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.