#LeapLA: 4 years in the Making

In my departing blog post for the LADOT Bike Blog/LeapLA, I thought I would reflect on my path in transportation planning and the changes I’ve seen in Los Angeles in such a short time.

Last year, along with the modernizing overhaul of the Bike Program website, we rebranded the Bike Blog to Life for Everyday Active People (#LeapLA). Not everyone clearly associates transportation with people, land use, or culture, but my connection to the field has always been people-forward…

During my first year of Urban and Regional Planning school, I had the good fortune of taking a Policy Analysis class where I chose to do an analysis of corridor development on Eagle Rock Boulevard. Eagle Rock was the closest arterial street to my home, and a very wide street- an old yellow car right-of-way that had many different characteristics as you progressed through its different neighborhoods.

Despite some improvements like street medians and bike lanes, Eagle Rock Bl. still seemed very inhospitable to people, so I wanted to see what factors contributed to this condition. My analysis led me into the realm of street configuration and its relationship to community character and user behavior.

Researching human behavior around transportation was extremely captivating. Why did people jaywalk when it was clearly dangerous? Why didn’t people use the bike lanes that were built to help them?  How does all of this effect the economic development and user vitality of a street?

It was here I started my journey into understanding streets, neighborhoods, and people. A year later I found myself interning in the Pedestrian Program, a new division in LADOT born out of community neighborhood planning.

Talking with LADOT new-hires about People St's Sunset Triangle Plaza in Silver Lake

Talking with LADOT new-hires about People St’s Sunset Triangle Plaza in Silver Lake

In the Pedestrian program, my work mainly consisted of building the basis for a new program, Streets for People, later branded as People St. Soon I transitioned into a position in the Bike Program, where I began to develop programs based around business outreach and community collaboration. I worked on building partnerships between community members and the City, to bring placemaking infrastructure like bicycle corrals to City streets. Working with local non-profit organizations and educational institutions, I established a steering committee to pilot a Bicycle Friendly Business District in Northeast LA.

This pilot grew into a broader program that would incorporate bicycle and pedestrian friendly infrastructure and programming, supporting Angelenos to embrace a lifestyle of localism, walking, and biking. One of the biggest proponents of this program was not the components of the program itself, but the sheer necessity: Los Angeles data confirms that 47% of trips in the county are less than 3 miles, and therefore easily achieved by any number of combinations of walking, biking, and transit. By fostering a culture to shift these trips away from the single occupancy vehicle, our city could build culture and community cohesion, while solving the decades long problem of traffic and congestion.

In the almost 4 years since I came to LADOT, I’ve seen dramatic changes in Los Angeles. With the help and collaboration of many brilliant colleagues, I installed 14 bicycle corrals, 9 bicycle repair stations, 3 parklets, secured grant funding for 10 bicycle friendly business districts, and worked with hundreds of community members to make Los Angeles a more liveable place. As I transition to a role in the Department of City Planning, I will miss editing the LADOT Bike Blog (now #LeapLA), and the opportunity to develop new Active Transportation projects. Today though, Active Transportation has progressed to a place where it is embedded in new improvements. In my last month at LADOT I saw the installation of our first fully constructed cycle track on Los Angeles Street, infrastructure we only dreamed of 4 years ago.  I can’t wait to see what else Los Angeles has in store.

– Elizabeth

The #bikeLA team c. 2015

The #bikeLA team c. 2015

One small step for the internet… One giant LEAP for the LADOT Bike Program!

Stop the newsfeeds! Big news over here on the internet! After many months of planning, designing, and delving deep into the psyche of the bicyclela.org user, we are ready to LEAP into the future with a whole new approach to the LADOT Bike Program internet experience: bike.lacity.org. We don’t want to brag too much, but the next time you take a look at our website, chances are, you will be impressed. Our brand new website is bigger, better, and easier to use than ever before! Not only has the website received a navigational and aesthetic makeover, bringing it straight into the middle-2010’s- we’ve also overhauled the LADOT Bike Blog! We’re very excited to announce #LeapLA, the new face of the Bike Blog that meets the broader active transportation demands of the times.

Counters

Counters! How many bicycle racks, bicycle lanes, and commuters are in the city?

#LeapLA, speaks to our larger calling: Life for Everyday Active People. Besides keeping Angelenos up to date and informed on current bicycle projects, news and events, #LeapLA serves as an information hub for all forms of active transportation in the City of Los Angeles. We want #LeapLA to focus on people and their quality of life, whether they are people on bicycles, people walking, people skating, rollerblading, and more. We know people in LA get around in all kinds of ways and that the more options there are, the better time we make and the better experience we have.

