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Archive for the ‘LA River’ Category

On Friday, January 8, 2016 Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles District Commander Col. Kirk Gibbs announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will be taking new interim measures to improve flood protection on the Los Angeles River during #ElNiñoLA.

The USACE is the federal agency responsible for navigable bodies of water, including our very own Los Angeles River. The LA River has an almost century-long history with the USACE that started after a series of floods, including the 1914 flood which caused $10 million in damages. A public outcry for action to address the recurring flooding problems led to the formation of the Los Angeles County Flood Control District. Early flood control efforts included some channelization and the need for reservoirs. Bonds were approved by taxpayers in 1917 and 1924 to build major dams. After two additional destructive floods in the 1930s, Federal assistance was requested and the Army Corps of Engineers took a lead role in channelizing the River. Channelization began in 1938. By 1960, the project was completed to form the fifty-one mile engineered waterway we are familiar with today.

A hisoric shot of the Los Angeles River at Griffith Park, circa 1898-1910 (Source: Wikipedia)

Due to the expectations of a powerful El Niño season, USACE recently received emergency federal funding to put in place safety measures for the area of the river that spans from Griffith Park to Elysian Valley.

“Our river is unique — most of the year it runs nearly dry, and then during the rainy season it runs in powerful torrents as we’ve seen this week,” said Mayor Garcetti. “My top priority during El Niño is to ensure the safety of everyone in our city, and I thank the Army Corps of Engineers for taking action now to enhance the river’s flood management functions.”

The Los Angeles District of USACE determined this area needed increased capacity to keep the river in its banks. The L.A. District declared an emergency to USACE headquarters on January 6, prompting headquarters to provide $3.1 million in federal funding and nearly 3-miles of temporary barriers, known as HESCO Bastion. The temporary barriers act as industrial size sandbags, effectively raising the sides of the river channel and temporarily increasing its capacity during the winter storm rains.  The District also received approximately $500,000 to begin removing water-flow impeding vegetation from the highest-risk areas within the channel, in an area just upstream and downstream of Riverside Drive and the Zoo Bridge.

Industrial size sandbags were mobilized from Nebraska to LA a few days ago in preparation for the expected storms

Anytime rain is in the forecast the LA River Bike Path is closed for safety (shelters and resources are available for people experiencing homelessness). In the coming months, the raised barriers will allow for the expected volumes and help protect against flooding in adjacent neighborhoods. The barrier will be under construction on the bike path beginning Tuesday, January 19, 2016.

Due to the configuration of the HESCO barriers on the bike path by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the LA River Bike Path will remain closed through #ElNiñoLA season from Zoo Drive to Glendale Blvd (with the Alex Baum Bridge remaining open as a bicycle and pedestrian crossing across the LA River and 5 freeway).  North of this location, in the Griffith Park section of the Path, there is also an unrelated intermittent closure due to Caltrans freeway bridge rehabilitation work. Check out the City’s Detour Guide for getting around temporary closures on the LA River bike/ped path here.

UPDATE: As many of you may already know, the Bike Path has been closed due to flood control measures installed by the Los Angeles District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since January 2016. At this juncture, our agencies anticipate the earliest the Bike Path may reopen, post-‪#‎ElNiñoLA‬ flood risk and weather permitting, will be Memorial Day weekend.

Stay tuned for updates about construction and planned detour routes. Information will be available via our Blog (where you can also find articles about how to bike through El Nino and more!) and social media channels (@ladotbikeprog) using the hashtag #ElNiñoLA.

Updated 3/16/2016: Current information on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ barrier configuration added.

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Walk and bike lanes with father and daughter riding their bikes

The Metro Orange Line Bike Path is sufficiently wide to provide separate demarcated spaces for people walking and bicycling.

As the City works to design and build road improvements to support active transportation and revitalize the Los Angeles River, Angelenos are increasingly re-discovering the beauty of the City, changing how they travel throughout it, and visiting outdoor places to exercise. The bike path along the Los Angeles River is one of the few places in this City that can host people taking in nature, commuting to their destination, or just enjoying a pleasant bike ride or walk.

The continuous 7-mile segment of bike path that runs parallel to a mostly  soft-bottom portion of the river between Glendale and Elysian Valley known as the “Glendale Narrows” has proven to be especially popular for a number of activities, including: dog-walking, bicycling, recreational walking, bird watching, and more. Like many places in Los Angeles that become popular, the limited space, often less than 15 feet wide, available at this section of the LA River bike path can become crowded. At times, the bike path is occupied by dozens of people walking, rolling, and bicycling.

