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LA River Path Closure Update

Last month, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Los Angeles District began removing non-native plants along the LA River path between Fletcher Drive and Riverside Drive. This work is part of an LA County Drainage Area Project to remove non-native vegetation and improve capacity of the channel.

In order to complete this flood risk management project, USACE has closed the access path from 7am to 4pm Monday through Friday, while the path remains open on evenings and weekends. USACE has placed closure signs and barriers along the path, and LADOT has coordinated the detour route.

USACE organized a public workshop on November 7 at Friendship Auditorium to address concerns related to the closure and the detour. Approximately 100 people attended, including users of the LA River path, people who live near the path, and community members. Also in attendance were representatives from Council District 13, Friends of the LA River, USACE Specific Divisions, LAPD Northeast Division, City of LA Engineering Divison, and LADOT Bike Program.

The Public Workshop at Friendship Auditorium was well attended and informative. Photo: Phil Serpa

The workshop at Friendship Auditorium was well attended and informative. Photo: Phil Serpa

The purpose of the workshop was to bring stakeholders together in order to address concerns and complaints. The workshop was a poster and table session in which people from the community could ask participants questions about path closure, detour route, the LA River, and the plant removal project.

Over the course of the evening, we recorded an exhaustive list of comments from attendees. We have compiled the key concerns below.

Comments from attendees

  1. Closure signage along the path looks unofficial and has too little information about the USACE project
  2. Detour signage does not provide information about the closure schedule
  3. Detour route feels unsafe for people on bikes and is disproportionately long compared to the closed segment of the path
  4. Closure time of 7am-4pm overlaps with commute hours
  5. Daily updates have not been shared on social media

Our team is in the process of reviewing these concerns internally as well as with Council District 13 and USACE.

For more information about the LA River, you may visit www.spl.usace.army.mil/Missions/Operations/

If you have questions or comments regarding the path closure, you may contact AMoperations.Branch@usace.army.mil

If you have questions or comments regarding the detour route, send us an email at bike.program@lacity.org

 

Safety Remains Top Priority of LA River Path

Shared bicycle and pedestrian paths are a great way to encourage exercise and active transportation. Our shared-use paths attract people with a wide range of bicycle skill levels, including young children, as well as people who walk, jog, skate, and roll. Special care must be taken in the planning, design, and maintenance of these paths to provide safe sharing of the facility with a variety of users of differing speeds and abilities

The LA River Path is a favorite transportation facility and recreation corridor for many Angelenos. Tragically, a recent collision on the LA River Path caused injuries to an elderly person who was walking. The person who hit them may have been bicycling too fast and unable to see the pedestrian or stop in time. LADOT will be working with LAPD and Council District 13 to initiate improvements that will support the enforcement of reckless and illegal riding (per LAMC 56.16)  on the Los Angeles River Path.

Cyclists should refrain from excessive speed, particularly in neighborhood areas of the path when people are walking and biking at slower speeds, and children are present. Pedestrians, as slower users of the path, should walk to the right as slow moving vehicles are required to do on roadways. We urge people to use caution while enjoying the path by keeping your head up, not wearing headphones in both ears, and maintaining a slow speed.

As we advocate for and implement new paths throughout Los Angeles, it is essential that we also educate people about local and state laws to ensure safety for all users.

California Vehicle Code

CVC 21207.5.  Notwithstanding Sections 21207 and 23127 of this code, or any other provision of law, no motorized bicycle may be operated on a bicycle path or trail, bikeway, bicycle lane established pursuant to Section 21207, equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trail, unless it is within or adjacent to a roadway or unless the local authority or the governing body of a public agency having jurisdiction over such path or trail permits, by ordinance, such operation.

No motorized bicycles are allowed on the path unless allowed by Code.

CVC 21211.  (a) No person may stop, stand, sit, or loiter upon any class I bikeway, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public or private bicycle path or trail, if the stopping, standing, sitting, or loitering impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist. (b) No person may place or park any bicycle, vehicle, or any other object upon any bikeway or bicycle path or trail, as specified in subdivision (a), which impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or is otherwise in compliance with the law. (c) This section does not apply to drivers or owners of utility or public utility vehicles, as provided in Section 22512.

It is illegal to loiter on or block a bike path except maintenance or utility vehicles.

CVC 21966. No pedestrian shall proceed along a bicycle path or lane where there is an adjacent adequate pedestrian facility.

Due to inadequate available width, no separate pedestrian path is available (like the Orange Line Bike Path) thus pedestrians are legal, and welcome, users of the Los Angeles River Bike Path.

