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4 Ways to Ensure a Safe Halloween for All Angelenos

Halloween is the scariest time of the year, and we are not talking about monsters or zombies! On this day, millions of children are out on a trick-or-treat mission, where they are susceptible to the dangers of the road. In Los Angeles County, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 5 and 14[1]. On Halloween, it’s even grimmer. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Halloween ranks as the third-deadliest day overall for pedestrians[2].

But it’s not all gloom and doom! By practicing a few simple steps, you can help ensure a safe Halloween for all Angelenos. Last Friday, we attended a Halloween Safety event at Apperson Elementary School in Sunland to demonstrate safe Halloween behavior. The event was led by Pat Hines (Safe Moves) and attended by the Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles School Police, and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

Check out these key safety tips that were discussed at the event:

1. Opt for Face Paint Instead of a Mask

Masks are awesome, but they can reduce the range of visibility of the person wearing one. Instead, use face paint to get your scary look and maintain maximum visibility. If your costume wouldn’t be complete without a mask, just make sure to remove it when crossing the street, so you can see traffic in either direction.

2. Keep Weapons at Home

Having a sword or other type of weapon may complete the perfect costume, but they are best left at home.

3. Inspect Candy

Guardians, this one is for you. Make sure to toss any open candy or ones with broken seals. Inspect for safety before consumption.

4. Visibility

The dark coloring of many costumes and the height of children reduces the visibility of pedestrians. In order to counteract this, make sure to bring flashlights, glow sticks, and/or reflectors on your trip.

 

So, now you know some best practices for people walking on Halloween. We also want to stress the importance of safe driver behavior. During the Halloween festivities, motorists should obey all traffic laws, be extra aware of our littlest (and scariest!) Angelenos, and use a designated driver. You can see LADOT’s full list of safety tips on Facebook or Twitter.

Through the collective effort of everyone, we hope this Halloween will be full of fun and the right kind of fright, the kind that gets everyone home safe at the end of the night. Happy Halloween!

[1] http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/dca/data/documents/mortalityrpt12.pdf

[2] https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/809855

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.

Setting LA’s Sights on Vision Zero – Part One – Introducing Vision Zero

 

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?

hinWe, 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.

traffic-death-graphicWe 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:

lpi-exampleLeading 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:

hollywood-and-highlandAs 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:

cchavezIn 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!

My First CicLAvia

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.

(ʘ‿ʘ) LOOK AT ALL THE BICYCLES!

(ʘ‿ʘ) LOOK AT ALL THE BICYCLES!

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.

Kids were having a blast in Chinatown.

Kids were having a blast in Chinatown. Photo by Kora McNaughton.

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.

"Hi, we are here to keep you safe."

“Hello, we are here to keep you safe.” Ed, Garrett, and Parama were safety rockstars.

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.

High-fives are my favorite!

High-fives are my favorite!

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!

CicLAvia selfie!

CicLAvia selfie with Negin and Saja!

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.

Not your average Bike-Couch-Cooler in-one!

It’s not your average all-in-one bicycle couch and cooler!

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.

Doggies love open streets, too.

Doggies love open streets, too.

It was a glorious day for dogs and dog people! I didn’t see any cats ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Maybe next time!

The crew of paddleboarders from WestSSUP was all smiles!

The crew of paddleboarders from WestSSUP was all smiles!

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.

I want to see these on all of the streets all of the time.

I want to see these cabs on all of the streets, all of the time.

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!

 

My Commute: Rancho Cucamonga to DTLA and Cal Poly Pomona

When I first moved to the US from Iran in 2011, I commuted solely by bicycle and transit. It took me a while to learn how to safely and easily transport myself from one place to another as I adjusted to a new life in California. Deciphering transit lines was one of my biggest challenges, and overall, I felt much less safe riding my bike than I had back home because of the daily instances in which cars would drive in the bike lane—that is, if there was even a bike lane at all!

