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Archive for the ‘Tom LaBonge’ Category

We know the stereotype that Los Angeles is a car city,  that it’s not safe to bike, and that sometimes those that do bike can find it difficult to do so. It’s why we at the LADOT Bike Program work hard to make our city a friendlier place for people on bicycles and why we’ve always got plans to expand our work. But sometimes there are devastating incidents that remind us of how much more work we have to do, and the many ways that we need to approach bicycle safety. Because bicycling safely in this city doesn’t end with a sharrow or a bike line – it’s also about knowing that if something were to happen to you the law would be on your side.

That’s where Damian Kevitt comes in. Just over a year ago Damian was hit by a car while on his bike on Zoo Drive on the edge of Griffith Park. What could have been a minor accident turned very dangerous when the driver proceeded to flee the scene and entered the 5 freeway with Damian trapped underneath. To this day, the driver’s identity is unknown.

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Damian back on the bike

The seriousness of Damian’s accident is surpassed only by the height of his courage; within months Damian was back on a bike again, not only biking but also running and swimming, joining a community of athletes with similar physical challenges. There is no doubt that it takes a ton of resilience to come back from a collision  like Damian’s; but it wasn’t enough for Damian to ride again on his own.“Too many people are losing their lives or being injured themselves because someone was unwilling to stop and render care….If I can do something that is going to prevent at least one other person then I can walk away from this feeling in some kind of bizarre way that it was worth it, that at least I accomplished something good out of it” he said. Just days after the incident and hours out of one of many surgeries, Damian promised to finish the ride, but not just for himself. Damian became the catalyst for a movement of people in Los Angeles devoted to making the city is a safer place to bike.

Finish The Ride, a joint effort of Damian, LA County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), and Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), is happening on April 27th at 8AM. All proceeds benefit LACBC’s continuing hit-and-run campaigns and CAF.  But as Damian explained, it’s “not that there’s a lack of solutions or even resources [to address hit and runs], there just needs to be enough pressure to make it a priority. Make it enough of an issue that is has to be confronted.”  The more people that come out to support the event, the greater the visibility for the cause. If you can’t ride, you can volunteer.

Sunday, April 27th 8:00 AM. The ride starts at 4810 Sunset Blvd and finishes at the Autry Museum in Griffith Park. Credit: Finish The Ride

Sunday, April 27th 8:00 AM. The ride starts at 4810 Sunset Blvd and finishes at the Autry Museum in Griffith Park. Credit: Finish The Ride

“It’s unfortunate,” Damian said, “that we have to legislate it in order to effect the change, but if that’s the necessary evil in order to prevent people who are unable to make proper moral choices than that is the necessary evil.” You can urge our legislature to increase penalties on hit and run drivers by signing the petition here.

For our part, Councilmember Tom LaBonge has directed LADOT to work on identifying improvements on the Zoo Drive bridge.  LADOT engineers are working with Caltrans to make safety improvements at the location and recently Caltrans re-striped the Zoo Drive bridge by placing double yellow stripes.  Soon we will be installing delineators on top of the lines on the bridge that lead to the south bound entrance of the 5 Freeway, to further discourage drivers from crossing the double yellow lines and prematurely entering the freeway.  Councilmember LaBonge is allocating funds from the CD-4  budget to ensure that the delineators will be installed for Finish the Ride.

Some people probably doubted that Damian would ever recover enough to bike again, just like some people don’t think LA can ever be a biking city. We know otherwise. Join Damian and others on April 27th, to show that Los Angeles really can be a city friendly to bicyclists, and one that is safe and accessible for all. “Being in LA and being outdoors in a very raw way is what bicycling is about wherever you live. The importance is to do that in a way that is safe and fun,” Damian said. “LA has got the fun. We just need to make it safe.”

 

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4th Street existing conditions

While 4th St. outreach and planning continues (Bikeways staff met with 4 neighborhood councils and an HOA), Councilmember Tom La Bonge announced at a recent Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council meeting that he is opposed to the installation of bicycle/pedestrian signals at Highland and Rossmore, and has requested that we focus our ongoing conceptual design plans on Hoover St. to Wilton Pl., instead.

The proposed bike/ped signals were to address the two toughest intersections for bicyclists to cross on 4th St. between Cochran Ave. and Hoover St.; the intersections would have been designed to prohibit cut through traffic. La Bonge has asked our group to look at 6th St. as an alternative, but this corridor is not an option as it’s not in the Council adopted Bike Plan.

4th St. is currently designated as a Class III bicycle route, and now has shared lane markings as well as bicycle friendly loop detectors at signalized intersections. In the fall, we’ll start outreach on a grant we received to do bicycle wayfinding signage–and 4th St. will definitely be included.

