Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Bicyquality of Life’ Category

Jessica Ruvalcaba and Devon Fitzgerald met on their bicycle commute down Pico Boulevard

We all love happy stories about bicycling on LA streets. And biking is a great way to get involved in your community and meet new people. So when we heard about a Los Angeles bicycle commute that lead to an engagement, we definitely wanted to highlight it on the Bike Blog! Friend of the Blog, Jessica Ruvalcaba, has been an avid connoisseur of Los Angeles bikeways and even met her fiance while biking home from work one day. We interviewed Jessica about biking and living in LA… and that fateful day.

Thanks for talking with us Jessica. So tell us a bit about yourself? Did you grow up in Los Angeles? Have you always commuted by bike?

I grew up in San Diego and Riverside but I have been living in LA for the last 8 years, car-free. When I moved to LA, I was living in Hollywood and working at casting studios nearby so I walked to work and soon started biking. When my commute got longer I rode a scooter, and then a motorcycle, but after I got into an accident, I started biking again.

Now, I work at an elementary school in Northridge, which unfortunately is too far for me to bike to, so I usually borrow my fiancé’s car. When I met my fiancé, Devon, I was biking a 10 mile commute, which is kind of my limit, distance-wise.

So I’m told you and Devon met while riding bikes. Tell us the story!

I was riding home from work one evening – it was All Saints Day – and was stopped at a light heading east on Pico at Overland. Devon rode past me heading south and we smiled at each other. After he crossed the intersection, he looked back and I guess I was still smiling because he stopped, turned around, and rode back over to say hi.

He didn’t know too many people in L.A. at that time since he just moved from San Francisco to get his Masters at LMU. So we talked and he rode with me a bit and then we stopped for Ethiopian food on Fairfax. Right off the bat, we started talking about comparative theology and reincarnation. We definitely had an immediate connection.We ended up hanging out on the roof of my apartment building in MacArthur Park dancing and watching the stars. That was about 2 years ago and in January we got engaged!

Congratulations! Are bikes going to be incorporated into your wedding (a la Solange’s famous white bicycles)?

We might incorporate bikes into the wedding but our families are not as bike crazy as we are. Even though I have had to drive more recently, biking is still a huge part of my life and Devon’s as well. Devon rides his bike during his 4-mile commute most days to his job as a massage therapist. In 2013, we rode in the AIDS/Life Cycle fundraising bike ride from San Francisco to LA. It took about 7 days. It was an amazing experience. I would really recommend it.

I assume you would say bicycling is a great way to meet people! Are you involved with any other bicycling organizations? What is your advice to people who want to get to know their fellow people on bikes?

Biking is a great way to meet people! I’ve met so many people on bikes, but I’m pretty friendly so I tend to meet people wherever I go. I will say that you’re probably not going to meet anyone if you’re riding around with headphones on. It’s also kind of dangerous. I would recommend smiling and saying hi when riding if you really want to meet people.

I have been involved with a few local biking organizations. I volunteered at the Bicycle Kitchen but never made it “full-wrencher”. I also worked for AIDS/Life Cycle. Wolfpack Hustle events are also a great way to meet people, Midnight Ridazz’ are great for partying, and S.W.A.T., which is an all girls group who like to ride really hard.

What bike amenities would you like to see in your neighborhood? What would your dream bikeable neighborhood look like?

Safety is always an issue. I think a safer bike route along PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) is really needed. My dream bikeable neighborhood would have bike lanes protected by parked cars. I also think that more transit would really encourage people to bike, especially for commuters who have to drive between the Valley and the Westside or Mid-City. Maybe one day!

Great suggestions, Jessica. We’ll keep you posted on those cycletracks! ;)

A perfect view for two bicycles in love

Read Full Post »

#CHILLIN: Buffered by parked cars, #PopUpChandler cycletrack users enjoy their morning coffee on the way to CicLAvia!

Thank you for stopping by, Los Angeles! Over 1,000 of you rolled through the #PopUpChandler cycletrack yesterday!  In case you missed it, the City hosted a pop up demonstration cycletrack at Sunday’s CicLAvia – The Valley. The one-day installation was a collaborative effort by LADOT and the Department of City Planning to create a temportary cycletrack as a means to bridge the network connection between the Chandler Bike Path and the CicLAvia NoHo Hub. #PopUpChandler, located between Vineland and Fair, gave participants an opportunity to see and experience the low-stress bicycle facilities proposed in the City’s draft Mobility Plan 2035, hands-on and in-person.

Pedestrian Coordinator, Valerie Watson presents cycletrack information and explains elements of Mobility Plan 2035

Throughout the day, people of all ages rolled through the cycletrack, protected by a row of parked cars, on their way to the CicLAvia North Hollywood Arts District Hub. CicLAvia event participants were encouraged to travel through the pop up and pit stop at the City of LA booth prior to continuing on to the day’s festivities. Upon exiting the cycletrack, users were able to directly engage with the City’s mobility planners and active transportation engineers to discuss the nuances of the protected lanes and learn more about different ways to confiure streets for all types of users.

Residents from the Valley and beyond noted the added comfort and safety of the cycletrack concept, especially for the youngest and most vulnerable: children on bicycles. Passerbys noted that “flipping the bike and parking lane just makes sense and seems safer for everyone.” Many provided City staff with feedback and shared their experience on social media using the hashtag #PopUpChandler.

City staff were joined by USC Price School externs to perfom cycletrack outreach, collecting surveys, feedback and answering questions. Unlike the traditional planning process, pop up events allow community members to experience infrastructure and provide input based on that experience.

The temporary “pop up” design utilized traffic cones to designate space for people on bicycles, people parking cars, and people driving cars. In this cycletrack design, the parking lane has been flipped with the bike lane, maintaining street parking, while adding extra protection and reducing conflicts between people travelling on bikes and people travelling in cars.  This configuration is simple and provides benefits to all users.  Beyond serving those travelling by bicycle or car, cycletracks create shorter crossing distances for people walking.  

City officials also came out to enjoy the festivities and experience the cycletrack for themselves. “The San Fernando Valley’s CicLAvia was a stunning success, bringing thousands of people out of their cars and homes and onto the streets for the day,” said Councilmember Paul Krekorian of District 2. “I tested out the Pop-Up Chandler Cycletrack, along with a lot of other happy cyclists, and I believe it showed people what is possible as we strive to make Los Angeles a more connected and bike-friendly city.”

CicLAvia attendees enjoy the low-stress nature of the Chandler demonstration cycletrack connecting their journey from the Chandler Bike Path to the event hub.

Sunday’s event is just the first step toward safer and more comfortable mobility network. Cycletracks are an important element in the City’s draft 2035 Mobility Plan, which emphasizes low-stress facilities as an important active transportation  mode that helps to reduce vehicle miles traveled throughout the city, as well other associated environmental benefits. The 2035 Mobility Plan is scheduled to be before the City Planning Commission in May, and you can find out more at an open house on Tuesday, March 24. Protected bike lanes are similarly included in LADOT’s Strategic Plan “Great Streets for Los Angeles“.

Keep an eye out for similar pop-up events in the future that will help us better plan and design more permanent bicycle infrastructure in your neighborhood!

Read Full Post »

Bicycle tourism has been well observed and practiced as a recreational activity across the United States, but often we fail to remember the multitude of sightseeing opportunities right here within our city’s diverse neighborhoods.  As Los Angeles’ bicycle network and multi-modal connectivity expands, we have more and more opportunities get out of our cars and explore new areas by bicycle. There’s no better way to spend a sunny Sunday than exploring Los Angeles’ hidden gems. We thought we would share our favorite bicycle routes and points of interest in and around San Pedro, one of L.A.’s most scenic and bikeable neighborhoods.

Cruising the Waterfront 1

Clockwise from top left: The Corner Store, view from Paseo Del Mar looking north; bike lane signage; Metro Bus 246; palms at Point Fermin Park; Point Fermin Lighthouse; and buffered bike lanes on Paseo Del Mar.

Located 25 miles south of Downtown L.A., San Pedro is home to some of the city’s most breathtaking vistas and historical sights, not to mention bike lanes and paths that even novice riders will enjoy. Our journey begins on San Pedro’s Paseo Del Mar, accessible via the terminus of Metro Bus 246 at Paseo and Parker St. Cruise Paseo’s bike lanes and check out the breathtaking cliff-side views of the Pacific and Catalina Island. Stop by local haunt, the Corner Store to refuel with coffee and snacks before making your way east to Point Fermin Park, home of legendary Walker’s Café and the Point Fermin Lighthouse, built in 1874.

Cruising the Waterfront 2

Taking in the view on Paseo Del Mar.