If You Build It, They Will All Come

Prior to the bike path being built from Fletcher Drive to approximately Riverside Drive in 2010, there was only 4.6 miles of continuous bike path from Fletcher Dr. to Zoo Dr. Few people rode their bikes along the Los Angeles River service road on the not-yet-constructed portion of the LA River through Elysian Valley, although the passage was used informally by locals. After the LA River path was extended to its current southern endpoint at Riverside Dr. in Elysian Valley, the facility’s smooth surface and accessible entrances attracted people walking, rolling, pushing strollers, and bicycling. What was formerly a 4.6-mile bike path became a continuous 7-mile shared use bike path, giving people more room to enjoy spaces along the LA River. Over the years, communities along the Glendale Narrows have also seen change and are drawing more attention to the LA River. Today, many people happily use what will eventually become a long linear park as it is intended for a variety of uses and activities. Despite the limited space, most users are able to get along most of the time – whether they walk, bike, or roll.

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Then CD 13 Councilmember Eric Garcetti and then CD 4 Councilmember Tom LaBonge at the grand opening of the Elysian Valley section of the LA River bike path.

Sharing the Bike Path

Unfortunately, this post is not about the usual harmonious rhythm shared by LA River bike path users, it is about the small portion of time when path users struggle to get along. Every now and then, people walking or rolling on the path encounter people riding their bicycles at high speeds, making them uncomfortable and concerned. On the other hand, people on bicycles complain about people who walk in groups of three or more abreast or against the flow of bicycle travel. We hear reports of people colliding or nearly colliding with one another on the path, which can startle path users and discourage them revisiting this beautiful resource. In a perfect world, the path would be wide enough that none of these conflicts would exist but the reality is that the current width of the bike path is what is feasible given physical constraints and available resources.

The City has few places that provide a better, uninterrupted bicycling experience than the Los Angeles River bike path, and as the River’s amenities continue to be built out all of us must do our part to keep the path a friendly and accommodating place for everyone.

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When everybody shares and uses the bike path responsibly, we can all get in on the LA River fun!

Keep in mind that both people walking and bicycling are legal users of the path. Below are useful tips to keep in mind when sharing bike path:

When Bicycling:

  • Yield to people walking or rolling.
  • Slow down for pedestrians entering the path.
  • Slow down when passing anyone.
  • Pass only when it is safe to do so.
  • Travel at safe speed with due regard for others.
  • Be especially cautious around children and elderly people.
  • When traveling side-by-side, stay on the right side of the path when pedestrians are present.
  • Ride in single file when there is not enough room to adequately share the path.
  • Slow down when approaching pedestrians
  • Giving audible warning (i.e., saying “passing left”, ringing bell), pass only when safe to do so, and when in doubt, stop.

When Walking:

  • Look both ways before entering the path.
  • Keep to the right side of the path.
  • Do not walk/stop in the middle of the path.
  • Make sure children know where to walk and when in doubt hold their hand.
  • Walk your dog(s) on a short leash (and please pick up after him or her).
  • Look behind you and ahead- especially when moving across the path.

Remember, the LA River bike path is a shared resource and we must all be courteous to its other users.

Key Laws Regarding Bike Paths

The following is the text and summary of laws relative to Bicycle Path use in the State of California and City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles River.

California Vehicle Code

No motorized bicycles are allowed on bike paths unless allowed by Code

  • CVC21207.5 Notwithstanding Sections 21207 and 213127 of this code, or any other provision of law, no motorized bicycle may be operated on a bicycle path or trail, bikeway, bicycle lane, established pursuant to Section 21207, equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trail, unless it is within or adjacent to a roadway or unless the local authority or the governing body of a public agency having jurisdiction over such path or trail permits, by ordinance, such operation.

It is illegal to loiter on or block a bike path except maintenance or utility vehicles

  • CVC21211 (a) No person may stop, stand, sit, or loiter upon any class I bikeway, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public or private bicycle path or trail, if the stopping, standing, sitting or loitering impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist. (b) No person may place or park any bicycle, vehicle, or any other object upon any bikeway or bicycle path or trail as specified in subdivision (a), which impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or is otherwise in compliance with the law. (C) This section does not apply to drivers or owners of utility or public utility vehicles as provided in Section 22512.