Moving forward, which intersections do you think need special attention on 4th Street? Which destinations should be highlighted along 4th St. (for our fall wayfinding project)? And, where should we look next to implement Bicycle Friendly Street measures?

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Living blocks away from 4th Street biased me from Day One. I became even more attached to this priority project when I helped mark our second round of sharrows from Wilton Place to Cochran Avenue. Personal prejudices aside, this future bicycle boulevard (called a “Bicycle Friendly Street” in the LA Bike Plan) has remained at the forefront of bike plan implementation discussions for good reason – as one of the most direct, low volume connections across the City.

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Bicyclists on 4th Street during last summer's Tour LaBonge

A Bicycle Friendly Street on 4th Street is one of the priority projects for the Bike Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) and has long been a dream of both the LACBC and CD 4 Council Member Tom LaBonge. To roll out the next phase of bicycle improvements for 4th Street, we here at the LADOT Bike Program have begun community outreach efforts to determine the most efficient use of available bicycle infrastructure funds. 4th Street already has sharrows for over 3 miles from Cochran Ave to Hoover St. It also has new bike-sensitive loop detectors which can pick up the wheel of a bicycle at each stoplight. If you’re unsure of where to place your bike to activate the signal, check out our previous post here.

4th Street Map – Existing Conditions

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True to our word, LADOT Bike Blog showed up bright and early this Tuesday morning at Union Station with our rain gear on. Once there, we met up with over 50 other bicyclists who had come out for the Downtown LA Ride. Rain had slowed to just the barest of misting by the time the ride took off, and a great time was had by all.

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Riders alongside City Hall

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Bike Week LA started off on the right foot this morning at the North Hollywood Metro Station.  Representatives from Metro, LADOT and LACBC were on hand along with camera crews and bicyclists excited for Bike Week LA to begin.

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The LADOT Bike Program was in attendance

The kickoff was commenced with short speeches by LADOT Interim GM Amir Sedadi, Metro Deputy CEO Paul Taylor, LACBC Executive Director Jennifer Klausner, CicLAvia’s Joe Linton, Good Samaritan Hospital CEO Andy Leeka, and the bicycle-loving CD 4 Council Member Tom LaBonge.

Topics ranged from Metro’s repeal of peak-hour bike bans to free bus rides for bicyclists on Bike to Work Day to new bike lanes on MLK and Expo to Mayor Villaraigosa accepting the Golden Spoke Award on Tuesday to bicyclists and drivers alike staying safe on the road to even the simple joys of exploring Los Angeles by bicycle.

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None other than Mr. CicLAvia himself helped kick off Bike Week LA

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The BPIT (Bike Plan Implementation Team) has been quite the focal point of bike community controversy lately. Despite any disagreements over CEQA reivew, however, work still must be done; projects are moving forward even as we speak. In past months, projects like 7th Street and Venice Boulevard have come before the BPIT, had preliminary conceptual design work done, and were featured on the LADOT Bike Blog to get opinions of the public.

3 BPIT "Top 10" projects, spanning the Cahuenga Pass

Three more of the BPIT’s “Top 10″ projects have conceptual designs, and we’d like to present them to you for your comments and opinions. How would you build bike lanes on Cahuenga Boulevard, Barham Boulevard, and Lankershim Boulevard? These three streets surround the NBC/Universal project area and can serve as a vital link of bicycle infrastructure between the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood. In fact, these projects were moved up to the BPIT’s “Top 10″ to make sure the NBC/Universal project, once completed, wouldn’t preclude implementation of bike infrastructure.

Below the fold we’ll cover the particulars for each street and some preliminary design concepts for new bike lanes. As always, all of your comments here go straight to City Planning and our Bikeways Engineers.

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It was a festival atmosphere at City Hall this morning as bicyclists from all over the City pedaled in to celebrate a new era for Los Angeles. As we’re sure you’ve heard, the Draft LA Bike Plan is “draft” no longer; the Bike Plan came before City Council yesterday and was unanimously adopted into the City’s General Plan.  Today was the celebration.  Check out all our photos from today on flickr or our facebook page.

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The hoopla just getting started

When looking for reports on yesterday’s Council meeting, you can take your pick: the LADOT Bike Program Facebook Page, the BikeBlogChris Twitter feed, Streetsblog, Biking in LA, Good, LA Times, LA Now(twice), KPCC, Flying Pigeon, LACBC, CorbaMTB, the Daily Bruin, NBC4, ABC7, KCET, Venice Patch, Mar Vista Patch, LA Weekly, the Daily News, LAist, The Washington Post, The Contra Costa Times, and many, many others.

This morning, a gathering of City staff, elected officials, and the bike community came together to celebrate the new bike plan and reflect on what its adoption means for the City of Los Angeles. (more…)

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