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A Safer Van Nuys Blvd for All

On Friday, December 16, a press conference took place to welcome the Van Nuys Blvd Great Street project in Pacoima. In attendance were the multiple partners that made this project possible, including: Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative; Council District 7; LADOT, Bureau of Street Services; business owners; and community members.

Photo courtesy of Mayor’s Great Streets Initiative

Photo courtesy of Mayor’s Great Streets Initiative

Max Podemski of Pacoima Beautiful speaks on how the safety-driven improvements to Van Nuys Blvd address environmental justice issues within the Pacoima Community.

Max Podemski of Pacoima Beautiful speaks on how the safety-driven improvements to Van Nuys Blvd address environmental justice issues within the Pacoima Community.

The Van Nuys Great Street is a safety-driven project that addresses a history of high collision rates along the corridor. Van Nuys Blvd is designated as a Vision Zero High Injury Network (HIN) street and is the site of 57 collisions involving injuries to people walking and bicycling since 2011. Studies conducted by LADOT found that 19% of motorists on Van Nuys Blvd speed while driving. The street has been reorganized to improve safety, access and mobility for all road users, especially children and older adults.

The Van Nuys Great Street project stretches from San Fernando Rd to the north, close to the Bradley Ave People St Plaza and connecting to the San Fernando Rd Bike Path, to Laurel Canyon Blvd to the south. This stretch of Van Nuys Blvd includes many important community-serving destinations, including Pacoima City Hall (housing a field office for Council District 7 and community partners like Pacoima Beautiful) and the Pacoima Branch Library, and is part of Pacoima’s “Mural Mile,” a unique concentration of hand-painted murals that grace the sides of buildings and business storefronts. Improvements made to the street include parking-protected and buffered bicycle lanes, 16 high-visibility crosswalk legs, signal modifications, marked parking stalls, and 4.82 lanes miles of street resurfacing.

Community residents look at before and after photographs of Van Nuys Blvd.

Community residents look at before and after photographs of Van Nuys Blvd.

Photo courtesy of Mayor’s Great Streets Initiative

Photo courtesy of Mayor’s Great Streets Initiative

For more information on this Great Streets project in Pacoima, visit http://lagreatstreets.org/van-nuys-n/.

For information on the City’s Great Streets Initiative and projects in development around the City, visit: lagreatstreets.org

The Year of The Road Diet

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July’s Bike Plan Implementation Team meeting was packed!

At our most recent Bicycle Plan Implementation Team meeting, Bikeways Engineer Tim Fremaux briefly noted that the LADOT implemented a number of road diets in the past fiscal year. Although it was only mentioned in passing, after looking at the exact mileage, it turns out this is actually a big accomplishment. Of the 100 miles of bike lanes installed over the last fiscal year, 20.1 miles came in the form of road diets. This comes as particularly promising news from a traffic safety perspective in light of the great safety improvements recently observed on a section of York Boulevard that received a road diet in 2006. So let’s take a page from the SFMTA, and be proud of our road diets, and see exactly where these road diets are:

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York Boulevard Road Diet Traffic Safety Analysis

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Did implementing a road diet on York Boulevard make the street safer? Yes, it did! Photo credit: Walk Eagle Rock

When the LADOT proposes a road diet (also known as a roadway reconfiguration) on a street, it primarily does so with the intent of improving traffic safety. As it happens, road diets are frequently opportunities to specifically enhance conditions for people walking and bicycling – the most vulnerable users of our streets – while improving overall safety for all. After decades of study on the national level, road diets are officially acknowledged by the FHWA as a proven means to improve safety and the logistics of why road diets succeed in doing this  have previously been laid out on this blog. Read more

Summer Bicycle Safety Classes

Metro's Bike Map

Learn how to safely ride on streets with and without bicycle infrastructure

This summer Metro has been hosting a series of free bicycle traffic safety workshops funded through the Office of Traffic Safety. Metro is working with the LA County Bicycle Coalition, Bike San Gabriel Valley and Multi-Cultural Communities for Mobility in leading the two levels of workshops: a 3-hour beginner’s road rules class (in English and Spanish), and an 8-hour workshop for intermediate cyclists focusing on building traffic skills.

