Archive for General

Update: Move along, nothing to see here. Again.

Update: The good news is, I was right about the problem; a new hard drive cable has me up and working again. 

The bad news is, it’s too late to put up a new post today; we’ll catch up on everything with an epic post tomorrow.

Looks like I’m back in laptop hell.

My computer crashed just as I was finishing today’s post. And once again, I find myself staring at a blinking question mark in the middle of the screen.

We’ll hope it’s just the hard drive cable, since I already spent far more than I could afford on a new solid state drive.

If so, I may still be able to salvage today’s post and get it online later today.

Let’s our fingers crossed.

Move along, nothing to see here. No, seriously.

Someone just shoot me, already.

After my laptop was out of commission for ten days when the hard drive died, I finally got it back with all my data intact. Only to encounter a problem with permissions that even Apple didn’t have a clue how to solve.

Fortunately, my Mac guy was able to figure out a way to get everything working beautifully again.

Until tonight, that is.

Suddenly, programs that worked fine last night aren’t working at all, and I’m having to reboot my computer every few minutes.

So once again, I give up on posting anything today.

I’ll be back at the shop again this morning, for about the 20th time in the last two weeks. And hopefully, we’ll be back in business again tomorrow.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go beat my head against the wall.

 

Today’s post, in which I give up on this week

Still haven’t gotten my laptop back after having the hard drive replaced, following last week’s unexpected failure.

So after three successive days of saying maybe tomorrow, I’m throwing in the towel and giving up on this week’s Morning Links.

Let’s just call it an unplanned vacation.

We’ll see you back here on Monday, unless there’s breaking news before then.

No news is good news, right?

Still waiting to get my laptop back with a new and improved hard drive so we can get back to work. With luck, we’ll be back tomorrow. Hopefully.

In the meantime, be sure to include this in your weekend plans.

Move along, nothing to see here

My apologies. Due to an unexpected hard drive fail, we won’t have the Weekend Links or bike events updates I promised.

With luck, we should be back online by Tuesday.

So get out and ride your bike. And we’ll see you next week.

Move along, nothing to see here

I give up.

After trying to fight my way through health problems all night, I’ve finally had to throw in the towel and give up on today’s post.

I’ll try to be back with all the latest bike news tomorrow.

Move along, nothing to see here

My apologies.

I’m down for the count after a too busy day and an extended blood sugar crash. I’ll get some rest, and we’ll be back bright and early tomorrow.

And yes, diabetes sucks.

Morning Links: Bike commuting Op-Ed video from LA Times, and another attack on bikes and urban planning

Sometimes it’s better just to show what bike commuting is really like, rather than try to explain.

That’s what LA Times reporter Matthew Fleischer did Monday, accompanying an Op-Ed with 360° video of his three-mile commute to work at the paper.

Come join me on my morning bike commute. Ride three miles in my shoes. Maybe you’ll be outraged enough by what you see to write your city councilperson, demanding safer streets. Maybe you’ll decide cycling in L.A. isn’t so bad after all and go for a ride. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll decide not to froth at the mouth in protest when road safety improvements to keep cyclists safe add a couple of minutes to your morning commute.

If nothing else, you’ll get to see what it looks like from the other side when you honk your horn as you blow past a cyclist who momentarily inconveniences you — and, I hope, decide never to do that again.

………

One of LA’s most questionable urban planning writers is at it again.

In his latest post for City Watch, Richard Lee Abrams a) confuses light rail with trolleys, b) blames bike lanes, not all those people in single occupancy vehicles, for all that traffic congestion, and c) says the quote below proves the city has an anti-car policy, when it does nothing of the sort.

Bicycles are such a slow means of locomotion that they impede faster vehicles. As a result, bicycles cause increased traffic congestion. The City admits that its policy of adding Bike Lanes to city streets is a part of an anti-car policy. Director of Planning, Vince Bertoni stated in a July 13, 2017 LA Magazine interview:

“…[We want streets that don’t] just revolve around the automobile. We’re looking at what it’s like to walk, bicycle, even skateboard down these streets and all the other ways we’ll get around. We’re going to be putting in wider sidewalks, trees, bicycle lanes that people feel protected in.”  

