County releases draft LA River master plan, making bike theft a tad too easy, and gravel biking to the Hollywood Sign

Thank you all for the kind words yesterday. 

I’m still riding that diabetic rollercoaster, for no apparent reason other than my body wants to do to me what rioters did to the Capital last week. 

But if you’re reading this, it means I managed to power through this time.

Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery from Pexels.

………

LA County finally released a draft of the LA River bike plan.

Including, as we noted on Wednesday, starchitect Frank Gehry’s proposal to leave the ugly concrete sewer in place, at least in places, and just cover it up with elevated parks so we don’t have to look at it anymore.

Not exactly the return to a natural state we’ve been promised.

Here’s how Streetsblog’s Joe Linton described it.

The county river plan is trying to strike difficult delicate balance on many issues. At this morning’s press event Supervisor Sheila Kuehl mentioned the balance between an overall “coherent holistic” vision and a “great deal of local community control.” Solis touched on the need for river revitalization to serve park-poor low-income communities of color, while addressing issues of gentrification and homelessness. Historically plans for the river have struggled to find the space to address a broad range of needs in communities it flows through; these needs include parks – with both active and passive recreation – housing, schools, and much more.

The plan ends up trying to address all of these issues within a fairly limited jurisdictional corridor. The river system is a tangled jurisdictional mess. County Public Works (acting as the County Flood Control District) controls the river channel structures, but the adjacent, and in cases underlying, land is the jurisdiction of various cities. The county’s jurisdiction is constrained by the federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which mandates flood damage minimization standards. The county has little control over the numerous freeways and several rail lines constrain the river. Many of the complex issues that impact the river – from watershed rainwater runoff to homelessness to gentrification – are largely situated outside the waterway corridor itself.

You can watch the presentation, recorded on Zoom like everything else these day. Just ignore the first minute where everyone sits around trying to not look awkward before it gets going.

Comments will be open for the next 60 days.

Of course, what matters to a lot of us is the ongoing plan to complete the gaps in the bike path, particularly through Downtown Los Angeles and the meat packing district to the south, to create a continuous bikeway along the full 51-mile length of the river.

But speaking strictly for myself, I’d much rather ride along a park-filled natural riverbank than on a concrete river underneath a lush park.

Thanks to Fatema Baldiwala for the heads-up.

………

Seriously. At least make it hard for them.

………

Gravel Bike California invites you to take a rocky ride to the Hollywood Sign.

………

Now this is what a bikeshare system looks like.

………

Here’s your Friday mountain bike break.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes keeps going on.  

No bias here. A Montreal opposition leader says bike paths are disruptive to residents and merchants, and the city must ensure “social acceptability” before building any more.

Police in England are looking for the driver who intentionally crashed into a bike rider, leaving him with elbow, knee and hand injuries, after the bicyclist complained about the driver cutting him off.

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

A 25-year old Los Angeles woman pled not guilty to fatally stabbing a Metro employee as she rode the B Line (nee Blue Line) with her “distinctive” green bicycle near DTLA.

………

Local

Metro is looking for feedback on the agency’s draft plan to recover from the Covid-19 crisis, which could present an opportunity to rethink our streets if they do it right. Or else turn it into another Covid long-hauler struggling to survive.

Speaking of the LA River, the LACBC is teaming with Metro’s BEST program to offer a tutorial on riding it next Thursday.

And speaking of the LACBC, the coalition is offering a half-off fire sale sale on merchandise with the discount code LACBC50off.

Bob Odenkirk is one of us, as the Better Call Saul star rides the streets of Los Angeles.

 

State

Orange County has officially, if virtually, opened the new Oso Parkway bridge, complete with shiny new bike lanes. 

Someone appears to be targeting the owner of a Poway bike shop, after burglars broke in and vandalized the shop while stealing several high-end mountain bikes worth up to $9,000; another of his shops suffered a second high-end break-in, while a third was vandalized with swastikas and racist graffiti, causing $20,000 damage to a new shop truck.

Santa Barbara has begun work on a bike and pedestrian safety project around Stearns Wharf, and added bike infrastructure to the State Street promenade to improve safety.

