(Update: You can also read up on the event at L.A. Eco-Village Blog)
On Saturday, July 24th, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) will host a press, walking, and biking event showcasing their efforts to transform 4th Street into Los Angeles’ first Bicycle Boulevard.
This free event will have both a bike ride and walking tour of 4th Street. Meeting at 9:45AM in Pan Pacific Park, the bike ride will leave from the front of the auditorium at 10:00AM and end at Shatto Park in Koreatown. Leading the bike ride will be Rick Risemberg, author of the Bicycle Fixation Blog and friend of LADOT Bike Blog. Walkers will meet at 10:15AM at 4th Street & Normandie Avenue, leaving at 10:30AM and also ending at Shatto Park in Koreatown.
After both those on bicycle and those on foot arrive in Shatto Park, the LACBC will be holding a press event from 11-1 covering the how’s, the why’s, and the when’s of their Bicycle Boulevard project. If you want to know more about the community and more about Bicycle Boulevards, be sure to take advantage of this event.
But maybe we should back up a step: what is a “Bicycle Boulevard”?
While Palo Alto boasts California’s first Bicycle Boulevard, the most well-known Bicycle Boulevard network is in the City of Berkeley. You can review the Bicycle Boulevard network for the City of Berkeley here.
The idea behind a Bicycle Boulevard is to provide a roadway that is not only shared between cars and bicycles, but also creates an environment where bicycles and cars travel at the same speed. Bicycle Boulevards have been known to improve safety for pedestrians and residents along the street as well as for bicyclists.
Bicycle Boulevards take many forms. They can have traffic circles, narrowed lanes that encourage drivers to travel at a bicyclists’ speed, bulbouts in the sidewalk, traffic diverters with cuts in them to allow bicycle through traffic while directing car traffic to alternate streets, loop detectors for bicycles at stop lights, increased signage, and roadway markings designating the street as a Bicycle Boulevard.
Bicycle Boulevards often parallel larger arterial streets. While most people use arterial streets to orient themselves in the city, riding a bike on such large streets with high volumes of cars can be daunting and discouraging for inexperienced bicyclists, slower riders, children, or seniors. Putting a Bicycle Boulevard in place creates a parallel bicycle facility that lets people get to the same destinations they would normally use an arterial for, but allows them to do it in a safe and low-stress setting.
City Planning’s current draft of the 2010 LA Bike Plan has many of the treatments for Bicycle Boulevards contained within the designation “Bicycle Friendly Streets”. Depending on the situation of each individual roadway, a number of the treatments described above may be put in place to make the street a safer place to ride a bike. It is these “Bicycle Friendly Streets” which make up about 65 miles of the Neighborhood Bicycle Network (NBN) in the draft plan. (Don’t forget! The webinar for the LA Bike Plan is tonight at 6:00!!)