That’s before blaming corruption for LA’s Transit Oriented Development policies, and prescribing solutions to LA traffic that would only make the problem worse and degrade the quality of life he claims to be trying to save.

And after claiming Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti could face criminal prosecution for placing bike lanes on busy streets where children would be exposed to pollution from passing cars.

Never mind that, despite presenting himself as a Los Angeles attorney, he does not appear to be a member of the California Bar Association, and a Google search does not show a practicing attorney by that name in Los Angeles.

Though it does turn up some of the lengthy public comments he’s submitted.

………

The head of Team Sky took advantage of Monday’s rest day in the Tour de France to launch an attack on a writer for Cyclingnews; Sir Dave Brailsford disinvited him from an interview session with Chris Froome because he’d been “writing shit” about Brailsford.

Peter Sagan echoes the sentiments of most cycling fans, saying booting him out of the Tour was a mistake. Nairo Quintana defends his Movistar team after his father trashed it in the press.

An Irish writer says cycling has been vilified for doping, but other sports haven’t faced the same scrutiny — especially since the doctor in Spain’s Operation Puerto doping scandal also had clients in soccer, athletics, tennis and boxing, none of whom have been named.

The Bahrain Merida cycling team competing in the Tour is accused of being part of an effort by Bahrain’s ruling family to whitewash a history of torture and human rights abuses.

And a young Dutch cyclist shows that crossing the finish line first isn’t always the most important thing.

………

Local

The Venice Neighborhood Council will consider a motion at tonight’s meeting to host a town hall with Councilmember Mike Bonin, where he’s sure to get an earful from the anti-bike lane/lane reduction contingent.

CiclaValley looks forward to this Thursday’s Draft Meetup at Pure Cycles in Burbank.

 

State

Orange County has evicted a number of homeless people from a nearly half-mile long section of the Santa Ana riverbed near the Honda Center, following complaints from bicyclists and hikers along the Santa Ana River trail. But apparently only managed to move them onto the trail, instead.

An Ocean Beach man writes an open letter to the thief who stole his bicycle but didn’t ruin his day.

Despite earlier reports that he might not be charged, a member of a prominent Kern County farming family was pled not guilty to felony hit-and-run and DUI charges for the January death of a rider. His lawyer claimed the empty vodka bottle found in his back seat just happened to fall out of a box or backpack.

San Francisco celebrated their equivalent of a CicLAvia in the Mission District on Sunday.

Cal Berkeley’s Daily Californian complains that Ford’s Bay Area goBike doesn’t serve underserved communities in Oakland, while one underserved community in San Francisco says they don’t want to be served.

In a preview of what US cities have to look forward to with dockless bikeshare, the Google Bikes the company provides for the free use of its employees are ending up unceremoniously dumped in a Mountain View creek.

A Santa Rosa man is under arrest for teeing-off with a golf club on a man riding a bicycle, knocking the victim into the windshield of a parked car, following an argument between the two men.

 

National

Studies show bicycling is a social affair for many Latinos.

It’s not often that bike advocates find themselves on the same side as the anti-tax wing of the GOP, but that’s the case in Oregon where the governor is expected to sign a $5.3 billion budget that incudes a $15 excise tax on new bicycles over $200. Thanks to Ed Ryder for the heads-up.

A seven-year old boy completed a 203-mile, two-day ride from Seattle to Portland, and still sped up when a group of riders tried to pass him after 170 miles.

Boise police are looking for a bike rider who ripped off the side mirror of a car, causing $1,000 damage to the vehicle. Needless to say, the driver disavows any knowledge of what he could have possibly done to make the rider so angry. We’ve said it before — no matter what a driver might do, violence is never the answer. It only makes things worse in the long run.

