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Monday commenced Seleta Reynolds’ first week as the new General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. On August 12th, the LADOT Bike Program had the pleasure of sitting down with Ms. Reynolds to discuss a number of topics ranging from commuting, bicycle planning, and direction for the Department moving forward.

General Manager Seleta Reynolds

The Bike Program welcomes LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds to the #bikeLA City family

LADOT Bike Program: What was your commute like today? We understand that you rode your bicycle to work on your first day. Generally, how does your Los Angeles commute compare to your SF commute?

LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds:  My Los Angeles commute is already an improvement over my San Francisco commute. I rode my bike in the first day.  Some folks rode in with me to show me the ropes, and helped me navigate the streets. It was totally enjoyable and really a great way to start the first day, to get a little exercise and be out in the morning. Today I rode the bus because after dropping my daughter off at school, it was easy, just hopped on and only took about 20 minutes or so. I can also take Metro’s Red Line from where we live.  Having so many choices is a huge advantage, and the fact one of them involves riding my bike is just fantastic. When I was in the Bay Area living in Berkeley I rode BART into San Francisco. You cannot ride your bike over the Bay Bridge yet, you can only ride over half of it. Now I have more choices and one of them includes bicycling.

LADOT Bike Program: In your experience, are there things Los Angeles can learn from San Francisco when it comes to bicycling? What are some bicycle-related measures from San Francisco that you would like to see implemented here?

LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds: Every place is different. I worked in San Francisco for three years and before that was a consultant, working all over the U.S. I worked on a bike plan for the Reno Sparks area, and also on a plan in Denver called Denver Moves. Every place has something unique about it. San Francisco is so different from Los Angeles, mainly because the width of the streets are so hyper-constrained and the topography in the city; it really limits the routes you take and everybody wants to be on those routes. There were some really tough projects and really difficult conversations about reallocating space.

San Francisco has a strong commitment to its “Transit First” policy, and a commitment to safety and Vision Zero. I would love to see that rise in Los Angeles, to have that unifying commitment from a policy perspective on all the leadership levels It  will be great  to have bike-sharing in Los Angeles, especially in Downtown, along with more protected bikeways and better intersection treatment, bicycle signals, two-stage left turns- a higher level of consideration. People encounter bad behavior from people on bikes because there is no system set up for you when you’re on a bike. We have treated people on bikes as either fast pedestrians or slow cars when really they are neither of those things. Giving consideration to that system is important to encourage good behavior, and getting along and sharing the road.

LADOT Bike Program: What are some of your short-term and long-term goals for improving walking and bicycling in the City?

LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds: Short-term I would  like to see us continue to nurture and grow the People St program and  adopt a really strong safety initiative, whether that’s Vision Zero or some other initiative we have for improving safety. I think that is foundational, you have to get that right before you can accomplish more. I would also like to see us continue to shift towards moving goods and people. Thinking about the function of streets and how we can provide a street that is comfortable for the folks who are not currently out there riding or walking, understanding what those people want and need. We need to prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to the bike network in particular. Building two miles of high-quality protected bikeways is better than, from my perspective, building 50 miles of five foot wide bike lanes that are just separated from traffic by a stripe. It would be great to  change our attitude when it comes to the design principles we use to approach projects.

LADOT Bike Program: The City of Los Angeles has a massive footprint, do you have a strategy for implementing the Bicycle Plan while managing other Department initiatives?

LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds: Partnerships are key; working closely with the Bureau of Street Services as they’re repaving streets, working closely with the Department of Water and Power on green streets, and folding our projects into those projects. Partnering with Metro on first and last mile solutions to leverage the huge investments they’re making in extending the rail lines. Also, finding private partners, people who have not traditionally funded transportation and to get them to come to the table to work with us on these kinds of projects is the only way we’re really going to get it done. We have to continue to evolve the way we do outreach in communities in order to get further faster. That is something I am really excited to work on with the Bicycle Outreach Program because the program has learned a lot of lessons about what has worked and what hasn’t worked. We need to make sure we are getting that community buy-off as early as possible so that we don’t get stuck in an endless cycle of back-and-forth, which pulls us away from doing other things.

LADOT Bike Program: What do you see as some of the differences to implementing bicycle infrastructure here as opposed to your work in San Francisco?

LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds: The strategy here has to lead with complete streets and safety in a strong way. In San Francisco we had a really strong, across the board, commitment to Transit First, and had shifted away from Level of Service or traffic capacity. That’s different here, there is a need to provide a strong balance. Starting with that discussion will be important and a little bit different than what we did in San Francisco. I think the L.A. context will be different from a design perspective, the way we think about the function of the street is going to be different. There is no such thing as a prototypical street in either city. Continue Reading »

The Bike Program is happy to announce the next step in Los Angeles becoming a more bicycle friendly destination: LADOT’s Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) Program!  The BFB Program is a citywide opt-in program that encourages businesses to embrace bicycle friendly practices in order to attract more local trips by walking and bicycling.

