He’s got a point.
Maybe the emergency posed by the fire that closed a mile-long section of the Santa Monica Freeway isn’t that much of an emergency after all.
If it was, they might be doing more to get people out of their cars and onto transit than just talking about it. Or maybe onto bikes, for that matter.
Like reducing or eliminating fares for Metro buses, trains and bikeshare.
Although to be fair, while Metro continues to charge full fares, the much smaller Commuter Express Service will be free for the remainder of the year.
They declared a state of emergency because of the 10 fwy fire.
If it is an emergency, why not make all public transit free? BikeShare, buses, trains.
— 🦃Glenn🦃 💙💉🚴♂️🚴♀️🍺🍷🇺🇦 (@GlennC1) November 16, 2023
Then there’s this.
After a decade of complaints, and official denials that it was even a possibility, traffic signals were altered to speed up trains that have long been absurdly forced to stop at traffic signals.
And often blocked by drivers who didn’t clear the intersection, leading to long — and apparently needless — delays in service.
Wait, we could have done this the whole time in like 5 minutes and just chose not to? https://t.co/QyXLiOz2Fw
— Streets For All (@streetsforall) November 16, 2023
Photo from Metro Bike website.
The prestigious medical journal Lancet released an extensive report outlining the “most up-to-date” health effects of climate change, and the urgent need to confront the crisis of a warming planet.
Along with a surprising degree of hope in low-carbon future, suggesting “there are transformative opportunities for a healthy, prosperous future for all.”
Health-centred climate action could still save millions of lives every year. A just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy and energy efficiency can reduce the health harms of energy poverty, power high-quality health-supportive services, and prevent the millions of deaths occurring annually from exposure to fuel-derived air pollution. Greener, people-centered cities, and balanced, low-carbon diets can support transformative improvements in physical and mental health.
Bicycling can, and should, be part of that equation, providing virtually carbon-free transportation that offers exceptional public health benefits.
Besides, it’s fun.
Apparently, there’s more to Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman’s proposed Building Safer Streets Act than we realized.
There’s a lot packed into the slim bill’s seven pages, including changes to the Safe Streets and Roads for All program which would guarantee that 10 percent of funds are set aside for communities under 250,000 residents. It would also finally close the loophole that allows roughly one-third of states to keep their federal safety funding if they set roadway fatality “targets” higher than the number of deaths they recorded in previous years, and prevent the Federal Highway Administration from giving states points on grant applications for projects that raise speed limits on non-freeway roads.
The bulk of the legislation, though, gets deep into the weeds of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, a once-obscure 800+ page manual whose revision prompted a flood of 25,000 comments from safe streets advocates concerned that its upcoming revision wouldn’t adequately center the needs of people outside cars. And with pedestrian deaths already setting records, Fetterman says those changes are long overdue…
Many of those standards are pretty benign, like the rule that a green light should mean “go” everywhere in America, or that a stop sign should be shaped like an octagon rather than a square. Others, though, have far more dire implications, up to and including who lives and dies on U.S. streets. The Manual’s infamous “85th-percentile rule,” for instance, recommends that the number that appears on speed limits signs be set within five miles of per hour of the speeds that 85 percent of drivers naturally travel when no one else is on the road — even if those velocities are lethal for pedestrians, and despite the fact that the standard was created for two-lane rural highways and is widely considered unsafe in urban contexts.
The MUTCD acts as a bible for traffic planners and engineers, protecting transportation agencies from liability, while limiting innovative or even merely decorative approaches.
Like the pink crosswalks that were originally planned for the intersection in front of Pink’s Hot Dogs to mark their 80th anniversary in 2019.
But which were nixed for being out of compliance with the MUTCD.
One version advised against safe bike lane intersection treatments that are common across U.S. cities, a move that the National Association of City Transportation Officials warned would amount to a “poison pill” for the thousands of cities whose infrastructure would instantly become non-compliant. Other provisions discouraged the use of colorful crosswalks, despite the fact that studies show they can actually slash vulnerable road user crashes by 50 percent compared to the all-white designs the Manual recommends.
And when cities want to use those life-saving design elements anyway, they’re often scared off of doing it, lest they fall out of compliance with the all-powerful Manual — even though, technically, not all of its recommendations are legally binding, much like its companion document, the AASHTO Green Book. In part because remaining in compliance with the MUTCD may shield transportation agencies against lawsuits, many traffic engineers tend to treat it more like a Bible with strict commandments than a “recipe book” that encourages chefs to sub out the nuts if they’ll send the person who’ll actually eat the dish into anaphylactic shock.
And the FHWA and other government agencies, in turn, often require engineers to conduct costly studies to prove that deploying safe road designs is worth granting an exception to those restrictive federal standards — even if piles of research have verified that those designs save lives, and that the standards in the Manual don’t.
It’s worth taking a few minutes to read the whole article, because this is clearly a bill worth following.
And one that might actually have a chance in a divided Congress.
Heartbreaking first-person account from the husband of fallen bicyclist, architect and urban planner Laura Shinn, who was killed by a stoned driver while riding to work in San Diego’s Balboa Park two years ago.
Steven Shinn makes the case that his wife would still be alive if the city had built the long-promised protected bike lanes on Pershing Drive, which might have saved her from the man now serving 13 years for the needless meth-fueled morning crash.
My grief is worsened every time I hear an uninformed comment about road safety in our community.
“We do not want protected bike lanes in our neighborhood reducing traffic lanes and parking spaces.” My wife’s life would have been saved if those bike lanes had been protected. Studies from cities around the country have demonstrated the effectiveness of protected bike lanes to save lives without inconveniencing drivers.