#LeapLA focuses on our multi-modal experience lived on the streets of Los Angeles, because let’s face it: you may ride a bike, but sometimes you ride your bike, hop on a train, and then walk to your final destination. Rollerblade to work every morning? Get multimodal with the Commuter Express downtown, then snag a bike from a nearby bikeshare station (coming soon!) for that last mile! Our goal: no matter how you get around the city, #LeapLA has you covered! Read more

The Next Chapter

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Jojo with General Manager Jaime De La Vega a few CicLAvias back.

Sadly, this is our final post from Assistant Bicycle Coordinator extraordinaire Jojo Pewsawang. Jojo graduated from USC’s graduate Urban Planning program this past summer and wrapped up his time here at LADOT a few weeks ago. We’ll miss his wit, creativity, and follow through tremendously, but wish him all the best in life and in his career.  – Nate Baird

When I first started interning at the LADOT Bike Program back in December of 2011, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I only knew one thing with certainty, and that was that I wanted to make a difference. My involvement with the blog came a month or so after I started at DOT. I was reading a post about USC’s proposed bike ban on campus and was just enthralled by the comment thread. People were sharing their personal experiences, exchanging ideas – it revealed to me that the blog was a great place to share perspectives and opinions. Finally, on a post about road diets, I volunteered to help out and the rest is history.

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Let’s all welcome the new kid! Part II… Plus new tabs for the LADOT Bike Blog

Good Afternoon, Bicyclist.

We’re inviting you to join us in this new endeavor we’re calling the “LADOT Bike Blog”. The bicycling community in Los Angeles has seen explosive growth over the last few years and the online bicycling community has grown along with it. Accordingly, the L.A. bicycling community deserves an online source of information on bike happenings from LADOT Bikeways.

– Christopher Kidd 3/24/2010

With those words, the LADOT Bike Blog became a part of the conversation in the Los Angeles bicycling community. The goal of the blog has and always will be to be both a resource and a conduit for the exchange of information and ideas between the department and you. It’s now been over a year and a half since this grand experiment first took shape and we are proud of the many accomplishments that this blog and its creator, Christopher Kidd have achieved. Rest assured, Chris’ grand vision is still here to guide us as we move forward. Join us below the fold to learn more about what the future has in store for the LADOT Bike Blog.

The first LADOT Bike Blog post, circa 2010

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One more reason to congratulate Chris Kidd

Bike Corral Ceremony Photogs

Chris Kidd applauds the York Bike Corral, beside a few of his fans, advocates and co-workers alike

While we regretfully contemplate an L.A. without Chris Kidd, we’ve got one more reason to applaud his LADOT Bike Blog efforts: We received word last week that Chris has won the California statewide Student Planner award from the American Planning Association’s California chapter, the “2011 Distinguished Leadership Award for a Student Planner”. Chris really did a terrific job of putting a human face on the efforts of everyone involved in making L.A. a more bikeable place, advocates and city workers alike. While we’ll miss his enthusiasm and doggedness, we hope the best for him in the Bay Area. He’ll receive his award this September, at the California APA conference.

Here’s what readers had to say about Chris’ departure, from the comments to Chris’ last post:

bikerdude It was a great ride with you… take care.

kayojon Thanks for being a pioneer for the biking community and the City of LA.

sirinyairinya Wow! You’ve done a great job here, Chris. Best wishes on your next step!

C-More Ahh, sad to read about the passing of the torch, excited to see what is ahead for LADOT Bike Blog, even more so to hear what Chris will be doing! Looking back at all the hard work and energy that Chris put into this blog it is no wonder why it is so successful. Chris would dedicate countless unpaid hours at meetings/rides/events/ and research to make sure he would have content for his loyal readers. His fan base blossomed from a few loyal fans to countless numbers of people and hits! …Chris will surely be missed but I expect to hear great things from him in the very near future! Good work and good luck Chris!

Evan Three cheers for Chris! I remember when this first started there was a lot of skepticism, and a little bit hostility, towards the LADOT Bike Blog. I know I was skeptical. You’ve done a great job becoming part of the conversation and improving cycling in LA…

Alex de Cordoba I think I commented something snarky on your first post. You were a gentleman then and a gentleman now. I wish you success in your next adventure.

And everyone should view Dennis Hindman’s comment in its original glory, thanks for summing it up so well Dennis!

The Bike Blog, It Is A’changing: Christopher Kidd Out, Jojo Pewsawang In

It’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it? As I prepare to pass the LADOT Bike Blog torch to the capable hands of current intern (and soon-to-be Student Professional Worker) Jojo Pewsawang, I can’t help but reflect on everything that’s happened during my time at the LADOT Bike Blog.

See you later, Los Angeles

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