CVC 23127.  No person shall operate an unauthorized motor vehicle on any state, county, city, private, or district hiking or horseback riding trail or bicycle path that is clearly marked by an authorized agent or owner with signs at all entrances and exits and at intervals of not more than one mile indicating no unauthorized motor vehicles are permitted on the hiking or horseback riding trail or bicycle path, except bicycle paths which are contiguous or adjacent to a roadway dedicated solely to motor vehicle use.

No cars, motorcycles, mopeds or other motorized vehicles are allowed on the path except maintenance or emergency vehicles.

California Streets and Highways Code

S&H Code 890.4. As used in this article, “bikeway” means all facilities that provide primarily for, and promote, bicycle travel. For purposes of this article, bikeways shall be categorized as follows:

(a) Bike paths or shared use paths, also referred to as “Class I Bikeways” which provide a completely separated right-of-way designated for the exclusive use of bicycles and pedestrians with crossflows by motorists minimized.

Bicycle Paths are designed for the use of people on bicycles and on foot.

S&H Code 890.9. The department shall establish uniform specifications and symbols for signs, markers, and traffic control devices to designate bikeways, regulate traffic, improve safety and convenience for bicyclists, and alert pedestrians and motorists of the presence of bicyclists on bikeways and on roadways where bicycle travel is permitted.

Bicycle Path design is overseen by Caltrans (State department) and various strategies may be utilized to make all users aware of each other on bike paths.

Los Angeles Municipal Code

LAMC 56.16 – 1. No person shall ride, operate or use a bicycle, unicycle, skateboard, cart, wagon, wheelchair, rollers skates, or any other device moved exclusively by human power, on a sidewalk, bikeway or boardwalk in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

Users of bicycle paths, or bikeways, are not allowed to use bicycles, skates, etc., in a way that endangers other users of the path.

If you are a competitive cyclist in training, please consider using training options such as the Rose Bowl training ride, various criterium training loops, or the Encino or Carson Velodromes.

The LA River path is for everyone.

In the coming months, treatments will be made near the entryways of the path in Atwater Village/Elysian Valley to notify bicyclists of areas where they might expect pedestrians and where to slow down to avoid conflicts. Efforts will be made to better support behavior that best suits a shared-use path that was built for active transportation as well as the recreational enjoyment of the Path-adjacent communities. Enforcement of the corridor by LAPD will be ramped up to enforce these laws in the problem areas.

Again, please remember that the path is a wonderful resource for all users. We thank Council District 13, LAPD, LADOT, LACBC, LA River Revitalization Corporation, Friends of the LA River, and local neighborhood organizations for their continued efforts to help keep the LA River Path a safe, enjoyable resource for all Angelenos.

Biking-spiration from the Netherlands

Last month, City Hall was visited by a team of 10 business students from Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands. Hosted by Mayor Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative, avid bicycle rider and Economics Professor Louis Uljee and his students discussed their latest research on biking in Los Angeles.

The class spent their spring semester studying current transportation culture in Los Angeles and opportunities for improvement, and they finished off their research by spending two weeks bicycling all over the City of Angels. They concluded that by creating awareness of the economic and health benefits of riding a bike and increasing safety of bicycle infrastructure, LA can normalize bicycling, generate an inclusive bicycle culture, and increase ridership. You can learn more about their project on their Facebook page, HopOn.

Business students from Rotterdam University visiting USC. Courtesy of HopOn

Rotterdam University business students biked to USC. Courtesy of HopOn

From their presentation, we learned a lot of interesting things about bicycling in the Netherlands. Dutch bike culture is so ingrained in every day life because most people begin biking at a very young age. Usually, families and friends in various neighborhoods accompany young children on the ride to school from when they start school at four years old until they turn 10, at which time all children take a “bicycle exam” at school. The exam tests students’ abilities to be safe while riding, including proper hand signaling and bicycle positioning. Passing the test proves to school districts as well as children’s parents that the student can ride to school alone.

In the presentation, the business students shared a brief history of how the Netherlands became one of the world’s most bike-friendly nations. Before World War II, bicycling was the most widely-used form of transportation. After the war ended, increased affordability of cars encouraged the Dutch to trade in their bikes for vehicles, and bike lanes disappeared as roads became designed for fast-moving vehicles. Over the course of three decades, injuries and deaths of people on bikes, especially children, caused by accidents with cars spurred a series of protests in the 1970s.

