Tag Archive for Joe Linton

Car-centric LA weakens plans for bike/ped friendly Union Station, Mulholland Hwy closed by fire, and cars cost everyone

Is it really any surprise that Los Angeles is watering down plans to make the entrance to Union Station more walkable and bikeable?

Writing for Streetsblog, Joe Linton spells out in detail how Metro’s longstanding plans to re-envision the station’s forecourt area and surrounding streets have run into the city’s typical auto-centric roadblock.

For the past half-decade, Metro has been planning upgrades to Union Station to make the site easier and safer to access on foot and by bike. The L.A. Union Station Forecourt and Esplanade Improvements project includes upgrades on the Union Station grounds, which Metro owns, as well as upgrades to nearby streets, which are controlled by the city of Los Angeles.

The latest version of the project plan removes and waters down some core pedestrian aspects of the project. Why? Because, even in its most transit-accessible and most heavily walked core downtown areas, Los Angeles city departments are unwilling to prioritize the safety and convenience of people walking – instead they are insisting on car-centric standards that foster more driving.

Then there’s this.

What is perhaps most sad about the new design is that it ignores the significance of connecting Union Station and El Pueblo. If the city of L.A. won’t prioritize walkability at the front door of the region’s most heavily-used transit hub and at in its historic walkable core, is there anywhere where Angelenos can expect safe and convenient places to walk? Continuing to apply outdated late-20th-Century one-size-fits-all standards erodes what already works in these precious historic places.

As Linton points out, it takes leadership to fight for safer, more walkable and bikeable streets.

And that’s exactly what’s missing right now.

Former CD14 Councilmember José Huizar was an advocate for Complete Streets, and might have fought some of these changes. But with a federal indictment for bribery hanging over his head, he was effectively out of the picture long before his fellow councilmembers kicked him out.

And don’t get me started on LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, who should be stepping up to fight for the original Metro plan as part of his LA Green New Deal plan to reimagine the way we get around this city.

But in typical Garcetti fashion, has been largely missing in action.

You have until Wednesday the 26th to offer your comments.

And politely suggest that LA get its collective head out of its piston-driven ass, and return to the original plan.

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Calbike is urging you to reach out to your state representative to support SB 288.

New bike lanes and improved public transit are critical to California’s recovery. Now is the time to fast-track key sustainable transportation projects, but environmental regulations more appropriate for oil refineries than bike lanes can delay such projects by years. We don’t have years. 

Senate Bill 288 would make it easier to build bike lanes, bus lanes, and light rail lines by eliminating unnecessary review regulations, while preserving important opportunities for public involvement.

Contact your Assembly Member today and tell them to vote Yes on SB 288.

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If your planned riding route takes you on Mulholland Hwy, check to make sure the road is open after a fire closure on Sunday.

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The next time someone says bicyclists should have to pay for the streets we ride, show them this.

And tell them maybe we aren’t the ones being subsidized.

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Advocates continue to call on bikemakers and retailers to stop selling to police departments, accusing police of using their bikes as weapons and shields.

Like this confrontation in Chicago Saturday afternoon.

Unfortunately though, that prediction about police not getting any bikes this time was wrong.

I’m of two minds when it comes halting the sale of police bikes.

While we’ve all been shocked at the way they’ve been used by some departments — and continue to be used — I believe bike cops are a net benefit to the community under normal conditions, getting officers out of their cars and closer to the public they’re supposed to serve.

The question is how to limit the use of those bikes to those normal conditions.

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Good point.

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Megan Lynch also forwards word that the director general of the Mexico City mayor’s office is actively destroying the commercial bikes people rely on to earn a living.

For those for are Español challenged, like me, that translates to

AMAZING! The General Director of Government of the Mayor’s Office Miguel Hidalgo, presumes more than 140 confiscated tricycles, which means that more than 140 families this man “Hegel Cortés Miranda” took away the livelihood that they bring to their families every day.

Another tweet describes the owners as men and women who perform a service to the community by selling “water, sweet potatoes and bananas, coffee and bread…tamales or atole.”

Call me crazy, but maybe the middle of a worldwide pandemic isn’t the right time to put struggling merchants out of business.

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That feeling when you invite your friends over to the world-class bike park you built in your backyard.

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

A British man was left “a bloody mess” after a passenger in a passing car pushed him off his bike as he was riding home after working a night shift, and forcing him through the rear windshield of a parked car; he suffered muscle damage to his arm and leg, as well as cuts and bruising to his face. His attackers reportedly drove off laughing. Really funny, alright.

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Local

The Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council will discuss a proposal for a roundabout at 4th Street and New Hampshire at tonight’s virtual meeting.

Urbanize LA offers more information about the proposal for a Complete Streets makeover of iconic Melrose Ave, part of the city’s High Injury Network, which could be a model for how we can re-envision the entire city.

Glendale is holding a virtual public hearing tonight to discuss plans to repave La Crescenta from Honolulu to Verdugo — including adding sharrows to the lightly travelled four lane street, where drivers routinely exceed the 40 mph speed limit.

A Santa Clarita bike rider was apparently injured in a collision Sunday afternoon. Although it’s hard to tell from an article that just says a “patient” was sent to the hospital, fails to mention if the car had a driver, identifies the rider as a pedestrian on a bike, and somehow blames the bike rider for “accidentally” running into the car — yet with enough force to shatter the windshield.

Malibu will replace the failing 96-year old bridge over Trancas Creek on PCH with a new, wider bridge with bike lanes and shoulders in each direction.

Disappointing news from Santa Monica, where the city has pulled the plug on the popular Breeze bikeshare, after concluding that there’s no way to make it work under the current conditions. That comes on the heels of UCLA, Pasadena and West Hollywood also cancelling their docked bikeshare systems, raising the question of whether LA’s Metro Bike can survive in its current form.

 

State

Encinitas approves a $13 million pedestrian and bike railroad undercrossing to connect residents with the beach and restaurants.

After a ten-year old Lafayette boy was killed when a delivery driver ran into his bike, his parents started the Live Like Leo Memorial Foundation in his memory; it’s raised over $200,000 in less than three weeks.

Sad news from Stockton, where a 41-year old man was killed in a collision while riding his bike.

Guess? founder Maurice Marciano is one of us, as he faces an extend period of rehabilitation and therapy for undisclosed injuries following a bike crash near his Napa home.

 

National

Nice piece from the New York Times, as they follow along with a small group of teenagers riding across a divided country in the middle of a pandemic.

The last surviving Denver newspaper says the popularity of ebikes is skyrocketing, with one user observing that “you don’t realize how fabulous they are” until you try one.

A 65-year old South Dakota man has written a book about his bicycling journey from Pierre SD to North Pole, Alaska, completing his 2998-mile journey in just 42 days.

NPR says bicycling is on fire right now, as the pandemic changes the way people get around.

The Chicago Tribune says the coronavirus bike boom is beyond what anyone expected.