Plastic dividers have gone up to separate a three-mile long section of bike lane from motor vehicle traffic on the popular South Padre Island vacation resort in Texas, after a woman was killed and four other bicyclists injured by an alleged DUI hit-and-run driver.

Bicycling crashes have dropped dramatically in Austin TX following construction of new bikeways in 2014.

NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson rides with Detroit’s famed Slow Roll crew.

Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo is one of us, riding a Lousiville KY bikeshare bike on stage to finish out their set at the end of a three-day music festival.

A Vermont psychotherapist and bike advocate wants to cure the world of “automobilism” through bicycling and “automobile reduction therapy.”

 

International

A new Canadian study shows bicycling is the least stressful way to commute to work.

The driver who hit a red light-running Ottawa bike rider in the dash cam video we linked to yesterday says he’s still shook up by the crash; the rider was ticketed for running a red light.

Caught on video: A British driver has been fined the equivalent of $196 after speeding up to crash into a bicyclist, because police say they can’t prove who was behind the wheel of the rental car.

An English town councilor wants to separate bike lanes with pink armadillos he designed himself. Which should be enough to convince any number of drivers it’s time to quit drinking.

 

Finally…

This is why you want to be careful riding around storm grates. Who says you can’t carry a big load on a bike?

And don’t wear underwear under your spandex.

Or over it, for that matter.

 

Move along, nothing to see here

My apologies.

After too many late nights this week trying to keep up with the news in Beverly Hills and Playa del Rey, my diabetic body chose last night to remind me who’s really in charge.

I’ll try to make up for it with a new post tomorrow to catch up on all the news we’ve missed.

Back at Beverly Hills City Council Tomorrow: Bicycle Lanes for Santa Monica Boulevard!

Please join residents, riders, regional bicycle commuters and multimodal mobility advocates tomorrow for a return engagement of ‘Bicycle Lanes Comes to Beverly Hills’! The curtain rises at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Council chambers. There is a new cast but a familiar storyline: Will city officials agree to include bicycle lanes on our reconstructed Santa Monica Boulevard? Will we finally plug the gaping hole in the backbone bicycle network to connect West Hollywood and Century City?

When the curtain closed on this show back in July of 2015, councilmembers Nancy Krasne, Willie Brien, and (then-Mayor) Julian Gold would not agree to striping bicycle lanes. Even though the boulevard would be wide enough to accommodate lanes. Even though riders would have shared a 15’ wide curb lane with buses and many, many motorists.

(For more about the twisted road to Santa Monica Boulevard bicycle lanes in Beverly Hills, check out my recent recap. Want a news update by email right after the decision? Sign up for the Better Bike blast!)

Of course US DOT advises against letting bicyclists share such a wide lane with motor traffic. And for good reason: on a corridor that sees 50,000 motor trips on average every day, for example, why would any city official choose to put bicycle riders into a scrum with buses and SUVs? Yet our two councilmember-doctors, Gold and Brien, along with councilmember Krasne (“I love the bikers”), simply could not be persuaded by a safety argument. No matter how many riders offered it.

Now, two years later the curtain rises again… but with a new cast!

Returning for an encore performance is Mayor Lili Bosse. She has made multimodal mobility a priority for the city and we are looking forward to our first complete streets plan early next year. (The RFPs are back at the end of June – stay tuned!) Councilmember John Mirisch also supports bicycle lanes. He’s actually a resident of Sweden so he knows what Euro-style multimodal mobility looks like. First-time councilmember Robert Wunderlich could add a third vote for bicycle lanes on the corridor. Not only has he said he supports lanes; he’s even asked why they can’t be protected lanes!

Supporting players in the City Council drama include Vice-Mayor Julian Gold. He couldn’t support bicycle lanes in 2015 (but said he was open to them). And first-time councilmember Les Friedman, a longtime member of our Traffic and Parking Commission, has never been a pro-multimodal or pro-bike voice. (When pressed on infrastructure, he simply asked, “Why do all the cyclists run stop signs?”) We need to give these two officials in particular a reason to make safety job #1. We want five pro-safety votes.


