BPIT Notes, 7/5/11: Progress Marches Ever On

The most recent meeting of the Bike Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) assembled this past Tuesday at City Hall Room 721 to discuss a wide range of topics centered around a single goal: making Los Angeles a better place to ride a bike.  This BPIT meeting, while less contentious than in months past, accomplished a great deal and took the first steps on many projects that will end in miles of bike lanes, miles of bicycle boulevards, and safer bicyclists.

The meeting was dutifully tweeted by BikeBlogChris (Christopher Kidd), flyingpigeonla (Joseph Bray-Ali), and cyclotropic (Max Berson).  You can track the play-by-play with the #BPIT Twitter hashtag.  For an alternate take on the meeting, Rick Risemberg (of BicycleFixation fame) has his notes from the meeting up at FlyingPigeonLA.

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Over 30 people jammed room 721 this Tuesday

Below the fold, we’ll go through the details of this month’s meeting.  Presentations by Pat Hines of Safe Moves, updates on newly finished bike lanes by Paul Meshkin, a presentation on priority bike lane projects in central LA & NELA, and discussions about prioritizing Bicycle Friendly Streets were all covered.

Remember, the BPIT sets the agenda for implementing the 2010 LA Bike Plan.  If you think something is missing from the meetings, make yourself heard.

Heavy Attendance

Over 30 people (33, by our count) attended this month’s BPIT meeting.  In the room were representatives from LADOT, City Planning, the Mayor’s Office, Council Districts 2 & 10, the LACBC, Bikeside, various Neighborhood Councils, and interested members of the public.  First on the agenda was Pat Hines, the founder of the Safe Moves Program.

Safe Moves

Pat showed a short video and oral presentation about the work that the Safe Moves program does at schools throughout Los Angeles.  The Safe Moves program creates multiple levels of bicycle safety courses catered to the grade level of the student.  Their educational programs stress a mixture of injury prevention, knowledge of traffic laws, and healthy exercise habits.

In addition to answering a slew of questions from the BPIT meeting attendees, Pat also shared the story of what inspired her to start the Safe Moves program – a longtime friend of hers was killed in a car crash while riding her bicycle on Pacific Coast Highway.

Pat is looking to increase the scope and impact of the Safe Moves program, and, beginning this year, will start approaching Neighborhood Councils in addition to Los Angeles schools about bicycle safety education.  Attendees asked for a list of which schools are participating in Safe Moves and which turn Safe Moves down.  If you’d like to contact Pat about more information on the Safe Moves program, you can reach her at phinesafety@aol.com.

Newly Completed Projects

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Reading up on new bike lane projects

Head Bikeways engineer Paul Meshkin next gave a presentation on newly completed bike lane projects and bike lane projects that will soon be installed.  You can get all the details here.  Paul agreed to make public a document listing projects currently in design and their status – we’ll make that document available online as soon as we receive it.

Priority Bike Lane Projects – City Center and NELA

Next up came a presentation by engineer Tim Fremaux on conceptual designs for four bike lane projects: Martin Luther King Jr Blvd (Marlton to Figueroa), 7th Street (Figueroa to Soto), Vermont Ave (Venice to Wilshire), and N Figueroa Street (San Fernando to Colorado).  While we’ll cover the particulars more in depth in the coming week, here’s the presentation given to the BPIT.

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City Planning's Jane Choi taking notes

BPIT Attendees gave various types of feedback on each project.  Suggestions included increasing the scope of projects to connect with other bike lanes, solutions for avoiding expensive treatments like the possible removal of concrete medians, innovative solutions to accommodate bikes on extremely narrow streets,  solutions that would also garner the support of drivers, and new strategies for outreach on projects.  This valuable feedback will be incorporated in subsequent LADOT presentations for Neighborhood Councils and community groups.

Bicycle Friendly Streets

During the last leg of the meeting, BPIT attendees discussed how to prioritize the implementation of Bicycle Friendly Streets (BFS).  There were a wide range of ideas on how to prioritize implementation.  Some were concerned with political barriers, some were concerned with funding, some wanted to focus on streets that would have the highest visibility and ridership, some wanted to focus on streets in low-income communities, some wanted to focus on streets that have the most dangerous intersections for bikes and pedestrians.  Likely, it will be a combination of all these factors which determine how BFS’s get prioritized; the challenge will come in how to weight each factor.  If you’ve got ideas for which streets to prioritize first, let us know in comments. You can get the full list of streets being considered for BFS treatments in the July BPIT agenda.

Next Meeting

Next month’s meeting will entail another shift in direction for the BPIT.  While many of the remaining Priority 1 bike lane projects up for discussion will be reviewed in September, the BPIT will focus on programmatic priorities in August.  If you have suggestions for what types of issues the BPIT should discuss, leave them in the comments section or email them to Jane Choi in City Planning.

0 replies
  1. Dennis Hindman
    Dennis Hindman says:

    The BPIT meeting was full of people who cycle on a regular basis and the majority of them were male. Currently regular bicyclists that are male is a small portion of the potential bicyclists.

    To get a better idea of what motivates or is a detriment for the non-regular cyclist, I’ll use survey results of Metro Vancouver cyclists that was conducted by the University of British Columbia. The 1,402 survey respondents represent about 500,000 people or about 31% of adults in the area. They all have bicycled within a year of the survey.

    http://www.cher.ubc.ca/cyclingincities/survey.html

    For the sixteen choices of route preferences there were six that had tie votes, so I rate the preferences from 1-10. Major streets with bike lanes and parked cars came in 7th, major streets with bike lanes and no parked cars was in a three-way tie for 5th place, along with residential streets. There was a three-way tie for third place that included residential streets with traffic calming, along with having a cycle path next to a major street, separated by a barrier.

    Based on this survey’s results, you could be excluding many people from cycling regularly if you put in cycle lanes on a major street next to parked cars, compared to installing them with no parked cars. You would also get a smaller representation of the demographics of an area if you put in bicycle lanes compared to making a bicycle friendly street with significant traffic calming.

    Even though it would be more expensive to implement some sort of barrier that separates the cyclist from traffic on major streets, or traffic calming on a secondary street, these would likely encourage an even larger proportion of the demographics to cycle compared to simply putting paint on a street.

    According to this UBC study: ‘Women and people with children scored the low preference routes even lower than men and people without children. This evidence suggests that motivating those who cycle least often requires that the most desirable routes be the focus of development.’

    Among the top ten motivators was that the route is flat, takes less time than traveling by other modes and the trip distance is less than 5 km (3.1 miles),

    A recently completed L.A. Metro study of Orange Line bus/path and rail line bike users found that the average distance traveled from the beginning of the route to the survey point was about 2 miles.

    Vehicles traveling more than 50 km/h (more than 31 miles an hour) was among the top ten deterents to cycling according to the UBC study. This helps to explain how putting bicycle lanes on high speed Reseda Blvd has not gotten the majority of the cyclists that travel on this street off of the sidewalks. Also helps explain why 45 mph speed limit Fallbrook Ave–with it’s 6 foot wide bike lanes next to 8 foot wide parking–is considered a dangerous place to bicycle by most people I have talked to at work. My work place is at the corner of Fallbrook and Roscoe Blvd.

    The Sharrows at the Sherman Way intersection on Reseda Blvd-which are even further out in the street than the bike lanes-are much less frequently used than the bike lanes. You can put paint on a street for bicyclists, but if no one uses them, then they are essentially useless. You might as well be putting down paint for bicycling on the moon.

    Trying to educate the cyclist to ride where they would feel more uncomfortable is a waste of time. It would be much more productive to try and put in bicycle infrastructure that encourages cycling by making it more comfortable to ride.

    Another UBC study found that cyclists were willing to go two blocks out of their way in order to use streets with bicycle infrastructure.

    http://www.cher.ubc.ca/cyclingincities/pdf/RouteDensity.pdf

    Although there is merit to shooting for a large bike infrastructure mileage by putting down bike lanes next to parked cars and fast moving traffic, this method is trying to attract a small portion of the demographics of potential bicyclists.

    Based on these survey results, I would not recommend putting a high priority for bicycle lanes on streets that have fast moving traffic, lower population density and where destinations are much further apart than in other areas. An example of this would be the San Fernando Valley in general and the West side of the SFV in particular.

    A high priority for a bicycle friendly street, on the list of second priority streets, would be St. Andrews Pl that intersects Wilshire Blvd and fourth street–which is a future bike friendly street. More compact destination points, high population density and slower traffic compared to the San Fernando Valley make bicycling more competitive with motorized traffic. St Andrews Pl parallels busy Western Ave and is only two blocks west of it. It also is within a two mile radius of the Western/Wilshire subway stop. This would help build a network for bicycling in a area that has many lower income residents.

    Bicycle friendly streets for 11th St or 2nd St downtown would also be good choices, as they would intersect the upcoming bike lanes on Figueroa and Main St. Getting around by bike downtown is already proven to be practical with even Domino’s Pizza delivering by bicycle.

    Reply
  2. Dennis Hindman
    Dennis Hindman says:

    In order to get an idea of how effective these projects are, or where they are most needed, there needs to be some bike counts. The Chicago DOT did just that using a Selective Pneumatic Tubes device made by the French firm Eco-Counter.

    http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/cdot/bicycling/CDOT_bicycle_count_study_2009.pdf

    Using a automated device would make it much easier to get a bike count and it would help justify continued support of implementing bikeways facilities. This would be similar to what LADOT already does in counting motorized traffic.

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] get an idea what these meetings are like, check out reports from last month’s meeting at the LADOT Bike Blog and coverage from June’s meeting at Bikeside.  As you might expect, the two websites […]

  2. […] bike path. LADOT Bike Blog updates the status of the city’s bike lane projects, as well as the latest BPIT (Bike Plan Implementation Team) meeting; evidently, this one was a little less contentious and things actually got done. Will Campbell […]

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