An unlicensed San Mateo driver faces charges for the New Years Day hit-and-run that’s left a bike-riding 68-year old man in critical condition two weeks later.

They get it. San Leandro is considering a road diet on a major boulevard, cutting it from six lanes to four to improve safety for bike riders.

San Francisco is putting another 500 e-scooters on the streets.

 

National

They get it, too. US PIRG says it’s time to hit the reset button and take a fundamentally new approach to American transportation.

A writer for VeloNews takes a contrarian view, arguing there’s no need to increase diversity in bicycling if we’d just stop overlooking Black people who already ride bikes.

A Next City op-ed argues that the real test of whether Transportation Secretary nominee Mayor Pete really cares about cities will be what he does to protect pedestrians from self-driving cars.

Ford is continuing work on a project to allow bicycles and motor vehicles to electronically communicate with each other to improve safety.

No surprise here, as cars, and the drivers in them, remain the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, even as millions of Americans were theoretically confined to their homes. As Streetsblog notes, if a global pandemic can’t get Americans out of their cars, what will?

A new public safety campaign developed after the death of five Las Vegas bike riders reminds drivers to change lanes to pass someone on a bike; the state is one of five that requires drivers to change lanes, rather than merely give a minimum passing distance. Then again, they could just as well remind drivers not to use meth before getting behind the wheel, like the alleged killer allegedly did.

Police in Austin, Texas have a new bicycle supplier, after Lance’s Mellow Johnny’s bike shop refused to sell to them any more in the wake of the George Floyd protests and the weaponization of police bikes by the cops.

New York police have identified a suspect in the shooting of a bike shop employee last summer after arguing with the man minutes earlier.

No bias here, either. A Virginia bike rider gets the blame for hitting a car after his brakes locked up crossing an intersection. But no word on what the driver may have done to make him brake so hard.

A Baton Rouge LA advocacy group is calling for an end to the city’s ban on riding bikes through drive-thrus.

A New Orleans woman awaiting trial for the hit-and-run death of a bike rider last January is back in jail for choking her drunk fiancé to death; she has a history of domestic violence arrests, despite blaming her late boyfriend for attacking her. On the other hand, she apparently only kills in January, so we should all be safe the other eleven months.

 

International

That’s more like it. Toronto is installing more secure bike lockers at a new transit station.

Cambridge, England is considering allowing electric vehicles to share bus lanes with buses and bike riders; one rider said at least you won’t have to smell any nasty fumes when you go over their hood.

Scottish authorities have finally found the body of man who disappeared while on a charity bike ride over three years ago; two men were recently arrested in connection with his disappearance.

British bike thieves continue to target frontline medical workers, as a doctor who hadn’t taken a day off since the pandemic started had his bike stolen — but kindhearted strangers crowdfunded a replacement within hours.

If anyone wants to move to the UK, Brompton is hiring.

An Irish court case hinges on whether a bike with a gas engine is still a bicycle.

A 36-year old Japanese company specializing in unique panda, dinosaur, cucumber and eggplant shaped bicycles is struggling to survive the Covid-19 pandemic. Sort of like everyone else these days.

An Aussie writer says he won’t be jumping on the gravel bandwagon because he’d love it too much, and doesn’t have room for another bike beyond the ten he already owns. Meanwhile, off-road.cc picks the gravel bike of the year and the best gravel gear and accessories.

 

Competitive Cycling

Women’s cycling great Anna van der Breggen will don double rainbow jerseys reflecting world titles in last year’s road cycling and time trial championships as she enters her final year in the pro peloton.

Sad news from Australia, where 1956 Olympian and Aussie cycling great Cliff Burvill died after falling off his bike riding a new crit circuit; he was 83 years old.

At last, there’s some good news about former CART and F1 driver Alex Zanardi, as the paracycling champ spoke with his family for the first time since his crash in an Italian paracycling race last summer, following a series of brain surgeries.

How to train your brain for bike racing.

 

Finally…

Calling the pun police. That feeling when a family stroll on a bike trail could make you lunch for a hungry kitty.

And when your Peloton bike is a national cybersecurity risk.

………

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

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: