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New bike lanes have been popping up all over the city, including this one on Eagle Rock Blvd. Photo credit: Walk Eagle Rock

Why Data Matters For Bikeway Implementation

Over the past two fiscal years, the LADOT Bicycle Program has installed well over a hundred miles of new bike lanes, filling gaps in the city’s bicycle network and enhancing street conditions to make cycling more safe and pleasant. Alongside this effort, the LADOT will also soon be moving forward with highly anticipated bike projects in the city’s first EIR package, marking a huge step forward in the 2010 Bicycle Plan implementation process.

However, great as these accomplishment are, we don’t fully know the impact of bike lane projects and neighborhood bike networks unless we collect data evaluating the impacts of all this new bike infrastructure. How do new bike lanes and road diets affect the number of people bicycling on a street? Do bike lanes improve overall street safety? These are questions we need to answer. Additionally, we don’t know where bike infrastructure is most needed, and has the most potential if we don’t know the popular cycling corridors in the city. Simply put, data collection is incredibly important for evaluating the effectiveness of existing bikeways, and determining how best to advance new bicycle projects.

Since 2009, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) has coordinated – with the help of volunteers – bicycle and pedestrian counts throughout Los Angeles to help measure changes in the level of cycling. The results of the LACBC’s most recent counts, from 2011, observed a tremendous increase in the amount of cycling compared to 2009, particularly on streets that received bike lanes in the time between the two counts. While studies across the nation have demonstrated that building bicycle infrastructure leads to increases in the level of cycling, the LACBC bike counts attach real numbers to actual streets and bike projects in Los Angeles.

How YOU Can Help Future Bikeway Projects

The LACBC is now in the process of coordinating bike counts for 2013. They are scheduled to take place on the 10th and 14th of September, and the LACBC needs your help to put together the most comprehensive and accurate bike counts yet. Because this year’s bike counts will be conducted shortly after over a hundred of new miles have been implemented and with highly anticipated road diets on the horizon, they are especially crucial from a data collection standpoint. The LACBC’s September bike counts will offer an indication of how effective the past fiscal year’s bike lanes have been while offering important “before” data for future bike lane projects.

Ultimately, by simply continuing to count bicycle and pedestrian traffic, the LACBC will be collecting and compiling data the city unfortunately would not otherwise have, while reminding us not to overlook those walking and bicycling on our public streets. All modes of travel matter and deserve to be counted.

Take Action Now

LACBC Bike Count Flyer

LACBC Flyer Promoting the September 2013 Bike Count. Click image for printable version. Image credit: LACBC

If you can, please consider signing up to volunteer for the LACBC’s bike counts. The simple act of collecting accurate data on bicycle and pedestrian usage on our streets will simultaneously help educate Angelenos on the growing popularity of active transportation, evaluate the effectiveness of existing bikeways, and provide valuable data on streets slated for future bikeways.

For more information on the LACBC’s September 2013 bike counts, click here– and to be directly linked to the LACBC bike count volunteer form, click here. For those on facebook, check out the 2013 Bike Count event page.

After you sign up to volunteer, you MUST choose a volunteer orientation session to attend

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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: (more…)

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(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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The Los Angeles City Planning Commission today took a step towards making Los Angeles a truly bicycle friendly city.  In a unanimous vote, the Commission adopted a Bicycle Parking Ordinance that would vastly expand the number of new bike parking spaces required in new developments of all kinds throughout Los Angeles. You can follow the blow-by-blows of the hearing at the twitter feed BikeBlogChris, or the hashtags #bikeLA and #lamtg.  You can download a copy of the pdf here.

Over 15 dedicated bicyclists and advocates showed up in City Hall Room 350 today to support the ordinance.  Kudos are due to Rye Baerg, the driving force behind the ordinance in the City Planning Department, and all the dedicated members of the public who have helped the ordinance reach where it is today.

Thanks, Rye (image courtesy LACBC)

The next step for the Bicycle Parking Ordinance is a hearing before the PLUM (Planning & Land Use Management) Committee.  Once through PLUM, the ordinance goes to a full hearing before the City Council before becoming part of the City’s municipal code.  When the ordinance is agendized from the PLUM Committee, we’ll be sure to let you know.

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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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A few quick notes for the LA bike community on a balmy Thursday:

Metro’s Peak-Hour Bike Ban One Step from Repeal

The Metro Operations Committee this afternoon approved Metro Staff’s recommendations to remove peak-hour restrictions for bicycles.  As we wrote about yesterday, Metro is considering both removing peak-hour restrictions on bikes for all Metro rail lines and removing a few seats in all Metro cars to better accommodate passengers with bicycles, strollers, luggage, and other large items that can sometimes block access to train doorways. The subway lines have already had this work done, but the light rail lines are being considered, as well.

Members of the LACBC, LADOT, the BRU, the BAC, and FAST all spoke in support of removing the restrictions and removing limited seating on trains.  CEO Art Leahy was also extremely supportive of staff’s recommendations to make Metro a truly bicycle-friendly transit system.  Leahy pointed out that removal of 2 seats on a train would create room for “5 standees” per car when trains are at capacity.  Creating more capacity on Metro without increasing operating costs is just another strong argument to add to the list in favor of staff’s recommendations.

One of the Operations Committee members wanted staff to provide a report on the impacts to current Metro riders if ridership levels increase due to more bicyclists riding on Metro.  He worried that current riders wouldn’t be able to get seats during rush hour were ridership to increase due to more bicyclists riding the train.  This seemed to miss the mark a bit for me: Increased ridership should be a boon, not an impact, to Metro; and aren’t bicyclists Metro riders, too?

After discussion between committee members ended, they voted to move the recommendations on to the full Metro Board.  The full board may hear the item as soon as next week, so keep your digital eyes on the LADOT Bike Blog throughout the week for new developments.

City Planning Wins Fitting APA Award for LA Bike Plan

The Los Angeles Section of the American Planners Association (APA) just came out with their 2011 planning awards.  For their work on the 2010 LA Bike Plan, City Planning is receiving the APA “Hard Won Victory Award”.

Two years ago, it would have been hard to imagine Los Angeles having a new bike plan at all, much less the visionary bike plan that has earned admiration and envy across the country.  Much of the reason we have that great bike plan today is due to the tireless efforts of City Planning staff Claire Bowen, Jane Choi, and Jordann Turner.  It was their hard work, their endless optimism, and their tireless coalition building that brought together advocates, the City, and the public around a plan that we can all be proud of.

Though the award is being given to City Planning, it’s my opinion that everyone involved in the bike plan deserves a piece of the APA award.  The process was a “hard won victory” on all sides, and everyone involved should be truly proud of helping make Los Angeles a better place for all.

ULI Hits Long Beach

On the heels of opening their very first set of cycle tracks, Long Beach will play host to the Urban Land Institute – Los Angeles Branch.  The ULI is holding a Mobility Tour and Case Study of Long Beach’s bicycle infrastructure on May 4th.  In addition to the tour, a panel featuring Charlie Gandy, Sumi Gant, Michael Bohn, and Casey Burke will discuss Long Beach’s strategies, implementation, and lessons learned in implementing cutting-edge bicycle infrastructure.  Space is limited, and you can register on ULI’s website.

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First Tuesdays can be busy! In addition to the monthly Bicycle Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) meeting in the afternoon, the day also featured the bi-monthly Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting in the evening. It was the first full meeting as BAC Chair for Jay Slater and featured a brand new BAC member, as well.

Jennifer Gill, who manages outreach efforts for  the Metro Bicycle Roundtable meetings, was present for her first meeting as the new BAC representative for CD 1.  Council Member Ed Reyes, long known for his strong support of bicycling, made a great decision in appointing such a capable and progressive supporter of bicycling.  We wish Jennifer the best in her new role on the BAC and hope that she can bring new energy, ideas, and gravitas to the Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee.

Tuesday’s meeting was well attended by both BAC members and members of the public.  Fourteen out of the 19 sitting BAC members were in attendance.  And 15 other individuals – including Alexis Lantz of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and Don Ward of SafeStreetsNorthridge and Midnight Ridazz fame – made the trip to 6501 Fountain Avenue (Google map it).

Below the fold, we’ll get into highlights of the meeting: an update from Sergeant Krumer, discussion of the LA County Bike Plan, more specifics on the BAC Liaison Program, the BAC’s future website, an update on City Planning’s Bike Parking Ordinance, and the effort to bring a universal bicycle registry to Southern California.

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