Metro considers shifting highway funds to active transportation, and LA Walks calls for saving Encino bike/ped bridge

Metro wants to know what you think.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is looking for public input on a proposal that would divert funding currently earmarked for highways to support active transportation and Complete Streets projects.

Here’s how The Source, Metro’s in-house blog, explains it.

In June 2020, Metro’s Board of Directors directed staff to explore ways to modernize the agency’s Highway Program to better align it with policy goals of reducing vehicle miles traveled while exploring the expansion of eligible projects to include active transportation and “complete streets” improvements that focus on all forms of mobility rather than just vehicles.

The changes, if implemented, would open certain Measure R and Measure M funding that is now reserved only for traditional highway or roadway projects to new types of improvements. Those improvements include bikeways, sidewalk and pedestrian safety improvements, bus prioritization and explicitly using reductions in vehicle miles traveled as a criterion for planning and designing projects.

The plan, which has already received input from local governments, has been split into two sections, here and here.

Email your comments to MMGuidelines@metro.net, or snail mail them to:

LA Metro
One Gateway Plaza, M/S 99-23-3
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Attention: MR MM Guidelines Revisions

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Last week we learned about Caltrans plans to tear down an existing bike and pedestrian bridge over the 101 Freeway in Encino, while breaking their promise to replace it with a new and improved version.

Now an email from Los Angeles Walks is calling on them to reverse a bad decision.

Last week, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announced their intention to permanently remove and not replace a pedestrian bridge connecting communities divided by the 101 Freeway.

While Caltrans suggested other alternatives for pedestrians, such as traffic signals and crosswalks, the removal of this bridge significantly limits the mobility of those walking or rolling. Currently, the Encino Ave. Pedestrian Bridge is located in at the intersection of Encino Ave. and Killion St (see arrow).

If removed, this reduces the number of options for residents in the area to cross the 101 freeway and places at risk a similar bridge on Amestoy Ave. about half a mile to the east. With both bridges gone local Angenelos would need to walk up to 2 miles to cross the 101 at White Oak Ave. or Balboa Blvd. Or they’ll have to walk up Louise Ave., a four lane road with scant pedestrian signage and infrastructure.

This bridge provides easy and safe access for those walking or rolling to go between the neighborhood and Burbank Ave., where you’ll find grocery stores, a pre-school, businesses, and other important community assets.

In 2019 alone, these local roads (displayed on the map) saw nearly 50 collisions. That same year the community experienced a horrific street racing crash along Burbank Blvd. that killed a 19 and 25 year old. If LA City is dedicated to its #VisionZero commitment (to reach 0 traffic deaths by 2025), tearing down a community-connecting pedestrian bridge over one of City’s largest and busiest freeways is the wrong way to go.

Our call to Action! 🚨

Let Caltrans know that the community, our seniors, our students need their pedestrian bridge. And we’ve made it easy for you!

Email Caltrans Now!

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This is no April fools joke, as a new study shows popup bike lanes really do increase bicycling rates.

This is what the New York Times had to say.

The research, published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that in cities where bike infrastructure was added, cycling had increased up to 48 percent more than in cities that did not add bike lanes.

Dense cities where public transit was already popular generally saw the largest increases. In cities with lower density, more cars per capita and higher traffic speeds, the increase in cycling was more modest. Paris, which implemented its bike lane program early and had the largest pop-up bike lane program of any of the cities in the study, had one of the largest increases in riders.

“It almost seems like a natural law that the more infrastructure you have, the more cycling you will have,” said Sebastian Kraus, the study’s lead author.

The increases held up even after taking weather and changes in public transit supply and demand into account.

Then there was this.

Bicycles, unlike cars, do not emit greenhouse gases. Matthew Raifman, a doctoral student in environmental health at the Boston University School of Public Health, found in a separate study that investments in infrastructure for cycling and walking more than paid for themselves once the health benefits were taken into account.

“They increase our physical activity and reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, which all have impacts on health,” Mr. Raifman said.

Which is about as good an argument for transferring Metro highway funds to healthier and more efficient uses as you could make.

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The former Mayor Pete could have ridden in a chauffeured limo to his first cabinet meeting as US Transportation Secretary.

If he chose to ride a bike, it was to send a message.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.

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Betty White was one of us.

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

Cycliq shared a pair of punishment passes, as a truck driver passes safely once, then dipped into a bike lane to apparently send a frightening message. And a driver on a country road can’t be bothered to slow down literally for a second or two so a car coming in the opposite direction can pass, and takes it out on the person on the bike, instead.

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

This one fits in both categories, as a Hermosa Beach letter writer calls on the city to remove the “silly” sharrows on Hermosa Ave, after someone on a bicycle hit his son while he was crossing the street. Seriously, slow the hell down and ride carefully around pedestrians, especially kids. But just wait until someone tells this guy about cars. And don’t get me started on sharrows, which exist primarily to help drivers improve their aim. 

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Local

Bike Talk posted the lengthy public comment portion of last night’s meeting to discuss remaking Eagle Rock’s Colorado Blvd to support the NoHo to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit line. And hopefully, make it a lot more livable and less car-centric.

Metro Bike’s ebikes will be free to unlock this month, although standard rates will apply after that.

 

State

The San Diego Bike Coalition is in the midst of a semi-virtual Pedal With Your Peeps scavenger hunt, including a self-guided tour with peep stops tomorrow. Thanks to Robert Leone for the link.

Berkeley bike riders are being victimized by armed robbers who steal their bicycles while riding in the East Bay Hills; at least three people have been bike-jacked in the last week.

 

National

A writer for Electrek goes offroad riding on the $1099 RadMission ebike, and rates it “great.”

A Honolulu woman was the victim of a strange strong arm robbery when another woman repeatedly whacked her with a skateboard before making off with her bike — then bizarrely brought it back and walked away.

The rich get richer. Oregon bike riders will soon enjoy the benefits of a new $11.3 million program to build offroad bikeways around the the state. Much missed former SCAG Active Transportation Planner Alan Thompson heads the ambitious project.

A ghost bike for the five Las Vegas bicyclists killed by a meth-using truck driver was moved to a public school in downtown Summerlin; the plan is to rotate the memorial to different locations in the city raise awareness.

Colorado’s Tourism Office explains how to build a route through the high country wilderness by threading together by a series of scenic and historic byways. All of which are even better by bicycle. And say hi to my old stomping grounds on the Cache la Poudre River while you’re at it.

An Ohio girl became a published author while still in kindergarten, penning Bug on a Bike after getting inspired while riding with her father.

Streetsblog says yes, it’s illegal to ride your bike after smoking weed in New York, which just passed a bill legalizing recreational use. But not that illegal, since the state doesn’t have a specific statute banning biking under the influence, unlike California.

A series of weekend popup shops will bring high-end bike brands to New York that aren’t normally available in the US, including brands from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Australia and Italy. Someone needs to do this in Los Angeles, too.

An unlicensed driver living in the country illegally will serve up to 12 years behind bars for killing a Pennsylvania bike rider, then face deportation once he gets out. Although he couldn’t legally get a license in Pennsylvania, because he was in the country illegally.

 

International

Pink Bike collects the highlights of yesterday’s bike-related April fools pranks. I did kinda like the homeopathic mountain bike first aid kit.

Popular Science offers advice on how to get a bike during the worldwide bike shortage brought on by the pandemic-driven bike boom.

Cyclist examines the inside story of the perfect storm that resulted in an industry wide bike shortage.

A new report from Britain’s largest bike retailer suggests the bike boom is poised to continue post-pandemic.

No bias here. A London paper freaks out over a reality star’s video message encouraging people to get outside, recorded as he rode his bike “in the middle of the road.” Although they do approve of his helmet and uh, “bulging muscles.”

A UK website offers a head-to-pavement guide to gear for bike touring.

This one’s going on my own bike bucket list. A trio of British groups has developed a 2,000-mile bicycling route connecting all 42 Church of England cathedrals in England and Wales.

India’s abrupt lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic forced millions of people to walk, bike or hitchhike back to their hometowns; for many, life may never be the same.

 

Competitive Cycling

Both the men’s and women’s Paris-Roubaix races have been postponed until October due to the pandemic.

VeloNews examines the technical aspects of how Irish cyclist Ronan McLaughlin became the latest in a long line of recent Everesting record holders, with a time of 6 hours, 40 minutes and 54 seconds, in part by focusing on shaving time on the descents; the solo attempt involves making multiple uphill climbs equivalent to the height of Mt. Everest.

 

Finally…

Fixing flats with a water bottle. Offroad Viking biking on an Alaskan glacier.

And striking a blow for bike equality by riding up to the drive-through window to rob a bank.

Although maybe he should have picked one where they didn’t already know him.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

3 comments

  1. We need more car free bike paths along tributaries like the Sepuveda Channel.

  2. We need more car free bike paths along tributaries of the LA RIVER & Ballona Creek like the Sepuveda Channel

  3. Joe Linton says:

    I thought that was an April Fool’s headline for a minute!

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