In the 1970s, people in the Netherlands protested car-dominant roads with sign that read "Stop Child Murder". Courtesy of the Dutch National Archive

In the 1970s, Dutch people protested car-dominant roads with signs that read “Stop Child Murder”. Courtesy of the Dutch National Archive

Also during this time, increased oil prices simultaneously encouraged people to ride bicycles. With a renewed sense of the health, safety, social, and economic benefits of bicycling, Dutch citizens and government began working to create an expansive transportation network that was accessible and connected by bike.

Fast forward to four decades later in 2016 and the Netherlands is home to some of the most innovative bicycle- and people-oriented infrastructure in the world. The Rotterdam students described these exciting innovations in the Netherlands and Scandinavia:

Hovenring Bicycle Roundabout

The Hovenring Bike Roundabout courtesy of Huffington Post Canada

The Hovenring Bike Roundabout in Eindhoven. Courtesy of Huffington Post Canada

Students from the University of Delft designed the suspended Hovenring to allow for safe bicycle crossing above car traffic. Can you imagine if we had a bicycle roundabout like this above our freeways? Bikeway connectivity would skyrocket!

Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Bicycle Path

Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Bike Path. Courtesy of CNN

Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Bike Path in Nuen. Courtesy of CNN

Designer Daan Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure made the Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Bicycle Path out of thousands of twinkling stones inspired by ‘Starry Night’. A sparkling bike path? Yes, please.

BikeScout

BikeScout was installed in March in Eindhoven.

BikeScout was installed in March in Eindhoven. Courtesy of Heijmans

Dutch company Heijmans Infrastructure created the BikeScout to increase safety at intersections. Radar trackers positioned along the road for 150 ft. leading to the intersection measure the changing positions of people who bike, walk, and drive. If there’s a collision risk, the LED lights lining the intersection flash, warning cars to stop. A BikeScout in LA would for sure help us reach Vision Zero goals.

CycloCable

The lift was originally built in 1993 and was remodeled in 2013. Courtesy of CityLab

The lift was originally installed in 1993 and was remodeled in 2013. Courtesy of CityLab

The POMA Group, a French cableway company, built the CycloCable bicycle lift on a steep hill in Trondheim, Norway. The user places their right foot on a footplate while the left foot remains on the bicycle pedal, and once a button is pressed, the bicyclist is pushed to the top of the hill. I can think of a few hills in Los Angeles that would become a lot easier to bike up with the help of a CycloCable!

Red Bike Lanes

Red bike lanes keep Dutch bicyclists visible to cars and clearly communicate where bikes should be used. Courtesy of Maurits90

The Netherlands has designated red as the official color for all bike lanes. Courtesy of Maurits90

Red bike lanes keep Dutch bicyclists visible to cars and clearly delineate where bikes should be used. Currently, Los Angeles and many other US cities are working to paint bike lanes bright green to enhance safety for all road users.

Even though I left the presentation and discussion with serious bike envy, it was inspiring to hear from the Rotterdam students about bike culture and infrastructure successes in the Netherlands. Here in LA, we have a lot of basic bikeways improvements to be made before we can even think about some of the complex infrastructure that was described to us by the Dutch students. The fact that it has taken about 40 years for the Netherlands to accomplish what they have reminds us that the changes we are making today will undoubtedly have an incredible impact on future generations. Working toward a safe, accessible multimodal transportation network is what keeps us going everyday at LADOT.

My Commute: Palms to USC and DTLA

 

I like to ride my bike along the Ballona Creek Bike Path.

Hi! It’s me, Gwen. I love riding my bike along the Ballona Creek Bike Path.

When I moved from Deep Springs, California to LA for graduate school, friends and family shared concerns that without a car, my commute would be terrible. Well, I am happy to report that I have proved them all wrong! Yes, walking, biking, and taking public transit has its challenges, but so does driving (traffic congestion, parking, climate change, to name a few). Rather than live in fear, I actually look forward to my multi-modal commute every day. First, I look at it as a learning opportunity. As a student in urban planning and public administration at USC, it is important to me that I understand and experience public transit and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Second, I embrace the economic benefit! I save a lot of money by not driving, which helps me afford life in Los Angeles as a student.

I save $4,020 each year by not driving

Thanks to a partnership between Metro and USC Graduate Student Government, I get to buy an affordable, unlimited Metro TAP Card each semester. You can see if you are eligible for a discounted TAP Card, too.

On any given week day, I travel from Palms to USC or DTLA on:

  1. The 733 Rapid bus: I love taking the bus, because I can read the news, do homework, meet new people, and bring my bike. Oh, and during my commute, I’ve also taken up learning a language. By using this time to practice Spanish on Duolingo, I have gone from 0-33% fluent in just 10 months! A este ritmo , voy a hablar con fluidez en un par de años más.
  2. The Expo Line train: The train is great for all the same reasons as the bus, but it’s faster. I guess one downside is that it warrants less time for language learning.
  3. My awesome bike: This is my favorite mode of transportation. I get to be outside, exercise, and meet other people who ride bikes. I hope that people who see me on my bike think, “Hey, that person looks pretty happy on their bike. Maybe I can ride a bike, too!”

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: Palms is way closer to UCLA than USC. Why am I choosing this epic commute? Well, to start, I need to get out and living far from campus helps me to explore more of LA. Plus, I have a lot of friends at UCLA, and I think it’s a cool school to live by (don’t tell Tommy Trojan). Some people are bi-coastal. I like bi-campusal.

Riding from Palms to USC

Before I hop on my bike, I run through an ABC Quick Check to make sure everything is in working order. It is better for me to solve a problem like a flat tire, broken chain, or faulty brakes at home than when I am rushing off to work or school. For example, when I take my bike down from a wall mount, sometimes the brakes become disengaged. I prefer to notice this in the comfort of my apartment, not when I’m trying  to stop at a red light.

Once I know my bike is good to go, I ride to Culver City Station and park at the station bike racks (with not one, but  TWO U-locks). Did you know you can rent a bike locker from Metro? I am seriously considering this, because my bicycle can never be too safe.

I keep an extra set of bike lights in my bag, and my helmet is reflective.

For the ride home, I keep an extra set of bike lights in my bag.

Since some classes end after 9pm, I often get home late. I love Venice because of the bike lane. Venice has the longest connected bike lane in Los Angeles! But cars drive at high speeds, which is even more terrifying at night. So, I’ve mastered at-night riding. Check out my super reflective backpack!

My reflective backpack helps me stay visible at night.

This picture of me wearing my backpack at night shows how hard it is for cars to see me when it’s dark. Good thing they can really see my backpack!

I also have a reflective jacket and helmet cover. You can never be too visible on the road!

Ok, back to my commute. At Culver City Station, I hop on the Expo Line train for a seamless commute to Expo Park/USC station, which is closest to my department, but there are actually three Expo Line stations at USC:

  • Expo/Vermont
  • Expo Park/USC
  • Jefferson/USC

This bike-train commute from my apartment to school takes anywhere from 35 to 50 minutes, depending on how long I wait for the train.

While I usually ride my bike to the train station, I sometimes like to bike all the to USC! My route travels along Venice and Exposition and takes about 45 minutes.

I really like this route because there's a bike path or bike lane the whole way

I like riding all the way to USC, because there’s a bike path or bike lane the whole way.

On my way home, I often swing by the grocery store. Thanks to my folding pannier baskets, which I bought from Palms Cycle, I can carry two full grocery bags (one in each basket).

Palms to DTLA

On days when I head directly to work, I take the 733 Rapid bus, which is pretty much a straight shot.

Taking the bus gives me a chance to read, do homework, and learn Spanish.

Taking the bus gives me a chance to read, do homework, and learn Spanish.

My walk to the bus stop is great because it gets me outside. It also reminds me that most streets in Los Angeles are not designed for pedestrians. I have near misses with cars almost as often as I do on my bike, and it’s especially bad during rush hour. Being a pedestrian can feel really powerless when streets are made for fast, heavy vehicles. People who walk should feel safe and connected. I’m grateful to be part of LADOT’s Active Transportation Division, working to make LA neighborhoods walkable through programs like People St.

I prefer the 733 Rapid to the 33 Local, because it's faster

I prefer the 733 Rapid to the 33 Local, because it’s faster.

My walk-bus trip takes about an hour, depending on how long I wait for the bus. I use Transit App to track arrival times, which helps minimize my wait.

DTLA to USC

Getting from DTLA to USC is super easy, because it’s only 4 miles on my bike. There aren’t always bike lanes, but I confidently take the lane and ride 4 feet away from parked cars when that’s the case. I was “doored” a few years ago, so I learned the hard way to never ride in the door zone. Learn from my mistake! This commute takes 25 minutes.

When I’m not on my bike, I take public transit. There are a lot of options spanning 28 to 36 minutes:

  • 910/950 Silver Line bus
  • 81 bus
  • DASH A bus
  • DASH F bus
  • Purple Line train
  • Red Line train
  • Expo Line train
I love that from work to school, I can either take public transit or ride my bike

I can take public transit or ride my bike from work to school.

This commute is about to get way better thanks to the Figueroa Corridor Streetscape Project (aka MyFigueroa). As part of MyFigueroa, complete street elements will be installed along a 4 miles stretch of Figuera. These improvements will include a protected bike lanebike signal heads, and bike boxes at intersections, among others. Construction starts in summer 2016 and will be completed by March 2017.

Well, there you have it. My commute saves money, gets me outside, gives me opportunities to be productive, and makes me feel connected to my communities and the greater Los Angeles.

Thanks for reading! How is your commute?

Gwen von Klan is an intern at LADOT’s Active Transportation Division.

Closing the Northvale Gap within Expo Bike Path

On March 5th, Angelenos celebrated the opening of the new Metro Gold Line extension into Asuza, which expands the existing Gold Line more than 11 miles to bring more people into the ever growing Metro rail system. Later this year, Metro’s rail system will offer even more connectivity options for our choosing. With the completion of Metro’s Expo Line Phase II, expected to open May 2016, people will be able to ride the train from the existing Expo Line Phase I terminus in Culver City all the way to the beach in Santa Monica!

In the meantime, LADOT is working diligently on building the Expo Bike Path that largely parallels the Expo Line’s rail line alignment.The Expo Bike Path will provide a low-stress east-west facility for people to bicycle, walk, scoot, or roll. Due to setbacks outside the City’s control, a portion of the bike path has been delayed, public meetings have been previously held with the community, and in January 2016 the City of LA held an open house to provide information and discuss design alternatives.

The Expo Northvale Gap Closure project would create a safe and comfortable connection for people traveling on bicycle between a gap along the planned Expo Bike Path. This project would better connect the surrounding neighborhoods to the new light rail line and allow more continuous bicycle travel in West Los Angeles. As part of efforts to close the “Northvale Gap”, on January 13, 2016 LADOT partnered with the Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Engineering (BOE), Department of City Planning (DCP), and Council District 5 (CD 5) to host an open house at the Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library to gather public input on potential alternatives for this gap closure project. Read more

#ElNiñoLA Update: LA River Bike/Ped Path Temporary Closure

On Friday, January 8, 2016 Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles District Commander Col. Kirk Gibbs announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will be taking new interim measures to improve flood protection on the Los Angeles River during #ElNiñoLA.

The USACE is the federal agency responsible for navigable bodies of water, including our very own Los Angeles River. The LA River has an almost century-long history with the USACE that started after a series of floods, including the 1914 flood which caused $10 million in damages. A public outcry for action to address the recurring flooding problems led to the formation of the Los Angeles County Flood Control District. Early flood control efforts included some channelization and the need for reservoirs. Bonds were approved by taxpayers in 1917 and 1924 to build major dams. After two additional destructive floods in the 1930s, Federal assistance was requested and the Army Corps of Engineers took a lead role in channelizing the River. Channelization began in 1938. By 1960, the project was completed to form the fifty-one mile engineered waterway we are familiar with today.

A hisoric shot of the Los Angeles River at Griffith Park, circa 1898-1910 (Source: Wikipedia)

Due to the expectations of a powerful El Niño season, USACE recently received emergency federal funding to put in place safety measures for the area of the river that spans from Griffith Park to Elysian Valley.

“Our river is unique — most of the year it runs nearly dry, and then during the rainy season it runs in powerful torrents as we’ve seen this week,” said Mayor Garcetti. “My top priority during El Niño is to ensure the safety of everyone in our city, and I thank the Army Corps of Engineers for taking action now to enhance the river’s flood management functions.”

The Los Angeles District of USACE determined this area needed increased capacity to keep the river in its banks. The L.A. District declared an emergency to USACE headquarters on January 6, prompting headquarters to provide $3.1 million in federal funding and nearly 3-miles of temporary barriers, known as HESCO Bastion. The temporary barriers act as industrial size sandbags, effectively raising the sides of the river channel and temporarily increasing its capacity during the winter storm rains.  The District also received approximately $500,000 to begin removing water-flow impeding vegetation from the highest-risk areas within the channel, in an area just upstream and downstream of Riverside Drive and the Zoo Bridge.

Industrial size sandbags were mobilized from Nebraska to LA a few days ago in preparation for the expected storms

Anytime rain is in the forecast the LA River Bike Path is closed for safety (shelters and resources are available for people experiencing homelessness). In the coming months, the raised barriers will allow for the expected volumes and help protect against flooding in adjacent neighborhoods. The barrier will be under construction on the bike path beginning Tuesday, January 19, 2016.

Due to the configuration of the HESCO barriers on the bike path by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the LA River Bike Path will remain closed through #ElNiñoLA season from Zoo Drive to Glendale Blvd (with the Alex Baum Bridge remaining open as a bicycle and pedestrian crossing across the LA River and 5 freeway).  North of this location, in the Griffith Park section of the Path, there is also an unrelated intermittent closure due to Caltrans freeway bridge rehabilitation work. Check out the City’s Detour Guide for getting around temporary closures on the LA River bike/ped path here.

UPDATE: As many of you may already know, the Bike Path has been closed due to flood control measures installed by the Los Angeles District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since January 2016. At this juncture, our agencies anticipate the earliest the Bike Path may reopen, post-‪#‎ElNiñoLA‬ flood risk and weather permitting, will be Memorial Day weekend.

Stay tuned for updates about construction and planned detour routes. Information will be available via our Blog (where you can also find articles about how to bike through El Nino and more!) and social media channels (@ladotbikeprog) using the hashtag #ElNiñoLA.

Updated 3/16/2016: Current information on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ barrier configuration added.

Our Bike Paths are Made for Sharing

Walk and bike lanes with father and daughter riding their bikes

The Metro Orange Line Bike Path is sufficiently wide to provide separate demarcated spaces for people walking and bicycling.

As the City works to design and build road improvements to support active transportation and revitalize the Los Angeles River, Angelenos are increasingly re-discovering the beauty of the City, changing how they travel throughout it, and visiting outdoor places to exercise. The bike path along the Los Angeles River is one of the few places in this City that can host people taking in nature, commuting to their destination, or just enjoying a pleasant bike ride or walk.

The continuous 7-mile segment of bike path that runs parallel to a mostly  soft-bottom portion of the river between Glendale and Elysian Valley known as the “Glendale Narrows” has proven to be especially popular for a number of activities, including: dog-walking, bicycling, recreational walking, bird watching, and more. Like many places in Los Angeles that become popular, the limited space, often less than 15 feet wide, available at this section of the LA River bike path can become crowded. At times, the bike path is occupied by dozens of people walking, rolling, and bicycling.

If You Build It, They Will All Come

Prior to the bike path being built from Fletcher Drive to approximately Riverside Drive in 2010, there was only 4.6 miles of continuous bike path from Fletcher Dr. to Zoo Dr. Few people rode their bikes along the Los Angeles River service road on the not-yet-constructed portion of the LA River through Elysian Valley, although the passage was used informally by locals. After the LA River path was extended to its current southern endpoint at Riverside Dr. in Elysian Valley, the facility’s smooth surface and accessible entrances attracted people walking, rolling, pushing strollers, and bicycling. What was formerly a 4.6-mile bike path became a continuous 7-mile shared use bike path, giving people more room to enjoy spaces along the LA River. Over the years, communities along the Glendale Narrows have also seen change and are drawing more attention to the LA River. Today, many people happily use what will eventually become a long linear park as it is intended for a variety of uses and activities. Despite the limited space, most users are able to get along most of the time – whether they walk, bike, or roll.

P1010106

Then CD 13 Councilmember Eric Garcetti and then CD 4 Councilmember Tom LaBonge at the grand opening of the Elysian Valley section of the LA River bike path.

Sharing the Bike Path

Unfortunately, this post is not about the usual harmonious rhythm shared by LA River bike path users, it is about the small portion of time when path users struggle to get along. Every now and then, people walking or rolling on the path encounter people riding their bicycles at high speeds, making them uncomfortable and concerned. On the other hand, people on bicycles complain about people who walk in groups of three or more abreast or against the flow of bicycle travel. We hear reports of people colliding or nearly colliding with one another on the path, which can startle path users and discourage them revisiting this beautiful resource. In a perfect world, the path would be wide enough that none of these conflicts would exist but the reality is that the current width of the bike path is what is feasible given physical constraints and available resources.

The City has few places that provide a better, uninterrupted bicycling experience than the Los Angeles River bike path, and as the River’s amenities continue to be built out all of us must do our part to keep the path a friendly and accommodating place for everyone.

photo.JPG

When everybody shares and uses the bike path responsibly, we can all get in on the LA River fun!

Keep in mind that both people walking and bicycling are legal users of the path. Below are useful tips to keep in mind when sharing bike path:

When Bicycling:

  • Yield to people walking or rolling.
  • Slow down for pedestrians entering the path.
  • Slow down when passing anyone.
  • Pass only when it is safe to do so.
  • Travel at safe speed with due regard for others.
  • Be especially cautious around children and elderly people.
  • When traveling side-by-side, stay on the right side of the path when pedestrians are present.
  • Ride in single file when there is not enough room to adequately share the path.
  • Slow down when approaching pedestrians
  • Giving audible warning (i.e., saying “passing left”, ringing bell), pass only when safe to do so, and when in doubt, stop.

