As LADOT Bike Blog reported earlier this month, the Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) held their bi-monthly meeting on Monday night – a meeting that LADOT Bike Blog also happily attended. Although BAC meetings are usually held on the first Tuesday of every even month, this month’s BAC meeting was moved to the second Monday in order to accommodate LAPD’s National Night Out event.
While we were certainly happy to attend our first BAC meeting, LADOT Bike Blog couldn’t help but notice afterward the BAC’s dearth of online web presence. Seriously. The only official sites we could find were a pretty out of date page on bicyclela.org and an equally out of date page on LADOT’s main website. While some blogs, such as Biking in LA or Jeremy Grant, cover the occasional BAC meeting, coverage seems by no means uniform or reliable. True, the BAC has an email newsletter which they send out to subscribers, but it seems the only way to subscribe is to first show up to a BAC meeting and sign in on a clipboard. What about all the bicyclists out there who can’t attend these meetings but want to know what’s going on? What about bicyclists who don’t even know about these meetings, but would be supportive of the BAC’s agenda had they but known such a group exists?
The BAC discusses issues vital to bicyclists in Los Angeles as well as helps set the tone for LADOT’s, Planning’s, and LAPD’s engagement with the bicycle community. Therefore, the proceedings of the BAC should be easily available to all Angelinos, be they bicyclists or not. LADOT Bike Blog will, from this day forward, give our readers coverage of all BAC meetings.
First, a bit of background
The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee (LA BAC) was founded in 1974 by Mayor Tom Bradley at the urgings of BAC President Emeritus Alex Baum. Since then, it has been an advisory body that serves at the pleasure of the mayor and gives advisory input into all city decisions that touch the bicycle community. The Committee is made up of one member appointed from each Council District and four members appointed by the Mayor. They meet on the first Tuesday of every even month (October being the next meeting) at 7PM at 6501 Fountain Ave. They also have three sub-committees which meet on every odd month.
The meeting didn’t begin immediately because the committee needed to gain a quorum before starting. At 7:00 there were 24 people in the room, and by the time the meeting started at 7:20 that number had swelled to 30.
The BAC also welcomed their newest member from CD 2, Ayla Sterns, co-founder of the Valley Bikery.
2010 draft LA Bike Plan
The first item on the agenda was a presentation by City Planing staff on the 2010 draft La Bike Plan. Planners Jordan Turner and Claire Bowen outlined the concepts of the Neighborhood Bicycle Network (NBN), the Citywide Bicycle Network (CBN), and the 5-year expenditure plan. Tentative dates were given for 4 public hearings for the Bike Plan to be held in September. Though the dates may be subject to change, they tentatively are:
- Thursday, Sept. 2 from 5PM-8PM at the Marvin Braude Constituent Service Center in Van Nuys
- Saturday, Sept. 11 from 10AM-1PM at CD 4 Tom LaBonge’s field office in Hollywood
- Tuesday, Sept. 14 from 5PM-8PM at the Felicia Mahood Center in West LA
- Thursday, Sept. 16 from 5PM-8PM at the Constituent Service Center in South LA
- Additionally, City Planning is scheduling another webinar for the bike plan on September 16 from 11AM-1:30PM
Both the BAC and members of the audience expressed their frustrations with various aspects of the plan. Their complaints ranged from community input to maps to mileage counts to terminology to inter-departmental cooperation. While some attendees struck a cautiously optimistic tone about the plan, other people at the meeting voiced only disapproval.
Sgt. Krumer, LAPD’s bicycle liaison, was also in attendance at the BAC meeting and spoke about continuing policing and legal issues important to the bicycle community. He reinforced LAPD’s commitment to ride with, and provide escort to, the monthly Critical Mass ride that starts at Wilshire/Western on the last Friday evening of each month. As before, LAPD won’t dictate the route.
LAPD has sent operations notices out to field officers regarding bicyclists’ rights and about 6,000 of LA’s 9,000 sworn officers have taken an online bicycling education module.
Sgt. Krumer reiterated the department’s commitment to keeping bicycle lanes free of double-parked vehicles(though they aren’t able to keep people from putting their trash cans in the bike lane on trash day). LAPD is also hoping to streamline their process for reporting a bicycle crash.
Biking in LA also excellently covered the discussion at the BAC meeting about creating a civil offense ordinance for bicyclist harassment. Ted covers the intricacies far better than we would, so click on the link above and take a look for yourself.
For those who don’t know, the western sections of the Expo light rail line calls for a separated bike path to be built beside the light rail tracks. Currently, the “design/build” for the Expo line will go first and the “design/build” for the bike path will go afterward. BAC members expressed concern that if the bike path were not designed and built concurrently with the Expo line, there would be a chance that the Expo line designs would not make a place for the bike path. The BAC passed a motion asking the Expo Rail Authority to bundle the two projects together to make sure there is room enough for both.
As part of the widening project for the 405 freeway, Metro has agreed to install bike lanes on Sepulveda Boulevard where the 405 is being expanded in the direction of Sepulveda Boulevard. Also, one of the freeway on-ramps to the 405 from Sepulveda Boulevard is being greatly expanded, causing fears that the configuration will become hazardous to bicyclists.
While there was disagreement about what action LADOT should specifically take (some BAC members favored full bike lanes while others opposed them because a bicyclist going downhill might go faster than the maximum speed for which a bike lane is designed – 30mph), the BAC recommended LADOT explore innovative or experimental roadway configurations in order to increase safety for bicyclists.
There were many differing opinions, both in the BAC and in the audience, about the motives, effectiveness, and sincerity of Mayor Villaraigosa’s Bike Summit scheduled for Monday, August 16th from 9AM-11AM. Some were committed to taking full advantage of the opportunity while others were dubious about any real results it may bring. Although a representative from the Mayor’s office attended the meeting, she had to leave before the BAC reached the agenda item for the Bike Summit.
The BAC was invited by the Mayor’s office to give a presentation at the Bike Summit, and the BAC empowered BAC President Glenn Bailey to organize a short presentation on the BAC’s behalf.
BAC member Joe Linton gave a short presentation on the upcoming cicLAvia event, now scheduled for 10/10/10. According to Joe, cicLAvia has raised $70,000 of the $100,000 necessary to host the event. Through a motion, the BAC formally endorsed cicLAvia.
BAC member Brad House introduced a motion to strongly condemn LADOT Bikeways’ test project for Sharrows, claiming that the Sharrows violate accepted standards(Ed. Note: You can read more about Sharrows here. For the record, the test Sharrows in LA meet the legal standard required in the CA MUTCD). His motion further demanded that the Sharrows be removed immediately. The BAC, unwilling to pass such a strongly worded motion, referred discussion of LADOT’s test Sharrows to the BAC Bikeways sub-committee, chaired by Joe Linton and meeting in September. The BAC Bikeways sub-committee will return with recommendations to the full BAC in their next meeting in October.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday October 5th, and LADOT Bike Blog will be there to cover it.