While the series began in June, there are still a few more classes available: Read more

Expo Line crossing improvements

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New roadway markings add a limit line and bicycle symbol for the bike lane

LADOT has recently added new roadway markings and signage to help improve a key bicycle crossing along Phase I of the Expo Line bikeway. The crossing occurs where Exposition Blvd. meets Rodeo Road, about 1.2 miles west of the University of Southern California and Expo Park. With the Expo Line expected to open April 28th, biking safely around the transit corridor cannot be stressed enough. When approaching this intersection from the east, be sure to watch for trains and adhere to all traffic and warning signals. If the light is red, be sure to stop behind the limit line (this will position you on-top of a loop detector, which alerts the traffic signal that a bicycle is present). When the train clears and the light turns green, follow the bike lane to cross the Expo Line tracks, which will continue along Exposition Blvd. heading east (check out a video from our ride on the Expo Line bikeway to see how you should navigate the crossing). More pictures of the intersection can be viewed in our flickr set.

Give Me 3 – the campaign continues

The City of Los Angeles and the California Bicycle Coalition are teaming up once again with Senator Lowenthal (D – Long Beach) on a campaign to improve bicyclist safety statewide. Senate Bill (SB) 1464 is designed to overcome the shortcomings of its predecessor, SB-910, which last year was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Gov. Brown did recognize that the bill offered “some needed and clear improvements to the law”, but concerns raised by the California Highway Patrol and Caltrans ultimately swayed his decision to the negative. Opponents raised concerns over the 15 mph requirement for safe passing. which they felt could cause rear end collisions. Gov. Brown ended his explanation with a call for the authors, proponents, and opponents to send him a bill next year that would solve the problems; SB 1464 does just that. California is hoping to become the 20th State in the country to pass a safe passing distance law. With your help, we can make it a reality. Find out about the latest efforts to pass Give Me 3 on the CBC’s website. We’ll be sure to update you here on the LADOT Bike Blog when major developments occur.

LADOT Sharrows Report Results: Sharrows are Good

The long-awaited report is finally here.  A year after installation, the LADOT Bike Program has completed analysis of our in-depth study for Sharrows on the streets of Los Angeles.  Overall, Sharrows were a resounding success in improving safe interactions between drivers and bicyclists on many different types of street with various conditions.  For a look at the methodolgy used for our study, feel free to read up on our pre-installation Sharrows post.

But don’t take our word for it: take a look at the report for yourself.  We also created a page tab (a drop-down from the “Sharrows” page tab) for a quick link to the study by itself.  The report has already been submitted to SCAG and to the Mayor’s Office.  We hope to move forward with a robust implementation of Sharrows on Bicycle Friendly Streets throughout the City and as a practical solution to gap closure between existing facilities on streets that cannot easily accommodate bike lanes.

Come below the fold, where we’ll do a quick rundown of the report’s results, and what it may mean for LA’s streets in the future.

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Los Angeles Sharrows: Pre-Installation Studies

(Ed. Note: With the forthcoming release of the LADOT Bike Program SLM (Shared Lane Marking) Study, the LADOT Bike Blog would like to take you back to the summer of 2010 and share with you the methodology of our Sharrow study.  Confused?  Check out our Sharrows 101 post or our Sharrows Page.)

Over three weeks in late May and early June of 2010, LADOT Bike Blog took part in pre-installation studies for the LADOT Shared Lane Marking (Sharrows) Study.  The study documented the interactions between drivers and bicyclists when a bicyclist traveled at the position where Sharrows would later be installed.  At the end of the summer, LADOT Bike Blog again took part in studying the interactions between drivers and bicyclists, this time with Sharrows in place.  It all culminates with the release in the next few days of the LADOT Bicycle Program SLM report.

