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Archive for the ‘Bike Lanes’ Category

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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Our Senior Bicycle Coordinator, Michelle Mowery, tests a protected bikeway on Rosemead Boulevard in Temple City. By next year there will be statewide standards for this type of facility that physically separates cars and bicycles on the roadway.

In September 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law A.B. 1193. This law, known as the Protected Bikeways Act of 2014, requires the California Department of Transportation, Caltrans, to establish a new category of bikeway in the state’s Highway Design Manual, the technical design guide that governs bikeway treatment statewide. Currently there are three categories of bikeways – Class I bike paths, Class II bike lanes, Class III bike routes – and A.B. 1193 calls for the addition Class IV cycle tracks, or separated bikeways. Cycle tracks are common in Northern Europe but there are only a handful of such bikeways in California, and part of the reason is because of the absence of formal guidance at the state level. However, where separated bikeways (facilities that physically protect bicycle users from motor vehicle traffic) are implemented, they have been wildly successful and attracted a wider range of users! In May, Caltrans met with a broad coalition of bicycle advocates and local transportation agencies to discuss cycle track designs to hear some initial feedback as the design process for Class IV cycle tracks is being initiated.

To learn more about creating design standards for a new “Class IV” bikeway aka cycle track, we conducted an interview with Kevin Herritt, Caltrans’ Chief of Office of Geometric Design Standards. We would like to thank Herritt for taking the time to answer to some of the questions many in the bicycling community have had on their mind since A.B. 1193 passed. (more…)

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People walking, bicycling, and driving all share the road in downtown Seattle

This year’s annual conference for the American Planning Association (APA), Sustainable Seattle, was hosted in a city rich with sustainable practices and, appropriately for our interests, complete streets infrastructure.  The APA covers all faces of planning, but complete streets are increasingly a focus of urban (and suburban) planners everywhere. Complete streets that make up walkable, bikeable, and ultimately livable communities, have become the national best practice because they make for sustainable communities, a core tenet and charge of the urban planning profession. The integration of complete streets with retail, mixed-use development, the densification of cities, and sustainable practices were highlighted throughout the conference.

Though LADOT performs much implementation, we are also tasked with planning and project development, which is the area we inhabit in Bicycle Outreach and Planning. Attending the APA conference gives us a broad context for what we do, which can be really helpful in a time where cities are growing at some of the fastest rates ever.  Here are some of our take aways from the conference, followed with a few snapshots of Seattle’s pedestrian-first culture.

Bicycle, bus, and car networks seamlessly weave through the retail-lined Aloha Street

Network connectivity is the nexus of people, land, and local economic vitality

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Rosemead Boulevard: the Complete Street features a cycletrack buffered by landscaped medians

It seems like cycletracks are all the rage these days on the LADOT Bike Blog.  We love the idea of the low-stress bicycle riding experience these facilities provide and are learning as much as we can about them as we prepare to install them in Los Angeles!

Last week we had the pleasure of convening a City of Los Angeles coalition to visit Temple City’s Rosemead Boulevard, a complete street that includes a fully constructed and landscaped cycletrack. The trip was organized by our very own Bicycle Coordinator, Rubina Ghazarian. The Active Transportation Division Outreach and Engineering staff were accompanied by our colleagues from the the Great Streets Studio and the Bureau of Street Services to learn about the outreach, design, construction, and maintenance of the new Rosemead Boulevard.

Temple City welcomes Bureau of Street Services engineers, Great Streets Staff, and the LADOT Active Transportation Division

The Temple City segment of Rosemead Boulevard, CA State Route 19, has undergone dramatic change in its use and form since being relinquished by Caltrans to the local municipality in 2008. State Routes, traditionally managed by the state department of transportation, Caltrans, are state highways and typically carry high volumes of cars at high speeds.  Some of these routes are formalized into spaces exclusively for cars, like freeways, while others remain woven through our residential and commercial corridors.  When Temple City began to consider options for improving the route to better serve local residents, they recognized the dynamic community development potential resting in the relatively large roadway.

Temple City Mayor, Carl Blum, a retired LA County civil engineer, saw the transfer of Rosemead as a once in a lifetime opportunity, with the understanding that major roads only get a shot at redesign once every 50 years.  He set the project aspirations high, envisioning a Complete Street that would work with the street they already had, to serve users of all modes and abilities.  Blum says that in pursuing such an ambitious project, Temple City is “planning for the future.” He understands the long trajectory of the project and that its full potential will only be realized later.

Our visitor package provided a living picture of the Rosemead project and its connection to the community

After many community meetings and design charrettes, the new Rosemead Boulevard plans grew to include landscaping, bike parking, sidewalks, pedestrian scale lighting, public art, and rubberized asphalt, which would minimize the noise of the large arterial.  With the new Rosemead, residents received universal ADA compliance, new and improved gutters, and over 100 new trees that will grow to create a living canopy for the neighborhood, reducing the heat island effect and cultivating a sense of place for the corridor.

Temple City cycletrack includes pedestrian scale lighting and a cement bicycle lane buffered by parking stalls and landscaped medians

Our visit proved very educational, providing an on-the-ground example of a Complete Street.  With the pending adoption of Mobility Plan 2035, we may see more projects in Los Angeles that fulfill the Complete Streets objectives of facilitating travel for people of all ages and modes.

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Today marks a very exciting step forward in our continuing effort to implement more cycletracks in Los Angeles. From 12-2pm this afternoon, we tested various cycletrack physical barrier options including armadillos and K71 bollards.  As a refresher, cycletracks, also known as protected bicycle lanes, are on street lanes that separate people on bicycles from motorized traffic by physical barriers such as curbs, planters, parked cars, and posts. They are a relatively new infrastructure that has become more and more popular around the nation.

