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This past Tuesday, LADOT Bike Blog and Bikeways Engineering staff spent their evening attending a meeting for the Planning & Land Use Committee for the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC).  Several members of the LACBC and the Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee also showed up to lend LADOT their support.

LADOT presenting at the DLANC

Among other items, which included Master Conditional Use Permits (CUPs) for a few downtown developments and a measure to support “adult cabaret” uses at a nightclub out in the Industrial District, the LADOT Bike Program presented conceptual designs for bike lane projects on Figueroa Street, Flower Street, Spring Street, and Main Street.  Ably covered by the excellent Blogdowtown, you can read the specifics of our presentation there.   We plan to give these projects fuller coverage in the days to come, and we will make the powerpoint presentation given to the DLANC Planning & Land Use Committee available online along with it. (more…)

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Bike Racks – Present and Future

via the Bicycle Fixation Blog

LADOT Bike Blog is looking for volunteers to help inventory all of LADOT’s installed bicycle parking.  If you’d like to help, contact us at ladotbikeblog@gmail.com.

The LADOT Bike Program has installed over 4,000 bicycle “Inverted-U” racks, and 454 meter hitches, throughout the City over the last 15 years.  This is only the beginning, as LADOT has averaged just under 100 new racks per month since the start of this year.

LADOT Bike Blog understands that safe parking is integral to encouraging bicycling in Los Angeles.  Potential bike riders are far more likely to ride when they are confident that there will be available, convenient, and safe bike parking once they reach their destination.  But even when plentiful bike parking is supplied, it’s still a crapshoot to find a bike rack near a destination unless the rider has been there before and already knows where bike parking is located.  Even worse, a bicyclist unfamiliar with an area may lock their bike to something less safe when an available LADOT bike rack is nearby.  To address these concerns, the LADOT Bike Program is launching:

The Great Bicycle Parking Survey of 2011

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Living blocks away from 4th Street biased me from Day One. I became even more attached to this priority project when I helped mark our second round of sharrows from Wilton Place to Cochran Avenue. Personal prejudices aside, this future bicycle boulevard (called a “Bicycle Friendly Street” in the LA Bike Plan) has remained at the forefront of bike plan implementation discussions for good reason – as one of the most direct, low volume connections across the City.

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Bicyclists on 4th Street during last summer's Tour LaBonge

A Bicycle Friendly Street on 4th Street is one of the priority projects for the Bike Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) and has long been a dream of both the LACBC and CD 4 Council Member Tom LaBonge. To roll out the next phase of bicycle improvements for 4th Street, we here at the LADOT Bike Program have begun community outreach efforts to determine the most efficient use of available bicycle infrastructure funds. 4th Street already has sharrows for over 3 miles from Cochran Ave to Hoover St. It also has new bike-sensitive loop detectors which can pick up the wheel of a bicycle at each stoplight. If you’re unsure of where to place your bike to activate the signal, check out our previous post here.

4th Street Map – Existing Conditions

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(Ed Note: Most information on Bicycle Friendly Street treatments come from the Technical Design Handbook in the 2010 LA Bike Plan.  Though we are happy to present it in bite-sized pieces, we highly recommend you download it yourself and have a good read.  You can download the Technical Design Handbook here.  For a refresher on what a Bicycle Friendly Street is -also called a Bike Boulevard- you can read our introductory post here. You can also find previous posts on chicanes, round-a-bouts, loop detectors and other BFS treatments here

The LADOT Bike Blog hopes everyone had a nice Bike Week LA 2011. To commemorate this year’s  “Bike Friendly LA” theme, the LADOT Bike Blog continues its ongoing series detailing the specific treatments that go into making a Bicycle Friendly Street (BFS) – a big part of LA’s bicycle friendly future.

Today, we will take a look at the Traffic Control Device (TCD) known as signage. Signage is considered a “Level One” BFS application based on its relatively low level of physical intensity. It is important to note that BFS applications are site-specific, and that not all streets require the highest application treatments. The Bike Plan Technical Design Handbook (TDH) recommends gathering community input along with the necessary engineering and design work to determine the level of application necessary for each individual street.

CA MUTCD-approved signage

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The BPIT (Bike Plan Implementation Team) has been quite the focal point of bike community controversy lately. Despite any disagreements over CEQA reivew, however, work still must be done; projects are moving forward even as we speak. In past months, projects like 7th Street and Venice Boulevard have come before the BPIT, had preliminary conceptual design work done, and were featured on the LADOT Bike Blog to get opinions of the public.