From Point Fermin, it is a quick 5 minute ride down Shepherd and Pacific Avenues to Cabrillo Beach, where you can check out the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and the nearby tide pools. If squids and urchins aren’t your thing, enjoy the views along the beachfront bike path and fishing pier. Head north on sharrowed Shoshean Road toward 22nd Street where twenty-second Street Park’s scenic bike path will lead you straight to Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro’s new artisan marketplace located in a beautifully restored warehouse.

After picking up some homemade marmalade, head up the hill to Beacon St. to check out the Muller House Museum (open Sundays only), a cherished jewel of San Pedro’s past. Other great sights in the vicinity include: the WPA murals in the San Pedro Post Office on Beacon St,  recently constructed Cabrillo Way Marina and Warehouse No. 1 at the south end of Signal St, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Cruising the Waterfront 3

Clockwise from top left: Warehouse No. 1; view from Signal St., bike parking at the Red Car Downtown Station, bike lane on Harbor Blvd., a glimpse of the Bike Palace on Pacific Ave., the Merchant Marine Memorial and Maritime Museum off Harbor Blvd. Center: A brand new boardwalk just north of the Maritime Museum.

Take a well-deserved break at Utro’s Cafe right off of Sampson Way, home to arguably the best burger in town. Peruse Utro’s extensive collection of memorabilia to learn a bit about the history of longshore workers in San Pedro. If you’re still up for more San Pedro sights after lunch, take a stroll around the quaint shops at Ports O’Call. From here you can also take the short trip north to the fantastic Battleship USS Iowa and Los Angeles Maritime Museum both accessible via the bike lanes on Harbor Blvd.

If you want to give your legs a rest, hop on the Historic Waterfront Red Car Line, one of the last remaining vestiges of Los Angeles’ railcar past or enjoy the water show at Gateway Plaza, featuring two Fanfare fountains by WET Design. When you’re ready to catch the 246 back north, take bike-friendly 9th, 13th, or 14th Streets 4 blocks west to Pacific Ave.

Since there’s so much more to see in San Pedro – like the Warner Grand Theater and Korean Bell, just to name a few- feel free to leave us your suggestions for other great bike-friendly sights in town! Also, let us know if you have any suggestions for other bikeable L.A. neighborhoods you would like to see us explore on the blog.

More great resources for your trip: Bike Palace (located on Pacific Ave. and 16th St.); bicyclela.org (for bike maps and parking info)

Read Full Post »

Exciting news!  The Bike Program is in the process of a major overhaul of our two internet domains, BicycleLA.org and LADOTBikeBlog.wordpress.com. What does this overhaul look like?  We don’t have all the details yet, but one thing is certain, we’ve decided to merge our two sites: our future site will contain both the blog and BicycleLA.org.

The integrated website will provide a broad overview on bicycling within the City of Los Angeles, as well as information on ongoing projects, news, events, and general suggestions for safe and comfortable bicycle riding in urban environments.  We will still maintain the Bike Blog for project updates and #BikeLA editorials, but it will be embedded on our primary site.

To better serve our readers and provide you with engaging and relevant content, we created a survey to find out how you use our sites. We want the new BicycleLA.org+LADOTBikeBlog.wordpress.com to be the best resource it can be for residents and visitors alike, whether they are strong urban cyclists or just interested in getting information on what is going on with active transportation or complete streets in Los Angeles. Please help us understand our users by completing the following survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BikeLA

 

The Backstory

BicycleLA.org #keepingitreal since 1998

Believe it or not, BicycleLA.org has been around for 17 years (est. 1998!!! the same year Google filed for incorporation in California) and hasn’t seen a major redesign since the development of the 2010 Bicycle Plan! Similarly, the LADOT Bike Blog has also remained largely unchanged since its 2010 launch.  Well, we think it’s safe to say that Los Angeles has come a long way in five years.  Some would have said it was impossible, but we’ve seen car streets transformed into people streets!  Road space throughout the City has been reclaimed for people with the help of Bicycle Corrals, People St Parklets, and Plazas.  We’ve implemented road diets, making streets safer for everyone and repurposed lanes for buffered bike lanes in Northeast LA and dining on Broadway.  We’ve even launched the Bicycle Friendly Business Program to encourage people to run their local errands by bicycle (in LA County, 47% of trips taken are easily bikeable at less than 3 miles).   The evolution of LA streets is nigh, and our Great Streets vision can be observed in the recent adoption of the 2010 Bicycle Plan into a new plan that considers all modes for all ages and abilities: Mobility Plan 2035.