K71 bollards and armadillos in the buffer zone await bicycles, a sedan, a truck, and the ultimate test: the LAFD fire truck!

Starting at 9 am, LADOT crews began installation of the cycletrack test materials. The installation served as a test for all road users, seeking to understand the various interactions the different types of barriers will face in their everyday contexts.

LADOT crews install an armadillo

Around noon, City employees, Mayor’s Office staff, folks from LACBC and the City of LA Bicycle Advisory Committee helped test the barriers with their bicycles, observing their perception of separation as well as the mountability of the materials.

Testing ridability over the armadillos

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On Sunday, March 22, CicLAvia is coming to the Valley from 9 am – 4 pm. Adjacent to the North Hollywood Arts District Hub, the City will host “Pop-Up Chandler Cycletrack,” a one-day, “pop-up” protected bicycle lane demonstration. The Chandler Cycletrack will be temporarily installed on Chandler Boulevard between Vineland Avenue and Fair Avenue. The pop-up will help visualize facilities proposed in the City’s draft Mobility Plan 2035 to create low-stress bicycle networks that safely connect people to places. Roll through on your way to CicLAvia!

What is a Cycletrack?

Cycletracks, also known as Protected Bike Lanes, are bike lanes that physically separate bicycles and cars, increasing safety and comfort-levels for all road users.

Dunsmuir Separated Bike Lanes 216

An example of a permanent cycletrack in Vancouver, Canada. Photo Credit: Paul Krueger

The pop-up event will feature one-way cycletracks on both sides of the street connecting the Chandler Bike Path to CicLAvia Lankershim Hub.

Why a Pop-Up?

Pop-up events give people an opportunity to see and evaluate public realm improvements during the planning process, hands-on. The pop-up technique is an incredibly useful tool in that it helps residents visualize the scale and appearance of potential improvements. While descriptions, mock-ups, and pictures help, first-hand experience can give people a fresh perspective that may be difficult to replicate through any other means.

Pop-up projects are comparatively low-cost and low-risk. Projects can last one day or longer, and they are easy to install and remove. Because not everyone has seen a protected bikeway, much less experienced the level of safety these facilities provide, this temporary reconfiguration can provide a venue to re-imagine Los Angeles as a safer more comfortable place to travel by any mode.

Project Goal + Benefits

The intent of this project is to be immediate, educational, and informative for the public and practitioners alike. It turns a standard public workshop into a real event for the community to interact with. It is more participatory than the traditional planning process, as community members are able to directly provide input, and impact future design and planning decisions in their neighborhood.

The physical separation provided by a protected bike lane makes people feel better about making trips on bikes.  It opens up the street to people of all ages, and makes bicycling low stress. Additionally, the road-diet helps to decrease the speed of motor vehicles. Protected lanes are especially great for families with young children; parents can have peace of mind knowing that their child can safely and comfortably ride their bicycle in their neighborhood. Ultimately, the hope is that people with all levels of biking experience who test out the pop-up lane will feel safer and more comfortable riding their bicycles, and thus support the introduction of this type of permanent bicycle infrastructure in their neighborhood.

Where else has this occurred?

A one-day, pop-up cycle track was created on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, CA last spring.

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People observe and discuss a block-long, pop-up cycletrack demonstration in Oakland, CA. The pavement markings and planters were all temporary for a one-day display. Photo Credit: @woolie

During the event, one participant commented: “it’s amazing to bike on Telegraph Avenue and feel so safe. I wish it was like this all the time.” To provide physical separation from vehicles, volunteers placed planters, and decorated boxes along a freshly painted line.

This past December, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to approve parking-protected bike lanes for Telegraph Avenue. Oakland brought conceptual designs from paper to the street, where the positive feedback provided by the community directly contributed to the measure being passed.

Other notable placemaking events include, Santa Monica’s Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway Project (MANGo), the pedestrianization of New York City’s Time Square, as well as the placement of plazas and parklets in the streets of Los Angeles. These cities have been able to successfully encourage bicycling and build support for infrastructural improvements through these temporary installations that demonstrate what actual changes can look and feel like.

Citywide Initiatives

Los Angeles is changing the way it thinks about safety. Under LADOT’s policy initiative Vision Zero, the city is making great strides towards eliminating traffic fatalities. As part of this effort to increase safety for all road users, LADOT has included protected bike lanes in its toolbox of options. Additionally, protected bicycle facilities are consistent with the long-term framework provided in the 2035 Mobility Plan, which emphasizes active modes of transportation, reducing vehicle miles traveled, low-stress facilities, and associated environmental benefits. The Mobility Plan recognizes protected bicycle lanes as an integral part of the Bicycle Enhanced Network, and details the benefits mentioned in the paragraphs above. Specifically, the plan sites enhanced bicycle infrastructure as a key element in making seamless connections from walking and biking to transit.

How to get involved?

Councilmember Paul Krekorian of District 2 says, “I encourage anyone biking to CicLAvia – The Valley to try out the Chandler Cycletrack pop-up. Test it out and let us know what you think about the idea. The input we get from riders will help make North Hollywood and the rest of Council District 2 more bike and pedestrian friendly, which is something I’m actively working to do.”

Participants are encouraged to document and share their experiences with staff during the event, as well as to post on social media websites throughout the event using the hashtag #PopUpChandler.

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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)

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