LADOT drops DTLA bike lanes in favor of parking, Pomona thinks bike lanes are for kids, and LAFD on bikes

One quick note.

I renewed my annual membership in the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition last night.

With the LACBC facing financial difficulties stemming from the coronavirus crisis, as well as major financial mismanagement by the previous executive director, who shall forevermore go unnamed here, it’s more important than ever to join or renew your membership

Or just make a donation to keep the LACBC fighting for your right to ride safely on our streets. 

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I have a confession to make.

Ever since the company my wife works for — correction, worked for — shut down for the coronavirus lockdown, never to return, I haven’t been able to dig into the details on bike projects the way I’d like.

As much as I enjoy having her around, I miss those nine hours or so to myself everyday to gets things done.

Fortunately, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton is here to take up the slack.

Because one of those projects, which I mentioned here last week, would install bus lanes, along with left-side protected bike lanes, on one-way 5th and 6th Streets in DTLA.

But what I didn’t realize was that those bike lanes are only planned for just over half of the 1.3 mile project.

As Joe explains it,

Overall this is a good project. It’s a worthwhile improvement over what is out there today.

I did get a little frustrated about bike lanes on these streets. The city is adding left-side bike lanes (a one-way street best practice – like bike lanes on Spring and Main Streets) but only on about 0.7-mile of the overall 1.3-mile project – just over half the project. The issue is parking – there are two blocks of on-street parking that would need to be removed. While I personally would favor removing that parking, I understand it’s not easy politically.

I am still frustrated though that the city is basically throwing out 7 blocks of bike lanes because just 2 blocks are difficult. I wrote a letter to try to get the city to do the remaining 5 easy blocks of bike lane – which would connect Pershing Square with the downtown library.

That’s right.

LADOT, which is supposedly tasked with implementing the mobility plan, bike plan, Vision Zero, and the mayor’s Green New Deal plan to dramatically reduce driving in the city, is skipping a full seven blocks of bike lanes in favor of two lousy blocks of car parking.

In Downtown Los Angeles, no less, which UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup describes as having more parking per acre than any other city.

No, anywhere.

Which pretty much tells you where people on bicycles rate in the city’s transportation hierarchy these days.

Like several steps below cars. And maybe a step or two above road kill.

Fortunately, Joe’s not one to soft pedal something like this.

He suggests emailing city officials to politely request that they install additional bike lanes, at least on the five blocks where it doesn’t require the removal of parking spaces, and wouldn’t inconvenience anyone.

And he even provides a sample letter, while stressing that you should put it in your own words.

Email addresses:

  • councilmember.huizar@lacity.org
  • mayor.helpdesk@lacity.org
  • seleta.reynolds@lacity.org
  • and bcc Joe Linton at linton.joe@gmail.com)

Sample letter:

Honorable Councilmember Huizar, Mayor Garcetti, and General Manager Reynolds –

I write to you in support of adding bus and bike lanes to the greatest extent possible on 5th and 6th Streets downtown.

BSS is repaving these streets starting June 15th. LADOT announced that bus lanes will be added from Figueroa to Central, and left-side bike lanes will be added from Spring to Central.

Thank you all for your role in bringing much needed bus lanes, which will improve transit, air quality, equity, and quality of life for Angelenos.

Thank you all for the needed bike lanes, which will improve safety and health. I urge you though to extend the bike lanes further than the current announced length. It appears that LADOT is skipping seven blocks (Figueroa to Spring) of bike lanes to preserve two blocks (Hill to Spring) of parking.

At a minimum, the city should install a left-side bike lane for the missing five blocks – from Hill to Figueroa – where there is sufficient space and no parking removal necessary. Adding this bike lane would keep cyclists safer, as well as keeping us out of the bus lane, making the bus lane more effective.

Sincerely,

[name]
[street address]

I’ll send my email later today. And I hope you will, too.

Because there’s no reason our safety should take a backseat to a parked car.

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Apparently, bike lanes are for kids in Pomona. Or at least, they now come under the Youth Services budget.

Thanks to Eric Griswold for the heads-up.

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Who needs a firetruck or paramedic unit when you’ve got bicycles?

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Bike Angeles takes a hi-def bike tour of the UCLA campus.

Thanks to Zachary Rynew for the link.

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This is exactly what Los Angeles isn’t doing right now.

But should be.

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Austrian mountain bikers Fabio Wibmer & Vali Höll are finally back to shredding after the country ended its lockdown and reopened the trails.

