Anatomy of a Bicycle Friendly Street: Chicanes

(Ed Note: Most of the information on Bicycle Friendly Street treatments in this post  comes  from the new Bike Plan’s Technical Design Handbook.  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 Bicycle Friendly Streets generally–read our introductory post here.)

An example of a chicane from Austin, TX

It’s time for yet another installment in our ongoing series that details the specific treatments that go into making a Bicycle Friendly Street (BFS). Today, we will examine chicanes – a traffic calming device. Traffic calming devices are considered “Level Four” BFS applications based on level of physical intensity. It is important to note that BFS applications are site-specific, and that not all streets require the highest application treatments. The Bike Plan Technical Design Handbook (TDH) recommends gathering community input along with the necessary engineering and design work to determine the level of application necessary for each individual street. In case you were wondering, there are five different application levels – varying from signage to traffic diversion. Read more

Anatomy of a Bicycle Friendly Street: Mini Roundabouts

(Ed Note: Most of the information on Bicycle Friendly Street treatments in this post  comes  from the new Bike Plan’s Technical Design Handbook.  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 – you can read our introductory post here.)

2008 05 30 - 2064 - Bethesda - Glenwood RdIn our ongoing series explaining the elements of a Bicycle Friendly Street, today we will laud the virtues of the Mini Roundabout.  The mini-roundabout is related to the traffic circle, which was conceived in 1902 by William Phelps Eno (the “Father of Traffic Safety” and designer of Columbia Circle). The terms tend to get lumped together often and can lead to some confusion. However, in a roundabout:

  • Yield Control is used at all entries (no stop signs).
  • Circulating vehicles have the right-of-way.
  • Pedestrian access is allowed only at the legs of the roundabout, behind the yield line.
  • All vehicles circulate counter-clockwise and pass to the right of the central island.
  • Deflection is built into the design in order to slow down motor vehicles upon entry into the roundabout.

The roundabouts being described in this post have a single lane surrounding a raised island in the center of an intersection (they can also be multi-lane). They range in price from $100,000 to $750,000 for installation and are considered to be a Level 5 treatment, which is the highest level of treatment provided for in the 2010 LA Bike Plan‘s Technical Design Handbook (TDH). Read more

LADOT Bike Program “Call For Projects” Applications

The LADOT Bike Program has 8 project applications in this year's Call For Projects

One of the goals for the LADOT Bike Blog has been bringing a greater degree of departmental communication to the LADOT Bike Program.  We think it’s extremely important for you to know what we are doing to improve conditions for bicyclists in Los Angeles.

Towards that end, we’re proud to publicly unveil 8 project applications that the LADOT Bike Program is submitting to Metro for their Call For Projects.  While you could probably find all the project titles by searching through LADOT and Metro records, LADOT Bike Blog wants to go a little more in-depth on our applications and give a deeper explanation of the application process and our process for applying.
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Meet the Assistant Coordinators

There has been a lot of behind-the-scenes work going on at the LADOT Bike Program over the last few months.  LADOT Bike Blog would like to introduce you to some of the fresh faces helping make it happen.  Working under funding secured for “Student Professional Workers”, the LADOT Bike Program currently employs 4 part-time Assistant Coordinators who also attended graduate school in Urban Planning.  These are the shock troops of culture change at LADOT, and we’re very proud of the work they’ve done to date.  LADOT Bike Blog would like to give you a little peak into their world and the upcoming projects each of them are working on.

The Assisstant Coordinators with the original "Give Me 3" poster

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4th Street Improvements Abound

Less than a month after a bike ride/meeting along 4th Street, the LADOT Bike Program is moving forward on Bicycle Friendly Street improvements. Not only will the LADOT Bike Program be adjusting or replacing all loop detectors along 4th Street to pick up bicycle wheels, but we’re also going to extend the 4th Street Sharrows to either La Brea Avenue or Cochran Avenue.

That’s another 1.7-1.8 miles of Sharrows, which more than doubles the length of the existing Sharrows on 4th Street.