Keeping with the times, it seemed like a wonderful opportunity to make change here on our internet space.  To our delight, much of what has been temporary or experimental information on the LADOT Bike Blog has become permanent. To accommodate this shift, we choose to unite our fronts, providing #BikeLA with a one-stop shop.

We hope our new website will appeal to #BikeLA enthusiasts as much as it does to the bicycle-curious. We are going to spend the next few months working hard on it. During its development, we’d love continued feedback beyond our survey. If you have additional comments about our online presence, please email bike.program@lacity.org.

 

Read Full Post »

Get your holiday shopping done in a jiffy in the Northeast LA Bicycle Friendly Business District

In case you were wondering what bicycles, Northeast LA and the local economy had in common with the holiday season, we wanted to bring a very exciting and fun event to your attention!

You may have been following our pilot project, the Northeast LA Bicycle Friendly Business District (NELA BFBD), launched back in February in an effort to to bring more people to local businesses by bicycle.  The plan to achieve this includes implementing bicycle infrastructure enhancements to the neighborhood like bike lanes, corrals, and repair stations; offering promotional incentives to people arriving by bicycle; and overall, encouraging customers and employees to take local trips to business corridors on bicycles rather than in cars.

Since we last blogged about it, we have established a Steering Committee of local stakeholders including representatives from the Eagle Rock and Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Councils, the Occidental College Urban and Environmental Policy Institue, local non-profit organizations, and active transportation advocacy groups like C.I.C.L.E. and LACBC.  The NELA BFBD represents a collaboration and partnership between businesses, the community, and the City to accomplish shared goals of community building and economic development.

After many months of meetings, the Steering Committee has planned a kickoff event: SHOP – RIDE – NELA Holiday Edition.  The bicycle ride, led by C.I.C.L.E., will take place on Saturday December 13th, from 9:30am-12:30pm, and traverse 3.6 miles of Northeast LA’s most vibrant shopping corridors. The ride will meet at METRO’s Highland Park Gold Line Station and make shopping and dining stops at LADOT’s two local business-sponsored Bicycle Corrals: the York Bl Corral located at 5000 York Bl (sponsored by Cafe de Leche) and the Colorado Bl Corral soon to be installed at 2136 Colorado Bl (sponsored by Core Club LA).  Riders of all ages and abilities are encouraged to join this leisurely ride!

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Monday commenced Seleta Reynolds’ first week as the new General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. On August 12th, the LADOT Bike Program had the pleasure of sitting down with Ms. Reynolds to discuss a number of topics ranging from commuting, bicycle planning, and direction for the Department moving forward.

General Manager Seleta Reynolds

The Bike Program welcomes LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds to the #bikeLA City family

LADOT Bike Program: What was your commute like today? We understand that you rode your bicycle to work on your first day. Generally, how does your Los Angeles commute compare to your SF commute?

LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds:  My Los Angeles commute is already an improvement over my San Francisco commute. I rode my bike in the first day.  Some folks rode in with me to show me the ropes, and helped me navigate the streets. It was totally enjoyable and really a great way to start the first day, to get a little exercise and be out in the morning. Today I rode the bus because after dropping my daughter off at school, it was easy, just hopped on and only took about 20 minutes or so. I can also take Metro’s Red Line from where we live.  Having so many choices is a huge advantage, and the fact one of them involves riding my bike is just fantastic. When I was in the Bay Area living in Berkeley I rode BART into San Francisco. You cannot ride your bike over the Bay Bridge yet, you can only ride over half of it. Now I have more choices and one of them includes bicycling.

LADOT Bike Program: In your experience, are there things Los Angeles can learn from San Francisco when it comes to bicycling? What are some bicycle-related measures from San Francisco that you would like to see implemented here?

LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds: Every place is different. I worked in San Francisco for three years and before that was a consultant, working all over the U.S. I worked on a bike plan for the Reno Sparks area, and also on a plan in Denver called Denver Moves. Every place has something unique about it. San Francisco is so different from Los Angeles, mainly because the width of the streets are so hyper-constrained and the topography in the city; it really limits the routes you take and everybody wants to be on those routes. There were some really tough projects and really difficult conversations about reallocating space.