The curtain rises again tomorrow, Tuesday June 20th at 7 p.m. The storyline is familiar: Will city officials agree to include bicycle lanes on the new Santa Monica Boulevard? Tomorrow’s City Council meeting (455 N. Rexford Dr. Beverly Hills at 7 p.m.) is your opportunity to write a different ending to this saga.

Here are our top-three arguments for bicycle lanes: safety, safety, and safety.

Bicycle lanes are recommended because a wide curbside lane encourages higher speeds. Buses and bicyclists are generally “not compatible” when sharing the curb lane, according to design guidance, so why have a too-wide curb lane when we can stripe a bicycle lane within it?

Moreover, Santa Monica Boulevard is appropriate for bicycle lanes because there is no curbside parking on the corridor in Beverly Hills. That’s often an impediment to riders because the ‘door zone’ is a known hazard. But here it is not a problem. This boulevard is a perfect case where bicycle lanes will improve flow for all road users.

Santa Monica Boulevard is regional connector and bicycle commuters already use it. We go to UCLA, the beach, and to businesses and homes right here in Beverly Hills. Let’s give us a safe way to reach them!

The second issue concerns rider experience. Aside from the question of whether we have the votes to stripe bicycle lanes is the question of what kind of lanes we will get.

We are looking for standard 5-foot wide lanes at least. The staff report proposes bicycle lanes as narrow as 4’ 6”. Ostensibly that’s because the city proposes to stripe the inside lanes at 11-feet wide. It could also be because city transportation officials never supported bicycle lanes and a 4’6” lane is designed to fail to gain support. Regardless, it comes back to safety: according to current design guidance that 11’ #1 traffic lane needs to be reduced to 10 feet. That would reduce vehicular speed on the corridor and make available a greater margin of safety for riders.

Tomorrow we will ask that City Council direct staff to distribute the available curb-to-curb space in a way that maximizes safety for all road users. Here’s a preview of what that could look like.

Santa Monica boulevard with the lane width adjustments that will get us the room for first-class lanes that we need!

Santa Monica boulevard lane width adjustments could get us the room we need!

 

Moreover, we urge City Council to support high-visibility green bicycle lanes. Making lanes more conspicuous offers several advantages over conventional (Class II) lanes. Reduced road conflict is a feature of high-viz lanes and should lead to fewer crash injuries (which have increased dramatically in Beverly Hills). When color delineates the space available to riders, motorists are discouraged from encroaching into the lane and are encouraged to yield to riders when appropriate. Not only that: colored lanes highlight the multimodal function of the boulevard. Our plans say we want travelers to travel by bicycle so let’s make it obvious!

An added benefit is that green lanes add to the apparent greenspace while reducing the visual impact of the blacktop. Win-win!

Help us support bicycle lanes for Santa Monica Boulevard!

Please contact City Council by email with your support for high-visibility bicycle lanes. Reach Council at [email protected] Your short statement should indicate whether you are a resident and/or if you work here. Those are important considerations for any councilmember.

Plan to attend the meting on Tuesday, June 20th in Council Chambers, City Hall, 455 N. Rexford Drive. The curtain will rise at 7 p.m. and the main act should hit the stage at 7:45 or so (please refer to the agenda).

I want to thank Ted Rogers for this essential blog, as well as thank all of the tireless supporters who have come to my City Council hat-in-hand, year-after-year, asking for this most basic of safety measures. You have come from Westchester, the Valley, and the far Eastside on two wheels and I salute you!

Special thanks goes to Kory Klem, Rich Hirschinger, Eric Bruins, and the many other folks who helped to craft our Greenway proposal in 2014. That was the leverage we needed to get an additional 2.5 feet of width to make lanes even possible. We also couldn’t have done it without LACBC which lent staff support for our proposals and outreach over the years. Let’s see what tomorrow brings!

%d bloggers like this: