My First CicLAvia

I love riding my bike. It’s one of my favorite things to do in LA, actually! I also really enjoy exploring this amazing city by foot.  In addition to sidewalks and bike lanes, I have experienced most of the ped and bike paths that LA has to offer. I am learning about active transportation in graduate school, and I work for LADOT’s Bicycle Outreach and Planning Program.  Naturally, as soon as people find out about my passion for walking and biking, they often ask, “Don’t you just love CicLAvia?”

Although I have lived LA for over a year, I often leave on the weekends to visit family or am busy with graduate school obligations, so I had never been to CicLAvia…

Until now! The stars aligned last weekend, and I finally made it to CicLAvia Heart of LA in Downtown.

(ʘ‿ʘ) LOOK AT ALL THE BICYCLES!

(ʘ‿ʘ) LOOK AT ALL THE BICYCLES!

I began my journey to CicLAvia from Union Station. A lot of my usual bus routes were on detour, so I decided to walk 1.5 miles to my destination. First, I noticed that there were a lot more people walking and biking than normal! Even the streets and sidewalks that were not blocked off for CicLAvia were teeming with families, couples on tandem bikes, and people dancing, and moving. The day was off to a good start.

Kids were having a blast in Chinatown.

Kids were having a blast in Chinatown. Photo by Kora McNaughton.

Now, my experience may have been a bit different than many CicLAvia goers, because I attended not solely as a person biking, walking, or rolling, but as a volunteer. A bunch of my friends and peers in the Associated Students of Planning and Development formed a team to adopt an intersection.

"Hi, we are here to keep you safe."

“Hello, we are here to keep you safe.” Ed, Garrett, and Parama were safety rockstars.

Adopting an intersection means controlling pedestrian and bicycle traffic at a vehicle crossing, pedestrian crossing, or dismount zone. At least 6 volunteers are needed to work a 3-hour shift. Our task was to slow traffic on the 4th Street bridge right before the downhill to prevent people from wiping out or losing control.

High-fives are my favorite!

High-fives are my favorite!

Adopting an intersection also means laughing with strangers, having a great time with friends, being outside, and feeling pride in Los Angeles. I highly recommend volunteering!

CicLAvia selfie!

CicLAvia selfie with Negin and Saja!

Throughout the day, I saw a lot of super cool bikes. I was amazed and inspired by all of the people who have put so much effort into creating beautiful, interesting, and useful bicycles.

Not your average Bike-Couch-Cooler in-one!

It’s not your average all-in-one bicycle couch and cooler!

Thanks to people who had speakers on their person, in shopping carts, or on bikes, we listened to tunes and had sporadic dance parties. Oh, and did I mention the dogs? There were dogs in bike baskets, backpacks, and bike trailers, as well as dogs walking and jogging.

Doggies love open streets, too.

Doggies love open streets, too.

It was a glorious day for dogs and dog people! I didn’t see any cats ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Maybe next time!

The crew of paddleboarders from WestSSUP was all smiles!

The crew of paddleboarders from WestSSUP was all smiles!

There was a celebration for all of the volunteers at the end of the day, which I couldn’t make because I had to go to school for a meeting. I heard it was a lot of fun, though!

I’m glad that I can finally say that I’ve been to CicLAvia. I am really looking forward to the next one in March! The route will be announced soon. Next time, I’ll bring my bike explore the event from the different perspective. I also want to check out the other open streets events that are coming up, including Long Beach’s Beach Streets on November 12 and 626 Golden Streets in San Gabriel Valley on March 5.

I want to see these on all of the streets all of the time.

I want to see these cabs on all of the streets, all of the time.

Being out there with all of the people on that bridge made me think about what LA would be like if we closed the streets to cars more often. I think it would be pretty great. What do you think?

I have a feeling these folks on roller blades would like to see more open streets!

 

Notes from the October 2nd Bicycle Plan Implementation Team Meeting

BPIT participants discussing Neighborhood Council communication.

This past October 2nd, the Los Angeles Departments of City Planning (LADCP) and Transportation (LADOT) held their quarterly Bicycle Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) meeting. Over 20 people were in attendance, ranging from city employees from various departments, representatives from city council offices and several bicycling organizations, to many bicyclists and residents intrigued to see where bike infrastructure in Los Angeles is heading.

(Check out the meeting’s agenda to better follow along with these notes.)

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The Benefits of Traffic Calming

A few weeks ago, LADOT Bikeways staff grabbed our camera and tripod and took a trip down to Long Beach to get a first hand look at the Vista St. Bicycle Boulevard. As Los Angeles gets ready to implement it’s own version of a Bicycle Boulevard (called a Bicycle Friendly Street – BFS), we wanted to help familiarize everyone with a few of the different treatments. We particularly wanted to stress the significant quality of life and safety improvements that Vista St. residents have seen following the installation of traffic calming devices – particularly roundabouts and bicycle traffic signals. We hope to use this video (and others like it) at future neighborhood meetings to provide information through a more visually appealing medium. Special thanks go out to Long Beach Bicycle Coordinator Allan Crawford, neighborhood residents Kristine Kelly and Lisa Brisky for sharing their first hand thoughts and experiences with the facility. More on the benefits of BFS facilities below the fold.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Gdq-Q0Q57I]

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CicLAvia This Sunday!!!

The LADOT Bike Program is excited to announce that we have created some fun and educational posters to display at this October’s CicLAvia event. There are three different poster designs with concepts that are informative, celebratory, and forward looking. Be on the look out for them at select locations along the route. Also, the LADOT Bike Program will be at CicLAvia pulling a trailer full of goodies that include (but are not limited to) bike maps, LADOT water bottles, bike lights, pencils, and pins; so don’t be shy, pull us over and get some swag. More on the posters below the fold.

CicLAvia!

Assistant Bicycle Coordinator Emily Dwyer with the LADOT bike trailer emptied of bike maps, pins, pencils, water bottles, at the last CicLAvia

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20 miles of sharrows installed

4th St. sharrows in action at dusk last week. Over the weekend, 20 more miles of sharrows were installed.

About a month ago, we announced that sharrows were good, and discussed LADOT’s plans to install them on select streets citywide before the year’s end. We are happy to report that this past weekend, LADOT work crews installed approximately 20 miles worth of these bicycle facilities on L.A. streets. All told, 797 sharrows were laid down, adding 20.61 miles of bicycle infrastructure to L.A. streets. A majority of those sharrows were installed using HOT TAPE thermoplastic – a highly durable, visible, and skid resistant road marking material. However, some sharrows on Motor Ave. and Heliotrope Dr. were installed using paint. Rest assured, the paint is a temporary treatment as segments of these two respective streets are set to be resurfaced in the near future. Once the streets are resurfaced, more permanent thermoplastic sharrows will be installed.

The sharrow installations fulfill a mayoral commitment towards 40 miles of new bicycle infrastructure this fiscal year. Some of the sharrows are an interim measure preceding future bicycle lanes as called for in the Bike Plan (but which weren’t prioritized in the 5 year Implementation Plan), and may require environmental review or roadway widening. Others are a first step towards implementing Bicycle Friendly Streets. Join us below the fold to find out what streets just got “sharrowed.”

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4th St. update

Click through to see a larger version.

4th Street existing conditions

While 4th St. outreach and planning continues (Bikeways staff met with 4 neighborhood councils and an HOA), Councilmember Tom La Bonge announced at a recent Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council meeting that he is opposed to the installation of bicycle/pedestrian signals at Highland and Rossmore, and has requested that we focus our ongoing conceptual design plans on Hoover St. to Wilton Pl., instead.

The proposed bike/ped signals were to address the two toughest intersections for bicyclists to cross on 4th St. between Cochran Ave. and Hoover St.; the intersections would have been designed to prohibit cut through traffic. La Bonge has asked our group to look at 6th St. as an alternative, but this corridor is not an option as it’s not in the Council adopted Bike Plan.

4th St. is currently designated as a Class III bicycle route, and now has shared lane markings as well as bicycle friendly loop detectors at signalized intersections. In the fall, we’ll start outreach on a grant we received to do bicycle wayfinding signage–and 4th St. will definitely be included.

Moving forward, which intersections do you think need special attention on 4th Street? Which destinations should be highlighted along 4th St. (for our fall wayfinding project)? And, where should we look next to implement Bicycle Friendly Street measures?

Anatomy of a Bicycle Friendly Street: Bicycle Signals

(Ed Note: Most information on Bicycle Friendly Street treatments come from the Technical Design Handbook in the 2010 LA Bike Plan. Though we are happy to present it in bite-sized pieces, we highly recommend you download it yourself and have a good read. You can download the Technical Design Handbook here. For a refresher on what a Bicycle Friendly Street is check out our BFS tab by clicking here. You can also find previous posts on signage, chicanes, round-a-bouts, loop detectors and other BFS treatments here.

We’re back with another installment in our long running series “Anatomy of a Bicycle Friendly Street.” Today, we look into the particulars of the traffic control device known as bicycle signals. Bicycle signals are basically traffic signals for bikes. They provide bikes (and by extension pedestrians) with their own dedicated signal phase, which allows them to safely cross intersections. The Bike Plan’s Technical Design Handbook dictates that bike signals in the City of Los Angeles may be used to improve an identified safety or operational problem involving bicycles making them ideally suited for utilization at busy intersection along the Neighborhood Network. More on bike signals below the fold.

Close up of bicycle signal head

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Addressing the Concerns of Local 4th Street Residents

Update: There has been some confusion regarding the draft concept treatments. Again, these images are concepts, only. To date, no design work has been completed as DOT continues the public outreach process. We have created a new draft concept for Highland/4th that we feel more clearly represents the intersection(s) at Rossmore and Highland. This new image highlights the signal head for the bicycle/pedestrian actuated signal on 4th Street. Regarding turn movements onto 4th St. from Highland or Rossmore; there will be no restriction on turn movements (right or left) onto 4th Street from either Highland or Rossmore. The only restrictions will be for through movements on 4th through Highland or Rossmore (motor-vehicles will be forced to make a right while bicycles and pedestrians are unrestricted).

A New Concept

Since Bicycle Friendly Street’s are a new concept for the City of Los Angeles, local residents may have some questions about the effects of various treatments. We here at the LADOT Bike Program are happy to address any questions and concerns that residents may have concerning the Bicycle Friendly Street pilot project. We encourage residents to attend local meetings, or if you can’t make those, feel free to leave us a comment on the blog and we will be sure to pass your concerns on to the appropriate staff. Below the fold we discuss the rationale for bike friendly treatments and present concepts for 4th/Highland and 4th/New Hampshire. Also, before we continue, just a friendly reminder that these concepts do not represent final designs and are merely intended to help visualize potential treatments.

Current conditions on 4th approaching Highland from the east via Google Maps

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Next Phase of 4th Street Transformation on the Horizon

Living blocks away from 4th Street biased me from Day One. I became even more attached to this priority project when I helped mark our second round of sharrows from Wilton Place to Cochran Avenue. Personal prejudices aside, this future bicycle boulevard (called a “Bicycle Friendly Street” in the LA Bike Plan) has remained at the forefront of bike plan implementation discussions for good reason – as one of the most direct, low volume connections across the City.

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Bicyclists on 4th Street during last summer's Tour LaBonge

A Bicycle Friendly Street on 4th Street is one of the priority projects for the Bike Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) and has long been a dream of both the LACBC and CD 4 Council Member Tom LaBonge. To roll out the next phase of bicycle improvements for 4th Street, we here at the LADOT Bike Program have begun community outreach efforts to determine the most efficient use of available bicycle infrastructure funds. 4th Street already has sharrows for over 3 miles from Cochran Ave to Hoover St. It also has new bike-sensitive loop detectors which can pick up the wheel of a bicycle at each stoplight. If you’re unsure of where to place your bike to activate the signal, check out our previous post here.

4th Street Map – Existing Conditions

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