Archive for the ‘Bicyquality of Life’ Category

In September, Governor Jerry Brown signed two new momentous bills creating safer streets for the people of California.  The first, A.B. 902, permits local municipalities to enact programs for bicyclists ticketed for certain infractions. The second, A.B. 8, allows law enforcement agencies to issue a public alert if a person has been killed or severely injured in a hit-and-run accident. Both bills will take effect on January 1, 2016.  So let’s take a closer look at how each can improve mobility for Californians…

A.B. 902

A.B. 902, the traffic ticket diversion program, helps turn a ticket into a learning opportunity by providing an opportunity for people on bicycles to attend a bicycling class to reduce their fine. This change in the way we normally conduct traffic enforcement can result in reduced fines for committing moving violations, a more educated  public, and over all safer streets, a real a win-win-win! It is important to note that the passage of A.B. 902 does not automatically institute programs statewide, but removes barriers that previously prevented cities and counties from initiating such an option for people ticketed while on a bicycle. It is still necessary for members of the public to work with their local officials to ensure such a bicycle ticket diversion program is implemented.


Cities and counties are now allowed to implement bicycle ticket diversion programs as a means to promote better bicycle safety while reducing ticket fines.

A.B. 8

A.B. 8, also known as the “Yellow Alert” system was proposed to combat the heavy toll of statewide hit-and-runs. Similar to the Amber Alert system, which alerts drivers of a missing child through freeway message board signs and text messages, Yellow Alerts are intended to garner the public’s help to find fleeing drivers of  hit-and-runs crimes. Alerts will be issued only when local law enforcement has a sufficient description of the identity of the suspects and their vehicles. The alerts will be activated in specific geographic areas, presumably near the scene of a collision. In addition to freeway signs, alerts may be heard on television or on the radio.

Yellow Alerts are not new to California. In 2012, the City of Denver instituted a similar system, as a result of which they experiences a 76% arrest rate in cases where the alert was utilized. The success of the program ensued in a statewide program throughout Colorado. Similar to Denver, the City of Los Angeles has been one step ahead of the state. In February 2015, City officials announced a hit-and-run alert system that would publish information on social media about cars and drivers linked to fatal and other sever hit-and-runs.

Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) spoke on the important of reducing hit-and-run crimes at a 2014 press conference at LA City Hall. Source: Streetsblog LA

This is a big win for Southern California! Aside from the obvious safety and social benefits, we are prideful that both bills were introduced by LA County representatives including Assemblymember Richard Bloom, representing Santa Monica (traffic diversion program) and Assemblymember Mike Gatto, representing Glendale (hit-and-run bill). You can hear more from Assemblymember Gatto himself about A.B. 8 in his interview with Streetsblog.

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Early Chandler Cycletrack rendering

Early rendering of proposed cycle track on Chandler Blvd, one of 8 active transportation projects from the City of Los Angeles recommended for Metro 2015 Call for Projects funding.

On June 29th, Metro released its preliminary recommendations awarding grant funding to projects countywide under the 2015 Call for Projects program, a competitive application process that distributes capital transportation funds to regionally significant projects. By all accounts, this was a successful ‘Call’ year for the City of Los Angeles, in particular for people that walk and ride their bicycle. Eight projects that will improve active transportation were recommended for funding!

City projects set to receive funding, by ‘Call for Projects’ category, include:

1) Regional Surface Transportation Improvements

  • Complete Streets Project for Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock: Improve traffic flow and implement “Complete Streets” elements on Colorado Boulevard by installing signal improvements, turn lanes, median islands, bump-outs, and pedestrian lighting. (More information available here)
  • Harbor Boulevard /Sampson Way/7th Street Reconfiguration: Harbor Boulevard and Sampson Way realignment/intersection consolidation;widened sidewalks; Class II bike lanes.

2) Transportation Demand Management

  • Building Connectivity with Bicycle Friendly Business Districts: Create Bicycle Friendly Business Districts that coordinate with business districts to offer TDM incentives, develop an app, and provide amenities that encourage short trips by bicycle.

3) Bicycle Improvements

  • Chandler Cycle Track Gap Closure Project: Project will construct a 3.1 mile cycle track along Chandler Boulevard, connecting the Chandler and Orange Line Bike Paths, and bridging a gap in the low-stress bicycle network.
  • Mid-City Low Stress Bicycle Enhancement Corridors: The Project is a compilation of bicycle way-finding and traffic calming treatments along two neighborhood corridors in Mid-City area to support regional low-stress bicycle network. (More information available here, and here)

4) Pedestrian Improvements

  • Melrose Avenue-Fairfax Avenue to Highland Avenue Pedestrian Improvements: Strengthen first/last mile connectivity on Melrose Avenue through pedestrian/bike-friendly improvements to restore the avenue’s reputation as a retail and entertainment destination.
  • LANI – Santa Monica Boulevard Improvement Project: The project will implement a series of streetscape improvements on Santa Monica Boulevard designed to increase pedestrian safety, support multiple modes and promote transit use.
  • Beverly Boulevard, Vermont Avenue to Commonwealth Avenue Pedestrian Improvements: Design and construction of pedestrian improvements/streetscape enhancements. To provide linkages to major transit along Beverly Boulevard, Temple Street, Virgil Avenue and Silver Lake Boulevard.

Due to the Call funding cycles,  some of these projects are programmed for a few years down the line and will not be funded until as late as 2020. However, having all these active transportation projects recommended for funding are a cause for celebration and we can’t wait to implement these projects! Additional information about the details of these projects can be found in this list of applications the City recommended to submit for the 2015 Call for Projects process.

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On a sunny August afternoon in Boyle Heights, Mayor Garcetti signed his tenth executive directive since taking office and launched the City’s new Vision Zero initiative, or #VisionZeroLA! The Mayor was joined by local traffic safety proponents, including our very own General Manager Seleta Reynolds, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, Councilmembers Mike Bonin and Mitchell Englander, other members of the City family, and a newly formed coalition of organizations in support of safer streets for everyone called Los Angeles Vision Zero Alliance (LA0).

#VisionZeroLA represents a commitment on behalf of the City of Los Angeles to eliminate traffic-related fatalities by 2025. According to the Mayor’s Office, the City’s Vision Zero policy “is based on the fundamental principle that traffic deaths can be avoided through strategic, data-driven approaches to engineering, enforcement, education evaluation, and community engagement.”

Mayor Garcetti adjusts the mic before announcing #VisionZeroLA.

In a typical year, roughly 200 people are severely injured or killed in traffic collisions in Los Angeles. Approximately 44% of these collisions involved a person walking or riding a bicycle. Vision Zero LA aims to focus multiple City departments to collaborate and develop measures that will reduce the number of traffic-related fatalities and severe injuries from 200 to zero. To this end, our GM Seleta Reynolds will lead the Department to ensure our transportation system offers people safe and comfortable mobility. “We must transform our city so that our youth and older adults aren’t risking their lives just to get around town,” said Seleta.

Tackling traffic safety in a city with over 4,500 miles of streets is an ambitious task.  According to the Vision Zero LA team, however, of the 30,000 collisions a year in Los Angeles, about 65% of those that result in a pedestrian death or severe injury take place on only 6% of the City’s streets.  This proportion of street segments is known as the High-Injury Network and will be the focus of the City’s initial efforts and safety improvements.

Increase Safety, Decrease Costs

Any death or injury resulting from a traffic collision on our streets is one too many. Traffic collisions have a detrimental impact on the city and its residents: physical and emotional pain of the victims and their families, significant economic costs and financial burdens, adverse effects on health and safety, inefficiencies in the transportation system, and lower quality of life for all. Not only will #VisionZeroLA create invaluable benefits for our communities like reducing the physical and emotional harm these type of tragedies cause and ensuring all residents feel safe using our streets, this initiative will also save Los Angeles residents from the financial burden on society generated by traffic collisions that we do not immediately recognize.

recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that all traffic collisions cost the U.S. economy about $836 billion in 2010—$594 billion in value of social harm and $242 billion in economic costs. This staggering figure accounts for 32,999 fatalities, 3.9 million non-fatal injuries, and 24 million damaged vehicles. NHTSA researchers estimate the economic cost of crashes based on factors such as property damage, lost earnings, lost household production, medical expenses, emergency services, travel delay, workplace costs, and legal fees, while the societal impacts of collisions are quantified based on physical and emotional pain and loss of quality of life.

The economic cost of each traffic-related fatality to society is approximated at nearly $1.4 million; more than 95% of this amount accounts for lost time in the workplace and household, absent contributions to the market, and legal expenses. A cost breakdown from the NHTSA report based on severity of traffic collision is included below:

In 2010, Californians paid 8.3%, or $19 billion, of the total economic cost of traffic collisions nationwide, the greatest proportion out of any other State.

Based on the 200 traffic-related fatalities and severe injuries in Los Angeles in 2013 and cost estimates from the NHTSA, the LADOT Bike Blog estimates these fatalities cost our City nearly $280 million. The varying costs of collisions are summarized in the table below, differentiated by the extent of injuries and types of transportation modes involved. Over half of the reported 200 fatalities were people walking or riding their bicycle. Cost details for collisions without reported injuries (i.e. vehicle damage alone) were not included.

The 28,896 traffic-related injuries and fatalities that occurred citywide in 2013 cost all of us approximately $3.681 billion, or $367.36 per resident. In other words, it makes fiscal sense for the city to provide safer infrastructure in order to reduce fatalities and injuries, and avoid a portion of these costs in addition to the other damages caused by traffic collisions.

There is no replacing the loss of a life and to get an idea of the financial toll serious traffic collisions have on our city, here are a few things $3.681 billion could pay for:

For more information on #VisionZeroLA visit visionzero.lacity.org and follow @VisionZeroLA.

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Get ready for #bikeshareLA!!!!!!

Exciting news for Angelenos today! Bikeshare is coming to LA, says the Los Angeles City Council. Today, Council voted to partner with Metro to launch a pilot bike-sharing program in Downtown Los Angeles. The program is slated to launch with 1,090 bicycles and up to 85 stations by 2016. The program aims to eventually expand to other neighborhoods, such as Hollywood, Koreatown, Expo Park, North Hollywood and Venice.

Bikeshare could be a game changer for LA, creating a new transportation system that has benefits that extend far beyond moving people around. In other cities, bikeshare has expanded the number of mobility options available for short trips, improved the health of its users, decreased crashes, and produced positive business outcomes.

Bikeshare is a partnership between Metro, and the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). Bicycle Transit Systems (BTS) and its partner BCycle were selected to implement the program for Metro in Los Angeles and other cities. The program builds on successful bikesharing operations in other major cities, including Washington D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Paris.

After a 2012 effort to bring bikesharing to Downtown Los Angeles failed to materialize, Councilmember José Huizar, who represents a majority of DTLA, welcomes the program, which compliments his DTLA Forward initiative, aimed at improving pedestrian, public space and bicycle access in DTLA.

“This bikesharing program is a long time coming for DTLA and the City of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Huizar. “We have been leading the fight to bring more pedestrian and bicycle uses to the City, particularly in Downtown, where many of its 53,000 residents live car-free lives. Our bikesharing service will greatly benefit them, as well as the many workers, visitors and tourists who come to DTLA each and every day.”

This Arts District poodle advised about station placement at last month’s bikeshare demonstration

Under the plan, Metro and the City of Los Angeles will share capital costs. Metro will cover 35% of net operations and maintenance costs and the City will cover the remaining 65%.

“Bikesharing’s return on investment is proven and powerful,” said Seleta Reynolds, LADOT General Manager. “It is good for local business, public health, and community happiness. The City is a proud partner to Metro in launching a new form of safe, equitable, and fun public transit.”