When Walking:

  • Look both ways before entering the path.
  • Keep to the right side of the path.
  • Do not walk/stop in the middle of the path.
  • Make sure children know where to walk and when in doubt hold their hand.
  • Walk your dog(s) on a short leash (and please pick up after him or her).
  • Look behind you and ahead- especially when moving across the path.

Remember, the LA River bike path is a shared resource and we must all be courteous to its other users.

Key Laws Regarding Bike Paths

The following is the text and summary of laws relative to Bicycle Path use in the State of California and City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles River.

California Vehicle Code

No motorized bicycles are allowed on bike paths unless allowed by Code

  • CVC21207.5 Notwithstanding Sections 21207 and 213127 of this code, or any other provision of law, no motorized bicycle may be operated on a bicycle path or trail, bikeway, bicycle lane, established pursuant to Section 21207, equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trail, unless it is within or adjacent to a roadway or unless the local authority or the governing body of a public agency having jurisdiction over such path or trail permits, by ordinance, such operation.

It is illegal to loiter on or block a bike path except maintenance or utility vehicles

  • CVC21211 (a) No person may stop, stand, sit, or loiter upon any class I bikeway, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public or private bicycle path or trail, if the stopping, standing, sitting or loitering impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist. (b) No person may place or park any bicycle, vehicle, or any other object upon any bikeway or bicycle path or trail as specified in subdivision (a), which impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or is otherwise in compliance with the law. (C) This section does not apply to drivers or owners of utility or public utility vehicles as provided in Section 22512.

Due to inadequate available width, no separate pedestrian path is available (like the Orange Line Bike Path), thus pedestrians are legal and welcome users of the Los Angeles River Bike Path

  • CVC 21966 No pedestrian shall proceed along a bicycle path or lane where there is an adjacent adequate pedestrian facility.

No cars, motorcycles, mopeds or other motorized vehicles are allowed on the path except maintenance or emergency vehicles.

  • CVC213127. No person shall operate an unauthorized motor vehicle on any state, county, city, private, or district hiking or horseback riding trail or bicycle path that is clearly marked by an authorized agent or owner with signs at all entrances and exists and at intervals of not more than one mile indicating no unauthorized motor vehicles are permitted on the hiking or horseback riding trail or bicycle path, except bicycle paths which are contiguous or adjacent to a roadway dedicated solely to motor vehicle use.

California Streets and Highways Code

Bicycle Paths are designed for the use of people on bicycles AND on foot.

  • S&H Code 890.4 As used in this article, “bikeway” means all facilities that provide primarily for, and promote, bicycle travel. For purposes of this article, bikeways shall be categorized as follows: (a) Bike paths or shared use paths, also referred to as “Class I bikeways,” which provide a completely separated right-of-way designated for the exclusive use of bicycles and pedestrians with crossflows by motorists minimized.

Bicycle Path design is overseen by Caltrans (State Dept. of Transportation) and various strategies may be utilized to make all users aware of each other on bike paths.

  • S&H Code 890.9. The department shall establish uniform specifications and symbols for signs, markers, and traffic control devices to designate bikeways, regulate traffic, improve safety and convenience for bicyclists, and alert pedestrians and motorists of the presence of bicyclists on bikeways and on roadways where bicycle travel is permitted.

Los Angeles Municipal Code

Users of bicycle paths, or bikeways, are not allowed to use bicycles, skates, etc in a way that endangers other users of the path.

  • LAMC 56.16-1. No person shall ride, operate or use a bicycle, unicycle, skateboard, cart, wagon, wheelchair, roller skates, or any other device moved exclusively by human power, on a sidewalk, bikeway or boardwalk in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

 

Our mobility future is upon us! Plan for 2035!

Exciting things keep happening for the future of mobility in Los Angeles! Some of you who have been following mobility planning and implementation in the City may be wondering when Mobility Plan 2035, the primary planning document that guides planning and implementation of mobility for the City, could take effect.  Well you are in luck! On Tuesday, August 4th, the LA City Council Transportation and Planning and Land Use Management Committees will consider the decision to adopt the Plan at 2:30pm in Council Chambers.

If urban planning and government are not your profession, you might be wondering what a plan is, why we use them, or how you can learn more. Planning documents are developed (this one has been in development for nearly 4 years!) with an extensive process of outreach, studies, socio-economic forecasting, visioning, and strategic planning in order to guide unified decision making in the future.  Plans are not set in stone, but they provide goals (aspirations in vision) and objectives (ways of achieving the vision) that the City can pursue to achieve a desired future. Once adopted, Mobility Plan 2035 will become part of the City’s General Plan and provide policy and implementation guidance for LA streets for the next 20 years.

Mobility Plan 2035 is getting ready for a green light!

Mobility Plan 2035 is especially dynamic and groundbreaking in that it represents the first time Complete Streets policies and guidance will be reflected in the City’s General Plan! Complete Streets are considered streets that provide safe access for all users.  Mobility Plan 2035 includes a Complete Streets Design Guide that provides decision makers, departments, and the broader community a number of options for public rights of way (streets!) to achieve safe mobility access for people of all ages and abilities.

Next Tuesday August 4th at 2:30pm the LA City Council Transportation and Planning and Land Use Management Committees will consider the decision to adopt the the Mobility Plan 2035, the key planning document for mobility and streets in the City of Los Angeles. If the Committees vote to adopt the Plan, then the Plan will be heard at full City Council for final Plan adoption, the last step in the adoption process!

We’d like to tell you a little more about the Plan! Planning documents can be policy game-changers, and some of the substantial policy directives found in Mobility Plan 2035 are outlined in its Chapters:

  1. Safety First
  2. World Class Infrastructure
  3. Access to All Angelenos
  4. Collaboration, Communication and Informed Choices
  5. Clean Environment & Healthy Communities

Reseda Boulevard, LA’s first iteration of the Great Streets program shows how streets can facilitate low-stress travel with a parking protected bike lane and an attractive walking environment

Mobility Plan 2035 provides a vision of integrated transportation networks for all road users. The Plan especially focuses on safe, low stress networks that encourage more people to embrace modes of active transportation, whether it be biking, walking, strolling, rollerblading, skating or more.

The plan also establishes objectives to measure success, including objectives to decrease transportation-related fatalities; establish slow school zones; provide frequent, reliable on-time bus arrival; increase vehicular travel time reliability; expand bicycle ridership; expand access to shared-use vehicles; share real time information to inform travel choices; and increase economic productivity by lowering the overall cost of travel.

Other cool Mobility Plan objectives include ensuring that 80% of street segments do not exceed targeted operating speeds and increasing the percentage of females who travel by bicycle to 35% of all riders by 2035

If Mobility Plan 2035 is achieved, it would take 219,000 trips off of our roads every day, and result in 1.7 million fewer miles traveled every day, which would be great for our health, our commute, and the health of our environment! Full implementation of the Plan would triple the number of Los Angeles residents living within a quarter mile of a Transit Enhanced Network (TEN) facility and would more than double the number of jobs located within a quarter mile of such transit facilities.

Don’t forget, on Tuesday, August 4th, the LA City Council Transportation and Planning and Land Use Management Committees will consider the decision to adopt the Mobility Plan 2035 at 2:30pm in Council Chambers. The meeting is open to the public and speaker cards will be available for those who wish to comment.

Legalize it! Discussing Protected Bikeways with Caltrans

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Our Senior Bicycle Coordinator, Michelle Mowery, tests a protected bikeway on Rosemead Boulevard in Temple City. By next year there will be statewide standards for this type of facility that physically separates cars and bicycles on the roadway.

In September 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law A.B. 1193. This law, known as the Protected Bikeways Act of 2014, requires the California Department of Transportation, Caltrans, to establish a new category of bikeway in the state’s Highway Design Manual, the technical design guide that governs bikeway treatment statewide. Currently there are three categories of bikeways – Class I bike paths, Class II bike lanes, Class III bike routes – and A.B. 1193 calls for the addition Class IV cycle tracks, or separated bikeways. Cycle tracks are common in Northern Europe but there are only a handful of such bikeways in California, and part of the reason is because of the absence of formal guidance at the state level. However, where separated bikeways (facilities that physically protect bicycle users from motor vehicle traffic) are implemented, they have been wildly successful and attracted a wider range of users! In May, Caltrans met with a broad coalition of bicycle advocates and local transportation agencies to discuss cycle track designs to hear some initial feedback as the design process for Class IV cycle tracks is being initiated.

To learn more about creating design standards for a new “Class IV” bikeway aka cycle track, we conducted an interview with Kevin Herritt, Caltrans’ Chief of Office of Geometric Design Standards. We would like to thank Herritt for taking the time to answer to some of the questions many in the bicycling community have had on their mind since A.B. 1193 passed. Read more