Last Tuesday morning, bicyclists gathered at City Hall to watch the City Council adopt the LA Bike Plan into the City’s General Plan. After a little celebrating and some quickly consumed lunch meals, some of those selfsame bicyclists sat down at City Hall to make sure the Bike Plan gets implemented.
In all, 30 people crowded in City Hall Room 721 on Tuesday afternoon for the second meeting of the Bike Plan Implementation Team. (You can catch earlier coverage of the BPIT meeting at LACBC, Flying Pigeon (twice), and Orange 20.) The lead topic for the 2nd BPIT meeting was the proposed bike lanes on 7th Street (don’t forget, we’re still looking for your input on how to build them!). The group then discussed the process to build new projects and which projects will be on the docket for the next BPIT meeting.
7th Street – Kinda
While the limits of the 7th Street project identified in the BPIT’s original “Top 10” are from Catalina Street in Koreatown to Soto Street in Boyle Heights, the project discussed by the BPIT in March reached only from Catalina to Figueroa. The City decided to split up implementation on 7th Street into multiple projects in order to move the easier sections forward without having to wait out the more difficult parts.
In the case of 7th Street, traffic counts on 7th from Catalina to Figueroa were much lower than through downtown, making it far easier to implement a road diet and accompanying bike lanes. This section of 7th Street also falls within the district of Council Member Ed Reyes, who is extremely committed to implementing bike lanes in his district. Council Deputy Jill Sourial was on hand to represent CM Reyes’ office, which has already walked 7th Street with LADOT engineers and planning staff to identify areas of conflict or intersections which may need special attention.
LADOT engineers explained the current situation on 7th Street and the amount of work they will need to do in order to have a full plan ready to install bike lanes. This work includes creating new base maps of the existing streets, capacity analysis on 7th Street and surrounding streets, and creating a new striping plan for the bike lane.
At the same time as engineers go about their work, staffers from CD 1 (led by Jill Sourial) will engage in outreach to the communities along 7th Street. The results of this outreach will inform the decisions made by engineers on the roadway configurations and any possible changes made to intersections. Additional improvements may be considered for 7th Street after the bike lanes go in, but the priority is to get the bike lanes in as soon as possible.
One possible benefit of bike lanes on 7th Street is that, by introducing the two-way left turn lanes ubiquitous to a road diet, the project may be able to improve the design of intersections and explore additional parking opportunities for both cars and bicycles. Outreach efforts will also include helping businesses along 7th Street to request free LADOT bike racks and identifying a site for a possible bike corral. LADOT will also provide a one-page sheet of answers to frequently asked questions (often called a FAQ) about bike lane projects and the proposed road diet.
Bike Community Comments
First of all, thank you to those members of the bike community that shared their ideas on how they would build 7th Street. We compiled every one of those comments and sent them along to City Planning.
The members of the bike community attending the BPIT offered a wide range of advice for moving the project forward. There was a suggestion to run a dashed line through the intersection where the bike lane runs to keep drivers from creeping in. There was a concern with providing more bike parking to accommodate an increase in riders once the bike lanes go in. It was suggested that outreach focus on methods to accommodate truck deliveries along 7th Street without disrupting the bike lanes.
Project Progress Flowchart
Next up Jane Choi of City Planning unveiled a “flowchart” of how BPIT priority projects move through the various stages of approval and eventually end up on the street. When the newest version of the flowchart is available, we’ll post it on LADOT Bike Blog and walk you through how it all works. In the meantime, here’s a description of what the flowchart describes:
- First comes preliminary analysis of the street. Outreach strategies are crafted, and the BPIT is called on to troubleshoot possible conflicts. At this time, multiple options are developed.
- Options are brought to the Council Office of the Council Member(s) in who’s district(s) the project sits. Projects are either returned to the BPIT for additional work or they are given preliminary approval.
- Outreach, design, and any required environmental review are conducted in earnest.
- Work orders are processed for the project and installation takes place.
Bike community members called for the project process to have greater levels of public outreach and transparency at earlier stages of the processt. Planning and LADOT staff were receptive to these comments; the flowchart (and the process it represents) are being worked on to include more chances for input, outreach, and involvement. Other comments included ways to streamline the process, set reachable benchmarks, and create a stronger focus on bicycling priorities within the City family.
Next Meeting: 7th Street & Venice
Agenda items for the next BPIT meeting (April 5th) were set at the end of March’s BPIT meeting. It was agreed to return to 7th Street for an update on the project’s progress and turn attention towards bike lanes on Venice Boulevard. While South Figueroa Street is at the top of the BPIT’s Top 10, the BPIT agreed to let the folks at MyFigueroa get a little farther along before chiming in.
If there’s a project or agenda you want the BPIT to address, feel free to enumerate them in the comments section below. We’ll make sure that every suggestion makes it to City Planning. And consider coming to the next BPIT meeting. As always, the meetings are 100% open to the public and it’s those who up that drive the direction of policy and action.
You can check out all of our BPIT photos here.