On Friday, December 16, a press conference took place to welcome the Van Nuys Blvd Great Street project in Pacoima. In attendance were the multiple partners that made this project possible, including: Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative; Council District 7; LADOT, Bureau of Street Services; business owners; and community members.
The Van Nuys Great Street is a safety-driven project that addresses a history of high collision rates along the corridor. Van Nuys Blvd is designated as a Vision Zero High Injury Network (HIN) street and is the site of 57 collisions involving injuries to people walking and bicycling since 2011. Studies conducted by LADOT found that 19% of motorists on Van Nuys Blvd speed while driving. The street has been reorganized to improve safety, access and mobility for all road users, especially children and older adults.
The Van Nuys Great Street project stretches from San Fernando Rd to the north, close to the Bradley Ave People St Plaza and connecting to the San Fernando Rd Bike Path, to Laurel Canyon Blvd to the south. This stretch of Van Nuys Blvd includes many important community-serving destinations, including Pacoima City Hall (housing a field office for Council District 7 and community partners like Pacoima Beautiful) and the Pacoima Branch Library, and is part of Pacoima’s “Mural Mile,” a unique concentration of hand-painted murals that grace the sides of buildings and business storefronts. Improvements made to the street include parking-protected and buffered bicycle lanes, 16 high-visibility crosswalk legs, signal modifications, marked parking stalls, and 4.82 lanes miles of street resurfacing.
For more information on this Great Streets project in Pacoima, visit http://lagreatstreets.org/van-nuys-n/.
For information on the City’s Great Streets Initiative and projects in development around the City, visit: lagreatstreets.org
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.
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.
If you have been paying attention to urban planning or transportation in Los Angeles, you’ve probably heard about Vision Zero. So, we here at the LEAP LA Blog are going to dive into what this all means. In this first segment of a new ongoing series, we will discuss the Vision Zero program and highlight key projects that are already at work in the city.
What is Vision Zero?
Vision Zero is Los Angeles’ commitment to end all traffic deaths by the year 2025. It’s common knowledge that traffic collisions are a big deal in LA, but did you know that they are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 2 and 14 and the second greatest cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 25? In total, more than 200 people die annually from traffic collisions here in the City. One of the main objectives of Vision Zero is to protect the most vulnerable road users such as children, the elderly, and people who walk and bike.
The original concept behind Vision Zero comes from Sweden, where it was adopted as a national strategy back in 1997. Since then, Sweden has seen the number of transportation deaths drop by 30% despite a rise in traffic. Other cities that have adopted with Vision Zero include New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, and San Jose.
How Will We Do It?
We, the City of Los Angeles, formalized our commitment to zero traffic deaths in August 2015. Since then, we’ve identified the places where our efforts will produce the most significant decrease in deaths and injuries. This network, known as the High Injury Network (HIN), makes up only 6% of our streets but is responsible for nearly 2/3 of all pedestrian fatalities in the City. While we will not prevent all collisions, we can implement strategic safety programs and improve infrastructure so that mistakes on the road do not lead to loss of life. For instance, the installation of a pedestrian “scramble” at the intersection of Hollywood & Highland (see below) has significantly reduced the number of injuries that have occurred.
The next phases of Vision Zero will include what we like to call the “E’s”. It all starts with Engineering. This involves rethinking how Los Angeles’ streets and sidewalks are designed. Engineers are working on ways to anticipate human error and minimize the consequences of mistakes on the road. One way is by designing traffic calming systems that reduce the chances of a death when a collision occurs.
In addition to engineering, we area also focusing on Education. A large focus of Vision Zero is on raising awareness about street safety for all users of our roads, which we are accomplishing through safety campaigns that reinforce safe driving, biking and walking habits. The City is also partnering with the community, especially at the neighborhood level, for both input and outreach.
We also need Enforcement. Laws against dangerous driving behavior need to be enforced in the areas that have high collision rates to make sure the most vulnerable road users are protected. We are partnering with the Los Angeles Police Department on this effort, who will be targeting high crash locations, DUI’s, distracted driving, not yielding to persons in a crosswalk and other dangerous driving behaviors.
Our last step is Evaluation, which is when we take a look at what has been done, what has worked, what hasn’t, and assess how to improve upon our results. We are continuously evaluating our efforts to make sure that we are reaching our targets. It is through this evaluation that Vision Zero will continue to grow, change, and innovate in the years to come.
And, throughout all of this, the City also strives to ensure that Equity is a key part of each and every one of our discussions and strategies. Currently 49% of the High Impact Network falls within the most vulnerable communities in LA. So, Vision Zero has prioritized those interventions that will improve health conditions and outcomes in these areas of greatest need.
Vision Zero at Work Right Now!
While the year 2025 is a long way off, Vision Zero is already changing the face of Los Angeles right now. Here are some of the ways it has:
Leading Pedestrian Intervals:
Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI’s) give people who walk a head start against turning cars when they are crossing a street. These signals have been shown to reduce pedestrian – car crashes by 60%! Los Angeles has already installed 22 of these new signals in the downtown area, with more to follow. So, next time you are walking around downtown keep an eye out for traffic signals like this one where the pedestrians are allowed to cross, while the cars are still held by a red light.
A Pedestrian Scramble at Hollywood and Highland:
As anyone who has ever ventured to this intersection of Los Angeles can tell you, Hollywood and Highland is extremely busy with both vehicle and foot traffic (not to mention the street performers). This was the perfect place to install a pedestrian scramble. A pedestrian scramble stops traffic in all four ways when pedestrians are walking in the intersection. It also allows people to cross the street diagonally, which saves time! And, the new scramble at Hollywood and Highland is already working. In the first 11 months of 2015 before the scramble was installed, the intersection had 19 collisions, 13 of which resulted in injuries. In the first 6 months after the scramble was installed, there has only been one non-injury collision.
Curb Extensions on Cesar Chavez Ave:
In the initial research phase of Vision Zero, Cesar Chavez Ave was identified as part of the High Injury Network. Wanting to make safety improvements right away, Los Angeles installed curb extensions. These reduce the distance for pedestrians crossing the streets and also make the crossing with its pedestrians much more visible to motorists. The curb extensions also tighten the intersection, which has been shown to reduce the speed of passing vehicles.
So, now that you know the basics of Vision Zero, stay tuned for upcoming posts in this series! We will talk about why LAPD is conducting speed surveys, update you on new projects, and even introduce you to LADOT’s first Creative Catalyst Artist in Residence.
Until next time!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
It was a glorious day for dogs and dog people! I didn’t see any cats ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Maybe next time!
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.
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!
Given that it’s only June and temperatures have already been registering above 100 degrees F, it looks as though we will have a hot summer ahead of us. But, high temperatures needn’t stop us from our bike rides and bike commutes, which is why we want to share with you how we stay cool.
Every bit of water you consume will help your body temperature remain low. Increase your intake of watery fruits and vegetables like watermelon and tomatoes. Sodium helps your body hold on to fluids, so drink something with electrolytes while you’re riding. To prevent your drinks from getting warm, freeze one bottle at half full and another at almost-full before topping them off. Aim to drink one 20-ounce bottle every hour.
After your ride, drink something with protein, which will hydrate you quickly because protein brings water with it when it travels to muscles. If you choose to drink water, also eat a snack or meal that contains protein and sodium.
Remember, caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which means drinking them will make you urinate more and lose more water. When it’s hot out, stick with water.
It may be tempting to toss ice cubes down your clothing, but don’t. When you put ice on your skin, the blood vessels constrict directing hot blood back toward your core, ultimately making you feel hotter. Instead, bring an extra water bottle and a small towel to pour cool water over your neck and forearms, or wipe them with a cool, damp towel. Consider putting a wet bandana around your neck at the start of your ride.
Bike at a reasonable pace
Leave yourself plenty of time so you don’t have to rush. Heading out 15 minutes early can make the difference between a sweaty, draining hustle and a pleasant, breezy ride. It’s also worthwhile to budget a few minutes at your destination to splash water on your face and catch your breath.
Ride when it’s cool(er)
The coolest hours of the day fall between 4am and 7am, while the evening commute tends to be the hottest time of the day. It’s a good idea to have a backup plan, like a filled TAP card to take transit, or a friend you can call if you get partway home and start feeling symptoms of heat stroke (see below).
A sunburn can be more than just painful. Fatigue and an increased metabolism are some symptoms of sunburn, and while the latter might sound good, it will be a problem on hot days as a faster metabolism increases your body’s need for liquids. So, do everything you can to prevent sunburn: wear sunscreen, choose clothing with built-in sun protection, and wear a hat under your helmet to shield your face and neck.
Wear the right clothes
Lightweight natural fibers are more comfortable, while lightweight polyester prints won’t show sweat. Loose fitting clothing will help you feel the breeze created as you bike. If you need to look professional at the end of your ride, a quick sponge bath and change of clothes will work wonders. And, don’t forget to wear your sunglasses!
Remembering these six precautions can help you avoid overheating. But, even if you follow these suggestions, heat stroke is a possibility, so make sure you can identify these symptoms:
- Body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher
- Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, or seizures
- Nausea and vomiting
- Flushed skin
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Racing heart rate
- Headache (source: the Mayo Clinic)
If you or someone else shows signs of heat stroke, medical attention should be sought out ASAP. While waiting for emergency treatment, get the person in shade or indoors, remove excess clothing, and cool them with whatever means available. You can put them in a cool shower, fan them while spraying them with cool water, or place ice packs on their head, neck, and armpits (source: the Mayo Clinic).
Lastly, when it is hotter outside, people tend to drive more aggressively and impatiently. So, be extra careful out there and stay cool!
We have great news for everyone who cycles in Downtown Los Angeles– the construction of a protected bike lane on Los Angeles Street (from 1st Street to Alameda Street) has been completed. Woo-hoo!
On June 16, a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Los Angeles Street Improvement Project was hosted by CD 14 Councilmember Jose Huizar, LA Public Works Commissioner Kevin James, Deputy Mayor Barbara Romero, and LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds. During the ceremony, a group of people rode Metro Bike Share bicycles on the newly enhanced Los Angeles Street.
The protected bike lane, featuring the city’s first side boarding islands and bicycle signals, will make bicycling safer and more comfortable from the city’s civic core to Union Station. The following image slider show the “Before and After” scenarios of the project area.
Special Design Features of the new Los Angeles Street
As the first street in Los Angeles to implement design elements from the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide, Los Angeles Street brings several unique roadway design features that are new to the city:
Bus platforms that “float” in the middle of roadway are named side boarding islands. Those who bike in urban environments know how frustrating it is to navigate the bike lane while buses weave in and out to reach their bus stops. According to NACTO , side boarding islands eliminate “conflicts between transit vehicles and bikes at stops.” Like the sound of that? Well, these bus platforms will also be implemented on Figueroa Street after the construction of MyFigueroa Project .
Two bicycle signal heads are now installed, with one at the Temple Street intersection and another at the Aliso Street intersection. These signals dedicate a separate signal phase to bicycles, which will reduce conflicts between right-turning vehicles and bicycles that travel through the intersection.
At the intersection of Los Angeles Street & 1st Street, and the intersection of Los Angeles Street & Temple Street, there are Two-Stage Turn Queue Boxes . This street treatment allows people on bikes to make safer left turns. As the name suggests, when trying to make left turns, bicycles should proceed to the bike box area first and then wait for another green signal to bike to the left leg of the intersection.
Image Source: NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide
Upcoming active transportation projects will continue to make DTLA more bicycle-friendly
The Los Angeles Street Improvements Project is only one part of the larger scheme to improve the connectivity of Union Station and Civic Center. Metro finalized the Connect US Action Plan in 2015, which provides guidance to implement better pedestrian and bicycle facilities connecting Civic Center, Union Station, and neighborhoods such as Little Tokyo and Chinatown.
And, there are a lot of active transportation projects to be implemented this summer. The Metro Regional Bike Share Project has begun to install its stations and will formally launch on July 7. The long-expected MyFigueroa Project, which features similar roadway improvements to Los Angeles Street (bus platforms, bike signal heads, etc), is beginning construction this summer as well.
As more and more active transportation enhancements get implemented, DTLA will become a better place for people to enjoy walking and cycling!
