BPIT Notes 1/10/2012

The Bicycle Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) meeting is a quarterly get together hosted by the Department of City Planning (Planning), with the Department of Transportation (LADOT) and stakeholders. The latest meeting occurred Tuesday last week, and featured updates on LADOT Bikeway Projects, our BPIT survey, bicycle parking, the LA/2B project, and discussion of various bicycle engineering issues. To view the agenda for the meeting, click here, and continue reading after the fold if you wish to hear our summary!

Engineering Projects

The first order of business was an update on bikeway projects. The LADOT is moving forward with bike lanes on Imperial, Foothill, Aviation, and Vermont in the New Year. LADOT and Planning are also in the initial stages of putting together an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a first package of 40 miles of bike lanes that will require an approval process to implement (largely due to various traffic impacts). The complete EIR will take around 6 months; we are currently compiling data to hand over to our consultant.

BPIT Survey Results

We have soft closed voting for the BPIT Survey and are interpreting the results we’ve received. The top 25% were listed in the meeting, and will be posted in a separate post in the near future. Some comments that were made centered around outreach; some BPIT members felt that only bike advocates heard about the survey and that lower income constituencies most likely didn’t participate due to lack of time, access to the internet, etc. Another suggested improvement was to further split up the Central L.A. section; the results were a tad skewed due to the Central section’s large size.

Bicycle Parking Program Update

Senior Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowery gave us an update on the bicycle parking program, including a discussion on bike corrals. Taking what we’ve learned from the York Blvd. Bike Corral Pilot Project, we will soon be expanding the program to other parts of the City. LADOT is looking for more locations to expand the project, if you know of any locations that come to mind please let us know! Any potential corral would likely replace one or two metered spaces. Additionally, a majority of businesses in the area must be on board with the corral, and one of these businesses has to “adopt” the corral via a maintenance agreement. More information on the coming expansion is available here!

We also outlined our Sidewalk Parking Program during the BPIT meeting. We currently have around 4,000 U-Racks and are aiming to install 400 per year. If you wish to have a bike rack installed, please refer to this rack request webform!

Bikeway Engineering in Conflict Zones

Tim Fremaux fielded questions on the topic of conflict zones and merging areas. We have experimented with ways to mitigate the uncomfortableness some bicyclists feel in such areas, via the treatments seen on Spring and 1st Street. Our approach has been to dash the green lane in such locations. Bike boxes were also discussed as a way to make the such zones more comfortable for bicyclists. All of these treatments will be considered in future projects as the LADOT expands Los Angeles’ bikeway network.

Protected Bike Lanes

Many members of the BPIT team wanted to know why there haven’t been more efforts to install “Protected Bike Lanes”, also known as “Cycle Tracks.” A cycle track is essentially a separated treatment which places a barrier between bicyclists and automobiles, maximizing comfort and safety. This form of infrastructure is extremely prevalent in bike capitals like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, and is often attributed to their high bicycle ridership. If you wish to learn more about Protected Bike Lanes, check out our coverage here.

Often viewed as the holy grail of bicycling infrastructure, many members wondered why Los Angeles hasn’t seen more cycle track treatments. The biggest hurdle currently is that the Highway Design Manual currently forbids placing bike lanes between parked cars and the sidewalk. Long Beach has done an end run around this by deeming their new separated facility a path. While this may seem purely semantic, we do need some revised policies in place at the State level to see these facilities more frequently in California. The California Bicycle Advisory Committee (CBAC) is attempting to add an experimental process to the Highway Design Manual, but this is an ongoing battle! If you support Protected Bike Lanes, let your elected officials know and urge support for measures which would allow for more experimentation.

Bicycle Plan Law Enforcement

Officer Jeff Kievit came to speak with us about the Police Department’s involvement in enforcement and education issues. The LAPD is doing its best to educate its own officers, as well as citizens, about laws surrounding sidewalk riding, and is exploring various multi-media outlets to convey their message. Other enforcement issues like vehicles blocking bike lanes were discussed. The LAPD is considering creating “citizen citations” which will allow concerned cyclists to give advisory citations to motorists who break such laws. While these citations will have no legal bearing, they will allow bicyclists to give a friendly reminder to automobile users to not double park in bike lanes.

Update on the Mobility Element

The Planning Department gave an update on process underway to update the City’s Mobility Element via the LA/2B project. If you aren’t familiar with the LA/2B project, it is essentially an online town hall where 405 participants (so far!) have come up with 217 ideas for the future of Los Angeles transportation and street network! This is an extremely exciting project, if you frequent this blog I hope you’re already participating! If not, head over to http://la2b.org/!

Here are some ideas that the online community has come up with:

  • Eliminating parking requirements
  • Adding bike corrals
  • More urban green space
  • More pedestrian and cycling events
  • Close down streets for public events

Community workshops are occurring on February 25th and March 3rd, check out the link above for more information!

Questions and Comments?

If you have any questions or comments feel free to chime in on our comment section! We’re more than happy to field your questions. 2012 is going to be a great year for bikeability in Los Angeles!

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