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

#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.

Where would YOU like a Bike Share station in DTLA?

The City of Los Angeles and Metro are partnering to launch the Metro Countywide Bike Share Pilot Program in Summer 2016. The Pilot Program will feature up to 1,000 bicycles and 80 stations in Downtown Los Angeles. Based on preliminary studies and two rounds of public feedback (here and here), we have increased the system size by 20% and identified over 100 possible station locations. Now we need your help to select the very best ones.

Visit Metro.net/bikeshare to view the Bike Share map showing proposed station locations. Tell us why you like or dislike a location directly on the map. The deadline for comments is Thursday, December 31, 2015. Spread the word! Don’t forget to share the site with your networks #BikeShareLA.

We got great feedback at the Arts District Farmers Market. Now we want to hear which stations YOU prefer!

When thinking about station locations, you may be wondering what attributes to consider. Below is some information about station size and siting criteria we encourage you to think about when expressing your preferences.

  • What are the space requirements for a Bike Share station? The average station size is approximately the size of three parking spaces. Some stations may be smaller or larger.
  • What are the station siting criteria? We are searching for locations on streets, on sidewalks or in plazas that provide:Connectivity: Connecting to transit and key destinations creates a network
    Space Availability: Wider sidewalks and parking spaces are great locations
    Accessibility: Stations should be visible and easy to get to
    Sun: Sunny spots are best since stations run on solar power
    Demand and Support: Stations should be located where there is high demand
  • Are these stations set in stone? No. This is a pilot program and the station locations will be evaluated as the program moves forward. Stations may be moved in the future.

Help plan the Downtown LA stations in the Metro Countywide Bike Share Program!  Visit Metro.net/bikeshare

 

People St Application Window Opening November 1st with Small Changes

Last year, the People St program opened its first ever application cycle re-purposed road space in Pacoima and Leimert Park for two new Plazas and will bring Parklets to Palms and South Park in Downtown LA soon. LADOT’s award-winning People St Program will open its second application cycle and begin accepting proposals for Plazas, Parklets, and Bicycle Corrals from potential partners starting November 1st! Community Partners will have 45 calendar days or until December 15th to submit their applications for all People St projects.

Ballet folklorico at July 30th Ribbon Cutting at Bradley Ave Plaza in Pacoima.

Before you start gathering your neighbors and friends to help you put together a proposal, here are a few things you should know about this year’s People St application cycle:

  • Apply for a Bicycle Corral: Instead of a on rolling basis, Bicycle Corrals are now integrated into the application-based process along with Plazas and Parklets! All applications for People St projects will be accepted during the application window period. This helps us prioritize Plazas, Parklets, and Bicycle Corrals all at once and lets us foster better communication between Community Partner applicants.
  • Updated Application Manuals: As the People St program continues to grow, we would like to streamline the application process and make applying easier for Community Partners. We’ve made revisions and updates to our application manuals incorporating new information to better guide Community Partners!
  • Keep your Neighborhood Council in the loop: Community Partners are now required to present their proposed People St project to their neighborhood during one of their local Neighborhood Council’s monthly meetings. For a People St project application to be considered complete, a copy of the Neighborhood Council meeting’s agenda or official minutes must be included as proof of presentation.
  • Kit of Parts for Plazas Went on a Diet: Information from the previous ‘Kit of Parts for Plazas Technical Appendix’ has now been incorporated into the ‘Kit of Parts for Plazas’. Now, Community Partners can refer to the ‘Kit of Parts for Plazas‘ exclusively for information on needed furnishings and programming to construct and activate a Plaza!

People St 2015 Application Cycle Timeline.

Now that you are up to speed on the changes we’ve made and are interested in applying for a project in your neighborhood, start now! All Plazas, Parklets, and Bicycle Corrals application materials and information you need can be found at our one stop shop: peoplest.lacity.org. If you have additional questions, email us at peoplest@lacity.org.

We can’t wait to form new partnerships and work with our Community Partners to bring their project ideas to life!

Meet the City’s First Ever Complete Streets Design Committee!

Members of the City’s Complete Streets Design Committee confer at LADOT HQ.

In March 2015, LADOT’s General Manager Seleta Reynolds directed the Department form a new collaborative group: The Complete Streets Design Committee. The Design Committee establishes a forum where project managers can request feedback and design guidance for their projects from diverse expertise within LADOT.

The Design Committee operates under four primary objectives:

  1. To provide guidance on design concepts.
  2. To resolve design issues.
  3. To document design decisions, particularly on new or innovative designs.
  4. To lead the department on innovative design-related policy directives.

Members of the Design Committee include representatives from the Department’s Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control (ATSAC), Active Transportation, Design, District Research and Support, Complete Streets, Operations, Parking, and Planning Divisions. The Design Committee combines experience and knowledge from specific fields, so that project managers can develop design guidelines used to generate Department policies and procedures. The Design Committee can also provide technical recommendations to improve specific projects in the design phase. As an evaluative board, the Design Committee provides feedback on existing designs and discusses the outcomes of recent design interventions. By harnessing the collective experience of the Department, not only will the Design Committee result in the best possible designs, but also give staff ownership and investment in those decisions, and in projects overall.

