a lot of work and it shouldn’t take that much work for a city council member to listen to reason from the people he’s representing.

    • bikinginla says:

      I’m afraid you’re mistaken. While Bonin committed to keeping the safety improvements in place for a year, he has said all along that they would be evaluated at one month, three months and six months, which is exactly what has happened here. After one month, the people who actually get paid to do these things determined that a change was needed based on traffic studies, and it was made.

      And let’s not forget that these changes were initiated at the request of local community members.

  4. Guapo says:

    Meanwhile, several blocks of venice Blvd have lanes eliminated, choking the flow of traffic in the name of about 4 blocks of bike lanes. Venice blvd is one of the main east West routes to the expo line making the use of public transportation to downtown that much less appealing. Way to go bonin!

  5. Fred Davis says:

    The separated bike lanes and additional pedestrian crossings are a direct response to the dangers posed by irresponsible, distracted, and dangerous driving through this area. The traffic isn’t “choked” and the Expo line is three miles from this area. Nice try but your straw man needs works.
    Way to go Bonin!

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