Sharrow on 4th and Gramercy facing East Bound

Get ready for more of these

This is big news. Getting something like this done in less than a month at the City is like getting it done in 2 hours in the real world. It just doesn’t happen that often. Yet, here we are.

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“We’re Almost There” – Planning Commission Continuance on Bike Plan Scheduled for 12/16

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The Planning Commission convened at 9AM ... and concluded 7 hours later.

(Update: There’s also excellent coverage of the meeting by Joe Linton on Streetsblog and by Ted Rogers at Biking in LA)

To Be Continued…

Today, the Planning Commission voted 6-0 to continue their hearing on the 2010 draft LA Bike Plan until December 16th.  In a marathon session, with the Bike Plan alone taking up nearly 4 hours, the LA bicycling community still managed to turn out a large and vocal contingent to make their views heard.  Many different opinions were voiced and much ground was covered.

Topics ranged from EIR standards to the Backbone Network to the 5 Year Funding Strategy to Bicycle Friendly Streets to the culture of City departments to mountain bikes in City parks to the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights to staffing and documentation concerns; discussion covered the variegated landscape of what LA’s bicyclists hold most dear.

While the commissioners were generally positive about the Bike Plan (in closing statements, the audience was told “[it’s] a plan we like very much” and “we’re almost there”), they voted to continue the hearing on the plan until December 16th.  In the meantime, staff will work out the specifics of recent amendments and the Planning Commission will form a sub-committee to work with City staff to make sure their concerns are addressed prior to the next Planning Commission meeting.  A lot of the speakers voiced very valid concerns, and we’re glad that staff is going to be able to better address them before the next meeting of the Planning Commission.  The end result of the Planning Commission meeting is that we’ll have a better bike plan when this process is all over, and it’s hard to take issue with that.

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Scoping 4th Street

On the morning of Wednesday, October 27th, representatives from the LADOT Bike Program and the LACBC, a reporter for the Larchmont Chronicle, Heidi Sickler from Mayor Villaraigosa’s office, and Carolyn Ramsay from CD 4 Council Member Tom LaBonge’s office gathered together at Shatto Park to take a bike ride.  You can be sure that LADOT Bike Blog was in attendance as well.  You can read the LACBC’s take on the ride here.

Shatto Park

LACBC's Alexis Lantz waits in the Shatto Park parking lot

A leisurely morning bike ride through Koreatown may not seem like an earth shattering event, but the reason they all came together marks the beginning of a new type of bicycling infrastructure in Los Angeles.  The group that assembled that morning was there to do the preliminary scoping for all the possible treatments for a Bicycle Friendly Street (BFS) along 4th Street, otherwise known as the 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard.

Ed. Note: You can check out the rest of our 4th Street photos at the LADOT Bike Blog flickr page.

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Anatomy of a Bicycle Friendly Street: Diverters

There has been a lot of talk lately, both on this blog and elsewhere, about Bicycle Friendly Streets (more commonly known as Bicycle Boulevards).  The LACBC has long been campaigning to turn 4th Street into a Bicycle Boulevard.  Rich Risemberg reports that Council Member Tom LaBonge is also committed to a Bicycle Boulevard on 4th Street.  CicLAvia’s route went along 4th Street, giving an idea of what a Bicycle Boulevard could be.   Waring Avenue has also been identified as a site for a Bicycle Boulevard, both by Council Member Tom LaBonge and by Hollywood Examiner writer Taylor Nichols.  In terms of a street in LA that already most closely resembles a Bicycle Friendly Street, Westholme Avenue might have the strongest case.

Sharrows AND traffic circles? Be still my beating heart!

But sometimes lost in the shuffle is what, exactly, makes up a Bicycle Friendly Street or Bicycle Boulevard?  How are they different from other streets?  What is installed and why does it make bicycling safer?  How much does it cost and how does it get installed?  Come along with LADOT Bike Blog as we examine the:

Anatomy of a Bicycle Friendly Street

Diverters

Bikes go through. Cars? Not so much

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