San Francisco has a strong commitment to its “Transit First” policy, and a commitment to safety and Vision Zero. I would love to see that rise in Los Angeles, to have that unifying commitment from a policy perspective on all the leadership levels It  will be great  to have bike-sharing in Los Angeles, especially in Downtown, along with more protected bikeways and better intersection treatment, bicycle signals, two-stage left turns- a higher level of consideration. People encounter bad behavior from people on bikes because there is no system set up for you when you’re on a bike. We have treated people on bikes as either fast pedestrians or slow cars when really they are neither of those things. Giving consideration to that system is important to encourage good behavior, and getting along and sharing the road.

LADOT Bike Program: What are some of your short-term and long-term goals for improving walking and bicycling in the City?

LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds: Short-term I would  like to see us continue to nurture and grow the People St program and  adopt a really strong safety initiative, whether that’s Vision Zero or some other initiative we have for improving safety. I think that is foundational, you have to get that right before you can accomplish more. I would also like to see us continue to shift towards moving goods and people. Thinking about the function of streets and how we can provide a street that is comfortable for the folks who are not currently out there riding or walking, understanding what those people want and need. We need to prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to the bike network in particular. Building two miles of high-quality protected bikeways is better than, from my perspective, building 50 miles of five foot wide bike lanes that are just separated from traffic by a stripe. It would be great to  change our attitude when it comes to the design principles we use to approach projects.

LADOT Bike Program: The City of Los Angeles has a massive footprint, do you have a strategy for implementing the Bicycle Plan while managing other Department initiatives?

LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds: Partnerships are key; working closely with the Bureau of Street Services as they’re repaving streets, working closely with the Department of Water and Power on green streets, and folding our projects into those projects. Partnering with Metro on first and last mile solutions to leverage the huge investments they’re making in extending the rail lines. Also, finding private partners, people who have not traditionally funded transportation and to get them to come to the table to work with us on these kinds of projects is the only way we’re really going to get it done. We have to continue to evolve the way we do outreach in communities in order to get further faster. That is something I am really excited to work on with the Bicycle Outreach Program because the program has learned a lot of lessons about what has worked and what hasn’t worked. We need to make sure we are getting that community buy-off as early as possible so that we don’t get stuck in an endless cycle of back-and-forth, which pulls us away from doing other things.

LADOT Bike Program: What do you see as some of the differences to implementing bicycle infrastructure here as opposed to your work in San Francisco?

LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds: The strategy here has to lead with complete streets and safety in a strong way. In San Francisco we had a really strong, across the board, commitment to Transit First, and had shifted away from Level of Service or traffic capacity. That’s different here, there is a need to provide a strong balance. Starting with that discussion will be important and a little bit different than what we did in San Francisco. I think the L.A. context will be different from a design perspective, the way we think about the function of the street is going to be different. There is no such thing as a prototypical street in either city. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Timeline_Year2

Timeline for Bike Plan’s Second Year Projects. Click image for full .pdf document.

It was four years ago when Los Angeles adopted its Bicycle Plan, an ambitious vision of over 1,600 miles of bikeways crisscrossing the City in a safe and connected network.

Fact_Sheet_Year2_Page1

Click image for full “Second Year Implementation Fact Sheet” .pdf

With the forth year of implementation underway, the Bike Program in collaboration with the Department of City Planning is conducting outreach on a number of major bike lane projects currently on the horizon.

In the coming weeks, the City will be hosting roundtable forums to  address concerns and articulate the goals of the projects on a local level. The forums are intended to engage a broad cross-section of the affected constituents, hearing from multiple perspectives, including: local organizations, businesses, residents, bicycle commuters, neighborhood councils, council district offices, and other key stakeholders.

Upon sharing the big picture goals, and listening to diverse community concerns, the City will follow up with an analysis of the potential options. The analysis will include relevant data that highlights the benefits and impacts of each option, which will be informed by the roundtable discussions. Ultimately, the details of each project will reflect a collaborative vision incorporating local needs and citywide policy goals. The design options will be presented at larger public hearings, where a formal staff report will be made available in advance for additional input before final approval.

The projects up for discussion, formally part of the “Second Year” of the Bicycle Plan’s implementation, are:

For context and background on the process, find below the presentation that was given during a webinar on April 17th. The audio recording from the webinar is available as well for your review.

Presentation

Second_Year_Implementation

Click image for a .pdf of the presentation shared during the webinar.

Webinar

For additional information or questions regarding the process or specific projects, please contact David Somers of the Department of City Planning:

David Somers
Tel: (213) 978-3307
Fax: (213) 978-1477

david.somers@lacity.org

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,131 other followers

%d bloggers like this: