Tag Archive for urban planning

Covid-19 fuels inequitable urbanist fantasies, YouTube stars recovering from hit-and-run, and carry anything by bike

A powerful piece from Curbed’s Alissa Walker says the coronavirus isn’t fuel for urbanist fantasies.

Instead, the virus is revealing the inequities that have long existed in our cities. And which need to be addressed if we’re going to make any real progress.

Even before the staggering impact of the novel coronavirus had been fully revealed, the people who write and think about cities were busy writing prescriptions for their recovery. But instead of bearing witness to mass death as a moment of reflection, many urbanists are using the coronavirus as an opportunity to accelerate their pre-pandemic agendas—agendas which ignore the issues that made COVID-19 more catastrophic than it should have been.

This was first obvious by early April, as cities including Los Angeles, Detroit, St. Louis, and Chicago began to report that black and Latino residents were dying at a higher rate than the rest of the population. Latinos, in particular, were at greater risk because they are more likely to work at essential jobs. Living situations—including overcrowding in small apartments due to high rents—were also pinpointed as a reason the virus was ravaging certain communities.

It’s not an easy read.

Especially if you insist on holding on to your own biases. And yes, we all have them.

But it’s important one, if we’re going to build the kind of cities we say we want.

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YouTube stars Kristin and Marcus Johns are both out of the hospital, a week after they were apparently the victims in last week’s allegedly intentional hit-and-run while riding their bikes in Toluca Lake.

Police chased the suspect, but lost his car somewhere near Universal Studios.

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Yet more proof you can carry anything on a bike.

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When is a bike lane not a bike lane?

When it’s blocked.

View this post on Instagram

Dedicated. 😔

A post shared by Ted Faber (@snorerot13) on

As in this view of the Venice Blvd protected bike lanes in Mar Vista.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the photo.

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Evidently, kids love gravel biking almost as much as their parents do.

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Local

Metro finally dumps its balky app, replacing it with the popular multi-city Transit app, which includes integrated transportation options like bikeshare, dockless e-scooters and ride-hail services.

An LA Times columnist straps on her face mask and bikes to Venice Beach, questioning why people breaking the rules by tanning on the beach aren’t getting tickets; apparently, talk radio station KFI doesn’t like what she had to say — or the Times, for that matter. Fortunately, she didn’t try riding on the bike path, or she could have been the one getting ticketed. Although that doesn’t seem to be enforced, either. 

A columnist for the Pasadena Star-News complains about over-engineering on the newly reopened and carfree Rose Bowl Loop.

Santa Monica plans to tear down an old church across from Santa Monica College to build low-income housing, with over twice as many bike parking spaces as car parking slots.

Long Beach approves an “open streets initiative,” allowing streets, sidewalks and parking lots to be repurposed for outdoor activities, including dining.

A Redondo Beach motorcycle rider tries out a beach cruiser-style ebike, and finds his commute to Santa Monica takes twice as long, but is much more peaceful.

 

State

Deadly car crashes have spiked in California during the coronavirus lockdown, as relatively empty streets entice too many drivers to put their foot down.

San Diego celebrates Bike Month by unveiling a new Better by Bike campaign. Can’t argue with that one.

A Bay Area street has been closed to car traffic, becoming home to daily cello concerts.

Davis police were able to quickly identify and arrest a thief who broke the window of a bike shop and made off with $1,600 bike. Note to CBS Sacramento — $1,600 is hardly “pricey” anymore. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up. 

Police in San Rafael busted two bike thieves using bait bikes. Something that the LAPD has still never tried, over fears of entrapment claims.

A travel website says you’ve got to add Tahoe’s West Shore Bike Cruise to your bike bucket list.

 

National

Inside Edition discovers the current Covid bike shortage, while CBS News picks up on the coronavirus bike boom, while noting that 50% of current riders plan to keep riding when the pandemic ends. Which will hopefully be much closer to sooner than later.

A writer for Grist takes a contrary position, questioning whether Covid-19 will halt the progress towards a carfree future.

Ebikes are the perfect antidote for coronavirus anxiety, according to a writer for a Santa Fe NM paper.

Even though Colorado’s annual Iron Horse Classic scheduled for this weekend has been cancelled, local residents worry mountain bikers will show up and try to do the ride anyway.

A Dallas woman is looking for the Good Samaritan who stayed with her and comforted her after she was hit by a driver, just days after she started riding a bike again.

Ben Stiller recounts how his late father Jerry ran through the streets of New York to chase down the kid who stole Ben’s bike when he was a child — then came back empty handed, saying the kid who stole it needed the bike more than he did.

Slow Streets slowly make their way to Atlanta.

Florida police busted a bike thief who made off with a bike that a woman had ridden across the US; they also recovered the bike — or what’s left of it, anyway.

 

International

Six ways to make city streets safer for pedestrians. And everyone else.

FloBikes tells you how to replace an inner tube. But you already know that, right?

Toronto bike advocates are calling for a two-wheeled post-pandemic future.

Britain’s bike industry is joining together to promote a new PR campaign, telling the public that Bike is Best. Which is true, even if it feels a little grammatically challenged.

British thieves are taking advantage of the bike boom, too, with bike thefts up nearly 50%.

The UK’s Alzheimer’s society says a bike ride or brisk walk three times a week can help stave off dementia in people over 60. So what are you waiting for, already?

An Irish paper says children are the future, so get them on bicycles.

French bike parts maker Mavic may be circling the drain, but a pair of unnamed former pro cyclists may be preparing to ride to the rescue.

A Manila op-ed says a connected bike lane network is just what the Philippine city needs. It’s just what Los Angeles needs, too. But Manila might actually get it.

 

Competitive Cycling

Makes sense. Bicycling’s Selene Yeager says Everesting is having a moment right now because, as George Mallory famously said, it’s there. And nothing else is right now.

Road Bike Action remembers the late, great Amgen Tour of California, which was cancelled due to financial problems just in time to avoid being cancelled by Covid-19.

Word has it Lance doesn’t like the way he’s portrayed in the upcoming ESPN documentary about him. Which raises the burning question, who cares?

Rouleur examines the worst bike kit of the modern era.

And the road worlds could be coming back to the US.

 

Finally…

You, too, can be the proud owner of a 1959 Schwinn cruiser bike for the low price of just $800. Bold move, declaring this is Bike Month when there’s only ten days left.

And no, bikes aren’t the new toilet paper.

They’re much harder to use, and nearly impossible to flush.

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

Redesigning our cities for people, Metro planner killed in SaMo, and illegal bike dismount signs on Wilshire Blvd

My apologies to anyone who saw a premature draft of today’s page while it was still under construction; I somehow hit the Post button instead of Save. 

Blame a daylong rollercoaster dealing with the literal highs and lows of diabetes.

Photo by Emre Kuzu from Pexels.

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He gets it.

Writing for Forbes, an instructor at a Spanish university says it’s time to redesign our cities around people, not cars.

The message is clear: cars must go, they have made our cities unhealthy and expensive for everyone, and while bicycles and pedestrians are part of the solution, we need to redesign streets for pedestrians and for autonomous vehicles. This needs to be backed up by competitive public transport that is more intelligent and versatile, and powered by real-time data.

Shops on streets that are closed to private cars do not suffer, but quite the opposite. Living in a city without a car is perfectly possible: it is already significantly cheaper to rent a car as often as you need than to own one and have to face expenses such as insurance, parking or taxes. But all these solutions raise a fundamental question about changing our habits, about how we get to work, for example: working from home or flexible hours are increasingly established trends.

Someone should mention that part about business thriving on streets that are closed to cars to the business owners on Broadway, who could be looking at exactly that in the near future.

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Sad news from Santa Monica, where Metro Transportation Planner Daniel Chuong was killed when he was struck by a driver while training with his brother for the LA Marathon.

It’s long past time to stop traffic violence in Southern California.

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Signs telling bicyclists to walk their bikes have popped up along the subway construction zones on Wilshire Blvd.

However, the signs do not appear to be compliant with the California MUTCD manual — the state’s official traffic sign guide — and not legally enforceable.

Although I could be wrong on that.

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Apparently, the bike lanes on Jefferson have been closed for sewer pipe work for the next year.

And as usual, there doesn’t seem to be any accommodation for bike riders.

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It looks like the Culver Blvd pathway is closed for construction work, as well. But at least this should reopen in a better version soon.

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Talk about burying the lede.

A Stanton woman suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries when she was struck by a hit-and-run driver while pulling a trailer on her bike.

However, the OC Register mentions that the driver fled the scene almost as an aside, before finally getting to a description of the suspect vehicle near the end of the story.

There’s also video from the scene showing the aftermath of the crash. But be warned, it’s tough to watch. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

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Bike talks mountain bikes, including how to fly like Superman, how to dial in drops, how to ride a step downhow to ride rollers, how to ride turns and berms, and how to do a back flip.

And an English filmmaker looks at what happens when a mountain bike race shuts down and the trail is converted to a new singletrack course.

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Long Beach expats the Path Less Pedaled take a short ride on an LA gravel rollercoaster.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on. And on. 

A London driver walked with a warning despite repeatedly brake checking a bike rider — in a bike lane, no less.

Sometimes, though, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A Washington credit card thief was busted when he showed up at a hospital with a leg injury, after he was hit by a driver while attempting to make his getaway by bicycle.

A Florida driver asks if bicyclists are allowed to ride salmon in bike lanes, after she nearly hits a wrong way rider who yelled at her and smacked her hood.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton says Magnolia Blvd, Broadway, and traffic signal pre-emption are three early tests for Mayor Garcetti’s Climate Directive.

Streets for All has echoed Bike the Vote LA in endorsing Loraine Lundquist in LA’s 12th Council District and Sarah Kate Levy in CD4.

The Bieb took his fat tire ebike out for a spin on the mean streets of Beverly Hills, after first shaving off that cheesy mustache.

Bike thieves made off with a pair of high-end road bikes with electronic shifting from an unlocked Pasadena garage. Let that be a lesson, kids — don’t leave your garage or your bikes unlocked any longer than necessary. Thanks to TJ Knight for the heads-up. 

On the other hand, Santa Monica bike thefts have reached their lowest level in five years.

Long Beach police shot and killed an armed man who refused to cooperate after police ordered him to stop his bicycle, allegedly pointing his gun at them.

 

State

Santa Barbara will conduct a road diet on De la Vina Street, narrowing it to a single one-way traffic lane, along with a bike lane.

A Beaumont bike rider suffered serious injuries Monday morning when he or she was hit by a driver, who actually stuck around and waited for the police, for a change.

A Porterville man faces charges for literally running from police when they tried to pull his bicycle over while he was riding stoned, and illegally loading real bullets into a replica BB gun, which he wasn’t allowed to own as a convicted felon.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a $4,000 ‘bent that an autistic Fresno man used as his only form of transportation.

 

National

The Week argues that the real promise of the electric vehicle revolution lies with ebikes, rather than electric cars.

Americans are addicted to their cars.

Clearly, you can do that on a bike, especially on one like this. Whatever you’re trying to do.

Rapper Jeezy is one of us, going for a Valentine’s Day bike ride with girlfriend Jeannie Mai on the back.

A Missoula, Montana man wants to thank the two women who came to his aid when he broke his leg riding in the snow. And get his bike back from the one who promised to hold it for him, but apparently gave him a fake address for where he could pick it up.

An Oklahoma couple is planning to set a new Guinness world record for the longest ebike ride, traveling 20,000 unsupported miles across 48 states. Get back to me when they actually do it. Because it’s easy to make plans, much harder to actually do it. As I’ve learned the hard way. 

Columbia, Missouri is apparently following the Los Angeles model for Vision Zero, with traffic deaths and serious injuries on the increase four years after adopting the safety plan.

If you build it, they will come. Which apparently works just as well for an Illinois bake shop located across from a popular bike path as it does for anything else.

Seriously? A self-proclaimed bicycle rider blames bike lanes for all that traffic congestion in Pittsburgh, which apparently didn’t exist before they were painted. And compares bike lanes to dogs marking their territory.

A Massachusetts man now owns the same bike shop where he worked as a bike-obsessed teenager.

New York Streetsblog argues that a new survey shows America’s mayors know cars are killing people and ruining our cities, but don’t have the courage to do anything about it.

Closing a section of a busy New York street to cars in favor of a busway is literally saving lives.

Kindhearted cops in Richmond VA gave a new bike and helmet to a woman who was hit by a car while riding, after learning her bike was her only form of transportation.

Evidently, they take distracted driving seriously in Georgia, where a driver faces a vehicular homicide charge for killing a bike rider when he looked down at his coffee cup.

An Orlando, Florida writer confesses to blowing through stop signs while riding a bicycle on a trail dedicated to non-motorized transportation, where bike riders should get priority, but don’t. Each of the past two nights, I’ve watched drivers blow through the stop signs on my block without even slowing down. But let a bike rider do the same thing at 10 – 15 mph, instead of 30 or more, and people get apoplectic.

This is who we share the roads with. A Florida man confessed to intentionally running down a Vietnam veteran, who the killer described as “an old man with a cane,” just because he was curious about what it’s like to kill someone.

 

International

They get it, too. A writer for Rouleur says the one thing all bicyclist have in common, regardless of ability, is how vulnerable we are on the roads. And concludes that the culture, and the laws, have to change.

Mark your calendar for the World Naked Bike Ride in London this June. But pack some clothes anyway.

A London bike rider gets ordered off his bike while riding on a shared-use path after a cop ignores the signage and decides it’s for pedestrians only.

As Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo runs for re-election with a promise of bike lanes on every street, Parisians continue to ride their bikes, even after a disruptive transit strike has ended.

A Pakistani delivery driver working in Dubai faces six months in jail followed by a fast deportation for sexually harassing a customer by kissing her wrist and cheek when he tried to drop off the bicycle she ordered for her husband.

A South African ultra-endurance cyclist has made a remarkable comeback from a solo crash that nearly took his life, but couldn’t stop him.

A Kiwi town gets a new hot pink, car-shaped bike corral.

New Zealand bicyclists demand better infrastructure following a recent bicycling fatality, arguing that paint isn’t protection.

Yet another new study, this time from New Zealand, shows that biking to work can reduce your risk of dying and could extend your life.

A social media backlash erupted after a Formula 1 racing driver unveiled his relationship with an Aussie women’s cyclist, just three months after divorcing his ex-wife.

File this one under you’ve got to be kidding. Melbourne residents are calling for bikes to be banned from shared paths because riders are exceeding the ridiculously low 6.2 mph speed limit. I’m not sure my bike can even go that slow without falling over. Or maybe it can, and I can’t.

Apparently, running over an elderly Singapore bike rider felt just like driving over a plastic bottle to the truck driver who killed him.

 

Competitive Cycling

Dutch pro Tom Dumoulin’s return to racing following a knee injury last June is on hold due to parasites in his gut.

Adults over 50 are invited to compete in the Pasadena Senior Games, which includes cycling as well as a number of other sports. Although it’s not clear from the article whether you have to be a Pasadena resident.

 

Finally…

Pedaling a party bike through a winter bomb cyclone doesn’t look like much of a party. Who needs wheels to join a group ride when wings will do just fine.

And evidently, the San Francisco Chronicle has been reading my Twitter feed.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Local

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

National

Studies show bicycling is a social affair for many Latinos.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

And don’t wear underwear under your spandex.

Or over it, for that matter.

 

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