Bike Lanes

Beverly Hills prepares for bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd.

From BeverlyPress.com

Bike lanes will soon appear on Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills as construction along the street continues.

During a study session on Feb. 6, City Council members listened to a staff presentation detailing plans to stripe the road with bike lanes. Once completed, the stretch of North Santa Monica Boulevard between Wilshire Boulevard and Doheny Drive will have two eastbound lanes, two westbound lanes, a center turn lane and bike lanes on each side.

The plan showed that the bike lanes would be separated from traffic lanes with a white line, with green markings at intersections for added safety, for an estimated cost of $35,000.

But Mayor Lili Bosse, along with council members Robert Wunderlich and John Mirisch, directed staff to paint the lanes green, which will triple the cost, according to staff, adding approximately $70,000 to the project. It will also require more maintenance.

“It makes no sense to me not to make the entire lane green,” Bosse said.

The degree to which bike lanes improve safety has been in dispute. Bike lanes are favored by cyclists but sometimes criticized by motorists who say they’re easy to overlook, and that they give cyclists a false sense of security.

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Work Starts on Transformation of Spring and Main Streets

From LADowntownNews.com

 

Work has begun on a $1.9 million transformation of Main and Spring streets in the Historic Core and Civic Center. When the multi-phase project is complete, access for pedestrians and bicycles will be enhanced.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation launched the project with upgrades to some southbound lanes of Spring Street. Overall, the work will make crosswalks more visible, create new signals for cyclists and facilitate left turns.

The upgrades will be on Spring between First and Ninth streets and Main between Cesar Chavez Avenue and Ninth Street. LADOT will also move bike lanes from the right side of Spring and Main streets to the left. That will clear up conflicts with buses loading and unloading on the right side of the street, according to Oliver Hou, a spokesman for LADOT.

“Spring and Main are one way,” Hou said. “That hopefully eliminates the conflict.”

The new bike lanes will be “protected,” meaning they will be adjacent to the curb, while parking spots will be moved off the curb and instead placed closer to traffic, separated by vertical barriers.

Currently, bike lanes on Spring and Main have no physical separation from traffic, and are simply denoted by being painted green.

 

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Why New Bike Lanes Are Good For Everyone — Yes, Even Drivers

From DESMOG.ca

Protected bike lanes are a favourite punching bag for Canada’s pundits and politicians.

Lawrence Solomon recently called for Toronto to “ban the bike” in one of his three columns on the subject in the span of a month. Rob Ford made a career out of condemning the “war on the car” and ripping out bike lanes. Loren Gunter of the Edmonton Sun accused the city government of inflating its usage statistics in favour of elite bike riders, then arbitrarily cut the number of riders in half to make the point that they were a waste.

Fortunately, while they may be entitled to their opinions, that privilege doesn’t extend to facts. Countless studies have been published over the years to test the impact of bike lanes — and the results are pretty clear.

So, what do we know?:

One user group, though, is benefitting even while frequently being the most opposed to the lanes: drivers who don’t bike.

Study after study has shown the ways that drivers benefit directly or indirectly from bike lanes, and yet drivers are the most likely to disapprove of bike lanes: in Toronto, 57 per cent of drivers who don’t bike do not support the Bloor Street project.

But they should. Here’s why.

Bike lanes mean fewer conflicts

Not only do bike lanes make the roads safer for cyclists, but they also reduce crashes and near-misses between cars. In Toronto, there was a 71 per cent decrease in car/car conflicts. That’s an even bigger reduction than there was in conflicts between cars and bikes and between cars and pedestrian, both of which fell by more than half.

“The overall tenor of the street changes,” says Tom Babin, a Calgary cyclist and author of the book Frostbike: The Joy, Pain, and Numbness of Winter Cycling.

“It’s a little less car-dominated, a little more human scaled. All of that improves safety for everyone using it.”

In Toronto, there is one caveat: there was a 61 per cent increase in conflicts between bikes and pedestrians, but those tend not to be as serious (a similar study in New York found pedestrian injuries actually fell by more than a fifth)  — and crashes overall went down by 44 per cent.

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Can new trains, busways and bike lanes end Southern California gridlock?

From PasadenaStarNews.com

 

In a meeting in Pasadena meant to discuss solutions to Southern California’s traffic woes, state politicians kept returning to the problems at hand, also known as the 5, 10, 15, 101, 210 and the 405 freeways — among others.

Once functioning, flowing freeways have become time wasters and stress producers. Participants at an Assembly committee hearing on Thursday had few answers for fixing the jammed freeways. One said what you see is what you will get — even after the passage of SB1, a statewide gasoline and car tax increase that went into effect Wednesday..

