Tag Archive for Joe Linton

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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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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