Some Easy Bike Lane Projects L.A. Can Do Right Away

I’ve been pretty critical of the city of Los Angeles Transportation Department’s (LADOT’s) August 2011 announcement to implement lots of sharrows instead of actually implementing the bike plan the city approved in March 2011. Sharrows are wimpy. Bike lanes are proven effective.

The city should be fulfilling its pledge with 40 miles of bike lanes - like these lanes recently added to Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard

Some folks have said: “OK, Joe, you don’t like the city’s sharrows – but what should they be doing?” Generally my answer is: BIKE LANES!

This blog post is a more long-winded response to the question of what projects I think L.A. should be implementing right now. Below I list bikeway projects that I think are good – and that I think that the city of L.A. could move forward with quickly.

I tend to favor easy “low-hanging fruit” projects. I’d love to see protected bike lanes, bike boulevards, road diets… but I think that these will take a relatively long time. Under current city biases, these ambitious projects can take years; so I tend to favor the easier bike lane projects. The good news is that the city is already doing quite a few of these easy projects – for example, recent lanes on Vermont Avenue and Washington Place.

My list below (sorry the framing is getting long, and it’s not over yet) are all EASY bike lane projects – aka low-hanging fruit – specifically:

  • Bike LANES – not sharrows, not bike routes, not “bike-friendly streets.”
  • NO CAR LANE REMOVAL – Bike lanes that can be implemented in the existing roadway without impacting through-traffic-capacity.

The list below are the cheap, easy, quick projects that can get the city to its pledged 40 miles this fiscal year. My sense is that if the city can actually complete more easy painless bike lane projects, L.A. drivers will see more bike lanes and will come to expect them. Soon, with greater public acceptance, the city can move on to doing additional and more ambitious projects. Continue reading

Analyzing and Mapping L.A.’s 5-Year Plan for Bikeway Implementation

In March 2011, the city of Los Angeles approved its new Bike Plan. Overall the bike plan has 1600 miles of bikeways that will take, oh, the rest of my lifetime or so, to implement… if we’re lucky. Approved with the plan is what’s called the “Five Year Implementation Strategy” which I will call just the “5-Year Plan.”

Below I’ve explained the 5-Year Plan, posted my corrected version of it, and posted maps of the bike lane facilities planned.

Continue reading

Some Good Bicycle News – from Culver City and Mar Vista

New bike lanes on Washington Place in Culver City - alongside Tito's Tacos on Washington Place just west of Sepulveda

I was on the Westside yesterday for L.A. Streetsblog‘s end-of-the-year party (at the wonderful, yummy Earl’s Gourmet Grub on Venice Blvd), so I got the opportunity to ride on Culver City’s new bike lanes on Washington Place and Bentley Avenue. Apologies that it was late at night, hence the really poor photos.  Continue reading

How Long Does It Take LADOT to Install a Sharrow?

Sharrows on Fountain Avenue. What happens to a bike facility deferred? Do they dry up, fester, or explode? apologies to Langston Hughes

The city of Los Angeles’ Transportation Department (LADOT) seems to operate at two speeds. Both unhealthy. The difference in how long it takes LADOT to implement sharrows is instructive. Just how long does it take LADOT to install a sharrow?

Let’s say that a bunch of bicyclists push for implementation of sharrows. Well… then it takes LADOT about five years to paint their first sharrow.

Let’s say that a bunch of councilmembers, planning commissioners, city departments, a mayor, and a bunch of bicyclists agree to a bike plan for implementing bike lanes instead of sharrows – and LADOT figures it can hoodwink them all by doing sharrows instead of what’s actually in the approved bike plan. Well… then sharrows are done in just 34 days.

Continue reading

Thoughts on ThinkBike L.A.: 3 – South L.A.

On September 22-23 2011, Dutch bicycle facility designers came to L.A. and worked with Angelenos to create great designs. The ThinkBike event was covered at LADOT, and L.A. Streetsblog, but the coverage didn’t include too much in the way of sharing actual designs, like S.F. Streetsblog coverage of their ThinkBike did. I figured that I would do a series of three posts (1 – Downtown, 2 – Pacoima, 3 – South L.A.) showing off more of the great work. The designs are posted at LADOT, but they’re big pdfs, difficult to search, find, and share. I’ve broken them out into place-specific entries and tried to run a lot of images and text, to make this excellent work more findable. In addition, I’ve done a fourth blog post about the overall process, which I did find a bit disappointing.


The South L.A. ThinkBike team included folks from Bikes Belong, City Planning, CROW, LACBC, LADOT, SCI-Arc, TRUST South L.A., and USC. The pdf of their full slide show is on-line at LADOT.

Overview of the South L.A. ThinkBike Area Planned

The geographical focus for the team was the area that surrounds the USC Campus and Exposition Park, especially Jefferson Boulevard, Vermont Avenue, University Avenue and 36th Place. This area has the highest percentage of bicycle commuting for all of Los Angeles County, largely due to USC students and staff bicycling to campus. The near-campus neighborhoods also have large numbers of working class bicyclists, mostly black and Latino.  Continue reading