Due to inadequate available width, no separate pedestrian path is available (like the Orange Line Bike Path), thus pedestrians are legal and welcome users of the Los Angeles River Bike Path

  • CVC 21966 No pedestrian shall proceed along a bicycle path or lane where there is an adjacent adequate pedestrian facility.

No cars, motorcycles, mopeds or other motorized vehicles are allowed on the path except maintenance or emergency vehicles.

  • CVC213127. No person shall operate an unauthorized motor vehicle on any state, county, city, private, or district hiking or horseback riding trail or bicycle path that is clearly marked by an authorized agent or owner with signs at all entrances and exists and at intervals of not more than one mile indicating no unauthorized motor vehicles are permitted on the hiking or horseback riding trail or bicycle path, except bicycle paths which are contiguous or adjacent to a roadway dedicated solely to motor vehicle use.

California Streets and Highways Code

Bicycle Paths are designed for the use of people on bicycles AND on foot.

  • S&H Code 890.4 As used in this article, “bikeway” means all facilities that provide primarily for, and promote, bicycle travel. For purposes of this article, bikeways shall be categorized as follows: (a) Bike paths or shared use paths, also referred to as “Class I bikeways,” which provide a completely separated right-of-way designated for the exclusive use of bicycles and pedestrians with crossflows by motorists minimized.

Bicycle Path design is overseen by Caltrans (State Dept. of Transportation) and various strategies may be utilized to make all users aware of each other on bike paths.

  • S&H Code 890.9. The department shall establish uniform specifications and symbols for signs, markers, and traffic control devices to designate bikeways, regulate traffic, improve safety and convenience for bicyclists, and alert pedestrians and motorists of the presence of bicyclists on bikeways and on roadways where bicycle travel is permitted.

Los Angeles Municipal Code

Users of bicycle paths, or bikeways, are not allowed to use bicycles, skates, etc in a way that endangers other users of the path.

  • LAMC 56.16-1. No person shall ride, operate or use a bicycle, unicycle, skateboard, cart, wagon, wheelchair, roller skates, or any other device moved exclusively by human power, on a sidewalk, bikeway or boardwalk in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

 

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Part of our “The Engineer’s Corner” series, in this piece we sit down with Bikeways Engineer and LADOT Dot-gers softball team manager, Carlos Rodriguez. Today, if you ride your bike on any bike path within the City, chances are Carlos worked on the design and/or coordination that made those bike paths possible. Not only is Carlos our group’s bike path design expert, he is known around the office for his strong work ethic and “can do” attitude.

Take a seat in “The Engineer’s Corner” and learn more about bike paths, interagency coordination, and the importance of internships with Carlos Rodriguez.

Carlos hard (h)at work

Carlos Rodriguez hard (h)at work!

 

LADOT Bike Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Carlos Rodriguez: My background is in civil engineering. I have a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering with an emphasis on structures and a master’s in engineering. After I graduated from college, I got a job in the private sector before joining the public sector.  I have been working for the City of Los Angeles for 16, going on 17 years. I had two previous assignments before Bikeways. One was in our District Operations, managing our operations in the Valley and after that I worked in Special Events. I’ve been in Bikeways between six and seven years. Since I started here I have mostly worked on bike paths. On a personal basis, I am 43 years old and married. My wife and I have a three year old son and one more on the way. I’m happy at home.My kids are the most exciting thing that has happened to me. I am thankful to everyone in my life. (more…)

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Spring (or is this one long perpetual summer?) is back and adventure options for those on two wheels are endless! After travelling to a few other places, we wanted to get back on our local tourism tip!

This bicycle tour features destinations in between the Red Line North Hollywood Station (in NoHo) and the Griffith Park Sunday Drum Circle. Yes, a drum circle! This 8.5 mile-long bike ride travels along different bike facilities (bike paths, lanes, and routes) and features a variety of LA neighborhood attractions from shops & entertainment in NoHo to nature & culture in Griffith Park.

Come along for the ride! To prepare, you need: a bike, a bike lock, some kind of map or smart phone, water, snacks, and don’t forget your sun protection, because it can get HOT!

Pleasant 8.5 mile-long features NoHo Arts District, Burbank and Griffith Park

Pleasant 8.5 mile-long bike ride features the NoHo Arts District, Burbank and Griffith Park. Photo: Google Map

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It’s our favorite time of the year! Bike Week LA is back once again!

