Make the Bike Plan Work for You: Attend the BPIT Meetings

(Ed. Note: The draft LA Bike Plan passed through committee this past Wednesday.  We hope to have notes up from the meeting in the next few days.  In the meantime you can read the excellent coverage provided by Streetsblog, as well as twitter blow-by-blows by BikeBlogChris and the #LABikePlan hashtag.)

First off, let’s cover the most important information:

  • The Bike Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) will meet on the first Tuesday of every month.  It is held at 2PM in City Hall, room 721 (in the City Planning Department’s offices)
  • These meetings are 100% open to the public
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Which bike lanes get built first? It's up to you.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about what the BPIT is, what they do, why they’re important, how you can contribute, and what they’ve done so far.

BPIT origins

A few changes were made to the draft LA Bike Plan in the waning days of 2010 in order to garner further support from the Bicycle Community.  One of the most significant changes made was to the Bike Plan Implementation Team(Program 3.2.2A), creating a fully public process.  The City, in its love for acronyms, shortened the name to BPIT.

In their reviews of the Bike Plan in December, the LACBC lauded the creation of a team to oversee the implementation of the bike plan.  Adding focus, accountability, oversight, and public input to the priority list in the bike plan is a key step towards better, open government.

Who’s on the BPIT?

The BPIT is meant to function more as an open meeting than an appointed board.  The Department of City Planning is the lead agency for the BPIT with participation from LADOT. The rest of the BPIT will be entirely determined by who shows up.  Attendance will vary depending on the items on the agenda.

If you choose to go, expect to see bicycle advocates, members of the Bicycle Advisory Committee, a few council office representatives, and maybe a representative from the Mayor’s office.  Representatives from Metro, the County, or other City agencies (like BSS or Rec and Parks) may be invited when issues that involve them are on the meeting’s agenda.  BPIT meetings are planned to last about 90 minutes, and the agenda for the next meeting will be determined at the end of each BPIT meeting.

BPIT Goals

The main goals for the BPIT are threefold:

  1. Provide a consensus approach to implementation of the bike plan
  2. Serve as a trouble-shooting body for issues getting in the way of specific projects.
  3. Improve interdepartmental communication and public participation in implementing the bike plan.

During meetings, issues will be identified, solutions will be created through a collaborative process, and various roles and goals will be assigned to City staff and members of the public according to their abilities.  BPIT meetings will serve as a “testing ground” for projects in their early planning stages and help nudge them along the path to completion.  The input of the public will be essential to which projects move forward first.

Not just about bike lanes

The BPIT isn’t meant, however, to simply oversee the construction of infrastructure.  All the policies and programs contained in the bike plan are fair game for the BPIT’s attention, including focus on outreach, education, encouragement, and evaluation.  Those members of the public who show up to the BPIT will be able to make sure the policies and programs most dear to them are the first to move forward.

BPIT Page

Going forward, LADOT Bike Blog will be maintaining a page for BPIT developments.  It will sit up at the top of this blog, accompanying our page tabs for “Maps“, “Bike Lane Projects” and “Sharrows“.  It will serve as a one-stop shop for issues the BPIT is working on and agenda item past, present, and future.  We’ll keep it periodically updated, as well as draft more blog posts about the BPIT’s doings.

BPIT – rarin’ to go

11-5-10-group

A lot of the folks in this picture were at the BPIT; courtesy Streetsblog

Even though the bike plan has yet to be adopted (though it cleared committee on Wednesday!) the BPIT had their inaugural meeting the Tuesday before last.  City Planning, LADOT, and Council Deputies from CD 1 and CD 11 were representing the City.  Members of Bikeside, LACBC, and the BAC represented the public.  Here’s the agenda.

One of the major outcomes of the first meeting was the creation of a “Top 10” project list for LADOT to focus on.  The list is comprised of projects on the 5 Year Implementation Strategy which meeting attendees considered especially important.  LADOT will use this list as a starting point to create a range of options on each street for implementation, present them to the BPIT and to the council offices that each project will be built within, and ask for comments and direction.

Criteria for the Top 10 were based on the impact the project will have, connecting the existing bikeway system, whether the project will serve areas of socio-economic need, and whether other development projects might threaten future bike lane implementation.  For the last criteria, BPIT attendees expressed concern that the NBC/Universal plan may threaten the viability of a few bike lanes in the bike plan. 3 of the Top 10 projects are on streets touching the NBC/Universal project.

(Ed. Note: LADOT Bike Blog hopes to follow these projects from the start, offering you a look into the planning process and a chance to make your comments and opinions heard on each project – even if you can’t attend BPIT meetings. In this way, we hope to create an open dialogue with the bike community and utilize the deep reserve of collective knowledge you all carry.  Look for us to launch that series in the next few weeks)

Top 10

  1. South Figueroa Street from Olympic to Exposition (bike lane)
  2. 7th Street from Catalina to Soto (bike lane)
  3. Venice Boulevard from Crenshaw to Main (bike lane)
  4. 4th Street from Cochran to Hoover (Bike Friendly Street)
  5. Lankershim Boulevard from Chandler to Cahuenga (bike lane)
  6. Barham Boulevard from Forest Lawn to Cahuenga (bike lane)
  7. MLK Jr. Boulevard from Marlton to Leimert (bike lane)
  8. Spring & Main Streets from Cesar Chavez to 9th (bike lane couplet)
  9. North Figueroa Street from San Fernando to Colorado (bike lane)
  10. Cahuenga Boulevard from Barham to Yucca (bike lane)

LADOT is currently working on roadway options for the first three projects.  Every street in the Top 10 (with the exception, possibly, of 4th Street) will require some sort of reconfiguration to accommodate bike lanes.   We’ll provide you with more information as soon as we get it.  In the meantime, leave your suggestions for any of the Top 10 projects in comments.  We’ll make sure they get to the right people.

Thank You

LADOT Bike Blog would like to editorialize for a moment and offer specific thanks to Jordann Turner of City Planning.  Jordann has been working on the bike plan since the beginning and had a big hand in steering it successfully into safe harbor.  With the adoption of the bike plan imminent, Jordann is now moving on to other projects within City Planning.  We wish him the best of luck and thank him for all of his hard work.

What’s Next

The next BPIT meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 1st, and one agenda item is already nailed down. The BPIT will discuss LADOT’s progress on the first three projects in their Top 10: South Figueroa Street, 7th Street, and Venice Boulevard.

We’ll be sure to release an agenda of the next meeting as soon as we get one.  LADOT Bike Blog will continue to provide coverage of BPIT meetings so the entire bike community can know what attendees are doing on their behalf.

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