Naming rights for the bikeshare system will be retained by Metro and advertising rights on bikeshare stations will belong to the City and be negotiated separately from the MOU approved today.

“We’re very pleased to partner with the City of Los Angeles to bring bike sharing to Downtown L.A. next year,” said Mark Ridley-Thomas, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair. “This partnership will do wonders to extend the reach of Metro’s bus and rail system and give Angelenos brand new, efficient and sustainable transportation options. Following Downtown L.A.’s bike sharing pilot, we look forward to expanding the bike share program to many other cities within Los Angeles County.”

BTS/BCycle is working on integrating transit fare cards similar to Metro’s TAP card, bringing a convenient, unified payment system to the county’s rail, bus and bikeshare systems.

Councilmember Mike Bonin also serves as a Metro Boardmember and helped usher in the new program.

“I am incredibly excited that we are moving forward with bike share in L.A. and that we are focusing on developing a system that will connect our neighborhoods,” said Transportation Committee Chair Mike Bonin. “It defies logic that snowy cities around the country have had bike share for years, but a city like Los Angeles, with our wonderful weather and communities begging to be biked, still hasn’t gotten this done yet. I’m excited this is happening in L.A. and I can’t wait for it to reach the Westside in the near future.”

Bikesharing programs have grown throughout the years from the free white bike programs introduced by the Dutch in the 1970s to the current explosion of member-based, electronic kiosk-operated bicycle sharing programs globally. In 2015, the global number of bikeshare bikes surpassed 1 million! Most major cities in North America have developed successful bikeshare programs:

· In Denver, 43% of bikeshare users say they use bikeshare to replace car trips.

· In Washington, D.C., 31% of bikeshare users report lower stress levels.

· In Paris, local bike sales increased 35% one year after the Velib bikeshare system was installed.

· New York’s Citibike system has created 200 local jobs.

· In five cities with bikeshare systems, injuries to people bicycling decreased by 30% compared to cities without bikeshare systems.

LA’s bikeshare on preview in the Arts District!

Learning from previous attempts to implement bikeshare, Los Angeles and Metro are creating a system in which bikeshare is a form of public transportation, and is subsidized similar to bus and rail.

The capital cost of the Pilot Program is anticipated to be $5,806,034. Grant funding from two sources have been secured in order to cover all of these capital costs. The first grant is $3,792,893 in ExpressLanes Net Toll Revenue. In addition, the Metro Board approved reprogramming $2,013,141 in Metro Call for Project funding from two former CRA projects to offset capital costs and pay for the remainder of the capital purchase of equipment for the Program.

The total Operations and Maintenance cost of the two-year program is estimated to be $5,259,639. The City’s 65% share will be offset by revenue from user fees, and the remaining net costs are recommended to be paid through a combination of funds from the Local Transportation Fund (TDA) and the Measure R Local Return 5% set-aside for bicycle programs.

Bikeshare will grace the streets of DTLA by Summer 2016 to provide Angelenos a new way to move around LA.

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LADOT x Peddler’s x CRANC – Activating Main Street with a Bike Repair Workshop (photo courtesy of CRANC)

In June 2015, LADOT installed a new bicycle corral and bicycle repair station alongside Peddler’s Creamery, the first of their kind in LA’s Downtown Historic Core. Peddler’s, an ice cream shop that specializes in organic bicycle-churned ice cream, is located in a very special building called New Genesis. The property owner of New Genesis is the Skid Row Housing Trust, a non-profit organization that works with architects to build high quality permanent supportive housing for people who have lived on the streets, in prolonged extreme poverty, with poor health, disabilities, mental illness and/or addiction, so that they can lead safe, stable lives in wellness.

The Skid Row Housing Trust was founded in 1989, renovating and transforming a number of dilapidated downtown hotels into attractive and affordable permanent housing. Today the Trust has 22 buildings downtown, and two of the newest, New Genesis and New Pershing apartments are located right next to our newest bicycle- and people-friendly infrastructure.