Newly installed Sharrows on 4th Street

While the LADOT Bike Blog will have another write-up on the results of the report (and what it means for Los Angeles’ streets), we first wanted to give you a look at the goals, the methods, and the standards we used for the Sharrow study.

We don’t just want Sharrows, we want Sharrows the right way.  We’re happy to give you a look at how we got there.

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Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance Now Law

Update 3 : Here’s a round-up of links covering the ordinance from the week – The Los Angeles Times, LAist (twice), Curbed LA, LA Now, The Source, Streetsblog LA (more than a few times), Biking in LA, LA Daily News (re-run in the Contra Costa Times), Flying Pigeon LA, and Blog Downtown, San Fernando Valley Sun, NBC Los Angeles.

Nationally: Washington Post, Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, ETA (UK)

We’ll add more links as they’re published.

Update 2 : The official language of the ordinance is available on the City Clerk’s website here.

In total, 11 speakers came up to speak on the Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance, and all but one were supportive of the ordinance. Afterwards, Council Members Koretz, Rosendahl, LaBonge, Garcetti, Reyes, and Cardenas all spoke in favor of the ordinance.  Many important points were made by the council members and public speakers alike. Some of the highlights:

  • Council Member Koretz tried bicycling for the first time in 15 years during Carmageddon and was promptly harassed while on the road.  This type of behavior, he correctly observed, is what keeps prospective riders from getting out on the streets.
  • Council Member Reyes made the argument that many of Los Angeles’ bicyclists have to do so because of economic necessity.  Finding ways to protect them also protects their livelihoods and LA’s economy.
  • Attorney and bicyclist Ross Hirsch got the “visual aide award” for bringing his two sons up to the podium with him, urging the City Council to adopt the ordinance so that his sons might ride to school safely.
  • Ted Rogers of Biking in LA recounted the same story that he earlier told for Bill Rosendahl’s Youtube Channel.
  • Council Member Garcetti imagined a day where instead of “Carmageddon”, we might have a “Cycletopia”.
  • In a clear example of who the ordinance would benefit, CM Tom LaBonge asked for everyone in council chambers who had ridden a bike in Los Angeles in the last month to stand.  Over 90% of the room left their seats, making clear that this ordinance is a step in the right direction for everyone.
  • CM Cardenas lauded the efforts to “put teeth into the law”.  He made clear that what the ordinance really addresses is the “so what?” attitude that a small number of drivers take towards the rights of bicyclists.
  • CM Rosendahl noted the precedent-setting nature of this ordinance.  He pointed out that a lot of eyes around the nation are on Los Angeles right now, and we have the chance to inspire other cities to provide similar protections to their citizens.

The bike racks outside City Hall were well-used today

Update 1 : The Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance passed with a unanimous 12-0 vote at City Council. More details to come.

The Los Angeles City Council meets today at 10:00 AM and the Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance is scheduled for item #19. Since regular working folks won’t have the ability to attend today’s council meeting, we’re going to provide play-by-play at council by live-tweeting the proceedings from the BikeBlogChris twitter handle. We’re using the hashtags #bikeLA and #lamtg, so feel free to join in the conversation throughout the day.

You can also call the Council Phone system to listen in or stream the proceedings live on your computer.

We’ll leave you with one more excellent video put together by Bill Rosendahl’s office, this time interviewing Ted Rogers, the excellent author of the Biking in LA blog. We’ll have an update later today with the results of the council vote.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmlYpNfwwr0]

Mark Your Calendars: Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Comes to Council July 20th

It’s finally here.  After years of work by City staff and dedicated members of the public, it’s here.  After months of council hearings and refining of legal language, it’s here.  Just over a week from today, the City of Los Angeles has the opportunity to enact a truly groundbreaking ordinance for protecting Bicyclists’ rights and safety.

A vote on the Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance is scheduled for the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday, July 20th.  You can read the latest draft of the ordinance here. We’ll be attending the meeting next week, and will be live-tweeting the proceedings from @BikeBlogChris.

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