A New York State assembly member with horrible taste in sport coats will bike 116 miles to campaign for re-election in the state’s 116th district. God forbid that’s actually a suit.

A New York bike rider was killed during a crash-filled rampage by a utility truck driver who slammed through a number of vehicles “as if they were toy cars.”

Philly bike riders will have to keep their pants on for another year, after Covid-19 cancels the city’s annual Naked Bike Ride.

Nearly $600,000 has poured in for the family of five-year old North Carolina resident Cannon Hinnant, who was shot point blank by a neighbor as he was riding his bike, apparently executed for the crime of riding on his lawn.

A pair of kindhearted Florida deputies bought a new bike for a waitress so she wouldn’t have to keep walking to work after hers was stolen.

 

International

Cycling Weekly offers an absolute beginner’s guide to ebikes, including answering the eternal question of whether you have to, you know, pedal them.

A five-year old English girl is kicking off her training wheels and riding in a 5k charity ride, raising the equivalent of nearly $200 for struggling families so far.

Heartbreaking story, as a British coroner ruled that the death of a 51-year old man was the direct result of getting hit by a driver as he was riding his bike 36-years earlier.

Traffic violations for bicycling infractions fell dramatically in London as the city expanded its bikeway network, despite the increase in ridership inspired by the coronavirus bike boom.

The president of Estonia is one of us, joining in on a 621-mile NATO bike ride.

Mumbai’s 24 new bicycle councilors took the the streets on India’s Independence Day to call for making the city a bicycling destination.

Heartbreaking story from India, where the relatives of a 71-year old man suspected of dying from Covid-19 were forced to carry his body to the graveyard by bicycle after local authorities refused to send an ambulance.

Once again bike riders are heroes, as a group of disabled bike riders rode 155 miles across Cambodia to deliver food to people starving as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. So much for the myth that disabled people can’t ride bikes.

 

That feeling when you cancel the race, and everyone shows up anyway. Clearly, baseball skills don’t go away just because you’re on a bicycle.

And a little light bike reading for the young adult in your life.

Or maybe you.

We won’t tell.

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

LADOT drops DTLA bike lanes in favor of parking, Pomona thinks bike lanes are for kids, and LAFD on bikes

One quick note.

I renewed my annual membership in the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition last night.

With the LACBC facing financial difficulties stemming from the coronavirus crisis, as well as major financial mismanagement by the previous executive director, who shall forevermore go unnamed here, it’s more important than ever to join or renew your membership

Or just make a donation to keep the LACBC fighting for your right to ride safely on our streets. 

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I have a confession to make.

Ever since the company my wife works for — correction, worked for — shut down for the coronavirus lockdown, never to return, I haven’t been able to dig into the details on bike projects the way I’d like.

As much as I enjoy having her around, I miss those nine hours or so to myself everyday to gets things done.

Fortunately, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton is here to take up the slack.

Because one of those projects, which I mentioned here last week, would install bus lanes, along with left-side protected bike lanes, on one-way 5th and 6th Streets in DTLA.

But what I didn’t realize was that those bike lanes are only planned for just over half of the 1.3 mile project.

As Joe explains it,

Overall this is a good project. It’s a worthwhile improvement over what is out there today.

I did get a little frustrated about bike lanes on these streets. The city is adding left-side bike lanes (a one-way street best practice – like bike lanes on Spring and Main Streets) but only on about 0.7-mile of the overall 1.3-mile project – just over half the project. The issue is parking – there are two blocks of on-street parking that would need to be removed. While I personally would favor removing that parking, I understand it’s not easy politically.

I am still frustrated though that the city is basically throwing out 7 blocks of bike lanes because just 2 blocks are difficult. I wrote a letter to try to get the city to do the remaining 5 easy blocks of bike lane – which would connect Pershing Square with the downtown library.

That’s right.

LADOT, which is supposedly tasked with implementing the mobility plan, bike plan, Vision Zero, and the mayor’s Green New Deal plan to dramatically reduce driving in the city, is skipping a full seven blocks of bike lanes in favor of two lousy blocks of car parking.

In Downtown Los Angeles, no less, which UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup describes as having more parking per acre than any other city.

No, anywhere.

Which pretty much tells you where people on bicycles rate in the city’s transportation hierarchy these days.

Like several steps below cars. And maybe a step or two above road kill.

Fortunately, Joe’s not one to soft pedal something like this.

He suggests emailing city officials to politely request that they install additional bike lanes, at least on the five blocks where it doesn’t require the removal of parking spaces, and wouldn’t inconvenience anyone.

And he even provides a sample letter, while stressing that you should put it in your own words.

Email addresses:

  • councilmember.huizar@lacity.org
  • mayor.helpdesk@lacity.org
  • seleta.reynolds@lacity.org
  • and bcc Joe Linton at linton.joe@gmail.com)

Sample letter:

Honorable Councilmember Huizar, Mayor Garcetti, and General Manager Reynolds –

I write to you in support of adding bus and bike lanes to the greatest extent possible on 5th and 6th Streets downtown.

BSS is repaving these streets starting June 15th. LADOT announced that bus lanes will be added from Figueroa to Central, and left-side bike lanes will be added from Spring to Central.

Thank you all for your role in bringing much needed bus lanes, which will improve transit, air quality, equity, and quality of life for Angelenos.

Thank you all for the needed bike lanes, which will improve safety and health. I urge you though to extend the bike lanes further than the current announced length. It appears that LADOT is skipping seven blocks (Figueroa to Spring) of bike lanes to preserve two blocks (Hill to Spring) of parking.

At a minimum, the city should install a left-side bike lane for the missing five blocks – from Hill to Figueroa – where there is sufficient space and no parking removal necessary. Adding this bike lane would keep cyclists safer, as well as keeping us out of the bus lane, making the bus lane more effective.

Sincerely,

[name]
[street address]

I’ll send my email later today. And I hope you will, too.

Because there’s no reason our safety should take a backseat to a parked car.

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Apparently, bike lanes are for kids in Pomona. Or at least, they now come under the Youth Services budget.

Thanks to Eric Griswold for the heads-up.

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Who needs a firetruck or paramedic unit when you’ve got bicycles?

https://twitter.com/LAFDtalk/status/1272701902229127168

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Bike Angeles takes a hi-def bike tour of the UCLA campus.

Thanks to Zachary Rynew for the link.

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This is exactly what Los Angeles isn’t doing right now.

But should be.

https://twitter.com/Sir_Labz/status/1272575787397505024

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Austrian mountain bikers Fabio Wibmer & Vali Höll are finally back to shredding after the country ended its lockdown and reopened the trails.

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Local

LA-based former pro Phil Gaimon shares his eating habits with Bicycling. And no, it isn’t just cookies.

A Santa Clarita bike rider was sent to the hospital after getting hit by a driver at Newhall Ranch Road and Santa Clarita Parkway on Monday; no word on the victim’s condition. Although it would be nice if story mentioned that the car even had a driver.

Creed star and Black Panther antagonist Michael B. Jordan is one of us, going for an “invigorating” LA mountain bike ride on Sunday, one week after his impassioned speech at a Black Lives Matter protest.

 

State

Advocacy group Bike Bakersfield is back in business 16 hours a week after shutting down for the coronavirus lockdown.

Calbike considers the planned Central Valley Bikeways Project, intended to connect several Central Valley cities with California’s high speed rail. Assuming the rail project actually gets built, that is.

The Sonoma bicyclist killed in a hit-and-run a couple weeks ago has been identified as a 35-year old Romanian entrepreneur, who was killed when a passing pickup driver struck him in the head with the truck’s wing mirror; the damaged truck was found a few miles away, but the driver still hasn’t been arrested.

 

National

The Associated Press catches up with the worldwide bike boom, saying Target and Walmart have been cleaned out of bicycles.

Thanks to kindhearted community members, a seven-year old Missouri girl with limited mobility in her legs can ride along with her dad in a custom-built sidecar attached to his bike.

This is why you don’t try to recover a stolen bike yourself. A Wisconsin man is lucky to be alive, and may still lose his arm, after he was shot while trying to reclaim his stepson’s stolen bicycle; a 17-year old teenager has been charged with the crime.

A new bike and pedestrian path has opened along a Tarrytown NY bridge, providing an iconic view made famous by the 18th Century Hudson River School of artists, as well as a grate view of the river 102 feet below. And no, that’s not a typo.

Fortune says bikes will have a new place in city life in New York, and around the world, as life rebounds from the coronavirus crisis.

 

International

Cycling News looks at the pros and cons of buying a gravel bike.

The Share the Road Cycling Coalition and The Centre for Active Transportation have posted a recording of their webinar Making Space: Biking out of the pandemic online. Thanks to Robert Leone for the tip.

A Toronto man is biking 46 kilometers — the equivalent of 28.5 miles — or running 4.6 kilometers every day for 46 days to honor George Floyd, who was 46-years old when he was killed by a Minneapolis cop. Or ex-cop, now.

A British Parliamentary advisory group has concluded that e-scooters are inherently unsafe, while a European group says the risk is no greater than riding a bicycle.

According to an English author, one bright spot in the Covid-19 pandemic is the rise of bicycles, and the role they play in art and society.

A former bike shop owner, soon to be prime minister, negotiated a huge increase in active transportation spending, committing 10% of the country’s transportation budget on bicycling and another 10% on walking; two-thirds of the remaining 80% will go to public transit.

Bikes continue to boom in Kolkata as an alternative to mass transit in the age of Covid-19.

Chinese tech giant Tencent is building a carfree city of the future on reclaimed land in Shenzhen, centered on a green corridor for buses, bikes and autonomous vehicles

Taiwanese bikemakers and parts suppliers — including Giant, the world’s largest bikemaker — are pedaling faster than ever to catch up with the booming worldwide demand.

Seoul, Korea is planning to build another 14 miles of bikeways within the next year as the city plans a bike path network to “cut congestion, fight pollution and reduce energy use.”

People caught violating Japan’s strict new bike laws just twice in three years will have to take a traffic safety course, or pay the equivalent of a $460 fine.

Jakarta, Indonesia is bringing back their weekly Car Free Day, but limiting it to bike riding and walking, with no food services or other vendors.

Horrifying Twitter thread from Australia, where an aboriginal man was allegedly beaten by police for the crime of riding without a helmet and bike lights.

 

Competitive Cycling

After beating cancer twice and surviving getting hit by a truck while riding across the US, 40-year old endurance cyclist James Golding insists he’s going to win the Race Across America, even if he has to wait another year, after this year’s RAAM was canceled.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to jack a truck, don’t leave your bike in the back once you dump it. Your next e-mountain bike could take a selfie.

And doesn’t everyone take their pet chicken riding with them?

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Thanks to Scott R for his generous donation to help keep this site coming your way every day. Donations are always welcomed, especially now.

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

Morning Links: Fight over road diets goes national, flooding closes GMR, and Emperor Norton was one of us

Let’s start with an important piece from Streetsblog’s Joe Linton about the efforts of traffic safety deniers Keep LA Moving to take their crackpot anti-road diet fight national.

Advocates, alert: “Keep L.A. Moving,” a small, vindictive group of well-heeled westsiders with little regard for the safety of L.A.’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged residents, is now pushing its disinformation to a national audience – or, at least, attempting to – by rebranding itself as “Keep The U.S. Moving…”

As bicycle advocate Peter Flax has noted, KLAM’s work seems to thrive best in closed-door conservative echo chambers, like Nextdoor and closed Facebook groups. From there, they work to seed aligned broadcast media, including right-wing radio, where their claims are not questioned. When their dubious assertions, for example “[road diets cause] more accidents, more pollution, more gridlock, heavy traffic,” are actually aired in public debate, or studied using actual real world data, they just don’t hold up.

Like climate change deniers, these “Keep Moving” groups deny data-based studies showing that speed kills and that road diets work

Behind all their crackpot assertions is the empowerment of drivers in well-to-do communities. These ideologues push for unfettered driver access at the expense of safety for all road users, particularly those who have the fewest mobility choices available to them and who are most at-risk to harm. The “right” of this handful of disgruntled drivers to speed is costing the lives of tens of thousands of people in the U.S. every year. Unfortunately, this is a double whammy to low-income communities of color, whose residents continue to die at higher rates. And as Rutgers’ Charles Brown points out, minority communities overlooked for road diet safety improvements “receive enforcement” instead.

It’s well worth clicking the link to read all of Linton’s hard-hitting story.

Because these are the people who, so far at least, have succeeded in halting road diets and other vital safety measures in Los Angeles, keeping our streets dangerous and deadly so people like them can continue to drive unimpeded.

At least until LA’s inevitable encroaching gridlock forces them to a full stop.

And if they have their way, everywhere.

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Popular riding route Glendora Mountain Road is closed until further notice due to flooding.

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Robs Muir sends us photographic proof that San Francisco’s beloved Emperor Norton was one of us, too.

Bancroft Library, U.C. Berkeley

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Anyone planning to ride to work this Friday for International Winter Bike to Work Day?

If you want to discuss it with a reporter for the new Spectrum News 1 channel, email Jada Montemarano at jada.montemarano@charter.com.

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Local

Speaking of Spectrum News 1, they offer a nice piece on South LA’s Black Kids on Bikes, which isn’t just for kids. Or African-Americans.

UCLA is offering a week-long, 550-mile bike tour along the California coast to learn firsthand about the impacts of climate change, and possible solutions. Solution #1 — ditch the car, and ride a bike. Thanks to Audrey Kopp for the heads-up.

A Pasadena neighborhood association says the city’s proposed Cordova Street traffic calming project has a lot to like, even if it doesn’t connect with the Gold Line.

The Signal takes a look at Santa Clarita’s new Pace docked bikeshare system.

State

Can you say, duh? A San Diego TV station reports a sharp increase in traffic tickets issued to scooter riders last year — which makes sense, since it was the first full year they were in operation.

Work is almost finished on San Francisco’s newest protected bike lane.

Sonoma officials identify the homeless man who was beaten to death by two other men in a dispute over bicycle; he had served as a mentor to other people who were new to the streets.

Sacramento is the next California city to get e-scooters.

National

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss says chill out about that scary sounding medical study on e-scooter injuries, noting that only 15 of the 249 victims were injured seriously enough to require hospitalization.

Outside examines how energy bars became America’s favorite snack food.

A writer for Fast Company takes a spin in a 300-pound e-trike, and pronounces it the future of urban deliveries.

A driving website calls the micromobility movement part revolution and part gold rush, naming 2018 the Year of the Scooter.

No surprise here. Denver’s docked bikeshare system is losing riders to the convenience of e-scooters.

The mayor of a Chicago suburb threatens to ticket every member of a group ride if they don’t stop for every stop sign. Yes, they are legally required to stop. Even though it would piss off every driver on the street street when they proceed through every intersection one at a time.

Chicago Streetsblog looks back on the life of a bike courier in the 1990s. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the link.

A Massachusetts town wants to become a bicycling city, building on a bike heritage that goes back over 100 years. Although honestly, just about every city and town can say that; it’s what happened in the past 50 or 60 years that matters.

David Drexler forwards a Bloomberg piece about the reasons for a sudden uptick in New York Uber and taxi fares, which ends with “Have you considered biking?”

Great idea. Bike riders in Athens, Georgia can get discounts at participating businesses by attaching a $5 sticker to their helmets.

No bias here. A Georgia college student gets the blame in the local media for hitting a bus with his bike, when he was actually right-hooked as he came off the sidewalk. Yes, he should have slowed or stopped before riding out into the crosswalk, and probably shouldn’t have been on the sidewalk in the first place. But the driver bears responsibility for apparently not noticing him on the sidewalk and pausing to let him cross the street.

International

Cycling Weekly offers 13 inspirational cycling quotes to live your life by. Personally, I like the one from South African Bishop Desmond Tutu.

A British Columbia high school student returned home from an international environmental engineering competition with a bronze medal for her solar-powered e-trike.

A Hamilton, Ontario safety advocate says the city’s Vision Zero plan is a lot of fluff. Not that Los Angeles bike riders and pedestrians can relate that or anything.

This is who we share the roads with. A London motorist suffered serious injuries when a road raging driver intentionally plowed into him as he stood next to his car following a minor collision; no word on whether the other driver was arrested.

A British food delivery rider faces a charge of willful misconduct for a bike crash that left an eight-year old girl with a fractured skull.

Scraping the bottom of the ethical barrel, a driver in the UK faked brain damage to avoid doing jail time for killing a man on a bike while driving at twice the speed limit on the wrong side of the road; he’s now doing six and a half well-deserved years.

London’s Telegraph recommends Dubai’s “surprisingly mountainous” bicycling routes.

Some drivers continue to say bike riders are hard to see. Apparently, so are Australian garbage trucks.

Aussie medical professionals are sounding the alarm about dangerous aggression from motorists directed towards people on bicycles. Or as we call that in Los Angeles, Tuesday. Or any other day, for that matter.

Competitive Cycling

British pro cyclist Scott Auld was lucky to escape with a broken collarbone and various other injuries when he was the victim of a car crash while training in Spain; he was riding on the inside of a double pace line when the rider next to him was clipped by a driver on the wrong side of the road, crashing into him and sending him flying down a ravine.

Finally…

Who needs wheels when you’ve got skis? When you’re semi-royal, love dogs and the press has no idea what a cargo bike is.

And if you’re on parole with outstanding warrants, carrying an illegal weapon and ghost riding another bike along with yours, put a damn light on it — 

Your bike, not the other one.

Or maybe both.

Morning Links: Don’t blame bike lanes for bad pavement lawsuits, and a call to ban cars from Rose Bowl loop

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says not so fast.

Despite what Councilmember Mitch Englander asserted in his recent motion, Los Angeles hasn’t paid out tens of millions of dollars for injuries to bicyclists due to bad pavement in bike lanes.

In fact, only one of the seven recent bike-related settlements with the city was due to a crash that occurred in a bike lane.

The rest took place on the sort of infrastructure-free streets most LA bicyclists have to ride every day due to the lack of a even the most basic bicycle network in most of the city.

And on the same crappy streets you’ll find on most city streets.

The City Council Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee will discuss two motions mandating much-needed inspections, and possibly repairs, to pavement in the city’s bike lanes and bike paths at 1 pm today.

But let’s not confuse that with the real problem.

Which is the city’s failure to build out the 2010 bike plan as promised. And the failure to the maintain streets we all have to use.

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He gets it.

A writer for the Pasadena Star News says instead of adding stop signs to the Rose Bowl loop, which would effectively put a halt to the popular cycling, why not ban cars instead?

Why not, indeed.

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We’re less than a month away from the annual Oscar ceremony. Which brings up the annual question, will anyone bike to the red carpet in Hollywood?

Environmentalist and actor Ed Begley, Jr. has done it before. In a tux, and despite the rain.

But no word yet on whether anyone will do it this year.

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Local

In news that should surprise absolutely no one, a new report shows Los Angeles has the world’s worst traffic congestion for the sixth year in a row. And it will only get worse unless the city and county provide people with viable alternatives to driving.

Atwater Village residents say they don’t feel safe walking or riding on the LA River bike path due to homeless camps along the river.

Bike SGV will hold their first general meeting of 2018 tomorrow night.

 

State

California’s only emperor was one of us.

The 9th annual Jim Rogers Memorial Ride rolls in Nevada City this Sunday.

 

National

The art of mountain biking.

Bike friendly Boulder CO debates whether to allow ebikes on open space trails.

Ride Chicago’s bikeshare system ten times this month, and they’ll pin a medal on you and invite you to a party.

The NYPD puts out a wanted poster for a group of reckless teenage bike riders.

 

International

A writer for the Guardian discovers firsthand what it’s like to be doored.

You may never be a star of the English stage. But your bike might be.

A British city noticed that 68 near-identical bike-hating comments about a road closure came from a single computer. And 50 more came from just three additional IP addresses. In case you’ve ever wondered why there always seem to be so many public comments from people who hate bikes.

A Dublin paper asks if it’s time to give bicyclists and pedestrians a head start at red lights. That would be yes. And not just in Dublin.

Replacing delivery trucks with cargo bikes in Barcelona.

Workers for Dutch bike brand Van Moof track down a Bluetooth-equipped stolen bike, and discover a warehouse full of stolen bicycles from across Europe.

Docked bikeshare is expanding in India, while a free public bikeshare is opening at Hyderabad Metro stations.

A new Australian study shows that how you commute to work really does affect your body mass. And no, driving doesn’t make you any skinnier.

 

Competitive Cycling

Wolfpack Hustle is bringing back the Forsyth Cup at the Encino Velodrome in April, thanks to BikinginLA sponsor Thomas Forsyth.

Pro cycling’s Team Dimension Data plans to donate 5,000 bikes to an African charity this year.

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to launch yourself off the roof with an antifreeze-fueled rocket attached to your bicycle. Now you can tow your new sailboat with your mountain bike.

And forget the bike park. Try riding the waterpark, instead.

Morning Links: Multi-tool bars Streetsblog editor from Metro meeting, and Lyft re-envisions Wilshire Blvd

Streetsblog editor Joe Linton was kept out of a Metro meeting to discuss the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project until he agreed to throw his “dangerous” multi-tool and wrenches into the trash.

And was told he could fish them out after the meeting — after one of the security officers dumped coffee into it.

Just another sign of how bike riders are treated in this city.

Never mind how easy it would have been for someone, anyone, to agree to hold them for him until he came back out. Or just how stupid it is to talk about encouraging bicycling, while actively discouraging bicyclists.

And never mind the kneejerk opposition he found to including bikes in the project once he finally got inside the Metro meeting.

Photo from LA Streetsblog.

………

Lyft envisions a redesigned Wilshire Blvd that reduces the street’s 10 spacious lanes down to just three narrow one, along with dedicated bus lanes, to show what life could be like in a world of shared, self-driving vehicles.

The plan also includes wider, park-like sidewalks and protected bike lanes.

The company says the narrowed street could accommodate twice as many road users and carry four times as many people as it currently does.

Wilshire capacity before redesign

Wilshire capacity after redesign. Charts from CNN

No word on whether the forces attempting to roll back road diets in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey plan to recall the president of Lyft or file suit to stop the concept while it’s still in the vaporware stage.

………

A report on KABC-790 radio says evacuees fleeing the La Tuna fire earlier this month were delayed due to traffic jams caused by the road diets on Foothill Blvd. Although it’s surprising they would have been so surprised by changes that were made five months ago.

………

Three-time US Olympic track cyclist Sarah Hammer retired at age 34, ending a career that began with her first junior title 22 years ago.

Next year’s Giro d’Italia will start just a little outside the country in the ancient Roman suburb called Jerusalem.

It’s official. Scottish cyclist Mark Beaumont rode around the world in less than 80 days, finishing in 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes — smashing the previous record by 44 days.

A memorial was unveiled in the English hometown of fallen cyclist Tom Simpson to mark the 50th anniversary of his death on the slopes of Mont Ventoux during the 1967 Tour de France.

……….

Local

An Op-Ed in the LA Times calls the cars the third rail of California politics, saying people will revolt if you slow them down or make driving more expensive. Which, as we’ve seen recently, is all too true.

Pasadena’s Art Center in planning a bikeway inspired by the historic California Cycleway to connect its separated campuses.

Parisian haute couture menswear brand Berluti has opened in Beverly Hills, with a made-to-order bespoke bicycle among the shop’s offerings.

Simon Cowell is one of us, as he goes bike riding with his family in the former Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills, which is finally starting to show some promise.

Curbed calls the Marvin Braude Bike Path through Santa Monica LA’s most beautiful bike path, even though the Santa Monica section is actually in… wait for it… Santa Monica. I’ve heard the beachfront bike path called many things in my many years here, but never The Strand.

The South Bay’s Easy Reader News looks at the controversy over Vista del Mar and the Playa del Rey lane reductions, albeit from a mostly windshield perspective.

Long Beach police are looking for a bike-riding scumbag who’s been exposing himself to underage girls.

 

State

UberEats will now be delivering some of their food orders by bicycle in San Diego.

This is why you shouldn’t chase a bike thief yourself. A pair of Visalia men nearly got shot by a bike thief after they chased him down when they saw him take a bike from their garage.

A Modesto Op-Ed calls for greater enforcement of bike safety laws, especially California’s too-often ignored three-foot passing law

The International Cycling Safety Conference in Davis will explore how smart city technology can help make urban areas more bicycle friendly.

A homeless Redding woman was stabbed by another homeless woman following an argument as the victim was riding along a canal.

Eureka police are looking for a fleeing DUI suspect who hijacked a woman’s bike at gunpoint, before trading down by jacking a car as he rode her bike through a mall parking lot.

 

National

Bicycling talks with cyclists who credit their helmets with saving their skulls.

Seattle permanently removed a traffic lane on a downtown street to make room for protected bike lanes. Despite mixed opinions, no politicians appear to have been recalled and no one’s filed suit to stop it yet, unlike a certain SoCal city we could name.

Bicycle Retailer says this week’s Interbike show in Las Vegas is still the best way for smaller brands to get noticed.

A popular Colorado man was found shot and killed three days after he disappeared while on a bike ride this past Thursday; police are treating the case as a homicide.

Counter protesters interrupted a press conference by a New York state legislator who wants to halt plans to install a protected bike lane on a deadly Queens boulevard.

 

International

A new study shows triathletes face twice the risk of dropping dead during a competition as marathon runners, with the greatest risk occurring during the swimming leg of the race.

Brakeless fixie-rider Charlie Alliston has been sentenced to 18 months after being convicted of wanton and furious driving for killing a London woman as she was crossing the street. Thanks to Allyson Vought and John McBrearty for the heads-up.

Caught on video: Nothing like a little no-hands dab and dance while riding on a British street.

British bike historian Carlton Reid examines why the country’s most bike-friendly urban design failed to encourage bicycling; short answer, they made it too easy to drive.

Bicycling deaths and serious injuries are down 20% since UK police began an undercover operation to catch drivers passing too close to bicyclists. Maybe that will convince the LAPD to finally give it a try.

Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland, will receive the equivalent of nearly $30 million dollars to convert their city centers to bike-friendly mini-Hollands.

German police are looking for a cyclist who interfered with rescue personnel to film a dying motorcyclist, rather than offering assistance before paramedics arrived as the law requires. Seriously, WTF is wrong with some people?

An Australian news site looks at what happens in the aftermath of a bicycling collision, including the obvious observation that it’s always the person on the bike who loses.

Aussie authorities blame tourists using GPS devices for a crash that injured a bike rider. So naturally, social media blames the people on two wheels.

Caught on video two: A dog sits upright in the saddle behind a bike-riding girl in an undisclosed Asian country, with its paws wrapped around her waist like a child trying to hold on.

 

Finally…

Who needs motor doping when you can just fire up the afterburners. Or maybe just let hurricane-force winds give you a gentle little nudge.

And now you, too, can own your very own Beastie.

Unless you’d rather ride a bike made of whisky casks.

 

Morning Links: Bike lane advice for the mayor, dueling Idaho Stop Op-Eds, and a Cannibal-themed beer in DTLA

So far, Mayor Eric Garcetti has talked a good game when it comes to bicycling.

But as a recent Op-Ed by Bike the Vote LA’s Michael MacDonald made clear, he’s failed to translate that talk into paint on the street.

Let alone protected bike lanes.

In fact, implementation of the city’s hard-fought bike plan has fallen precipitously since former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa left office four years ago, from a high of 251 lane miles — a single side of a roadway — to just 17 lane miles in the last fiscal year.

Although it should be pointed out that sharrows were included in Villaraigosa’s total.

Now Streetsblog’s Joe Linton is offering advice on what Garcetti can do to make LA bike friendly, with nearly 23 miles of bike lanes and road diets that could be implemented right away, along with another 30.8 miles that could be easily converted from bike lanes to protected lanes.

That’s if Garcetti is serious, of course.

I would have included Hollywood Blvd in that list, which desperately needs safety improvements to protect the millions of tourists who visit the Walk of Fame every year, as well as providing a much needed east-west route for local bike riders.

In fact, there’s not currently a single safe route in or out of Hollywood in any direction. A situation that will only get worse when the Metro Bike bikeshare arrives within a few years.

LA cyclists have long supported Eric Garcetti, both during his time on council, and in his run for mayor four years ago.

It’s time he returned the favor.

………

While the LA Times has virtually ignored the subject, the Times-owned San Diego Union-Tribune has taken the lead on covering California’s consideration of the proposed Idaho Stop Law.

Today, they offer a pair of dueling Op-Eds on the matter.

The executive director of the San Diego Bicycle Coalition says it’s smart policy for California to adopt an Idaho Stop Law.

Meanwhile, a former Oceanside councilmember says it would be bad for kids who lack the judgment to make those quick decisions — and says it’s really about Strava users not wanting to stop, anyway.

She makes a valid point about kids. Although there’s nothing that says you can’t come to a full stop if you want, which might be a better option for kids under driving age.

But let’s be honest.

This law isn’t so much about the spandex-clad than it is the everyday riders who are faced with the prospect of choosing between dangerous traffic-clogged streets on their commutes or recreational rides, or taking side streets where they’re forced to stop every block or two.

And while riders would be allowed to treat stop signs as yields, they would still be required to slow down and observe the right of way, and yield to opposing traffic when appropriate.

In other words, pretty much what most drivers already do.

………

DTLA’s Mumford Brewing now has a barrel-aged brew named after the legendary Eddy Merckx. Just because.

………

Talk about a great looking poster. This is for Scotland’s Pedal on Parliament campaign, something we might want to seriously consider replicating here.

………

Belgian’s one-day Dwars Door Vlaanderen cobble classic made its first appearance in the UCI WorldTour on Wednesday; American rider Kiel Reijnen appeared to avoid serious injury when the peloton squeezed him off the road and into a ditch.

A 55-year old British amateur cyclist was banned for doping, but at least he had an excuse.

Former pro Phil Gaimon suggests that podium girls be replaced with podium puppies. Now there’s an idea we can all get behind. And clean up after.

………

Local

How to get your bike, or other possessions, back if you leave it on a Metro bus or train. Not that you would ever do that, of course.

The Argonaut says the future has two wheels, as it looks forward to Sunday’s Culver City to Venice CicLAvia, as well as efforts to make Mar Vista safer and more inviting to people walking and on bikes.

Pasadena will hold a meeting tonight to discuss the city’s proposed Climate Action Plan. Which should include a heavy reliance on walking and bicycling to help get people out of their cars.

 

State

An OC supervisor has a massive homeless camp along the Santa Ana River Trail removed. And judging by the riprap installed in its place, doesn’t want it to return, either.

An Arizona couple describe what its like to watch their cell phones, IDs, credit cards and cash go up in smoke when a newly purchased ebike caught fire on the sand in Newport Beach.

Carpenteria will host its first Open Streets festival on April Fools Day, closing over a mile of downtown streets to motor vehicles.

Santa Barbara is already getting started implementing their 2016 bike plan, with three new projects set to open by this summer. Unlike, say, a certain city to the south.

Still more bad news from up north. Fresno police are investigating Tuesday’s hit-and-run death of a bike rider as a homicide instead of a traffic collision, suggesting they have reason to believe the death may have been intentional.

The Mercury News looks at why people in San Jose are reluctant to bike to work. Spoiler alert: They’re afraid of cars.

An El Cerrito couple got more than they bargained for when they left a bike in their yard with a “free” sign, and retuned home to find the bike gone, a man in their backyard, and their home burglarized.

San Francisco moves to regulate app-based, Chinese-style bikeshare systems.

Oakland city commissioners are angry that bikeshare plans didn’t include bikes for people with disabilities.

A Napa Valley letter writer asks why the woman who right hooked him in a rush to get to church didn’t care enough to stop or find out if he was okay.

 

National

Now you, too, can ride dressed like the Simpsons.

Bicycling wants to help you master the art of the paceline. Which will undoubtedly come in handy for your next bike train commute.

Now that’s more like it. A Nevada man faces up to 40 years in prison following his conviction for fleeing the scene after crashing into an 11-year old girl who was riding her bike in a Reno trailer park; he was twice the legal limit when he was arrested. The same crime in California probably wouldn’t result in more than a few years, if that.

A bike-riding Denver letter writer reminds drivers that you’ll get home a lot later if you hit someone.

The University of Iowa profiles a bicycle-riding associate who’s using her fellowship to learn how bike safety research can influence public policy and improve rider safety.

Houston approves a new bike plan calling for nearly 1,800 miles of bikeways, adding to the current 500 miles of lanes and trails, half of which are separated from traffic in some way.

Grieving family members release balloons to honor a Little Rock AK man killed by a wrong way driver as he rode his bike last week. Nice gesture, but never release balloons — especially Mylar ones; stick with a ghost bike instead.

Two years after Memphis yanked bike lanes off the city’s Riverside Drive due to complaints from motorists, they’re planning to try again.

Pittsburgh bicyclists would rather share the road with a robot than with a human being behind the wheel. And who can blame them?

Ten young cyclists have been chosen to follow the infamous 950-mile Trail of Tears from Georgia to Oklahoma.

Mississippi’s 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway will soon be getting Bikes May Use Full Lane signs, as well as signs telling drivers to change lanes to pass bike riders.

 

International

Tern isn’t just about foldies anymore.

A bike industry news site looks at ten cities around the world that are building bicycling into everyday life. None of which are Los Angeles. Or in North America, for that matter.

Nice gesture from the builder of LA’s StoopidTall Bike, who’s in Cuba with 30 pounds of bike parts to help a man’s quest to set a new record for the world’s tallest bicycle.

Don’t ride your bike in an anti-social manner in the UK.

Former Brit heavyweight champ Tyson Fury is one of us, riding a bike with his daughter in a child seat as he talks about making a comeback, after losing his titles following a failed drug test.

A British bike rider gets six years, eight months behind bars for slashing a man across the face with a box cutter when the victim asked him for a cigarette.

Chinese bikeshare is booming, and it’s headed your way. And so are efforts to scam users out of their money.

India and Bangladesh attempt to build peace through bicycles, with an 11 day joint military ride through both countries.

A San Francisco writer goes on a bicycle tour of New Zealand looking for an actual kiwi, and comes up empty. But discovers the journey was really the whole point.

Aussie riders call for new laws protecting bicyclists from having items thrown at them from passing cars, as well as prohibiting tacks and other items left on bikeways; as it is now, someone who leaves tacks on a bike path usually faces nothing more than a littering charge.

 

Finally…

Chances are, you can’t afford a two-wheeled Bugatti, either — or ride it around the block, for that matter. Who needs a bike lock when you’ve got a rattlesnake?

And if you’re going to steal a bicycle from a former Marine, don’t leave yours behind. And if you do, don’t come back for it.

 

Morning Links: Bike-friendly council candidates still in running, and DSS poster makes biking look dangerous

It looks like three of the four remaining city council candidates could be good for bicycling.

And you can guess who the other one is.

Monica Rodriguez and Karo Torossian will be in a runoff for the CD7 council seat. Rodriguez was one of the three candidates who got the nod from Bike the Vote LA before this month’s primary election. I’m told Torossian would have received strong consideration if he had gotten his response in before the deadline.

Meanwhile, the results in CD1 are expected to be certified today, with long-time bike and community advocate Joe Bray-Ali taking on the extremely bike unfriendly Gil Cedillo. As you’ll recall, it was Cedillo who singlehandedly blocked the desperately needed road diet on North Figueroa, and attempted to have all the proposed bike lanes in CD1 removed from the Mobility Plan, earning him the moniker “Roadkill Gil” from some in the district.

The Times sums it up nicely, calling Bray-Ali’s forcing the runoff a victory for a new vision of a sustainable LA.

Although it’s not a victory yet.

Think of it as the game going into overtime. Both candidate start out on even footing, and who wins will depend on what happens in the coming weeks.

It will take the support of the entire bicycling community, and everyone who wants a better LA, to overcome the massive amounts of special interest money that will inevitably flow in from outside the district to help keep a career politician in office.

………

Streetblog’s Joe Linton takes the L.A. County Department of Social Services to task for making bicycling look dangerous.

The ad depicts a fallen spandex cyclist. The text reads “When life gets rough.” The ad falls into the alltoocommon grim bicycling-equals-danger trope which shames cyclists and reinforces misperceptions about cycling safety.

To be honest, it really doesn’t bother me.

Given the unpaved surface, I read the image in the ad as a face plant by a mountain biker, which is just part of the sport.

But maybe that’s just me. What do you think?

………

Former Stallone stunt double Eric Barone beat his own record with a 141 mph downhill on a snowy French ski slope. Which is just a tad faster than most of us have done on dry land.

………

Sad news from South Africa, where an Egyptian cyclist died of a heart attack while competing in the African track cycling championships.

Cycling News offers five things they learned from last weekend’s Milan – San Remo, including that Peter Sagan is no Cannibal as he slips to the 78th second place finish of his career, compared to 92 wins.

………

Local

The LA Times says Los Angeles needs to become a more walkable, bikeable and transit-oriented city, and the city needs to channel Angelenos’ desire for a more urban city into more effective new planning guidelines.

Los Angeles Magazine calls Sunday’s CicLAvia your next chance to experience LA free from the tyranny of the automobile.

Take a great rear-facing bike cam view of this past Sunday’s Marathon Crash Ride. CiclaValley also joined in on the ride.

Pasadena Now looks at the recently approved state grant to build a two-way protected cycle track on Union Street.

 

State

Back east, they have to plow bike paths. Out here, we mow them.

After missing last year, Garden Grove will host its third almost-annual Open Streets event on April Fools Day. Let’s hope they don’t say that when we all show up.

Bay Area bicyclists ride to consider what can be done to fix the Hairball, a maze of intersecting highways where a bike path that runs underneath has turned into a de facto homeless camp.

A pair of bike-riding UC Berkeley researchers take a deep dive into the physics of why bike riders hate stop signs. Speaking of which, Calbike wants your support for AB1103, which would legalize the Idaho stop in California. Thanks to Cyclist’s Rights for the heads-up.

 

National

NACTO says Trump’s budget would be a disaster for cities and their transportation systems. No shit.

Performance Bike is using the world’s most famous computer to get inside your head, or at least your browsing history, to target their marketing at you.

Outside recommends an e-fat bike to power your way over backcountry terrain. Because don’t we all want to rip up endangered terrain by riding off trail, while annoying the crap out of everyone else on trail? Or is that just me?

The heartbreak of people who can’t ride bikes.

The Mayor of Maui tells bicyclists to ride in the door zone to avoid salmon cyclists in the bike lane, and misreads the law to suggest that’s required anyway. There is no law, anywhere in the US, that requires people to ride to the right in a bike lane. And it’s usually safer to ride in the center to left third, depending on the width of the lane, to ensure you’re outside the door zone.

Idaho police shoot and kill a rampaging armed man on a mountain bike who was threating dog owners on a popular trail, and killed one dog.

Au contraire, Findley, Ohio’s The Courier; the city is not proposing a ban on bicycling in the downtown area, just against riding on the sidewalk. Big difference, mais non?

A road raging Ohio driver faces a minimum of two and a half years in prison for a screaming punishment pass and brake check that left a bike rider injured. Meanwhile, Ohio becomes the latest state to adopt a three-foot passing law; 28 states now require drivers to give at least three feet while passing someone on a bike.

The Village Voice asks if racism will derail plans for bike lanes and other safety improvements on 111th Street in Queens; one opponent insists the lanes won’t be necessary once Trump deports all the illegals, since there won’t be anyone left to ride a bike. Maybe someone should explain to her that lots of people who ride bikes were born in this country, including the many of the ones she assumes don’t belong here.

They’re onto us, comrade. A North Carolina letter writer insists a group of new hotels under construction are a plot to make driving so impossible everyone would be forced to bike or walk.

 

International

The premier of Manitoba plans to ride 100 miles this June to honor indigenous peoples in the province.

London is about to get protected bike lanes on the Westminster Bridge, providing safer access to Parliament and the palace.

A new British report says new roadways damage the countryside, quickly get jammed due to induced demand, and discourage alternative forms of transportation like biking and walking.

Something happened between a bicyclist and a pedestrian in a British town. No, really, that’s all the story says.

A new French law requires kids under 12 to wear a bike helmet when they ride. And they want kids to nag their parents to wear one, as well.

An Aussie man got a $1,000 fine for biking under the influence, adding to his 17-page rap sheet.

 

Finally…

Evidently, the way to clear a crowded bike path is to raise your voice in song; thanks to Scott Larsen for the heads-up. Yes, bicycling can be boring, but only if you are.

And nothing like snuggling up around an ebike fire on the beach.

 

Today’s post, in which I beat a dead horse

Let’s take a quick look back at last week’s LADOT controversy, before I move on to other subjects.

As you may recall, last Monday I broke the news that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation was secretly planning to install peak hour lanes on Reseda Blvd, which would have necessitated the removal of two miles of existing bike lanes, as well as the cancellation of another long-planned — and long delayed — 3-mile extension.

This came to light courtesy of Glenn Bailey, chairman of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee. He had learned of the plans in an official LADOT status report to the BAC, which indicated that the planned extension conflicted with “peak hour usage in the near future.” Bailey then confirmed those plans in a conversation with Ken Firoozmand, Transportation Engineer for the West Valley division of LADOT.

The response was overwhelming, as the story quickly spread through the Internet. The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition issued an action alert from urging cyclists to attend a meeting of the Northridge West Neighborhood Council, which was planning to vote on a resolution in support of the plan after learning about it from Bailey; the large, highly motivated turnout resulted in a unanimous vote against the peak hour lanes.

And that’s when the inevitable backlash began.

Representatives from LADOT contacted both Streetsblog and LAist, insisting that the agency had no plans to install peak hour lanes on Reseda and that “…It was all based on rumor, nothing that we had propagated.”

Obviously, they were mistaken. Or lying. I chose to give them the benefit of the doubt; others didn’t.

Joe Linton, BAC member and founder of the LACBC, responded by providing the original document revealing the existence of the peak lane plan, and expressed concern for the LADOT staffer who was only doing his job in providing that information to the BAC.

Meanwhile, Glenn Bailey circulated an open letter providing full details of how he became aware of the plan and confirmed its existence with Firoozmand. He also pointed out the Notice of Street Work for a one-mile section of Reseda where the proposed bike lanes would go, which local residents were concerned would provide an opportunity to install the peak hour lanes; Glenn has requested that this section be restriped for the long-promised bike lanes, instead.

A commenter on Streetsblog noted that the bridge over the viaduct near Victory Boulevard was widened with the express purpose of turning the Reseda into a major north-south thoroughfare. In my initial conversation with Bailey, he’d quoted Firoozmand as saying “We wouldn’t have widened the bridge if we weren’t planning to include peak hour lanes. The only reason I didn’t include that in the initial story only because I had failed to write down which bridge he was referring to.

Yet incredibly, when LADOT was confronted with proof of the plan, they stuck by their initial denials. Damien at Streetblog offered this official response from LADOT:

The information provided yesterday is accurate and still stands: the Department has no current plans to remove any portion of the bike lane or to install peak hour lanes on Reseda Boulevard.

Note the key word “current.”

All they had to do was acknowledge their error, and admit that a plan had been considered but was no longer under consideration — whether or not that had anything to do with the massive response in opposition to the plan.

Instead, they chose to engage in a cover-up — not exactly the kind of open, honest government we have a right to expect as citizen of a democratic society. And in the process, they continued to smear both Glenn Bailey and me as the unnamed sources of those unfounded “rumors.”

Unfortunately, as of this writing, a few local websites still haven’t corrected the stories based on LADOT’s false denials, despite the overwhelming proof to the contrary.

And a full week later, none of the council members I contacted before publishing the initial story — Rosendahl, Kortetz, Zine and Smith — has bothered to respond in any way.

Meanwhile, Joe Linton has written an open letter to Rita Robinson, General Manager of the LADOT, as well as Mayor Villaraigosa, Council President Garcetti, and Council Members Rosendahl, Smith, and Zine. It reads in part:

It doesn’t surprise me that LADOT would favor a peak lane plan that would increase capacity for cars, indeed this is LADOT’s job and what LADOT has historically successfully focused on. What surprises me is that LADOT staff lied. Governmental agencies depend on the trust of the public to make our city work. When LADOT staff deny something that LADOT staff have already put in writing, this duplicity damages the public trust and makes it difficult for all of us to work together in the future.

I urge you to work with your staff to be honest, clear and transparent and to rebuild the public trust that their actions have strained. I also urge you to immediately implement the long-delayed bike lanes on Reseda Boulevard.

Meanwhile, the LACBC has sent out another Action Alert calling attention to the LADOT’s false denials, and urging everyone to contact the appropriate officials:

Some of you may have been getting letters assuring you that the bike lane was never going to be removed and that this was all a rumor.  Due to the overwhelming response to this threat, it seems that DOT has retracted their plan and is now claiming that there is currently no plan to install a peak hour lane.

We want to make sure that there will never be a plan to install peak hour lanes on Reseda Blvd.

Let’s install the already approved bike lanes on Reseda Blvd!

Due to your emails and the extreme circumstances of this issue, Mayoral staff requested a meeting with LACBC. They suggested that if there is community consensus, a bike lane could be completed this year.

Here’s what you can do:

Please write to Councilmembers Smith and Zine and let them know that you would like to see the already approved extension of the Bike Lane of Reseda Blvd from Vanowen to Rinaldi installed by the end of 2009.

Please send in and email your letters to:

Honorable Los Angeles City Councilmember Dennis Zine
200 North Spring Street, Suite 450
Los Angeles, CA 90012
councilmember.zine@lacity.org
Honorable Los Angeles City Councilmember Greig Smith
200 North Spring Street, Suite 405
Los Angeles, CA 90012
councilmember.smith@lacity.orgJonathan Brand, Planning Deputy for Dennis Zine
jonathan.brand@lacity.org

Phyllis Winger, Chief Planning Deputy for Greig Smith
phyllis.winger@lacity.org

Honorable Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
mayor@lacity.org

It’s your government. And it’s up to you to decide whether to accept secret plans and cover-ups. Or whether you’re going to do something about it.

This just in: Did LADOT lie? Or don’t they even know what they’re doing?

Earlier this evening, Joe Linton left the following comment on today’s post — about LADOT’s official denial of any plans to put peak hour lanes on Reseda Boulevard — which I’ve moved up here to give it the attention it deserves:

The LADOT owes you an apology, Ted! Bicyclists were responding to an earlier document from LADOT that pretty clearly states that they intended to implement the peak hour parking restrictions, and put the bike lane project on hold. From the June report from the LADOT bikeway engineer to the LA Bicycle Advisory Committee – regarding the status of the Reseda lanes: “West Valley District does not concur with the [Reseda bike lane] project, cites peak hour lane usage in near future.”

See the original LADOT report document here: http://glatwg.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/bike_lane_projects_in_progress1.pdf

Cyclists deserve an apology from the LADOT for their lie… and the immediate implementation of the long-delayed Reseda bike lanes.

Note item #8 from the LADOT document:

Reseda-1

And note the status report:

Reseda-Cropped

The question is, did LADOT intentionally lie to us? Or do they honestly not know what their various divisions are doing?

I don’t know which possibility scares me more.

Thanks, Joe. I owe you one.

But I’m not going to hold my breath on that apology.

Update: 8-14-09, 3pm:

BAC Chairperson Glenn Bailey has written a detailed rebuttal to LADOT’s denial of their plans to install a peak hour lane on Reseda Blvd. Damien Newton has put the full text of Glenn’s letter online at Streetsblog — and says he doesn’t believes that LADOT intentionally misled him.

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