This was my first bike commute when I moved to the US five years ago! I biked around 10 miles each day.

This was my first bike commute when I moved to the US five years ago! I biked around 10 miles each day.

All of these experiences ultimately inspired me to switch careers from architecture, which I practiced for five years, to transportation planning in order to make positive changes for all commuters. I was accepted to Cal Poly Pomona’s Masters in Transportation Engineering program and was hired at LADOT in the Bikeways Program.

Driving is costly and exhausting, so I’ve embraced multimodal transportation options as much as possible to get from Rancho Cucamonga to LADOT and Cal Poly Pomona. On a daily basis, I drive, ride a train, take a bus, and ride a bike or walk.

Rancho Cucamonga to DTLA

For nearly two years, I’ve commuted to Downtown Los Angeles on Metrolink’s San Bernardino Line every work day. The distance from Rancho Cucamonga to Downtown Los Angeles is almost 42 miles, which costs me around $50 to drive (including gas and parking). Not to mention, the traffic is a headache. For me, driving to work first thing in the morning is very stressful. Commuting by train, however, allows me to read magazines, do homework, and relax.

My trip on the train from Rancho Cucamonga Station to Union Station takes about 1 hour.

My trip on the train from Rancho Cucamonga Station to Union Station takes about 1 hour.

I begin my trip by parking my car at Rancho Cucamonga Station, located about 3 miles away from where I live. The ticket options include regular fare, senior, student, and active military, for which round trip prices range from $10.50 to $21.50. As a graduate student, I purchase the student option, which costs $16.

Sometimes, I’ll bring my bike in my car and onto the train so that I can bike from the train station to work in DTLA.

I love to walk or bike past Grand Park on my way to work.

I love to walk or bike past Grand Park on my way to work.

The train commute to Union Station on Metrolink takes about 1 hour and is much more comfortable than sitting in a car during peak hour congestion for 90 minutes. Given the overall reduced commute time and effort required, riding the train to work allows me to sleep in a little longer and not worry about staying alert for the duration of a long drive. This is very important, because I often stay up late finishing homework or catching up on chores. Even better, Metrolink’s early morning train offers patrons the option to ride the Express Train, which makes just three stops between my stop and Downtown LA, reducing my total commute by 20 minutes!

My commute on Metrolink allots me plenty of time to do homework, rest, or chat up other train-goers.

My commute on Metrolink allots me plenty of time to do homework, rest, or chat up other train-goers.

Once I arrive at Union Station, I usually walk to Patsaouras Transit Plaza to catch the Dash D bus heading toward Grand Ave & Washington Blvd for a 5 minute bus ride to LADOT. Or, if I brought my bike, I will ride instead. Now that there is the new protected bike lane on Los Angeles Street, this bike ride is even better.

When the wait time for the bus is long, I enjoy walking from Union Station to LADOT. This gives me the chance to pass through historic aspects of the El Pueblo De Los Angeles District, including a stunning outdoor plaza, museums, historic buildings, and a traditional Mexican marketplace for shopping and dining. It is really interesting to see how each building represents an impressive story about the people who once lived here. As I proceed to walk on Main Street, I observe people who are camped out on the sidewalks and can’t help but be amazed at how drastically the urban environment in Los Angeles can change in just a matter of blocks.

Rancho Cucamonga to Cal Poly Pomona

When I commute to Cal Poly Pomona from Rancho Cucamonga, I drive my car or take the train. Many of my peers take bus shuttles and drive to get to school. Students often are looking for ways to save money, so I think it would be great if there were also bikeways available.

Everyone’s commute is different. Sometimes it seems impossible for me to stop driving altogether, but every time I ride a bike, walk, or take transit, my mental and physical wellbeing is improved.  I feel good about decreasing the number of vehicles on the road to reduce traffic and green house gas emissions. Plus, relying on multiple modes of transportation helps me feel connected to those in my community and gives me opportunities to be physically active.

How is your commute?