Tag Archive for South Bay Council of Governments

More on unsafe 6th Street Viaduct bike lanes, missing South Bay bike lanes amid climate crisis, and the joy of bike riding

Hats off to LAist for exploring the “now you se ’em, now you don’t” bike lanes on the nifty new $600 million 6th Street Viaduct.

Okay, just a mere $588 million.

Which surely could have bought better bike lanes than these.

As you’ll recall, the bridge, which pays homage to the classic but crumbling 1930s original, was built with a safe, barrier-protected walkway. And unsafe, Class IV semi-protected bike lanes on the other side of the barrier, protected only by easy-to-drive-over rubber curbs with big, squishy white bollards on bendy posts that wouldn’t stop anything.

Apparently, that was intentional.

LADOT was tasked with striping the pavement on the bridge and also worked with the construction contractor on the design and installation of the bike lanes, according to spokesperson Colin Sweeney. He said the decision to place the bike lanes outside the concrete walls that protect the pedestrian walkways came from Caltrans.

“Since there are no shoulders on the viaduct, Caltrans requested that the bike lanes be ‘permeable’ to act as an emergency lane,” Sweeney told LAist, saying the bike lanes offer “the highest level of protection that could be accommodated by the width of the bridge while also allowing emergency vehicles to enter if needed.”

Never mind that it’s also permeable for out-of-control truckers and distracted drivers, who will only feel a little jolt before slamming into someone on a bicycle.

And never mind the east end of the bridge, where’s there’s no protection at all — forcing riders to mix it up with usually speeding, and too often uncaring motorists.

Let alone the lack of safe connections leading to or from the bridge.

To call it a fail from a bike rider’s perspective is a massive understatement. Like maybe a $588 million understatement.

But this quote from the story sums the sad situation up as well as anything else.

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Never mind the iffy bike lanes.

It was nice of Caltrans and the 6th Street Viaduct designers to include these nifty viewing grandstands for the inevitable burnouts and sideshows.

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What if they threw a climate crisis and nobody came?

Or cared.

Bad Mom, Good Mom takes a deep dive into the confluence of the ambitious South Bay Bicycle Master Plan and global atmospheric CO2 levels, which were 392 ppm when the plan was adopted in 2011.

And now stand 36 ppm higher.

Yet just like LA’s bike and mobility plans, the South Bay plan has been largely forgotten by the cities it was supposed to save, and has now been downgraded even further with a Local Traffic Network replacing the promised bike lanes, as CO2 levels — and the risk to bike riders — continue to climb.

Many of them children on their way to school, as the piece points out. Kids who should have had a safe route there by now.

But now won’t. And won’t have cleaner air to breathe.

Or a livable planet to do it on.

Go ahead and read the whole piece. We’ll wait.

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The best piece you’ll read today comes from a reporter for NPR, who manages to capture the sheer peace and joy of riding a bicycle better than I’ve ever done.

As well as the inherent contradiction of being a serious cyclist when riding is so much fun.

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

No bias here. Someone asks about a large group of bike riders in downtown Santa Barbara, and the online conversation quickly devolves into accusations of wealthy white recreational bike riders running stop signs. Sort of like any other online discussion of bikes.

But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

The man who infamously rode his bicycle down the aisle to loot a San Francisco drug store has been arrested for shoplifting again, after serving just half of a 16 month sentence.

A 28-year old Toronto woman faces carjacking charges for allegedly riding up to a car on a bicycle, before pulling out the 70-year old woman driving and taking off with her car.

An Aussie bike rider is accused of repeatedly hitting a woman he says cut him off with her car; police say there’s nothing they can do without knowing who he is. Unfortunately, video of the incident doesn’t appear to work in this country.

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Local

CicLAvia is teaming with Motional to host a free panel discussion titled Talking Innovation and Safe Streets at the LA Cleantech Incubator tomorrow evening.

A bicyclist was hospitalized in unknown condition after being struck by a driver in Canyon Country Monday afternoon.

 

State 

San Diego’s Rouleur Brewing Company will donate all the proceeds from the sale of their new hazy New England-style IPA to the Moriah Wilson Foundation in honor of the late cyclist.

A pair of Twentynine Palms residents suffered serious injuries when the bicycle they were sharing was struck by a hit-and-run driver Saturday night.

 

National

Livestrong recommends their picks for the best bike mirrors, which aren’t just for old guys on ‘bents anymore.

Bicycling recommend the best rear bike lights you can buy on Amazon. Although these are pretty damn good for just 13 bucks and change, too. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

Triathlete offers advice on how to make your pedals go round more efficiently.

Evidently, city officials in Pueblo, Colorado don’t think there’s room in the planned 20-foot wide sidewalks on each side of a redesigned street to make space for the existing 5-foot wide bike lanes.

Wyoming considers charging mountain bike user fees to fund essential trail work.

A Chico, California woman was the victim of a predatory attack by a food-conditioned grizzly bear last year along the banks of Montana’s Blackfoot River, made famous by A River Runs Through It.

An Iowa man will spend up to ten years behind bars for killing a bike rider in South Dakota while driving under the influence; he claims he never saw the victim, who was riding in broad daylight wearing high-vis with a flashing red taillight.

Spectrum News 1 discovers the volunteer-driven ghost bike project in Austin, Texas to memorialize people killed riding bicycles in Central Texas.

Thirteen fraternity members from my alma mater are riding 3,400 miles across the US to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. So far they’ve raised $96,000 of the $150,000 goal, according to the story, although their website shows just half of that.

Once again, a bicyclist on a cross-country tour has been killed. A rider with a group riding to California from Savannah, Georgia died in an apparent collision outside Norman, Oklahoma. Although the only mention of a driver was to say they weren’t at fault.

Lonely Planet recommends the seven best bike rides if you ever find yourself riding on Cape Cod.

 

International

An 80-year old Edmonton, Alberta man is riding his ebike over 8,000 miles from Alaska to Panama City, accompanied by his relatively youthful 69-year old friend.

Toronto bicyclists took over the city’s High Park, riding laps around the roadway to protest police targeting bike riders breaking the low 12 mph speed limit.

James Corden, host of The Late Late Show, was in a heated altercation with another London bike rider who cut across his path and caused Corden to come off his bike, narrowly avoiding falling in front of traffic. However, the other guy did apologize.

A London newspaper offers advice on riding in the city’s current 100° heatwave. All of which you could probably come up with yourself with a little thought.

Finishing our London trifecta, bicycling rates are up 25% in the city over pre-pandemic levels.

Students at a Kochi, India high school have formed a 150-member bicycle brigade to promote bicycling to city residents and cut traffic to the school.

 

Competitive Cycling

Belgium’s Yves Lampaert was left fuming after losing a chunk of flesh from his leg when a dog wandered in front of the peloton during Friday’s 12th stage of the Tour de France; no word on whether the dog was injured.

Welsh cyclist Owain Doull hit the pavement after riding over a stray water bottle in Sunday’s 15th stage.

Cycling News looks back on how the Tour overcame man-eating bears and walls of snow to conquer the Pyrenees.

Rapha offers a short film examining the brother and sister duos anchoring the L39ion of Los Angeles cycling team.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you’re looking for a big, heavy bike trailer with a hard to use brake. Uncool bicycling accessories due for a comeback.

And this is why the pros are in the Tour de France, and you’re not.

Although in my case, I’m just too damn old and falling apart.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

South Bay settles for sharrows, another closure on LA River Path, and carjacker busted in horrific DTLA hit-and-run

We’re taking a little different format today, after dealing with last night’s breaking news left too little time for the usual links.

But with far too much news to ignore. 

Meanwhile, Friday means we’re finally on the cusp of the summer’s first three-day weekend. 

So assuming you’re still here reading this, remember that holidays typically mean more drunks on the road, as people barrel into their cars after outdoor gatherings, or to make another drunken beer run. 

So get out and enjoy the great weather. And by all means, ride your bike. 

Just ride defensively, and assume ever driver you see after noon today has had a few. Or more than a few. 

Chances are, you won’t be too far off. 

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Call it much ado about nothing.

Or how to look like you’re doing something to improve bike and micromobility safety, while actually doing as little as possible.

And maybe even making things worse.

According to a presentation by the South Bay Council of Governments, the regional body plans to install a network consisting of 243 miles of sharrows throughout the region, for no apparent reason.

As we’ve pointed out before, sharrows serve little or no actual purpose, failing to grant riders a single right or inch of pavement to which they weren’t already entitled.

People on bicycles are already legally allowed to ride in the full lane in any substandard lane. Which means any that isn’t wide enough for a bike rider to safely share the lane with a motor vehicle, while remaining outside the door zone.

A definition that applies to most right lanes in Southern California.

At best, sharrows remind riders to position themselves in the center of the lane, while providing wayfinding and directing riders to presumably safer streets.

At worst — which is usually how they work — they merely position unsuspecting people directly in the path of angry drivers who fail to comprehend what the strange chevron-shaped symbols are for, while the little arrows simply serve to help them improve their aim.

In this case, the sharrows appear to be an attempt to shunt bike riders and micromobility users onto quieter side streets, and get them out of the way of entitled motorists on larger arterials, while providing more space for parking.

Yes, they want us out of the way so they can store more of the cars they aren’t using.

South Bay COG even pats themselves on the back, saying the network is likely to win an award of innovation.

Apparently forgetting that sharrows ain’t infrastructure, and don’t improve safety.

In fact, studies show that streets with sharrows do little or nothing to improve safety, and can actually increase the risk to people on bicycles.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton forwards news that a resolution calling for creation of the network was approved at last night’s board meeting of the South Bay COG.

But the already weak network was weakened even further when representatives from Torrance and other cities were assured that participation in the plan was strictly voluntary.

You can see maps of the proposed Local Traffic Network here.

Seriously, it’s nice that they are trying to do something, even if their motives are highly questionable.

But in this case, it seems like it really is the least they could do.

Illustration from South Bay COG.

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Speaking of Linton, he forwards news that long-suffering users of the LA River bike path will have to keep on suffering.

After years of closures due to flood control measures by the Army Corps of Engineers — and the damage they caused — as well as multiple bridge construction projects, the pathway north of the LA Zoo is closed once again.

The section from Victory to Zoo Drive will be shut down until future notice to repair damage and deterioration to the path.

Which is apparently engineer speak for “don’t hold your breath.”

According to an email from LADOT, the agency must first find funding for the project before a timeline can be announced.

Let’s just hope the work can be finished before next winter’s rains cause further damage, or put a halt to construction work.

Assuming we get any rain, which is far from guaranteed.

In the meantime, LADOT will once again be putting up signs to mark yet another detour.

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Phillip Young forwards news that an arrest has finally been made in the heartbreaking hit-and-run death of 46-year-old Branden Finley in Downtown Los Angeles earlier this year.

Finley was on his way to join the Ride For Black Lives on January 16th of this year, when he became the victim of a horrific careening crash as a speeding carjacker tried to make his escape through DTLA.

Following the collision, the thief simply walked away, bizarrely carrying the truck’s steering wheel, as the popular father of two lay dying in the street.

Now LAPD investigators have used DNA evidence to identify 36-year old Ronald Earl Kenebrew Jr. as the suspect, charging him with murder for Finley’s death.

They didn’t have to look far to find Kenebrew once they got a hit on DNA collected from the truck; he’s been in the custody of the Sheriff’s Department since February on suspicion of robbery.

He was also identified from security videos of the suspect as he walked away.

Normally, I say something like let’s hope they lock him up for a long time.

But that seems pretty assured in this case.

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This is who we share the road with.

Ted Faber forwards news of an anti-tax auto-borne terrorist who slammed her car through a Marysville, Tennessee vaccination site.

Thirty-six-year old Virginia Christine Lewis Brown was arrested after speeding through a through a vaccine tent in a mall parking lot, yelling “No vaccine!” as workers dove out of her way.

Witnesses described her as driving at a high rate of speed, while she somehow claimed she was only doing a sedate 5 mph.

If convicted on all counts and sentenced to the max — which is unlikely — she could face up to 105 years behind bars.

Which somehow seems slightly worse than getting a little jab in the arm.

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Just a couple more quick items.

A Pennsylvania man was busted after he hopped on his bike and pedaled toward’s his daughter’s house with a rifle in hand, after a drunken threat to kill blow his son-in-law’s head off.

Although he told police he was just “varmint hunting.” Which is an odd way to describe your daughter’s husband.

He faces charges of “simple assault, making terroristic threats and possession of drug paraphernalia, as well as with the summary offenses of public drunkenness, harassment, criminal mischief and hunting without a license.”

I think we all know what he was hunting.

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Bike racing fan Peter Flax recommends Indiana University’s iconic Little 500 — the race made famous in Breaking Away — if you just can get enough.

And yes, that’s still the best damn bike movie ever made.

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Gravel Bike California gets a tour of gravel riding trails in California’s Great Not-So-White North.

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And finally, our last item of the day comes from Erik Griswold, who says don’t be like Kevin.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

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