BPIT Notes 5/4/11

The details of submitting a bundle of priority bike lane projects through the approval process were laid out and debated last week here at the Bike Blog and on Streetsblog. Rather than rehash all the individual particulars of the meeting, however, I’ll focus on a few landing points and how we’ll be moving forward from here. I will say this, DOT is committed to the Bike Plan’s goal of 200 miles of bikeways in 5 years (40 miles a year). We will need support from bicyclists, Council District offices and folks across Los Angeles to realize these goals.

Year Zero project updates, bikeway concepts for key streets around the NBC/Universal project, building Bicycle Friendly Streets, and more on 2010 Bicycle Plan bike lane projects, all below the fold.

Year Zero Updates

Year Zero projects represent projects that the City had been working on prior to the adoption of the 2010 Bicycle Plan. A few more of these projects are now ready to go on the street, but are either awaiting Council District or Neighborhood Council approval before LADOT will begin construction. Projects like Main Street in Venice, Reseda Boulevard & Foothill Boulevard in the Valley, and York Boulevard in Eagle Rock are designed and ready for construction. Do let your elected representatives know whether you support these projects and would like to see them move forward. These four alone would add almost 4 more miles of bike lanes to the City and link with a number of existing bikeways. Combined with other projects awaiting work orders (including stretches of MLK Blvd., Wentworth Ave. and Riverside Dr., for instance, that have already been approved and which DOT field crews will soon be receiving instructions to install), there are over 8 miles of bike lanes ready to be implemented in the very near future. UPDATE: Martin Luther King Blvd. now has bike lanes, from Marlton Ave. to Rodeo Rd.

Year One and 2010 Bike Plan Bike Lane Projects

City Planning’s Claire Bowin kicked off the meeting with this discussion. These are the landing points:

While it’s true that certain bike lane projects may be deemed Categorically Exempt under CEQA, this exemption typically only covers bike lane projects that  are created on existing rights-of-way, and which usually don’t require other actions causing impacts, such as street reconfiguration, and don’t negatively impact the street’s auto LOS beyond specific thresholds (following State CEQA law and our current traffic guidelines). Under CEQA, when a project does not qualify for an exemption, the City then proceeds with an initial study to determine whether a negative declaration or environmental impact report is necessary. There are formal public notice and comment periods for both negative declarations and environmental impact reports.

While both the transportation and planning departments are interested in utilizing performance measures that evaluate all modes of travel, including bicycling, moving forward now means making the best of the current guidelines. These do not preclude studies from including supplemental analysis that can demonstrate the positive transportation benefits of a project. The City is currently exploring which types of other performance measures would be useful to evaluate all modes of travel to supplement the City traffic study guidelines.

For more information on these points:

As we move forward, LADOT will keep lists of Year 0 projects (and progress), Priority 1 projects (and progress), and projects to be included in the first package of prioritized streets submitted through the approval process regularly updated on the blog’s BPIT page, and eventually on the updated version of our website.

NBC/Universal Projects

Next was an update on the streets surrounding the NBC/Universal project that are also a part of the BPIT’s “Top 10” projects: Cahuenga Boulevard, Barham Boulevard, and Lankershim Boulevard. It’s important to keep attention on these projects, as NBC/Universal’s current plans for redeveloping their Universal City property could preclude the construction of bike lanes on all three of these streets.

Check out our blog post on the conceptual bike lane designs for the streets around the NBC/Universal project.

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