From the PasadenaStarNews.com
PASADENA >>> In an effort to get people out of their cars, Pasadena is transforming into a more bicycle friendly city with reduced lanes on some of its thoroughfares.
Many of the road diets make room for a network of designated bicycle lanes that will eventually integrate with a bike-share program starting next year.
The goal isn’t to slow down motorists, but to give space to pedestrians and bicyclists who have little room on the roads now, said Rich Dilluvio, the pedestrian and bicycle coordinator for Pasadena’s Complete Streets Division.
“It makes it a more pleasant place to live, to ride a bike, to be a pedestrian and to drive,” Dilluvio said. “We think these streets can handle the traffic, they’re just going to have to behave differently.”
The city’s recently updated general plan tasked Dilluvio’s department with making the streets more “complete,” a term used to describe finding a balance between pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.
Improvements over the next 10 to 15 years include cutting out lanes on Union Street, Orange Grove Boulevard and parts of Colorado Boulevard. On Union, one lane will become a two-way bicycle track separated by a curb and parked cars.
Even further out, lanes on Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevard, east of Hill Avenue, will be replaced with buffered bike lanes — essentially a double striped line that runs between moving and parked cars.
Some residents were worried the changes will cause safety problems, with hard-to-see bicyclists riding past parking garages as drivers try to exit. Business owners close to Union Street were concerned about losing parking spaces.
Some street parking will go away, but it’s unclear how much, Dilluvio said.
Pasadena has already added a bike lane to part of Cordova Avenue and plans to extend that to Marengo in the near future. The transportation department added green striping to lengthy portions of Marengo to warn drivers to watch for bicyclists. Similar green warnings are planned for Union Street, Dilluvio said.
The enhanced bike system will be needed next summer, when a Metro bike-share program adds hundreds of rentable bikes to stations scattered across the city.
THE COMING BIKE-SHARE PROGRAM
Next year, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will move ahead with a plan to bring 34 bike-share stations with 490 bikes to Pasadena, said Laura Cornejo, deputy executive officer in charge of active transportation.
Metro’s core mission is to get commuters to the Gold Line light-rail or bus stops without driving a car. The bike-share stations will dot Pasadena’s most dense districts, with most ending up on the north-south and east-west thoroughfares between the Rose Bowl and the Gold Line’s Allen Avenue stop, according to a preliminary map of stations provided by Metro.
The city is still working out exactly where each station will go and has begun meeting with businesses and employers, according to Conrad Viana, of Pasadena’s transportation department.
A bike-share system allows users to pull a bike from a bike rack, ride it to work or a transit stop, then drop it off at a different strategically placed docking station for a fee.
The Metro board still needs to approve the Pasadena contract with Bicycle Transit Systems, the same company that built and operates bike-share in downtown Los Angeles, Cornejo said. Metro approved a two-year, $11-million contract with BTS in June 2015.
Riders can walk up to one of 60 downtown L.A. bike stations and pay $3.50 per ride for trips under 30 minutes. But Metro board members and many members of the public said that was too expensive, so the board began a sale of $1.75 per bike trip through September. Under the standard pricing, riders can also obtain a monthly pass for $20 with unlimited free trips up to 30 minutes each, or buy an annual pass for $40 and pay $1.75 for each 30 minute trip.
In order for bike-sharing to work, a city needs an infrastructure of bike lanes and cycle tracks, but the cycle track on Union won’t happen until at least 2021, with the new bike lanes on Colorado and Orange Grove even further out.
PASADENA FAR BEHIND OTHER CITIES
Protected bikeways, like the one planned for Union Street, are the “gold standard that people of all ages feel most comfortable riding in,” said Wes Reutimann, executive director of Bike San Gabriel Valley and a Pasadena resident. But Pasadena won’t have any protected routes ready by the time the bike-share program comes online.
Pasadena is woefully behind other cities, he said.
“Only one of our Gold Line stations (in Pasadena) is serviced by a bike lane and that is the Sierra Madre Villa (station) and that just happened,” Reutimann said. “Pasadena has even more work to do than Downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Long Beach.”
Pasadena was chosen as the second Metro bike-share city — of a possible 20 — because of its large student population. The city is also a destination city for employment, shopping, dining and entertainment with expensive parking, Reutimann said.
Reutimann said he wants to see more bike-share stations north of the 210 freeway, where members of the Pasadena low-income community can have access. Currently only two bike-share stations are planned above the freeway, with two more near the Lake and Allen avenue Metro stations, according to the preliminary map.
The slow pace of Pasadena’s bicycle infrastructure is due to funding and red tape, Dilluvio said. The city has to acquire grants for the projects.
“We’re kind of upgrading what we have and then adding to the future,” he said.
Read more at PasadenaStarNews.com