The Bicycle Friendly Business Program is part of a larger City effort to focus on Great Streets. Mayor Eric Garcetti says that, “The Bicycle Friendly Business Program represents one of the many tools in our Great Streets toolbox. As we remake our streets to better serve our neighborhoods, the Bicycle Friendly Business Program will make it easier for Angelenos to choose to travel and shop by bike. We look forward to seeing you on the street!”

In Los Angeles, 50% of trips are under 3 miles, and therefore can be easily traversed on a bicycle. People on bikes can be great for business!  Studies have shown that small businesses are more visible to people who travel at slower speeds. In New York City, Toronto, and Portland, people who walk and bike were observed to spend more money per trip and visit multiple establishments. People on bikes also tend to know their neighborhood better, which builds community and makes neighborhoods safer.

“Our neighborhoods are stronger when people can live, work and shop at local businesses without needing their cars, and the Bicycle Friendly Business Program will help put neighborhoods first in Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin, who Chairs the City Council’s Transportation Committee. “I’m excited to see the Bicycle Friendly Business Program expand throughout Los Angeles and I think the expansion of this program is a great sign that LADOT is heading in the right direction and making alternative transportation a priority.”

Here on the Bike Blog, businesses can learn about being Bicycle Friendly, the Program’s details, and even opt in to be one of LA’s first certified Bicycle Friendly Businesses!

The Citywide program will give businesses the opportunity to be recognized for their Bicycle Friendliness by adhering to a variety of bicycle friendly practices.  The program then provides bicyclists with a directory of local participating businesses specifying the bicycle friendly amenities offered.

The BFB program shows how all types of businesses can be more friendly to people on bikes and provides data resources to illustrate their benefits for business.  For more information on the program, check out these pages:

The Bicycle Friendly Business Program

Program Details

Count me in!

Benefits of Bicycle Friendly Business

Take a look and show your friends!  We definitely see a Bicycle Friendly Los Angeles in our future!

Bicycle Friendly Business on York Boulevard in Northeast LA

 

Timeline_Year2

Timeline for Bike Plan’s Second Year Projects. Click image for full .pdf document.

It was four years ago when Los Angeles adopted its Bicycle Plan, an ambitious vision of over 1,600 miles of bikeways crisscrossing the City in a safe and connected network.

Fact_Sheet_Year2_Page1

Click image for full “Second Year Implementation Fact Sheet” .pdf

With the forth year of implementation underway, the Bike Program in collaboration with the Department of City Planning is conducting outreach on a number of major bike lane projects currently on the horizon.

In the coming weeks, the City will be hosting roundtable forums to  address concerns and articulate the goals of the projects on a local level. The forums are intended to engage a broad cross-section of the affected constituents, hearing from multiple perspectives, including: local organizations, businesses, residents, bicycle commuters, neighborhood councils, council district offices, and other key stakeholders.

Upon sharing the big picture goals, and listening to diverse community concerns, the City will follow up with an analysis of the potential options. The analysis will include relevant data that highlights the benefits and impacts of each option, which will be informed by the roundtable discussions. Ultimately, the details of each project will reflect a collaborative vision incorporating local needs and citywide policy goals. The design options will be presented at larger public hearings, where a formal staff report will be made available in advance for additional input before final approval.

The projects up for discussion, formally part of the “Second Year” of the Bicycle Plan’s implementation, are:

For context and background on the process, find below the presentation that was given during a webinar on April 17th. The audio recording from the webinar is available as well for your review.

Presentation

Second_Year_Implementation

Click image for a .pdf of the presentation shared during the webinar.

Webinar

For additional information or questions regarding the process or specific projects, please contact David Somers of the Department of City Planning:

David Somers
Tel: (213) 978-3307
Fax: (213) 978-1477

david.somers@lacity.org

1st Street Bike Lane

Looking east towards City Hall from the 1st Street bike lane

It has been three months since we announced Nate Baird’s departure from the Bike Program and while Nate is sorely missed, we are pleased share that we now have authority to hire someone to fill his position.

To date, we have received about 50 applications but because the review process has not yet started we will open the application process again for an additional two weeks (closing on July 18th).

A .pdf copy of the job description is available here: Bicycle Program Project Coordinator

Interested candidates should complete a City of Los Angles application and submit with a cover letter and resume to: LADOT Bureau of Personnel Services, 100 S. Main Street, 10th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

Note: Those who have already submitted applications need not re-apply. All applications and supporting documents must be received no later than Friday, July 18th. 