The complete streets movement continues to gain momentum around the world and here at home in Los Angeles. Alongside People St, Great Streets Initiative, and Vision Zero, the Figueroa Corridor Streetscape Project, aka MyFigueroa, aims to create vibrant, safe streets across our city.
After 6 years of careful planning and overcoming obstacles, MyFigueroa will transform the car-centric Figueroa Corridor into a complete street that serves people who walk, ride bicycles, take public transit, and drive. MyFigueroa will improve safety and encourage access to multimodal transportation options through a number of streetscape elements:
- On-street protected bike lanes
- Bike parking
- Improved signage and signalization
- High-visibility crosswalks
- Enhanced street lighting
- Transit platforms
- Trees and landscaping
- Public art
The project area covers four miles of streets from downtown to LA Memorial Coliseum. Improvements will be different along the corridor, depending on the transportation needs of the area.
Figueroa Street from 7th Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
- On-street protected bike lanes
- Separate bike signal heads
- Bike boxes at intersections
- Demarcated on-street protected bicycle lanes in conflict zones
- Bicycle Wrong Way signs to discourage travel in the non-intended direction
- Bus platforms to accommodate transit service, including Metro and LADOT DASH F Line
- Curb ramps from the sidewalk to ADA accessible bus platforms
- Protected, painted on-street buffered bicycle lanes
- Relocated parking between the bicycle lane and first lane of traffic
- Diamond lane for on-peak Silver Line
- Center turn lane and right turn pockets as needed
11th Street from Figueroa Street to Broadway
- On-street parking that is protected with curb extensions at intersections
- One-way westbound bicycle facility, separated from moving traffic by a painted buffer
- Expanded sidewalks
- Seating and planting on sidewalks
- Pedestrian and bicycle connections to downtown, neighborhoods, and local businesses
Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from Figueroa Street to Vermont Avenue
- Repaired sidewalk paving
- Street lighting
- Improved transit waiting areas
- Highly visible crosswalk striping
The $20 million Figueroa Corridor Streetscape Project is managed by LADOT and funded by a Proposition 1C grant. Proposition 1c funding aims to make streets, sidewalks, and transit more accessible for affordable housing residents.
During construction, which is set to begin in Summer 2016, there are many alternative ways for people to get around. Check out this great map showing where construction will take place and alternate ways to get around in the meantime.
MyFigueroa’s Let’s Fig it Out! campaign educates Figueroa users how to figure out (get it?) how to get around during construction. You can become familiar with the alternate routes and public transit lines now so that the transition is easier when the construction begins.
To communicate the upcoming construction and improvements to the public, MyFigueroa has worked with LADOT, Figueroa Corridor BID, USC Athletics, USC Transportation, and Metro. Promotional stored-value Metro TAP cards that display Let’s Fig it Out! and MyFigueroa logos will be given out for free and for sale at special events in the corridor area. Street pole banners along Figueroa advertise the upcoming construction and improvements in order to provide visibility of the project to people who travel the corridor.
A number of innovative partners have collaborated on the Figueroa Corridor Streetscape Project, and from the start, community members, organizations, and business improvement districts have shaped the planning and design process.
As a project designed to encourage access to multimodal transportation, MyFigueroa will continue to refine how we conceptualize streets in Los Angeles. The completion date of March 2017 can’t come soon enough!
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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 Park/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.
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.
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.
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
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 lane, bike 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.
Here at LADOT, we support and encourage active transportation in all shapes and forms such as walking, jogging, cycling, skating, or whatever best fits your interests. This time around, we are shifting gears from talking about our beloved two-wheeled vehicle to (re)introduce a mode transportation and recreation that seems long forgotten, but is still alive and kicking: skates!
Who said inline skates and roller skates were a thing of the past? Believe it or not, people still skate around for recreational purposes, and some even utilize them as a mode of transportation. You can find most inline and roller skaters along one of L.A.’s piers rolling up and down the coast and taking advantage of Southern California’s sunny days. However, there are a few people who also use their skates to reach less leisurely destinations like school, work, or shops. These people demonstrate that skates are a convenient and fast way to complete short trips. When adding public transportation to the mix, the average skater can reach virtually any destination they can think of! Read more