The annual week-long bici-centric event, sponsored by Metro, will fill May 10-15 with more bicycle-oriented activities than ever before! More?  Yes MORE! Bike Week focuses on encouraging people to ride their bicycles, raising awareness about people on bikes but also about all active transportation users in Los Angeles. Some of the week’s highlights include bike repair workshops, the infamous Bike to Work Day pit stops, and evening festivities to make sure you’re hooked up with people who share your interests! If you’ve never participated in Bike Week, do not fear, Bike Week is for YOU! It’s full of resources and activities for everyone, from the new to the experienced rider, from the bicycle-curious to the bikeaholic.

Come see Color Wheels at Caltrans District 7 on Thursday 5/14!

Bike Week LA 2015 Lineup:

(more…)

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In early March, the bronze plaques which were installed to honor Alex Baum, were stolen from the Alex Baum Bridge. We just received news that two of the three plaques have been recovered!

Baum Brige eastside

From left to right, empty slots for re-dedication bronze plaque and 2002 bridge inaugural bronze plaque. Image: Jose Tchopourian

 

Here’s a little history about the man, the legend… The bronze plaques were installed to call attention to Alex Baum’s accomplishments and legacy in supporting bicycling as a mode of transportation and recreation throughout his lifetime. The first pair of bronze plaques were installed at the inauguration of the Baum Bicycle Bridge in 2002. Fast forward to 2012, and as part of a re-dedication of the Baum Bicycle Bridge on its 10th anniversary, the second pair of bronze plaques with biographical information about Mr. Baum were added.

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Re-dedication ceremony of the Alex Bicycle Bridge on its 10th anniversary in 2012. From left to right, Alex Baum and Councilmember Tom LaBonge. Image: Stone Canyon Neighborhood Watch

 

Just around the time City of LA’s longest serving bicycle-advocate Alex Baum (1922-2015) passed away on Sunday, March 1st, the three bronze plaques were reported missing. As you can imagine, our team was saddened to hear the news. A few days after the bronze plaques were stolen, South Coast Recycling contacted the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) to report that someone had tried to sell these bronze plaques to their facility. Luckily, the Center was able to recover two out of the three stolen bronze plaques. A third bronze plaque (like the one in the photo below) is still missing. LADP continues to search for the missing plaque. Anyone with information should contact LAPD.

Baum Brige westside

From left to right, re-dedication bronze plaque currently missing and 2002 bridge inaugural bronze plaque (the only plaque that was not stolen). Image: Jose Tchopourian

 

LADOT staff is currently in the process of installing the two bronze plaques returned to us by our friends at the LA Recycling Center.

Thank you for your support,

LADOT Bike Program

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Data Collection Along The River

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It is hardly a surprise the Los Angeles River Bike Path is one of the city’s most beloved and prominent bikeway facilities. With new parks popping up and additions such as The Frog Spot, the river is increasingly a destination people want to visit. With an accerlerated  focus on efforts to revitalize the river and extend the bike path that runs along it, there is a parallel growing need to collect data on the river’s bike path usage. To address this need, the Bicycle Program recently collaborated with students from the city’s Hire L.A.’s Youth program to conduct bicycle counts along the L.A. River and in river-adjacent communities.

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A man bicycling on York Blvd during our bike count conducted prior to bike lane installation. For more photos during our “before” count session, visit our Flickr page.

Throughout the month of October we conducted over a dozen weekday counts along the river from 4pm to 6pm to capture use during evening rush hour.

For the month of November we are conducting counts in Northeast LA, including on  York Boulevard between North Figueroa Street and South Pasadena, North Figueroa Street, and on Colorado Boulevard. The long-term goal is to repeat these counts on a regular basis to measure growth in bicycling, and more generally to have a steady stream of bike counts.

While we have yet to fully analyze our results, here are some preliminary results from one of our count sites, York Boulevard between North Figueroa Street and Avenue 63:

  • We conducted four weekday PM counts between 4pm and 6pm. We counted a total of 119 people bicycling, or an average of 29 people bicycling during each count session.
  • Of the 119 people counted bicycling, 21, or 17.6% were women.
  • The majority of people counted, 62%, were traveling eastbound, while the remaining 38% of people were traveling westbound.
  •  During a mid-day Saturday count, conducted from 11AM to 1PM, we counted 41 people bicycling.

We look forward to conducting additional counts throughout the city to gain a clearer perspective on bicycle needs and use.

 

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