3 BPIT "Top 10" projects, spanning the Cahuenga Pass

Three more of the BPIT’s “Top 10” projects have conceptual designs, and we’d like to present them to you for your comments and opinions. How would you build bike lanes on Cahuenga Boulevard, Barham Boulevard, and Lankershim Boulevard? These three streets surround the NBC/Universal project area and can serve as a vital link of bicycle infrastructure between the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood. In fact, these projects were moved up to the BPIT’s “Top 10” to make sure the NBC/Universal project, once completed, wouldn’t preclude implementation of bike infrastructure.

Below the fold we’ll cover the particulars for each street and some preliminary design concepts for new bike lanes. As always, all of your comments here go straight to City Planning and our Bikeways Engineers.

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(Ed. Note: I, Christopher Kidd, am back from the Comprehensive Exam for his degree in Urban Planning at USC.  We’ll have a recap on yesterday’s BPIT meeting up in the next few days.  In the meantime, here’s an update on our department’s attempt to bring bike lanes to Foothill Boulevard.)

The LADOT Bike Program has, among other projects, been working to bring nearly 4 miles of new bike lanes to the north-eastern San Fernando Valley on Foothill Boulevard.  LADOT Bikeways engineers last month presented to the Foothill Trails Neighborhood Council on a 1.5 mile section of this street.  In taking comments from the NC, the specter of equestrian-bicyclist conflict once again raised its head, though in different form than we saw during the hearings for the LA Bike Plan.

Below the fold we’ll cover the project particulars, the concerns raised by the Foothill Trails NC, some possible compromises drafted by LADOT, and what you can do to make your opinion heard.

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A few quick notes for the LA bike community on a balmy Thursday:

Metro’s Peak-Hour Bike Ban One Step from Repeal

The Metro Operations Committee this afternoon approved Metro Staff’s recommendations to remove peak-hour restrictions for bicycles.  As we wrote about yesterday, Metro is considering both removing peak-hour restrictions on bikes for all Metro rail lines and removing a few seats in all Metro cars to better accommodate passengers with bicycles, strollers, luggage, and other large items that can sometimes block access to train doorways. The subway lines have already had this work done, but the light rail lines are being considered, as well.

Members of the LACBC, LADOT, the BRU, the BAC, and FAST all spoke in support of removing the restrictions and removing limited seating on trains.  CEO Art Leahy was also extremely supportive of staff’s recommendations to make Metro a truly bicycle-friendly transit system.  Leahy pointed out that removal of 2 seats on a train would create room for “5 standees” per car when trains are at capacity.  Creating more capacity on Metro without increasing operating costs is just another strong argument to add to the list in favor of staff’s recommendations.

One of the Operations Committee members wanted staff to provide a report on the impacts to current Metro riders if ridership levels increase due to more bicyclists riding on Metro.  He worried that current riders wouldn’t be able to get seats during rush hour were ridership to increase due to more bicyclists riding the train.  This seemed to miss the mark a bit for me: Increased ridership should be a boon, not an impact, to Metro; and aren’t bicyclists Metro riders, too?

After discussion between committee members ended, they voted to move the recommendations on to the full Metro Board.  The full board may hear the item as soon as next week, so keep your digital eyes on the LADOT Bike Blog throughout the week for new developments.

City Planning Wins Fitting APA Award for LA Bike Plan

The Los Angeles Section of the American Planners Association (APA) just came out with their 2011 planning awards.  For their work on the 2010 LA Bike Plan, City Planning is receiving the APA “Hard Won Victory Award”.

Two years ago, it would have been hard to imagine Los Angeles having a new bike plan at all, much less the visionary bike plan that has earned admiration and envy across the country.  Much of the reason we have that great bike plan today is due to the tireless efforts of City Planning staff Claire Bowen, Jane Choi, and Jordann Turner.  It was their hard work, their endless optimism, and their tireless coalition building that brought together advocates, the City, and the public around a plan that we can all be proud of.

Though the award is being given to City Planning, it’s my opinion that everyone involved in the bike plan deserves a piece of the APA award.  The process was a “hard won victory” on all sides, and everyone involved should be truly proud of helping make Los Angeles a better place for all.

ULI Hits Long Beach

On the heels of opening their very first set of cycle tracks, Long Beach will play host to the Urban Land Institute – Los Angeles Branch.  The ULI is holding a Mobility Tour and Case Study of Long Beach’s bicycle infrastructure on May 4th.  In addition to the tour, a panel featuring Charlie Gandy, Sumi Gant, Michael Bohn, and Casey Burke will discuss Long Beach’s strategies, implementation, and lessons learned in implementing cutting-edge bicycle infrastructure.  Space is limited, and you can register on ULI’s website.

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