The New Genesis building opened in 2012 and represents a holistic and progressive vision of Downtown LA urban sustainability. New Genesis Apartments includes mixed-use, mixed-income and artist loft units, as well as the commercial space that Peddler’s calls home. By integrating low-income housing into the broader fabric of our city, the Trust ensures its success and integrates people and uses much like any healthy street would integrate travel modes to form a complete street.

The workshop saw all kinds of bikes – motor bikes, delivery bikes, and just regular people riding by

The Trust is one of the first organizations in the country to combine permanent housing and on-site social services. They call it “permanent supportive housing,” which is now considered a best practice in the fight against homelessness.  Though housing planning and transportation planning are different disciplines, the idea of providing supportive services along with infrastructure is one we are very familiar with here in active transportation. We understand that just providing infrastructure leaves people wondering about their options, how to undertake change, and how to grow and expand their lives to embrace new or different habits.  In order for us to have a healthy transportation system, we need to build out support for other modes, as well as the amenities that will facilitate their use.  Some of these amenities are Bicycle Corrals, that support ridership by supplying ample bicycle parking on streets and in front of businesses, and a Bicycle Repair Stations, that provide the tools necessary to keep people on their bikes even when they have hiccups like a flat tire.

Bicycle Repair Stations are a resource for the whole neighborhood (photo courtesy of CRANC)

Many Downtown LA residents do not drive cars. LADOT’s mission includes not only to provide amenities to support bicycle ridership, but also amenities that enhance people’s ability to fully utilize the tools we provide. In order to realize that mission, LADOT collaborated with CRANC, the Trust, and Peddlers to host two bicycle repair workshops.  The workshops covered the basics of bicycle repair, provided safety and regulation information, as well as a special sweet treat from Peddlers!

We all need a supportive world to live well and one of the best ways to maximize support is through partnership and continuing educational opportunities. Like the proverb goes, give a person a bicycle and he has a ride for a day; teach a person to fix their bicycle and they have a ride for a life. A special thank you to our Bicycle Corral and Bicycle Repair Station maintenance sponsor, Edward Belden of Peddler’s Creamery, Gilbert Mascarro of Skid Row Housing Trust and David Castro of CRANC for their help in organizing and supporting these great workshops!

The good people of CRANC! (photo courtesy of CRANC)

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In our first installation of Explore LA!, we thought we’d so something quintessentially Angelean, like take a trip to the movies! This Saturday, August 15th, the Los Angeles section of the American Planning Association (APA) is hosting a special tour and movie night at Cinespia‘s Movies All Night Slumber Party. APA explorers will be Guided by professionals and treated to a walking tour of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Hollywood Forever has history-laden past and serves as the final resting place for some of Hollywood’s earliest stars.  The site is also a great place for thinking about urban planning and the utilization and re-purposing of existing infrastructure because in more recent times, it has undergone a transformation from near-bankruptcy in the 90s to its revitalization and rebirth as one of Los Angeles’ more beloved landmarks in the early 2000s.

The Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and more specifically the Cinespia (a portmanteau of two Italian words: “cine” as in cinema and “spiare” meaning “to spy”) screenings, has helped fill one of the most gaping voids in Los Angeles, the dearth of public gathering spaces. Now admittedly it’s not exactly “public” since you have to pay to attend the screenings, but there’s definitely a feeling of camaraderie among the masses of cinema-spies.

Watch the sunset at Hollywood Forever! (photo courtesy Flickr user Cuttlefish)

Like campers freely lending forgotten necessities it’s not uncommon to strike up conversations with strangers over a borrowed blanket. This bringing together of people for a shared experience is especially beneficial and needed in LA where we are so often shut off from others: either physically in our cars, or mentally on the bus or train with heads clad in earphones and sunglasses. It’s nice to experience Los Angeles in a way that, for once, isn’t so adversarial.

