Happy International Winter Bike to Work Day!
Even if it goes completely unnoticed here in Southern California, where we don’t have to worry about chipping the ice and snow off our bikes.
Let alone ourselves at the end of a sunny winter’s ride.
Maybe it’s time to sound the alarm.
Last week, we mentioned that Metro’s renderings for a planned transit-oriented development at the North Hollywood station didn’t show the existing bikeways currently serving the area.
Apparently, there’s a reason for that.
Streetsblog’s Joe Linton writes that a new presentation of the project — which would replace a huge surface parking lot with over 1,500 new housing units, as well as retail and office space — does show plans for bike lanes.
Just not as good as what’s there right now.
The massive project, which sits right next to the connecting point for the Burbank-Chandler and Orange Line multi-use paths, will erase a popular bike path connecting to the pathways. And replace it with a convoluted series of bike lanes that will encourage bicyclists to dangerously break the law by riding against traffic.
Here’s what Linton has to say.
Currently cyclists – including me and my daughter – heading from NoHo Station toward Burbank utilize the existing bus plaza sidewalk (which is going away) to get to Metro’s bike path (which is going away) that runs along the north side of Chandler Boulevard between Fair Avenue and Vineland Avenue.
LADOT expects eastbound bicyclists to go out of their way to cross four to five lanes of traffic on Chandler, then to make an uncomfortable left turn onto Vineland (where lots of drivers are turning right) to get to the Burbank-Chandler path. Cyclists will likely choose to salmon-ride against traffic in the westbound bike lane (or on the sidewalk), because that will be more direct and faster. (Similarly ridiculous circulation is shown on Chandler west of Lankershim. LADOT somehow expects cyclists to cross to the north side of Chandler at the station, then cross Chandler again in 500 feet to go to a median bikeway on the south side of Chandler.)
To make matters worse, the bike path is due to be replaced by, you guessed it, a parking garage.
And not just any parking garage, but a concrete behemoth with spaces for 3,300 drivers and their vehicles. Which would suggest that Metro has given up on getting Angelenos out of their cars, even as the world is literally burning.
It also suggests that Metro believes bike riders have a place on the road, but only if we don’t inconvenience all those important people in cars in any way.
Here’s Linton again.
Why wasn’t this path, a big active transportation priority, part of Metro’s site requirements? It sure looks like bike circulation was a non-priority – an afterthought – something to be half-assedly shoehorned in after cars took up lots of space.
(And, frankly, this is how Metro treats stations, bikeways, and transit-oriented development. With no public notice or input, Metro yanked an approved bikeway from its Rosa Parks Station revamp, while allowing drivers to speed through the middle of the station complex. The Expo Line bike path has an awful, dangerous gap at Culver City Station where cyclists are dumped out to onto busy streets just before they reach the station. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: “Nobody bikes to these stations anyway” because Metro makes them inhospitable to bicycling.)…
The project really should be re-worked to include a continuous bike path from Vineland to at least Tujunga Avenue. Ideally the path would bridge over Lankershim and Vineland. That continuous path was shown in renderings circulated in 2016. If Metro and (Councilmember Paul) Krekorian are serious about passing a habitable climate along to the next generation, this feature should be put back in.
We’ll look forward to future public meetings when we’ll have the chance to offer some very negative feedback.
In the meantime, maybe it’s time to tell Krekorian, who singlehandedly canceled shovel-ready plans for a lane reduction and bike lanes on Lankershim Blvd, he needs to do better.
A lot better.
Surprisingly, longtime bike scribe Peter Flax agrees with all those people who say cyclists are entitled.
Except he says our primary entitlement is the right to get home alive.
And he’s got the t-shirt to prove it.
Here’s how it gets deployed. Someone sees a rider pedaling in the street and perhaps even gets delayed 15 seconds, and so cyclists are entitled. Or maybe 17 parking spaces were reapportioned to make room for a bike lane, and so cyclists are entitled. Or someone makes the quite novel observation that bike riders don’t pay registration fees or taxes on the gasoline they don’t use. Or somebody sees a rider roll through a stop sign or maybe filter past gridlocked traffic with a smile on their face. You all know the chorus: Cyclists are entitled.
Of course this is total rubbish. The people who do all this moaning about cyclists are drivers who are oblivious to all the obscene entitlements that they enjoy. We are talking about trillions of dollars and decades of subsidies. We are talking about hundreds of millions of free parking spaces. We are talking about the most lurid fantasies of the petroleum and automotive industries being transmogrified into policy. Motorists have been lavished with VIP privileges for so long that they don’t even perceive them.
In order to reclaim that misused term, Flax says we need a bill of rights, including,
- Cyclists are entitled to get home alive
- Cyclists are entitled to safe places to ride
- Cyclists are entitled to travel to work, schools, and local businesses just like everyone else
- Cyclists are entitled to legal protections
- Cyclists are entitles to have lawmakers, police departments, and the judicial system acknowledge and protect people who ride bikes
- Cyclists are entitled to ride on the road
Like anything Flax writes, it’s a good piece. And more than worth a few minutes of your time.
And reminiscent of this Cyclists’ Bill of Rights we mentioned earlier this week, which nearly became law in Los Angeles, before it didn’t.
Oh, and about that t-shirt.
This would be a huge improvement for the deadly, heavily congested corridor, where fallen bicyclist Frank Guzman was killed in 2018.
— Carter Rubin (@CarterRubin) February 11, 2022
Say goodbye to the Higuera Street Bridge over Ballona Creek, with a bigger, better replacement coming by the end of the year — complete with buffered bike lanes and a new ramp leading to the bike path.
Obama-Higuera bridge over @ballona_creek #bikepath.. before & after demolition! #CulverCity #BikeFriendly #WorkBeingDone @BikeCulverCity @lacbc @LADOTBikeProg @CalBike @cycling @Culvercity311 @bikinginla @BikeMetro @Bike_LA @mackpurp @paul_krogstad @schneider @streetsforall pic.twitter.com/6JZeAX9yhm
— Chris Giza (@griz1) February 10, 2022
Former American pro Ted King says he’s a fan of fixing his own bike, despite the increasing complexity of modern bicycles.
Although as usual, it’s Phil Gaimon for the win.
I try everything myself and give up if it takes longer than one glass of whiskey
— Phil Gaimon (@philgaimon) February 9, 2022
The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.
Brits are getting out the torches and pitchforks over a new bike lane, which narrowed the road so much in some places that drivers aren’t able to pass slower traffic. Which is kind of the point, yes.
KCRW examines whether banning outdoor bike sales and repair will help stop LA’s bike theft epidemic, where 96% of bike thefts go unsolved. And those are only the ones that get reported to the police.
A Claremont student relates his tale of riding 240 miles from Torrance to Morro Bay on a whim while on winter break.
Fresno finally announced plans to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians trying to access a local park, after a bike rider was killed riding next to it last month.
A San Francisco judge says yes, the city did have the right to close the Great Highway to motor vehicles during the pandemic, quashing an effort to force them to reopen it right away.
A series of events and bike rides will take place across the US this summer to mark the 125th anniversary of the legendary Buffalo Soldiers great bicycle experiment, which culminated in a 1,900-mile expedition that proved the value of bikes as a military tool, before they were rudely shoved aside by motor vehicles.
Forbes offers their take on the best bike locks to help make sure your bike is still there when you come back for it.
The death of a Houston man who was killed when he was right hooked by a pickup driver may be the first case prosecuted under a new Texas law that requires drivers to stop and yield for someone in a crosswalk. Which was kind of the whole rationale for crosswalks to begin with.
A Florida lawyer with a keen sense of the obvious says the recent drawbridge accident that killed a 79-year old woman walking her bike across the span should never have happened.
Start saving your spare change. A bike tourism company is offering a 36-day, 2,300 mile tour from Paris to Tallinn, Estonia, which follows the route Napoleon took across Europe in the 1800s, for the low, low price of $17,208. Or you can do just eight days for a touch over four grand.
Bloomberg CityLab looks at the rise of bike buses from San Francisco to Barcelona, allowing kids to rule the roads on their way to and from school.
A British professional triathlete was crushed to find her $13,500 tri bike had been crushed on an EasyJet flight.
Happy birthday to legendary Italian framebuilder Ernesto Colnago, who turns 90 this week.
Great news, as two-time Grand Tour winner Egan Bernal is back on his feet — literally — after suffering critical injuries when he slammed into a poorly parked bus while training in his native Colombia.
Some good news for your Thursday: Egan Bernal is walking again, a little over 2 weeks after a major crash while training in Colombia.
He posted this video to his @eganbernal Instagram account today, captioning it “Surprise! My first steps”.
Best wishes for your recovery, Egan! pic.twitter.com/gF643yVpLY
— peloton® (@pelotonmagazine) February 10, 2022
And that feeling when traffic engineers respond to complaints about a badly designed bikeway.
By adding a sign.
The Brisbane CA complete streets committee responded to a request to improve bike safety on Bayshore Blvd by adding a sign telling bikes to yield to cars in this roadway section. (The opposite of the request.)
DMs open pic.twitter.com/IGURTpjQ5A
— Bike_Things (5G+) (@Andy_likes2bike) September 15, 2021
Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.