“The highway system we have today is likely what we’ll have for the next 30 years or even 100 years,” said Duarte City Councilman and Metro board member John Fasana.

Chairman of the Select Committee on Regional Transportation Solutions, Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, called for “21st Century” solutions — except autonomous cars and the gig economy’s solution — ridesharing services — are often not part of the plan.

But even more traditional alternatives to solo driving, such as dedicated bus lanes, rail lines, bike lanes and carpools can add more problems to a complex dynamic consisting of freeways which hardly move and people who do — usually farther away from job centers in a quest for affordable housing.

Even when such transit solutions aimed at getting cars off the freeways are built, they can raise new issues in a transportation world that’s changing.

The law of unintended consequences

San Diego added a dedicated rapid bus from San Diego State University to downtown. “What we hadn’t really thought through was how to connect people to those transit stations,” acknowledged Coleen Clementson, principal regional planner for San Diego Associated Governments.

Because San Diego transportation authorities did not plan for ridesharing services, Uber and Lyft drivers use train depots and bus stops to pickup and drop off passengers, she said.

The problem, known as first mile/last mile, has plagued many of the new light-rail lines in Los Angeles, Santa Monica and the San Gabriel Valley. People can’t get to the stations because they are too far away. Without convenience, no one will give up their car.

 

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Which Bike Lanes Should Be Protected? New Guide Offers Specifics

From StreetsBlog.org

 

Say this for conventional bike lanes: they’re easy. Building protected bike lanes takes real work.

Maybe that’s why, since U.S. cities started building modern protected bike lanes 10 years ago, one seemingly simple question has come up more than maybe any other: Which streets need them?

It’s impossible to answer that question perfectly, and most U.S. road design institutions haven’t tried. Until now.

At its annual conference Tuesday in Chicago, the National Association of City Transportation Officials released a free 16-page document that makes one of the first comprehensive attempts to answer that question.

In advance of NACTO’s full digital rollout (coming in a couple of weeks), we’ve got a sneak peek at the contents.

 

That’s a chart designed to take the basic traits any street — auto speed, traffic volume, lane count — and spit out a recommendation of what sort of bike lane the street should have to create the sort of low-stress riding experience that gets people of “all ages and abilities” — eight-year-olds, 80-year-olds, bike-sharing tourists — on bikes.

Got a two-lane, two-way 25 mph street that carries 4,000 autos per day? According to NACTO, a buffered bike lane will do. But if the traffic speed is 30 mph, it’s time to protect the bike lane with a curb, posts or planters.

Many city agencies have already put together their own internal guidance for questions like this, and NACTO’s guidance here is on the stringent end of the spectrum. For example, the PeopleForBikes Bicycle Network Analysis considers a conventional striped bike lane to be “low-stress” if there’s no curbside parking and speeds are less than 30 mph.

NACTO, though, is holding its recommendation to a higher standard, and that’s fine. “All ages and abilities” is, after all, a higher bar for a bike lane than simply “low stress.”

 

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Seven ways that bike lanes benefit motorists and pedestrians

From Philly.com

 

Bike lanes are a Philadelphia motorist’s best friend. They make life better for pedestrians, too.

You read that right. You don’t have to ride a bike to benefit from bike lanes.

Given the polarization and finger-pointing (usually involving the middle digit) that accompanies any discussion of cycling in Philadelphia, it’s not surprising that the advantages of the city’s bicycle infrastructure have been routinely underestimated. The antibike faction tends to view bike lanes as a special perk solely for the enjoyment of those who travel on two wheels, rather than a way to bring order to the streets.

My fellow columnist Stu Bykofsky even suggested recently that the continued existence of bike lanes should be put to a vote — and predicted that they would be roundly defeated. Imagine if someone made the same proposal for sidewalks. Or car lanes.

Of course, not all bicyclists follow the rules as well as they should. (What motorist or pedestrian does?) Some cyclists still treat the sidewalks as a de facto bike lane and fail to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. But eliminating the bike lane network would only worsen the situation. In the interest of furthering tolerance, here are seven ways bike lanes make the streets safer for all travelers, along with a few suggestions for how bicyclists can win more people to their side of the debate.

 

1. Safety increases when everyone knows their place.

In the last few years, several City Council members have blocked new bike lanes, arguing that they would inconvenience neighbors and impede automobile traffic. Motorists often gripe that it’s unfair to give up the better part of a lane on Philadelphia’s narrow streets to bicyclists, who currently account for 2.2 percent of Philadelphia’s commuting population.