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New California Laws Set to Improve Your Safety

In September, Governor Jerry Brown signed two new momentous bills creating safer streets for the people of California.  The first, A.B. 902, permits local municipalities to enact programs for bicyclists ticketed for certain infractions. The second, A.B. 8, allows law enforcement agencies to issue a public alert if a person has been killed or severely injured in a hit-and-run collision. Both bills will take effect on January 1, 2016.  So let’s take a closer look at how each can improve mobility for Californians…

A.B. 902

A.B. 902, the traffic ticket diversion program, helps turn a ticket into a learning opportunity by providing an opportunity for people on bicycles to attend a bicycling class to reduce their fine. This change in the way we normally conduct traffic enforcement can result in reduced fines for committing moving violations, a more educated  public, and over all safer streets, a real a win-win-win! It is important to note that the passage of A.B. 902 does not automatically institute programs statewide, but removes barriers that previously prevented cities and counties from initiating such an option for people ticketed while on a bicycle. It is still necessary for members of the public to work with their local officials to ensure such a bicycle ticket diversion program is implemented.

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Cities and counties are now allowed to implement bicycle ticket diversion programs as a means to promote better bicycle safety while reducing ticket fines.

A.B. 8

A.B. 8, also known as the “Yellow Alert” system was proposed to combat the heavy toll of statewide hit-and-runs. Similar to the Amber Alert system, which alerts drivers of a missing child through freeway message board signs and text messages, Yellow Alerts are intended to garner the public’s help to find fleeing drivers of  hit-and-runs crimes. Alerts will be issued only when local law enforcement has a sufficient description of the identity of the suspects and their vehicles. The alerts will be activated in specific geographic areas, presumably near the scene of a collision. In addition to freeway signs, alerts may be heard on television or on the radio.

Yellow Alerts are not new to California. In 2012, the City of Denver instituted a similar system, as a result of which they experiences a 76% arrest rate in cases where the alert was utilized. The success of the program ensued in a statewide program throughout Colorado. Similar to Denver, the City of Los Angeles has been one step ahead of the state. In February 2015, City officials announced a hit-and-run alert system that would publish information on social media about cars and drivers linked to fatal and other sever hit-and-runs.

Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) spoke on the important of reducing hit-and-run crimes at a 2014 press conference at LA City Hall. Source: Streetsblog LA

This is a big win for Southern California! Aside from the obvious safety and social benefits, we are prideful that both bills were introduced by LA County representatives including Assemblymember Richard Bloom, representing Santa Monica (traffic diversion program) and Assemblymember Mike Gatto, representing Glendale (hit-and-run bill). You can hear more from Assemblymember Gatto himself about A.B. 8 in his interview with Streetsblog.

LADOT Bike Program + the Internet: Website Redesign and User Survey

Exciting news!  The Bike Program is in the process of a major overhaul of our two internet domains, BicycleLA.org and LADOTBikeBlog.wordpress.com. What does this overhaul look like?  We don’t have all the details yet, but one thing is certain, we’ve decided to merge our two sites: our future site will contain both the blog and BicycleLA.org.

The integrated website will provide a broad overview on bicycling within the City of Los Angeles, as well as information on ongoing projects, news, events, and general suggestions for safe and comfortable bicycle riding in urban environments.  We will still maintain the Bike Blog for project updates and #BikeLA editorials, but it will be embedded on our primary site.

To better serve our readers and provide you with engaging and relevant content, we created a survey to find out how you use our sites. We want the new BicycleLA.org+LADOTBikeBlog.wordpress.com to be the best resource it can be for residents and visitors alike, whether they are strong urban cyclists or just interested in getting information on what is going on with active transportation or complete streets in Los Angeles. Please help us understand our users by completing the following survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BikeLA

 

The Backstory

BicycleLA.org #keepingitreal since 1998

Believe it or not, BicycleLA.org has been around for 17 years (est. 1998!!! the same year Google filed for incorporation in California) and hasn’t seen a major redesign since the development of the 2010 Bicycle Plan! Similarly, the LADOT Bike Blog has also remained largely unchanged since its 2010 launch.  Well, we think it’s safe to say that Los Angeles has come a long way in five years.  Some would have said it was impossible, but we’ve seen car streets transformed into people streets!  Road space throughout the City has been reclaimed for people with the help of Bicycle Corrals, People St Parklets, and Plazas.  We’ve implemented road diets, making streets safer for everyone and re purposed lanes for buffered bike lanes in Northeast LA and dining on Broadway.  We’ve even launched the Bicycle Friendly Business Program to encourage people to run their local errands by bicycle (in LA County, 47% of trips taken are easily bikeable at less than 3 miles).   The evolution of LA streets is nigh, and our Great Streets vision can be observed in the recent adoption of the 2010 Bicycle Plan into a new plan that considers all modes for all ages and abilities: Mobility Plan 2035.

Keeping with the times, it seemed like a wonderful opportunity to make change here on our internet space.  To our delight, much of what has been temporary or experimental information on the LADOT Bike Blog has become permanent. To accommodate this shift, we choose to unite our fronts, providing #BikeLA with a one-stop shop.