A rendering showing plans for Los Angeles St. facing South.

A rendering showing plans for Los Angeles St. facing South.

Looking South on Los Angeles St. towards City Hall.

Looking South on Los Angeles towards City Hall.

You may have heard or participated in the range of events Metro conducted as part of the Metro Union Station/1st and Central Linkages Study (Linkages Study), a campaign to understand how Angelenos use L.A.’s biggest transit hub, L.A. Union Station. Recently, the LADOT Bike Blog had the pleasure of speaking with Lillian Burkenheim, the Director of Strategic Initiatives, to discuss the Metro Linkages Study and plans for the future of biking, walking and accessing transit around Union Station.

Bike Blog: How does Metro plan to incorporate bicycle access and bicycle facilities (lockers, showers, etc.) into Union Station?

LB:

One of the first proposed projects of the Union Station Master Plan (USMP) will be a redesign of Union Station’s western entrance. This redesign will most likely involve reconfiguring the main entrance walkway to be a more direct path from the Station to El Pueblo.  From El Pueblo, the path will extend to Fort Moore (slighty north of Hill St.) before culminating at the entrance of Grand Park on Spring Street. Currently, this project is tentative and still pending approval from the Metro Board of Directors but could be constructed in the next 5 years.

Metro is currently working on developing a Mobility Hub where users could access resources such as car-share services, bike-share, and other amenities that help bridge the first-mile, last-mile gap in transit trips. Plans for the Mobility Hub are currently in development and the Union Station Master Plan will identify a location for such a hub.

Recently, bicycle lanes have been installed along streets that lead to Union Station. (Note: LADOT installed bicycle lanes on Main Street and Los Angeles Street in June of 2012.)

In the longer term master plan vision, there are concepts for both bicycle and pedestrian paths that will allow bicyclists to travel through the Station.  The proposed expanded concourse will allow easier access to walk a bike through the station at ground level. The master plan is also proposing paths that take cyclists and pedestrians over the top of the rail yard, starting with a series of plazas and terraces and connecting to a bridge over the yard.  The Master Plan proposes bike facilities of various sizes at all corners of the station, with services that would include bike share, bike storage (short and long term), and retail needs.  A larger bike hub is proposed for the east side of the site, once Patsaouras Bus Plaza is relocated.

BIKE BLOG: So, how soon can we expect to start seeing changes around Union Station?

LB:

The reconfiguration of the entrance to Union Station is likely to be the first proposed master plan project. In addition, Metro will be working with LADOT to make bicycle and pedestrian improvements on the streets around the 1st and the Central Regional connector.  Metro has also partnered with the City of Los Angeles on two Active Transportation Grants to the State that would implement improvements identified by the Linkages Study.

Union_Station,_LA,_CA,_jjron_22.03.2012

Union Station’s Western entryway at Alameda St. and Los Angeles St.

BIKE BLOG: How does the Linkages Study inform the Union Station Master Plan?

LB:

As Metro began working on the Union Station Master Plan,we recognized the need to focus on how people from surrounding communities access the station. The construction of the Metro Regional Connector seemed like a prime opportunity to study the accessibility of both transit hubs. The Linkages Study focuses on accessibility around Union Station and the Metro Regional Connector, with the goal of improving bicycle and pedestrian linkages to both destinations.

The Linkages Study began with a Community Festival at El Pueblo, which included a community bicycle tour on streets in the surrounding area. The experience was eye-opening for everyone.  During the design team’s early analysis of the study area, we rode our bikes through Chinatown, Cornfield-Arroyo Seco, Civic Center District, Little Tokyo, Boyle Heights, Arts District, El Pueblo and tried to find access points to the L.A. River.  During our initial neighborhood conversations stage we discussed different travel scenarios to Union Station with the community including how to get bicyclists over the 1st Street Bridge and other ways bicyclists and pedestrians are currently crossing the L.A. River. The Linkages Study focused on navigation. For example, we found that users have difficulty finding places such as El Pueblo due to line of sight issues when they leave Union Station. These are the type of access and mobility issues that we’ve worked to identify through the Linkages Study and will address with the Union Station Master Plan.

Union Station is experiencing a growth in users that is expected to rise significantly over the next 20 years. Currently, Union Station serves about 66,000 people a day. With the addition of the Regional Connector and the High Speed Rail Station, the number of visitors is expected to grow over the course of the next 20 years to about 100,000 visitors a day. The Linkages Study is about improving bicycle and pedestrian access to the station, both for current and future users.

 

BIKE BLOG: How can LADOT Bike Blog readers help Metro with the Union Station Master Plan?