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Local

LA-based former pro Phil Gaimon shares his eating habits with Bicycling. And no, it isn’t just cookies.

A Santa Clarita bike rider was sent to the hospital after getting hit by a driver at Newhall Ranch Road and Santa Clarita Parkway on Monday; no word on the victim’s condition. Although it would be nice if story mentioned that the car even had a driver.

Creed star and Black Panther antagonist Michael B. Jordan is one of us, going for an “invigorating” LA mountain bike ride on Sunday, one week after his impassioned speech at a Black Lives Matter protest.

 

State

Advocacy group Bike Bakersfield is back in business 16 hours a week after shutting down for the coronavirus lockdown.

Calbike considers the planned Central Valley Bikeways Project, intended to connect several Central Valley cities with California’s high speed rail. Assuming the rail project actually gets built, that is.

The Sonoma bicyclist killed in a hit-and-run a couple weeks ago has been identified as a 35-year old Romanian entrepreneur, who was killed when a passing pickup driver struck him in the head with the truck’s wing mirror; the damaged truck was found a few miles away, but the driver still hasn’t been arrested.

 

National

The Associated Press catches up with the worldwide bike boom, saying Target and Walmart have been cleaned out of bicycles.

Thanks to kindhearted community members, a seven-year old Missouri girl with limited mobility in her legs can ride along with her dad in a custom-built sidecar attached to his bike.

This is why you don’t try to recover a stolen bike yourself. A Wisconsin man is lucky to be alive, and may still lose his arm, after he was shot while trying to reclaim his stepson’s stolen bicycle; a 17-year old teenager has been charged with the crime.

A new bike and pedestrian path has opened along a Tarrytown NY bridge, providing an iconic view made famous by the 18th Century Hudson River School of artists, as well as a grate view of the river 102 feet below. And no, that’s not a typo.

Fortune says bikes will have a new place in city life in New York, and around the world, as life rebounds from the coronavirus crisis.

 

International

Cycling News looks at the pros and cons of buying a gravel bike.

The Share the Road Cycling Coalition and The Centre for Active Transportation have posted a recording of their webinar Making Space: Biking out of the pandemic online. Thanks to Robert Leone for the tip.

A Toronto man is biking 46 kilometers — the equivalent of 28.5 miles — or running 4.6 kilometers every day for 46 days to honor George Floyd, who was 46-years old when he was killed by a Minneapolis cop. Or ex-cop, now.

A British Parliamentary advisory group has concluded that e-scooters are inherently unsafe, while a European group says the risk is no greater than riding a bicycle.

According to an English author, one bright spot in the Covid-19 pandemic is the rise of bicycles, and the role they play in art and society.

A former bike shop owner, soon to be prime minister, negotiated a huge increase in active transportation spending, committing 10% of the country’s transportation budget on bicycling and another 10% on walking; two-thirds of the remaining 80% will go to public transit.

Bikes continue to boom in Kolkata as an alternative to mass transit in the age of Covid-19.

Chinese tech giant Tencent is building a carfree city of the future on reclaimed land in Shenzhen, centered on a green corridor for buses, bikes and autonomous vehicles

Taiwanese bikemakers and parts suppliers — including Giant, the world’s largest bikemaker — are pedaling faster than ever to catch up with the booming worldwide demand.

Seoul, Korea is planning to build another 14 miles of bikeways within the next year as the city plans a bike path network to “cut congestion, fight pollution and reduce energy use.”

People caught violating Japan’s strict new bike laws just twice in three years will have to take a traffic safety course, or pay the equivalent of a $460 fine.

Jakarta, Indonesia is bringing back their weekly Car Free Day, but limiting it to bike riding and walking, with no food services or other vendors.

Horrifying Twitter thread from Australia, where an aboriginal man was allegedly beaten by police for the crime of riding without a helmet and bike lights.

 

Competitive Cycling

After beating cancer twice and surviving getting hit by a truck while riding across the US, 40-year old endurance cyclist James Golding insists he’s going to win the Race Across America, even if he has to wait another year, after this year’s RAAM was canceled.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to jack a truck, don’t leave your bike in the back once you dump it. Your next e-mountain bike could take a selfie.

And doesn’t everyone take their pet chicken riding with them?

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Thanks to Scott R for his generous donation to help keep this site coming your way every day. Donations are always welcomed, especially now.

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

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