We hope our new website will appeal to #BikeLA enthusiasts as much as it does to the bicycle-curious. We are going to spend the next few months working hard on it. During its development, we’d love continued feedback beyond our survey. If you have additional comments about our online presence, please email bike.program@lacity.org.

 

Data Collection Along The River

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It is hardly a surprise the Los Angeles River Bike Path is one of the city’s most beloved and prominent bikeway facilities. With new parks popping up and additions such as The Frog Spot, the river is increasingly a destination people want to visit. With an accelerated  focus on efforts to revitalize the river and extend the bike path that runs along it, there is a parallel growing need to collect data on the river’s bike path usage. To address this need, the Bicycle Program recently collaborated with students from the city’s Hire L.A.’s Youth program to conduct bicycle counts along the L.A. River and in river-adjacent communities.

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A man bicycling on York Blvd during our bike count conducted prior to bike lane installation. For more photos during our “before” count session, visit our Flickr page.

Throughout the month of October we conducted over a dozen weekday counts along the river from 4pm to 6pm to capture use during evening rush hour.

For the month of November we are conducting counts in Northeast LA, including on  York Boulevard between North Figueroa Street and South Pasadena, North Figueroa Street, and on Colorado Boulevard. The long-term goal is to repeat these counts on a regular basis to measure growth in bicycling, and more generally to have a steady stream of bike counts.

While we have yet to fully analyze our results, here are some preliminary results from one of our count sites, York Boulevard between North Figueroa Street and Avenue 63:

  • We conducted four weekday PM counts between 4pm and 6pm. We counted a total of 119 people bicycling, or an average of 29 people bicycling during each count session.
  • Of the 119 people counted bicycling, 21, or 17.6% were women.
  • The majority of people counted, 62%, were traveling eastbound, while the remaining 38% of people were traveling westbound.
  •  During a mid-day Saturday count, conducted from 11AM to 1PM, we counted 41 people bicycling.

We look forward to conducting additional counts throughout the city to gain a clearer perspective on bicycle needs and use.

 

San Fernando Road Bike Path: Phase 2 Now Open!

Councilmember Felipe Fuentes leads the way

A new stretch of bike path on San Fernando Road is here! Last Thursday morning, Councilmember Felipe Fuentes of the Seventh District, City agencies, and community partners announced the installation of a new bike path on San Fernando Road from Branford Street to Wolfskill Street, opening the bike path for its inaugural ride.

LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds joined representatives from Metrolink, Metro and LAPD, along with local families and friends to check out the new installation.  Reynolds says, “This section of the San Fernando Road bike path increases opportunities for people to unplug and spend time with friends and family.  LADOT looks forward to working with our partners, city leaders, and the community to connect this system to the City of Burbank in the near future. ”

Councilmember Fuentes cuts ribbon with LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds.

This 2.75-mile segment of the path connects Angelenos to the existing San Fernando Bike Path. This addition is the second phase of the planned bike path that sits adjacent to San Fernando Road. Phase 1, completed in 2011, included 1.75 miles of bike lanes on San Fernando Road from Hubbard Street to Roxford Street.

LADOT Engineer Tina Backstrom says that the bike path is a challenging design, as it involves a lot of coordination and partnership with agencies like Metrolink and Metro.  The long-awaited Phase 2 improvements include lighting, striping, traffic signs, and landscaping. Metrolink also enhanced the safety of the Bike Path project by making railroad and traffic signal improvements. Specifically, the bike path design has taken the opportunity to upgrade all the pedestrian crossings that intersect with the railroad.  Backstrom says, “We’re looking at safety for everyone,” with the new path making things safer for people on bikes, walking, driving, or riding the train. Read more

Modernizing pilots, Arts District corral open for business

Good day LA!

Today was another great day for the great streets of Los Angeles! Corral designs were updated and onlookers watched as the long awaited Willow St. Bicycle Corral was installed in the booming Downtown Arts District.

First stop by the Bicycle Corral Fairy was a check up on our very first corral: the York Bl. pilot.  The York Corral, originally installed in February 2011 has seen its share of wear and tear.  After the implementation of many more Bicycle Corrals throughout the city, we have learned a few things from their design, removing redundant or incorrect signage, and replacing materials like asphalt islands with more durable rubber wheel stops.

Before: Bye bye asphalt island!

After: The new sleek York Corral

After the healthy refresh at York, the crew traveled to the Arts District where Blue Bottle Coffee customers got an eyeful (and earful) of Bike Corral installation with their morning coffee. The LADOT sign crew and our colleagues at the City’s General Services Department (GSD) installed the new Corral on Willow St. at Mateo next to the neighborhood’s premiere coffee shop and our awesome maintenance sponsor, Blue Bottle Coffee.

Councilmember Jose Huizar was happy to see the new corral, saying “As a long time supporter I’m proud to host the first bicycle corral in the City. LADOT’s new bike corral configuration draws from lessons learned piloted in my district. Thanks to Blue Bottle Coffee for partnering with the City to bring the Arts District its very own bike corral!” The Corral reallocates one auto on-street parking space for 14 spaces for people riding their bicycles.

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