What opponents overlook is that bike lanes clarify where everyone should be and improve traffic flow. They’re like a demilitarized zone in the way they separate the factions: cars, bikes, and pedestrians. Before Philadelphia established its bike lane network, conflicts among those three groups were more extreme. Motorists would tell bicyclists to get on the sidewalk. While I was biking home from work recently, a driver reprimanded me for veering into the car lane. The bike lane happened to be blocked by parked cars, a common problem. Despite his blinkered vision, I took the sentiment as a kind of progress, evidence that bike lanes are considered an integral part of the road network.

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Biking has become part of New York’s commuting culture as the city expands bike routes and Citi Bikes become ubiquitous

From The NYTimes.com

On one of Brooklyn’s busier commuter streets, bicycles now outnumber cars.

The two-wheelers glide down a bike lane on Hoyt Street, which links Downtown Brooklyn with thriving brownstone-lined neighborhoods. There are so many bikes during the evening rush that they pack together at red lights and spill out in front of cars.

It is the kind of bike hegemony that was once hard to imagine in New York City, where cars and taxis long claimed the streets and only hardened cyclists braved the chaotic traffic.

“New York has really become a biking world,” said Jace Rivera, 42, a former construction worker who so enjoyed riding his bike to work that he changed careers last year to become a bike messenger. “The city has gotten a lot more crowded, and the trains have gotten a lot more expensive. By biking, you spare yourself the crowds, you save a lot of money, and you can go to work on time.”

Biking has become part of New York’s commuting infrastructure as bike routes have been expanded and a fleet of 10,000 Citi Bikes has been deployed to more than 600 locations. Today there are more than 450,000 daily bike trips in the city, up from 170,000 in 2005, an increase that has outpaced population and employment growth, according to city officials. About one in five bike trips is by a commuter.

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Beverly Hills Approves Bike Lanes for Santa Monica Blvd

From StreetsGlogLA.org

 

Last night the Beverly Hills City Council unanimously approved adding bike lanes to Santa Monica Boulevard. The new lanes are expected to be completed in mid-2018.

Better Bike‘s Mark Elliot describes the approval as ushering in a new era of connectivity: “We in Beverly Hills have conclusively put to rest the fictions that have long-driven our transportation planning: That we could remain an isolated suburb in the center of a sprawling urban region with serious mobility and quality-of-life challenges; and that we could cling tight to a 20th-century car culture even as we enter the second decade of the 21st century.”

The push for these bike lanes has taken many years, including several dashed hopes. The vote itself indicates new leadership on the council, led by pro-bicycling voices Mayor Lili Bosse and councilmember Robert Wunderlich, along with councilmember John Mirisch, who has a longer record of support for completing Beverly Hills streets. The approval is testament to the perseverance of a handful of bicycling advocates, including Mark Eliot, Kory Klem, Eric Bruins, Rich Hirschinger, Danielle Salomon, Sharon and Lou Ignarro, Barbara Linder, and Tish and Greg Laemmle.

Hirschinger described public testimony at last night’s council meeting as “39 were in favor, 3 opposed” with the opposition including two former mayors of Beverly Hills, one of whom stated that all the cyclists in favor of bike lanes were “professional cyclists.”

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Report shows drop in LA cycling as bike lane expansion slows

From KPCC

 

Bicycling has become more popular in Los Angeles over the last decade with the installation of miles of bike lanes, the spread of bike sharing and the growth of events like Ciclavia. But the trend hit a bump last year, according to a new report from the L.A. County Bike Coalition.

The biennial report found ridership dropped 9 percent in 2015 compared with 2013. The biggest decrease was on streets without bike lanes. Things stayed about the same on streets with lanes, although the number of cyclists increased more than 60 percent on streets that had lanes added recently, according to the report.

This is the fourth biennial report the Bike Coalition has produced, in collaboration with Los Angeles Walks and the UCLA Lewis Center. In 2015, about 600 volunteers stationed at 180 locations throughout L.A. recorded the number of bikes and pedestrians they saw on one weekday and one Saturday.

Since the counts began in 2009, the number of people biking increased over each two-year cycle, until the decrease recorded last year.

“It says to us that we have more work to do, that the bike network is so fragmented, the bike network has a ton of gaps,” said Tamika Butler, executive director of the L.A. County Bike Coalition.

The increase on streets that recently added bike lanes “shows that when streets feel safe and when folks see that there’s the space for them, they are riding more,” she said.

The decline on other streets, she said, highlights the need for the city to speed up the pace of adding new bike lanes. L.A. went from a high of 101 new miles installed in 2013 to just 11 miles in 2015.