LB:

If you have questions, comments or suggestions, you can contact USMP staff by emailing them at lausmp@metro.net. You can download current information and information from past meetings, including watching videos of prior meetings, at the project website, as well as sign up for our eblasts and updates.  You can find out more about the L.A. Union Station Master Plan at http://www.metro.net/projects/LA-union-station/.   Information on the Linkages Study can be found here:  www.metro.net/linkages.

Last but not least, by voicing their support to elected officials, the bicycle community provides tremendous support and creates the momentum for creating bicycle lanes and paths around Union Station and its surrounding communities.

A lot of hard work goes into installing corrals that are safe and durable!

This week, the LADOT Bike Program worked with City crews to install two new Bicycle Corrals, making Los Angeles just a bit more bicycle friendly than it was before. The first corral was installed in the Northeast LA neighborhood of Cypress Park, in front of Antigua Coffee (3400 N Figueroa St, 90065) on the corner of  North Figueroa and Loreto Street. Antigua is a proud partner in our Bicycle Friendly Business program and was quite pleased to see the Corral installed, especially since there are so many neighborhood bike rides that originate at the bike shop next door, Flying Pigeon. Councilmember Gil Cedillo says he is pleased that, “Yancey Quinonez’s vision for that developing business area continues to be realized.”  The Councilmember recognizes that, “The bike corral is a great addition to the southern portion of the Figueroa corridor,” reiterating that a Corral at Antigua Coffee, a focal point in the community, can act as a powerful anchor for business in Cypress Park.

Antigua Coffee’s front door now features our Bicycle Friendly Business window cling! Bicycle Corrals and bicycle parking are integral parts of our Bicycle Friendly Business program.

A couple hours later, City crews finished installing a second Corral in North Hollywood outside of the Laemmle Theater NOHO 7 (5240 Lankershim Blvd, 91601).  This corral will provide much needed bicycle parking near the vibrant and buzzing bicycle and pedestrian hub adjacent to the theater, Television Academy, and shops that have developed around the Metro North Hollywood Station.
IMG_9006

Greg Laemmle of Laemmle Theaters will join Councilmember Paul Krekorian to celebrate the Lankershim Bicycle Corral with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, June 21, at 2pm in front of the theater.  Councilmember Krekorian says, “North Hollywood just keeps getting better for cyclists and pedestrians. I’m really proud that we teamed up with Greg Laemmle on this new bike corral. Working with business and community partners to improve the quality of life for neighborhood residents and visitors is what the City of Los Angeles does best.” Laemmle Theater will also offer two free bicycle-themed movie screenings, open to the general public that day (see Laemmle Theater’s announcement for additional details)!

Adding to the festivities, the Lankershim Corral celebration coincides with Laemmle Theater’s FIRST EVER  Tour de Laemmle, a 122 mile journey in which theater owner Greg Laemmle will be bicycling to visit all seven Laemmle Theater locations! The Tour de Laemmle is free and open to the public – riders are encouraged to join the route along the way.

Each of the Dero Cyclestall Bicycle Corrals installed today can park 12 bicycles, though we’ve seen some locations overflowing with as many as 18! Their addition to the City’s streets brings the LADOT Bike Program’s total Bicycle Corral count to seven. Together, all the Corral parking combined provide enough parking for 82 bicycles! And more Corrals are on their way!

IMAG1364

The first bicycle to use the North Figueroa Street bike corral

We love to see our Bicycle Corrals in action so if you use any of our Corrals be sure to share pictures with us on our Facebook or Twitter. To see more photos from our installations, check out our flickr albums “Lankershim Blvd Bike Corral Installation” and “Figueroa Bike Corral Installation

(From left): Austin Sos, Michelle Mowery, Eli Glazier and Daniel Shockley before Wednesday’s guided ride

It was an amazingly inspiring week for us here at the Bike Program as we participated in the annual Bike Week extravaganza, riding along with the citizens of this beautiful city. After Monday’s Bike week Kick Off at Union Station, we attended the Annual Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning. On Wednesday, we accompanied our fearless leader, Michelle Mowery, and joined the Bodacious Bike Babes on a guided bicycle ride touring some of the bicycle  infrastructure around Union Station and Boyle Heights, with a pit stop at the Mariachi Plaza Gold Line station.  

Bagels and the Bike Program at Sunset Triangle!

Then it was Bike to Work Day!  And wow, it was a scorcher!  The LADOT Bike Program would like to thank all of those who participated in Bike to Work day last week despite the record-setting high of 102 degrees. To show our appreciation to all the wonderful people on their cycling commute, the Bike Program was stationed at Sunset Triangle Plaza bright and early in the morning to give away free bike swag including snacks, reflective straps, stickers, spoke cards, maps and more. We also had the opportunity to show off the newly installed Sunset Triangle Bicycle Repair Station and offered advice to cyclists on how to set up their bicycle on it, the various tools available, and provided other repair tips. Continue Reading »

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