Adding protected bike lanes and removing some parking benefits more than just cyclists. Local businesses see as much as a 49 percent increase in retail sales from new protected bike lanes. People who cycle to local shops spend up to 24 percentmore than those who drive and they shop more frequently. Adding protected bike lanes to streets reduces injury crashes for all road users by 58 percent and does not increase traffic congestion over time. If Pershing Drive had a protected bike lane, Laura would be riding with me today.
It’s a brave and powerful piece, which calls on San Diego to make life-saving changes for Sunday’s World Day of Remembrance for the victims of traffic violence.
And again, one well worth reading.
‘Tis the season.
Maybe California’s moribund ebike rebate program will finally launch in time to take advantage of the Black Friday deals. And maybe pigs will fly out of my butt.
It’s been known to happen.
The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.
No bias here. The Detroit News somehow manages to publish a 115-word article about the tragic death of a 54-year old woman killed in a collision with a semi-truck while she was riding a three-wheeled bike, without ever mentioning that the truck had a driver.
But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.
A bike-riding man has been arrested for a series of a dozen arson fires in LA”s Boyle Heights and Chinatown in just a one hour span; another person was busted for setting apparently unrelated fires. It would have been impossible to set that many fires over such a distance on foot, and difficult using a car in rush hour traffic. So, yay bikes?
While we literally beg for safer streets, Metro plans to torch $207 million for induced demand-inducing, climate arson freeway expansions in Long Beach and Cerritos — money that could go for rapid expansion of protected bike lanes or bus lanes, instead. Or it could pay for system-wide fare-free transit, with $50 million or so in change left over.
Maybe he should stick to bikes. Arnold Schwarzenegger is being sued over a collision that allegedly left a woman permanently disabled, just weeks after another lawsuit was filed by a bike-riding woman injured as he was driving his massive GMC Yukon.
WeHo is teaming with the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition to host a mobility popup on westbound Santa Monica Blvd at Hilldale Ave and eastbound Santa Monica Blvd at San Vicente Boulevard on November 27th, to give away free bike lights and discuss mobility projects underway in the city.
The LA County Sheriff’s Department is promising a zero-tolerance approach to speeding on deadly PCH through Malibu, in the wake of four Pepperdine students killed by a driver allegedly doing 104 mph in a 45-mile zone. Good luck with that, since they don’t have a fraction of the deputies assigned to that area that would be required to effectively police the highway.
Residents of Santa Monica’s Wilmont neighborhood are rattled after two bicycle crashes at the same intersection in two weeks; Paul Postel was lucky to escape with broken and bruised ribs, and only learned about the death of Tania Mooser at the same spot as he lay injured on the pavement.
Santa Ana received a $199,900 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety to promote bicycle and pedestrian safety; Goleta got one, too, for the oddly specific amount of $103,587.
This is who we share the road with. A 47-year old San Diego man has been convicted of murder, as well as other charges, for the drunken hit-and-run that killed a toddler last year; Margarito Angeles Vargas was driving at over two-and-a-half times the legal alcohol limit when he ran down 19-month-old Annaleeh Rodarte as she crossed the street with members of her family.
Bicycling recommends the best rain gear to keep you riding. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t seem to be available anywhere else, so you’re on your own if the magazine blocks you.
Trek lost a trademark infringement case after the court ruled a Washington state woman’s Ranger Trek brand won’t cause confusion with the much bigger bikemaker; Trek is ranked #4 on a list of “trademark bullies” for its overly litigious approach to protecting its brand.
Electrek reports cops are now using ebikes to catch people on ebikes, much as they use seized muscle cars to catch speeders.
Portland’s planning commission voted to speed housing construction by rolling back requirements for bike parking. But cars are still fine, apparently.
HuffPo reports on mounting “bombshells” in the Austin, Texas trial of Kaitlin Armstrong for the perceived love triangle murder of gravel cycling champ Moriah “Mo” Wilson, as the prosecution rests and the defense begins to make their case.
Chicago Magazine has chosen “bike lane revolutionary” Christina Whitehouse as their Chicagoan of the Year, honoring her as the founder of grassroots advocacy group Bike Lane Uprising.
Chicago Streetsblog takes local TV station WGN to task for a misleading report suggesting a new 1.3-mile protected bike lane is dangerous.
No surprise here. A new report shows that the quality of service for New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare has declined since ride-hailing company Lyft assumed operations, and that service is even worse in low-income areas that could benefit from bikeshare.
A Virginia paper says legislators across the US are puzzled why traffic deaths are spiking, even though people are driving less — then goes on to explain how speed cams could solve the problem, suggesting they’re not that confused about it.
Cycling Weekly pens an ode to the iconic Shimano 105 groupset.
Momentum offers advice on how to dodge a right hook on your bike commute. My best advice is don’t trust any driver, and expect any car on your left to suddenly cut you off.
Toronto’s Biking Lawyer calls on the city to ban right turns on red lights, arguing that someone’s life could be at stake, a year after a young woman was killed while riding her bike in a crosswalk by a driver making an illegal right turn. Although the fact that it was already illegal didn’t seem to stop that driver.
Bicycling reports on Amsterdam-based TV cycling journalist Orla Chennaoui’s decision not to wear a helmet when she rides her own bike. As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.
Bad news for cycling fans, as the GCN+ service and GCN App will be kaput as of December 20th.
And your next pizza could come on an ebike with a built-in pizza oven.
Assuming you like mediocre pizza, that is.
Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.
Oh, and fuck Putin