And why not arrive at the Hollywood Cemetery in a fun, shared-experience sort of way? The Hollywood/Vine Red Line Station is only a mile away; it’s an easy 15-20 minute walk and an even easier 5 minute bike ride. (more…)

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Exciting things keep happening for the future of mobility in Los Angeles! Some of you who have been following mobility planning and implementation in the City may be wondering when Mobility Plan 2035, the primary planning document that guides planning and implementation of mobility for the City, could take effect.  Well you are in luck! On Tuesday, August 4th, the LA City Council Transportation and Planning and Land Use Management Committees will consider the decision to adopt the Plan at 2:30pm in Council Chambers.

If urban planning and government are not your profession, you might be wondering what a plan is, why we use them, or how you can learn more. Planning documents are developed (this one has been in development for nearly 4 years!) with an extensive process of outreach, studies, socio-economic forecasting, visioning, and strategic planning in order to guide unified decision making in the future.  Plans are not set in stone, but they provide goals (aspirations in vision) and objectives (ways of achieving the vision) that the City can pursue to achieve a desired future. Once adopted, Mobility Plan 2035 will become part of the City’s General Plan and provide policy and implementation guidance for LA streets for the next 20 years.

Mobility Plan 2035 is getting ready for a green light!

Mobility Plan 2035 is especially dynamic and groundbreaking in that it represents the first time Complete Streets policies and guidance will be reflected in the City’s General Plan! Complete Streets are considered streets that provide safe access for all users.  Mobility Plan 2035 includes a Complete Streets Design Guide that provides decision makers, departments, and the broader community a number of options for public rights of way (streets!) to achieve safe mobility access for people of all ages and abilities.

Next Tuesday August 4th at 2:30pm the LA City Council Transportation and Planning and Land Use Management Committees will consider the decision to adopt the the Mobility Plan 2035, the key planning document for mobility and streets in the City of Los Angeles. If the Committees vote to adopt the Plan, then the Plan will be heard at full City Council for final Plan adoption, the last step in the adoption process!

We’d like to tell you a little more about the Plan! Planning documents can be policy game-changers, and some of the substantial policy directives found in Mobility Plan 2035 are outlined in its Chapters:

  1. Safety First
  2. World Class Infrastructure
  3. Access to All Angelenos
  4. Collaboration, Communication and Informed Choices
  5. Clean Environment & Healthy Communities

Reseda Boulevard, LA’s first iteration of the Great Streets program shows how streets can facilitate low-stress travel with a parking protected bike lane and an attractive walking environment

Mobility Plan 2035 provides a vision of integrated transportation networks for all road users. The Plan especially focuses on safe, low stress networks that encourage more people to embrace modes of active transportation, whether it be biking, walking, strolling, rollerblading, skating or more.

The plan also establishes objectives to measure success, including objectives to decrease transportation-related fatalities; establish slow school zones; provide frequent, reliable on-time bus arrival; increase vehicular travel time reliability; expand bicycle ridership; expand access to shared-use vehicles; share real time information to inform travel choices; and increase economic productivity by lowering the overall cost of travel.

Other cool Mobility Plan objectives include ensuring that 80% of street segments do not exceed targeted operating speeds and increasing the percentage of females who travel by bicycle to 35% of all riders by 2035

If Mobility Plan 2035 is achieved, it would take 219,000 trips off of our roads every day, and result in 1.7 million fewer miles traveled every day, which would be great for our health, our commute, and the health of our environment! Full implementation of the Plan would triple the number of Los Angeles residents living within a quarter mile of a Transit Enhanced Network (TEN) facility and would more than double the number of jobs located within a quarter mile of such transit facilities.

Don’t forget, on Tuesday, August 4th, the LA City Council Transportation and Planning and Land Use Management Committees will consider the decision to adopt the Mobility Plan 2035 at 2:30pm in Council Chambers. The meeting is open to the public and speaker cards will be available for those who wish to comment.

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