Rundown of the 1st Year Bike Lanes Hearings

Bicyclists ride the York Blvd. bike lanes in Northeast Los Angeles, which would connect to the proposed N. Figueroa bike lanes.

Last Monday concluded the official comment period for a package of prioritized bike lane projects that L.A.D.O.T. and City Planning have been analyzing for implementation. We’ve been gauging the support for these projects at four public hearings across the city (in addition to a webinar), and taking in ideas regarding how best to install them should we move forward.

All of the proposed bike lane projects are expected to change — to varying degrees — how the involved streets currently function (in most cases, existing traffic volumes will be served by one or two fewer travel lanes). To that end, we’ve gone about fulfilling the requirements of the newly passed bike lane exemption law, AB2245, which exempts bike lanes from C.E.Q.A. (even if traffic is affected), but requires a traffic and safety impact report, public hearings, and measures to mitigate any impacts. In this blog post, you’ll find a summary of the presentations we made at our hearings, as well as an overview of where we’re at now with these projects and where we’re headed next.

Hearing Summary

Each of our public hearings consisted of two key parts. We began each meeting with a presentation explaining how and why these projects have been selected, how we expect them to be installed at this point (including travel lane removal, and in some cases, limited parking removal), how much vehicular travel delay the proposed changes are expected to add to studied intersections (based on existing volumes and post-project lanes available), and what benefits we expect to receive.

Following the presentation, we answered specific questions about individual project details and impacts (including clarifying remarks about our study methodology), and then received comments from meeting participants. Commenters were asked to provide reasons to support or oppose the projects, and to give specific guidance on considerations that might be important to the final design and success of these bike lanes.

Below is an embedded version of the Prezi presentation that was paired with the verbal remarks we made at each hearing. Below that are links to download geographically tailored versions of the presentation that were given at each hearing (each hearing focused on projects in that specific part of the city, while the webinar highlighted a few representative projects).

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NELA Hearing Prezi presentation

Central Hearing Prezi presentation

Westside Hearing Prezi presentation

Valley Hearing Prezi presentation

Webinar Hearing Prezi presentation

Summary of verbal remarks

Below is a short summary of the remarks we paired with the above presentations:

All the projects we’re proposing were first identified in the 2010 Bike Plan. The 2010 Bike Plan is far more ambitious than previous bike plans. It envisions a five-fold growth in the number of bikeways across the city over the course of 30 years, and has a real focus on implementation. It was very important to our City Council that the 2010 Bike Plan not remain on a shelf somewhere post-adoption, as our previous plans did to some extent, despite some great ideas and key innovations.

The Plan includes an Implementation Strategy that prioritized 200 miles of projects for near-term installation because they have high value due to their ability to connect gaps in our existing network and serve low income communities. If you look at the growth of our total existing bike lane network since the adoption of the Plan back in March 2011, you can see that we’ve implemented many new miles of bike lanes, but when you really look at the map of those new facilities, you can see that we still have key gaps that need to be connected in order to truly realize the benefits of a network of bike facilities. These bike lane projects will connect some of these key gaps. The Bicycle Plan Implementation Team selected them from the already prioritized 200 miles (in the adopted Implementation Strategy) as the 40 or so miles of truly important, high value bike lanes.

At this point in the presentation, we then dove into some of the details of each project. In the embedded Prezi presentation, and in the linked presentations (double click to download any of the geographic presentations), you can pan around and zoom in on any of the project details (including maps, cross section drawings, and descriptive text) or the associated graphs detailing the results of our travel delay analysis (based on data available in the Draft EIR that was prepared).

This analysis gives a snapshot of the degree to which the reconfigured street would be impacted if the studied volumes of traffic attempted to travel the same intersections after bike lanes were installed. In some cases, the additional delay, represented by a red bar, only marginally exceeds the existing delay, represented by a blue bar (taken together and stacked, they represent the total delay expected at each individual intersection post installation of bike lanes). In other cases, the delay is more significant. All the graphs were depicted with a similar scale (in seconds), to give some comparative perspective across projects. The more intersections, the longer the bike lane project is in miles.

While the state requires that agencies study traffic impacts before doing these types of projects, it’s up to individual localities to define what constitutes a traffic impact. In Los Angeles, we’ve historically studied projects’  effect on peak hour traffic. While L.A.D.O.T. and City Planning are studying more holistic ways of measuring a street’s performance, graded vehicular Level of Service (LOS) based on vehicular travel delay is how we currently measure traffic impacts, and is reflected in our traffic impact analysis.

Following these project details and analysis, our presentation then shifted to some of the benefits we expect to receive from bike lanes. These include travel mode benefits (people really do shift modes), improved safety, and public health benefits, to name a few.

If you have any questions or comments, we’re still happy to receive them. Leave them in the comments section below, or send an email to David Somers from City Planning.

What’s next?

Moving forward, we expect these projects to fall into three categories. Some will be implemented right away (over the course of the next few months), others will require a bit more design work to address various concerns, and still others will be put on hold for the time being (but will still be eligible for another look in the future).

Thank you!

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