The city of L.A. and the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority have encouraged biking as an alternative to driving for short trips. According to the L.A. Department of Transportation, more than half of all trips taken in L.A. are three miles or less, but nearly three-quarters of such trips are taken by car.

Measure M, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by voters last week, will dedicate about 4.5 percent of revenue, about $39 million a year, to walking and biking infrastructure.

The city of L.A. has a long-range plan to greatly expand the bike network, but the Mobility Plan 2035 has drawn controversy over its proposal to add bike lanes to busy streets. Critics have opposed the idea out of concern that the lanes would slow car traffic; they’ve succeeded in persuading officials to strike bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard and Central Avenue from the plan.

Read the full report from L.A. County Bike Coalition:

 

Reand More at KPCC

Read more at KPCC

Protected Bike Lanes Coming to Spring and Main Streets

DTLA – Downtown Los Angeles is one of the city’s ripest areas for pedestrian activity, and bike access is expanding with dedicated lanes and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s coming bike share pilot program.

The shifts have been noticed by 14th District City Councilman José Huizar, who last year introduced a new program to address the needs of people on both two feet and two wheels. He recently revealed new details of the plan dubbed DTLA Forward, which aims to improve pedestrian and bike travel, create green spaces, and streamline traffic flow around the Central City.

“Every great city needs a great Downtown and DTLA Forward aims to bring smart, innovative public space policy and programs to a rapidly growing Downtown L.A. that will not only make DTLA more functional, accessible and safer, but greater,” Huizar said in a prepared statement.

While the initiative touts a number of elements, the most dramatic is the creation of protected bike lanes on Main and Spring streets between Cesar Chavez Avenue in Chinatown and Olympic Boulevard in South Park. Unlike existing painted bike lanes, these would create a physical buffer, with some designs putting street parking between traveling cars and bicyclists.

Final designs are under discussion, but the change could cut driving lanes on portions of both streets. Plans call for two phases of construction, with completion by 2017.

The streets were selected because they cut through some of Downtown’s densest areas, according to Huizar’s office. Main and Spring streets will also see Metro bike share kiosks and will be intersected by the Regional Connector and its Second Street/Broadway station.

While L.A. has trailed other cities in building up bike infrastructure, Eric Bruins, policy director for the Historic Core-based nonprofit Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, said the “stars are aligning” with proposed improvements to Main and Spring streets. A silver lining about being late to create more protected bike lanes is that L.A. can take lessons from other urban bike projects to shape its policy and promote biking, he added.

“I think upgrades will take it to the next level, but we also need some Second and Seventh street connections to create corridors and a real network,” Bruins said.

DTLA Forward also calls for kick-starting three pilot programs to activate deserted alleyways. The “Green Alleyways” program would support and springboard off three proposed alley projects in South Park, the Historic Core and the Arts District, each led by a private group. Ideas include creating seating and installing artwork and greenery in the alleys.

Other portions of DTLA Forward include the creation of the Spring Street Community Garden, to which Huizar’s office contributed $15,000. The amenity at 220 S. Spring St., formed by Historic Core stakeholders, will allow people to rent a large planter to grow vegetables and other goods or work several community plots. It is slated to debut this month.

The city Department of Transportation has also installed 16 crosswalk signals that give pedestrians a four-second head start before the green light, with the aim of preventing collisions between walkers and turning cars. Finally, the City Council on March 23 approved a DTLA Forward motion to create a “Master Tree List” for Downtown so that tree-planting standards are streamlined.

Huizar broached DTLA Forward last year, when he issued a series of motions after convening a planning workshop between DOT, City Planning and other departments. It is one of several plans to improve pedestrian and bike travel in and around Downtown.

MyFigueroa, which will cut driving lanes and create protected bike lanes along the Figueroa Corridor and up through Seventh Street, is slated to begin construction this year and wrap up in 2017. The Seventh Street Improvement Project, funded by public improvement dollars tied to the Wilshire Grand replacement, would also potentially create protected bike lanes and widen sidewalks along Seventh Street between Figueroa and Olive streets.

Finally, Huizar’s own Bringing Back Broadway campaign touts the Broadway Streetscape Master Plan, which wrapped its pilot phase last year after cutting driving lanes and installing temporary public spaces and bike lanes. The second phase, estimated to cost $42 million, would widen sidewalks, create protected bike lanes, and add permanent dining and leisure spaces on Broadway between First and 11th streets.

The Broadway project expects to get about half its funding from Metro and state grants, and the city Bureau of Engineering will begin working on the first block, from Eighth to Ninth streets, in 2017, according to Huizar’s office.

Read More at ladowntownnews.com