LA slowly gets Slow Streets, 7th Street protected bike lanes looking good, and Westwood homeowners up to old tricks

About damn time.

Los Angeles finally got around to implementing Slow Streets this weekend to allow residents to get outside while maintaining social distancing.

Only two months after the coronavirus lockdown began in mid-March. And long after other cities in the US and around the world demonstrated it could be done safely, to the benefit of local residents.

But naturally, LA has to do it the hard way.

Instead of just installing them on appropriate streets throughout the city — or even following the already-approved network of Bicycle Friendly Streets in the city’s mobility plan — someone has to apply for them.

Correction, some sort of group or organization has to apply, not an individual.

And only one application will be accepted per neighborhood council district.

So, maybe you’ll get one somewhere near you. But probably not.

Never mind that the city has already threatened to shut down any Slow Street that turns out to be too popular.

Meanwhile, Sacramento is following LA’s lead — and bad timing — by asking residents to nominate streets for their Slow Streets program. Thanks to Martin Rose for the link.

………

Evidently, LADOT can move fast when they put their minds to it, after all.

Patrick Pascal says this is what it looked like just two days earlier.

7th Street bike protected bike lane; photo by Patrick Pascal.

………

Westwood homeowners and the Westwood Neighborhood council are up to their old tricks, incorrectly claiming that every organization in the Westwood area opposes bike lanes on Westwood Blvd in Westwood Village.

And drastically exaggerate both what is planned, and the effect it would have.

Which is a polite way of not calling them liars.

Except the North Westwood Neighborhood Council, which represents the area north of Wilshire Blvd, where the proposed bike lanes would be located, are actually in favor of it.

But that first link implies, this is nothing new.

The area’s wealthy homeowners have claimed ownership of the Village for decades, going so far as to have dancing — yes, dancing — banned.

Maybe they staged the Footloose remake in the wrong town.

It’s this kind of ham-fisted misrepresentation of the area that caused the NWNC to break off from the Westwood NC a few years ago, and finally give Westwood Village its own representation.

Before the homeowners succeed in completely killing it.

Because they will, if they have their way.

………

No, seriously.

If they’re stupid enough to do the crime, they’re probably stupid enough to get caught.

Richard Rosenthal forwards news of a group of four Long Beach teens who mugged a man riding his bike on the San Gabriel River Trail, stealing his phone and wallet after hitting and kicking him, then tossed his bike onto the rocks along the river.

And posted a video online boasting about the crime.

Long Beach police think there were other people who witnessed the crime, or knew about the video, and kept silent.

Anyone with information is urged to call LBPD Robbery Detective Fermin Gonzalez at 562/570-7068.

………

Some things are just too cute not to include here.

………

Here’s a suggestion for the next time you want to hit a little gravel.

………

Evidently, Mr. Las Vegas is one of us, too.

Thanks to Tim Rutt for the heads-up.

………

Sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

Police are looking for a murder suspect who fled the scene on a bicycle, after stabbing a man to death on LA’s Venice boardwalk.

Police in Seattle are looking for a bike-riding thief wanted for a string of armed robberies. Odd that no one tries to steal his bike when he leaves it unlocked like that when he goes in to rob a store.

British police are looking for a pair of bicyclists who collided with a six-year old scooter-riding boy, leaving him with a broken leg.

………

Local

Even though collisions are down 38% in Los Angeles since the Covid-19 lockdown began, traffic fatalities are up 15% — with pedestrian deaths jumping 33% — thanks to speeding drivers.

Los Angeles came as close as it probably ever will to being a traffic-free city on the last Monday in March.

KPCC and LAist producer Leo Duran tries to uncover why no bicycles are allowed on the beach bike path in LA County, and doesn’t get anywhere. But he does have the good taste to quote yours truly.

Santa Monica is extending the city’s shared mobility pilot program for another year.

Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago is one of us, spending his lockdown time with his kids and girlfriend when he’s not riding his bike through the streets of Los Angeles. Maybe he’ll run into Tobey Maguire riding his bike while he’s out there.

 

State

Seal Beach is planning to reopen a section of the San Gabriel River Bike Trail through the Orange County city in the coming days, though the exact timing isn’t clear.

Encinitas considers lowering speed limits on the coast highway to improve safety for bike riders, while trying to accommodate all kinds of bicyclists.

Sad news, as longtime Riverside civic advocate and volunteer high school mountain bike coach Bob Stockton was killed when he was struck by a van driver while jogging last week. Thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up.

An Isla Vista bike rider was seriously injured when he allegedly rode out of a driveway in front of an oncoming car.

Lompoc wants your input on the city’s proposed Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan.

Bad news from Bakersfield, where a bike rider suffered major injuries when he or she was run down by the driver of a gardening truck, who fled the scene.

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is looking for volunteers to help distribute seedlings throughout the area. Thanks to Robert Leone for the tip.

Berkeley is going beyond Slow Streets by closing major streets entirely to provide physically distant restaurant seating.

As LA’s Slow Streets gets off to a slow start, San Francisco is preparing to expand its program to 13 new corridors.

 

National

Phillip Young forwards news of the most dangerous cities in the US for bike riders. For once, we can be glad Los Angeles didn’t make the list; San Bernardino, not so much.

The Atlantic warns about the dangers of a backlash against walkable, bikeable cities in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

NPR catches up to the coronavirus bike boom, noting bike sales are up 50% over last year; Canada is running out of bicycles, too.

A new study shows that bike commuting really does increase after bikeshare rolls into town.

The Bike League wants your help to design and build a better bike lane barrier.

Bicycling rates the ten best women’s mountain bikes.

Portland cops bust a homeless camp bike chop shop, recovering at least 15 hot bikes, including a Cannondale worth four grand as well as various bike parts and power tools.

Still no trace of the Colorado woman who reportedly disappeared on a Mother’s Day bike ride; her family is offering a $200,000 reward for her return, with no questions asked. Police say they haven’t ruled out foul play.

Well if that’s all it takes. A pair of Texas priests rode through the Rio Grande Valley to pray for rain — and the next day it poured. Then again, I used to have a gift for bringing rain when I rode, too, despite praying it would hold off until I got home.

No bias here. A New York TV station questions whether all those new temporary bike lanes are really needed, because bikeshare use is down during the coronavirus pandemic. Never mind that many people are far more comfortable riding their own bikes, rather than a shared bike, right now.

No surprise here, as New York’s popular Five Boro Bike Tour was cancelled for this year, just three days before it was scheduled to be run.

The Cherokee Nation has cancelled the annual Remember the Removal Bike Ride tracing the route of the infamous Trail of Tears through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma; the nine young riders chosen for this year’s tour will have a chance to ride next year, instead.

A group of Savannah, Georgia bike riders are creating their own self-guided tour of the city’s historic neighborhoods, writing their guide in sidewalk chalk.

 

International

The Guardian’s Peter Walker says ebikes could be the answer to our post-lockdown commuter problems, while the Christian Science Monitor says the world’s two-wheeled future is so bright it has to wear…well, you get it.

T3 argues that you can get a really good road bike for less than the equivalent of $1,200.

Bike Radar offers a guide to developing an effective cadence.

Does it really count as the World Naked Bike Ride if you’re just riding naked on your indoor trainer?

A Vancouver Island man was lucky to get his bike back after it was recovered in a police raid, three years after he reported it stolen. Which is exactly why you need to register your bike now, and report it to the police if it ever gets stolen.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is one of us, taking to his bike with an apparent tennis racket slung across his back.

It ain’t necessarily so. A London legend tells of a woods haunted by the ghost of a boy murdered by an axeman while walking or riding his bicycle in the early 1700s. Problem is, that’s about a hundred years before the first forerunner of the bicycle was invented.

A writer in London explains how she overcame her fear and started riding her bike.

Sad news from the UK, as Phil May, lead singer for the British ’60s R&B/psychedelic rock band Pretty Things, died following surgery for a broken hip suffered when he fell off his bike.

Up to five million Brits are expected to bike to work following the coronavirus crisis, a significant chunk of the country’s 32 million residents.

Chef Gordon Ramsey continues to demonstrate how to win friends and influence people, telling his Welsh neighbors not to get their knickers in a twist as he settles for riding indoors this time, after flaunting his lockdown-breaking bike rides the last few weeks.

Chris Boardman says the UK has a chance to change the country’s transportation forever.

Red Bull recommends nine French climbs that will chew you up and spit you out, while giving you a sense of accomplishment — if you actually make the summit.

A woman from the UK says she learned to live in the moment while riding along the Rhine and Danube rivers to Istanbul, “turning the pedals and waiting for the world to unfold.”

Sad news from India, where an American expat working in Hyderabad, India was killed in a mountain biking fall.

A migrant worker in India stole a bicycle to make the 150-mile journey home. But he left a very nice note saying he had to take it to get back to his special needs son.

An Afghan man is riding his bike door-to-door through Nangarhar province to spread awareness of Covid-19.

We take a lot of things for granted in this country — like an ambulance will be there when we need it. Residents of a remote Ugandan village were excited to receive a modified bicycle ambulance to transport expectant mothers and sick patients to medical care when an ambulance isn’t available.

South African bicyclists are urged to wear masks when they ride. Los Angeles bike riders are required to wear masks under the latest rules, while riders in LA County are only required to wear masks when others are around.

A reporter is riding his bike across Japan to see firsthand the effects of Covid-19 in the island nation.

 

Competitive Cycling

That didn’t take long. Just four days after LA’s Phil Gaimon shattered the world record for Everesting, US cross-country mountain bike champion Keegan Swenson shaved 12 minutes off Gaimon’s record.

On the other hand, Everesting on a fixie, not so much.

 

Finally…

Seriously, don’t use WD40 to lube your chain. If your city won’t paint bike lanes, just do it yourself. Your next bike lock could double as a light — or part of your frame.

And your new cargo bike is waiting. If you can outbid Zach.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

One comment

  1. David Erickson says:

    I have ridden the entire Old Ridge Route from Gorman to Castaic at one time or another. I rode the portion closed to cars, from Sandberg (just south of Highway 138) to a little way north of Castaic, about 15 years ago, and would like to ride it again. It is a very scenic, interesting, and historically significant ride.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: