Tag Archive for Main Street road diet

Main Street road diet brings joy to Venice cyclists; a road rage finger and a shipload of links

This is what the new bike lanes on Main Streets looked like on Thursday.

Those of us who ride near the coast are celebrating the long awaited arrival of the Main Street road diet in Venice.

After winning approval from the local Neighborhood Council, hopes were high that the bike lanes would be installed by the end of the year. While that didn’t happen, work finally began the weekend before last — only to be halted due to the recent storm.

And leaving barely sketched out lane lines that seemed to confuse almost everyone, as I watched driver after driver try to squeeze into the narrow soon-to-be bike lane.

Even though it lacked the bike markings, you’d think drivers would realize that a lane narrower than their cars probably wasn’t meant for them. Then again, that’s assuming most drivers think behind the wheel, which may be a stretch.

But this past weekend, it finally became a reality.

And frequent contributor Eric Weinstein — excuse me, Eric “lets extend the Main St. bike lanes” Weinstein, as he signed his email — could barely restrain his excitement.

The Main Street bike lanes in Venice are here!

Katarina, on her electric bike, and I went for a bicycle ride and victory lap, up and down the freshly painted Venice Main Street Bike lanes on Sunday. They came out pretty good after all this time. It was perfect weather and there were already lots of other cyclists.

These lanes appear to be a bit wider than the Santa Monica section. There’s less chance of being doored with a space on the right of the lane for much of the route. And the car traffic seemed calmed by the lane re-configuration. There’s a section Northbound from the kicking clown to the Santa Monica border which has long had lane confusion, with awkward last second merges into the left lane. That’s completely fixed and is much safer and smoother now. The South end of the bike

lane is at the Windward Circle allowing a easy merge around the circle. Connecting to Abbot Kinney’s sharrows is easy too, making a good route over to Venice Blvd.’s bike lanes to Culver City and even Downtown LA.

This is great new place for bicyclists. Now there’s safe, easy route from downtown Santa Monica to the Windward Circle. These are the best places near the beach to visit by bicycle. And the new lanes make this an easy trip on flat ground that anyone can pedal. Merchants near Main St. should now be asking LADOT for more bike racks in front of their stores to bring in these new customers (www.bicyclela.org/RackRequest.htm). We should all be taking this route for a test spin on the next sunny day.

Like all things there’s room for small improvement, which will make a big difference. The one I’d really like so see would be some wayfinding signage. One or two signs at the south terminus

pointing to the beach path and the alternate route avoiding Washington Blvd. to the Marina Del Rey section of the path. And put a few signs on Ocean Ave. and Venice Blvd. pointing toward the new lanes on Main Street. Showing the connections to the bike lane will really help increase it’s usability.

These bike lane projects take a massive effort by many, many people to see anything appear on the ground. A big tailwind on their next ride to LADOT and Michelle Mowery’s group for initiating this great connecting route. Not the mention engineering, presenting and constructing it. Also to the Venice Neighborhood Council for voting to proving a safer place for cyclists in the community. And Bill Rosendahl’s office for getting the plans approved by all concerned. And a really big kudos to all the SPOKE and LACBC people who advocated for this, especially our Bicycle Advisory Committee representative Kent Strumpel.


The latest trend seems to be automotive greenwashing support of bikes, as Volkswagen begins a two-year relationship with Bikes Belong, and Fiat wants to clear the air to improve relations between cyclists and motorists.

Of course, that’s after the League of American Bicyclists partnered with AAA, even though the SoCal version of the auto club was one of the prime opponents of California’s proposed three-foot passing law.

Speaking of the bike league, they report that bike and pedestrian funding is once again under attack in the Tea Part-addled House.


It may be in broken English — the original is in Swedish — but a Stockholm cyclist complains about news reports that never fail to blame cyclists but never seem to blame drivers. Instead, it always seems to be driverless cars that bump into other people and vehicles.

I’ve complained about the same thing on here more than once.  Then again, if you subscribe to my Twitter account, I’ve probably complained about it ad naseum.

But it’s interesting to see it’s not just an American phenomenon.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.


L.A. Live is getting more bike parking. A review of a 32-mile ride through the Westside guided by Bike and Hikes LA. If you liked last November’s CicLAvia, you’ll love the next one on April 15th on the same route. Glendale is reaching out to local residents to support a road diet of their own. Baldwin Park wants more bicycle-friendly streets. The Culver City Bicycle Coalition will host a fundraiser the day after Valentines Day at Joxer Daly’s on Washington Blvd. Better Bike recaps the recent Beverly Hills Bike Plan Update Committee meeting to discuss proposed — and rapidly shrinking — bike lanes and bike racks both current and planned; and he’s right, if the meetings weren’t the same night as the LACBC board meeting, I’d be there. Venice may have new bike lanes on Main Street, but Pink and baby prefer the bike path. The Time is running out to become Streetsblog’s new Santa Monica correspondent. A Santa Monica bike company based on a made up bike team based on a real beer-drinking Belgium racer. Rick Risemberg meets a man on an 85-year old bike; he also finds a bike/ped bridge in Whittier, but no signage that says how to get there. Some schmuck stole a 86-year old WWII vet’s bike in La Habra. San Diego gets buffered bike lanes.

View the trailer for the upcoming bike movie Peloton. Bicycling interviews rising BMC star Tejay van Garderen. Drivers like to complain about red light running cyclists, but it’s the cyclists and pedestrians whose lives are endangered by the scofflaws on four wheels. After two years of bike commuting, an Arizona cyclist has to get new clothes. Washington’s House passes legislation to slow some speed limits to 20 mph. Evidently, Springfield Cyclist hates SUVS as much as I do; or almost, anyway. A Texas cyclist is collateral damage when a drunk driver flips his truck, killing his two passengers as well. Is someone stealing and selling ghost bikes in the Big Apple? The captain of the Appalachian State University bike team is injured when his wheel hits a pit bull. LeBron bikes to work.

Grist offers 10 lessons from the world’s great bike cities. A Calgary columnist says just say no to bike share. After his bike is stolen, a UK youth gets it back through Facebook for £50 — about $78 bucks. A driver is fined a whopping £25 after being caught on video verbally abusing a cyclist. A London councilor says four cyclists have died within a two-minute walk of his home in the last two years; a very lucky cyclist could have added to the toll. Yet another delay in the Contador doping case. Aussie cricketer Shane Warne is being sued by the cyclist he apparently slandered — and hit.

Finally, when a group of teenagers tried to rob a 65-year old Pennsylvania cyclist, he pulled out a gun and fired, killing one and injuring another. Now friends of the victim speak out in support of his friends and family. Thanks to Rex Reese for the heads-up.

And this is what a road raging driver looks like after threatening to run me off the road the next time I get in front of him — even though I was doing 20 in a 20 mph zone on the VA grounds when he Jerry Browned me for no apparent reason.

No felony charges for Jeffrey Ray Adams, Venice NC approves Main Street road diet

Cyclist and attorney Dj Wheels reports that the D.A. has declined to file criminal charges again Jeffrey Ray Adams, and referred the case to the Santa Monica City Attorney.

Adams is the driver who allegedly intentionally collided with a cyclist in Santa Monica last month, then ranted about it on video, threatening the rider, witnesses and everyone within earshot.

To be honest, I’m not surprised.

While his behavior was outrageous, the rider’s injuries don’t support a felony filing under California law, which pretty much requires the loss of a major body part before any crime involving a moving motor vehicle is taken seriously.

And the rider didn’t help himself by sending an angry email to a number of local officials demanding justice just hours after the incident.

If the D.A.’s office saw that — and there’s every reason to believe they did — it could have played a significant role in their decision not to file.

Don’t misunderstand.

Adams’ actions were incredibly stupid, dangerous and offensive, and — in my personal opinion, anyway — should prevent him from ever operating a motor vehicle again. And if the law was better written, he’d be facing considerable jail time.

But felony charges were never likely in this case.

So now it’s up to Santa Monica City Attorney Marsha Jones Moutrie to provide some semblance of justice.

And get a dangerous driver off the streets before his aim improves and he kills someone next time.


The Venice Neighborhood Council voted Tuesday to support the Main Street road diet and bike lanes after receiving support from cyclists and local residents — though not everyone agreed.

And in a pleasant change, the VNC asked LADOT to come back with more suggestions to make the plan safer for cyclists and pedestrians — unlike the recent controversy over the Valley’s Wilbur Ave road diet, where the “compromise” ended up making the bike lanes significantly more dangerous for riders.

LADOT opened the meeting by revising the plan to add 6” to each bike lane, taking the space from the center turn lane, after complaints that the lanes would place riders in the door zone.

Eric Weinstein reported from the meeting:

I think it was the community support for this project that carried the day. The VNC stayed late into the night to resolve and vote this project – you could see them getting tired of endless debate. The big majority voted for. Kudos to the chair (and the parliamentarian) for getting this voted. Should be striped and signed within a month or so. A very long process for some more lanes connecting Santa Monica to Windward Circle!

It’s not perfect.

But as someone who regularly rides both the pre-road diet L.A. and post-road diet SaMo sections of Main Street, I can tell you the much-derided Santa Monica section is much safer and more pleasant to ride, even if it could use improvement.

Hopefully, we can look forward to something better down the road.

But this should be a lot better than what we have now, for cyclists and pedestrians.

And drivers, too.

And on a related note, the LACBC’s Colin Bogart reports that the Burbank City Council voted to keep the bike lanes on Verdugo Avenue, by a vote of 3 – 2.


The seriously anti-bike L.A. Weekly goes out of their way to take yet another needless slam at L.A. cyclists in an article trash found on the beach during Coastal Cleanup Day, as Simone Wilson writes:

• “Condoms all over the place,” according to the Times. Nothing new, says King. As common as plastic horses and bike kickstands. (Not so green now, are we, Team Bike!)

That might be a valid comment if cyclists were in the habit of throwing parts of their bikes into the ocean.

The Weekly somehow ignores the possibility that a bike kickstand might end up on the beach after a bike was stolen and dismantled for parts. Or that one of their own readers got riled up by the paper’s bike baiting and ran a rider down on the bike path, strewing parts everywhere.

No less likely than their implication.

Most likely, however, kickstands and other parts can simply fall off poorly maintained bikes as they ride down — wait for it — the bike path.

You know, the one that goes right along the beach.

Yeah, that could never happen, any more than you might find car parts along a highway.

Seriously, we had higher journalistic standards when I ran my high school paper.

Thanks to Kim for the heads-up.


If you missed the first public session of the Dutch-sponsored ThinkBike this morning, you can still sign up for the closing session on Friday afternoon, followed by an after party at the new Angel City Brewing Downtown.

Richard Risemberg writes about riding with the Dutch experts on their way from LAX to Downtown on Wednesday.

Yes, they rode in. From the airport.

Doesn’t look like I’ll be able to make any of it, since the Royal Netherlands Embassy neglected to check with my wife’s plans for her vacation before scheduling the workshop, but twitter users can follow along at #ThinkBikeLA.

And despite attacks on cyclists from some misguided quarters, places with lots of cyclists — like the Netherlands, for instance — are safer for pedestrians, as well.

Then again, like some local weeklies we could name, the NY Daily News seldom seems to let the facts get in the way of a good story.


Inspiring thoughts on what L.A. can learn from NYC. Help set the statewide biking agenda for 2012 in Downtown L.A. A ghost bike is planted in Pasadena for hit-and-run victim Jocelyn Young. Like the rest of the city, the Beverly Hills Whole Foods fails the bike-friendly test. The Source says we could soon see a few Bikestations in L.A.; maybe Beverly Hills could put one in to make up for everything else bike-related they lack. The Claremont Cyclist offers his usual great photos of last weekend’s ‘Cross at the Cornfield, and suggests if you can’t hear with your earbuds in, maybe you should take them out. Ashley Tisdale bikes Toluca Lake with a flat fat tire. The Long Beach Gazette says it’s time to prove the bike-friendly city’s bike plan is working. L.A. County offers a $10,000 reward in the killing of Pablo Ortiz, gunned down while riding his bike in Long Beach.

Corona del Mar’s cdmCylclist takes time out from bike touring the Erie Canal to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. A San Diego area cyclist is seriously injured after apparently turning left in front of oncoming traffic — always wait until traffic is clear before turning, and watch out for speeders; thanks to Steve Herbert for the heads-up. Some good looking bike lanes make their appearance at San Diego State University; maybe that’s what USC needs. Bike San Diego reports that former NPR host Tom Fudge got back on a bike for the first time since he was injured in a cycling collision four years ago; by the way, if you’re not reading BSD, you’re missing some of the best bike coverage south of L.A. If you left your bike at Burning Man, maybe you can spot it here. San Francisco considers allowing bikes in commercial buildings to deter theft.

Consumer Reports says even celluloid cyclists should wear helmets. When a 20 minute-car trip can be replaced with a 10-minute bike ride, bicycling becomes the obvious choice. Turns out if you right hook a cyclist in Tucson, it’s the cyclist’s fault. Seriously. Not surprisingly, Portland developers cater to a two-wheeled clientele; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. A Seattle cyclist writes about having his life threatened by a laughing truck driver in an apparently deliberate assault. Licensing bikes is impractical, according to a Seattle radio host. A Sioux Falls driver gets a whopping 100 days in jail after mixing prescription meds and alcohol before blacking out and killing a cyclist; yeah, that’ll certainly send a message that it’s okay to get high and kill people. A Packer fan downs six beers and two mixed drinks before running down a cyclist. Former U.S. 5k champ Henry Dennis is killed when his bike is hit from behind by a drunk driver in Wisconsin; sounds like that state may have a drinking and driving problem, then again, what state doesn’t? Looks like Chicago will be the next big city to get a bike share program. A Chicago cyclist takes Critical Mass to task, as well as repeatedly promoting his own book. No airhead beauty queen here, as Miss Ohio pedals 850 miles across the state to raise money and awareness for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. What sentence would you give a drunk driver who ran down a cyclist at 6 am on his way home from a strip club? Richmond VA will host the 2015 world road championships.

The Vancouver Sun reminds drivers to check their mirrors before opening doors; we should all send them a thank you card. Britain’s bike clubs are booming. Is it really a Cycle Superhighway if you have to get off your bike and walk it — on a barricaded sidewalk, no less? Brits debate just whose road it really is. Italian authorities implicate Lance Armstrong in paying the reputed doping doctor he claimed to stop seeing in 2004; meanwhile, Levi leaps to Quick-Step. Video of the recent European record 80 mph bike ride. Pot, meet kettle — the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association claims bicycling is a luxury few can afford. Fast cyclists live longer than slow ones. So there.

Finally, the Lovely Bicycle encounters our own framebuilder Megan Dean at Interbike, and likes what she sees; then again, doesn’t everyone?

Important meetings on Main St road diet and Verdugo Ave bike lanes tonight, and bike safety in Signal Hill

Just a few quick notes before I get back to work.

First up, the Venice Neighborhood Council meets tonight to discuss the planned Main Street Road diet, among other issues.

While I strongly support the plans to make the street safer and more inviting for everyone, a work deadline is going to keep me home slaving over a hot laptop long into the night.

But if you’re free this evening, I strongly urge you to attend the meeting to show your support.

Here’s what long-time bike advocate and former fellow LACBC board member Kent Strumpell has to say on the subject:


The City of Los Angeles proposes to extend the bicycle lanes on Main Street in Santa Monica to the Windward Circle in Venice.  This project will be on the agenda for the VNC Board of Directors to consider supporting at their Sept. 20th meeting.  Please come show your support for this important bikeway improvement.  You can also email the Board (see below).

LADOT counted 730 cyclists on Main St. in Venice in a 6 hour period earlier this year, making it one of the most important bicycle routes in Venice.  Providing bike lanes on Main Street from Navy to Windward Circle will create a “Complete Main Street”. The proposed bike lanes will rebalance the street and provide more safety for all road users whether they be on bicycle, foot, or in a car.  Creating a complete Main Street will require removing a travel lane in each direction in order to accommodate the bike lanes and a two-way left turn lane in the center of the road. All on-street parking will remain.

This reconfiguration of Main Street will provide better bicycle connectivity to nearby areas, help achieve more sustainable transportation in our beach community and encourage a more bike-able, and walkable Venice!

Proposed changes for Main Street in Venice


1. Encourages more bicycling and walking in Venice and fewer car trips

2. More trips by bicycle means less demand for parking

3. Businesses can benefit: increased customer access by bike and foot traffic, reduced demand for parking, calmer traffic allows more people to notice businesses

4. Deters speeding, increasing safety for all road users

5. Provides a dedicated center lane for left turns, decreasing rear-end and side-swipe collisions

6. Improves visibility for motorists exiting driveways or turning onto Main Street

7. Provides dedicated space and enhanced safety for bicycles on Main Street

8. Provides better visibility of and for pedestrians crossing Main Street


Attend the Venice Neighborhood Council meeting and speak in support.  Fill out a speaker card for the Main St. agenda item when you arrive.
When:  Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011, 7PM
Where: Westminster Elementary, 1010 Abbot Kinney (just south of Main).

Email the Venice Neighborhood Council board to express your support and why you think it is needed.  Please send a email even if you plan to attend, to: board@venicenc.org

More info at:  LADOT’s blog post – https://ladotbikeblog.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/main-street-bike-lanes-need-your-support/#more-4279

Damien offers more on the story on Streetsblog, and Gary Kavanagh offers his support after initially opposing the plan.

And on a somewhat related note, Joe Linton looks at LADOT’s approach to the proposed 4th Street Bike Boulevard, and foresees a forthcoming failure snatched from the jaws of apparent victory.


In another important bike-related meeting on a busy Tuesday, the Burbank City Council will consider making the bike lanes on Verdugo Avenue permanent.

As you may recall, a road diet was installed on Verdugo over a year ago; after complaints from some motorists, the city council voted to keep the lanes in place on a trial basis.

Today, that trial comes to an end.

If you ride in the area, you’re urged to attend the council meeting tonight starting at 6 pm at 275 E. Olive Ave in Burbank. Or if you can’t attend in person, the LACBC offers a sample email you can send to express your support.


The Signal Hill Police Department has kicked off a campaign to increase bike and pedestrian safety — which usually translates into a crackdown on bad bike behavior, rather than dangerous practices by drivers that have the potential to kill or injure cyclists, law abiding or otherwise.

However, they say the right things, for the most part, offering valid advice to cyclists and pedestrians on how to remain safe, and advising motorists on how not to kill someone.

Although nothing in state law requires cyclists to ride single file, particularly in substandard lanes where it can actually be safer to ride two or more abreast in order to hold the lane and prevent unsafe passing. And the law is quite specific that slow moving vehicles — which includes bikes — aren’t illegally blocking traffic unless there are five or more vehicles following behind and unable to go around.

But good luck arguing that point with a traffic cop who may not be as well verses in bike law as well as you are.

And I wouldn’t exactly take comfort in this comment from Signal Hill PD Traffic Department Supervisor Sgt. Chris Nunley:

“Unfortunately some people forget that the roadways are primarily for vehicle traffic and walk or run four deep across lanes of traffic.”

Actually, roadways are intended for all legal road users, which includes cyclists and pedestrians. And everyone is entitled to use the roads in a safe and legal manner, with no preference given to mode of travel.

In other words, bikes have as much right to the road as motor vehicles, though no one has the right to needlessly block the roadway.

The program is intended to start with an educational campaign before moving to an enforcement phase.

It remains to be seen whether it will be targeted equally towards all road users in a genuine attempt to increase safety, or simple be used as an excuse to crack down on cyclists.

Read more at the Signal Tribune (scroll to page 9); thanks to Nate Baird for the heads-up. (Note — all comments are mine, so don’t blame Nate; he just pointed out the story.)


A new study from a Dutch consulting group shows that the benefits of properly constructed biking infrastructure significantly outweighs the cost.

In fact, the return in improved travel times, better health and environmental benefits outweigh costs by margin of 44% — increasing to a whopping 358% if ebikes continue to gain in popularity.

It would be interesting to see if the results could be duplicated on this side of the Atlantic.

Thanks to @bplusradsport for the tip.


Much has been made of a report released over the weekend showing that roughly 1,000 pedestrians are injured badly enough by bicyclists to require hospitalization in New York State every year; roughly 500 of those are in New York City.

While that sounds damning, the report fails to note who was at fault in those collisions, merely that they occurred. And also fails to note how many cyclists were injured, as well.

So instead of suggesting, as the authors seem to imply, that it is the result of out-of-control scofflaw cyclists riding rampant on sidewalks and blowing through crosswalks, the collisions could just as easily be the result of pedestrians walking illegally in bike lanes or stepping into the path of riders.

And even that surprisingly large number pales in comparison to the roughly 15,000 New York pedestrians injured by motor vehicles each year. Yet no one seems to be calling for a crackdown on dangerous scofflaw drivers.

It should also be noted that the number of pedestrians injured in bike collisions is trending downward, despite a dramatic increase in ridership in recent years.

Testament, perhaps, to the efforts of that crazy NYDOT director Janette Sadik-Khan to make NYC streets safer for everyone.

Including cyclists and pedestrians.

Note: While I largely dismiss the results of this study, it’s important to remember that pedestrians are the only road users more vulnerable than cyclists. So it’s up to you to concede the right-of-way to pedestrians — even when they’re wrong. And never, ever ride through a crosswalk when someone is using it.


Finally, a timely reminder from L.A. cyclist, bike advocate and attorney Rosh Hirsch that if riding your bike doesn’t make you smile, you’re not doing it right.

My smile wasn’t quite that big when I was riding yesterday, but it was there.

Third grade student Tristan Hirsch demonstrates proper cycling technique, starting with the huge smile; photo by proud papa Ross Hirsch