Metro Board approves $3.7 million in grants for ‘Open Streets’ events around L.A. County

The $3.7 million in grants awarded by the Board helps cover the expense of 12 ‘open streets’ type events in the next two fiscal years. These are events in which streets are typically closed to motor traffic and opened, as the name implies, to pedestrians and cyclists. In other words, events similar to the CicLAvia events that have been very popular in L.A. the past few years.

Events in the following cities received funding: Carson, Culver City, Downey, El Monte Huntington Park, Lawndale, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, Pasadena, Santa Monica and South Pasadena.

The staff report below shows the 12 cities/jurisdictions that were awarded money. Although advocates for Long Beach asked for funding for a second event, Metro officials noted that guidelines prioritized funding one event per city before funding multiple events in the same city.

Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – Steven Nancarrow, committed to transforming his life through cycling

We are collecting nominations for the Year-Round Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a monthly Why you Ride series because for many Angelenos, Bike Week never ends!

  • Name: Steven Nancarrow
  • Origin and destination: From downtown Glendale to East Pasadena.
  • Distance: Long commute – Steven rides 11 miles each way–an hour-long trip.
  • Type of commute: A combination of scenic, traffic-congested and bike paths.
  • The commuter: Converted commuter – for new riders, seasoned commuters – for old hands, and zealous commuters – for those who are encouraging others to try pedaling to school or work.

Tess Nancarrow, thanks for nominating Steven for the Gold Pedal Awards, your participation is important!

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Steven (front) and friends riding along a neighborhood street celebrating “Finish The Ride”

Tess told us that Steven has been commuting by bicycle four times a week for three years now. He now rides almost 100 miles per week and celebrated his third Bike to Work Day this year. Not too long ago, while he was still living in Eagle Rock, he used to combine cycling and transit (Metro Gold Line) to commute to work. However, since moving to Glendale he commutes to Pasadena by bike almost every day. Once Steven’s daughter is a little older, he plans to be permanently car free.

Originally, Steven started to commute by bike to lose weight and save money on gas and the gym; now he does it purely for the love of bike commuting. He is always encouraging others to use active transportation when commuting to work or going to the store. He has convinced several people at his work to start walking, biking, or taking transit to work. He continuously shows how easy and fast it is to get around Los Angeles without a car.

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Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – biking to work is no challenge for Wesley High

Location - Union Station - Harvey House Restaurant Space

Wesley High, winner of the Bike Ambassador Award. Photo: Josh Southwick/Metro.

Each year, the Diamond Awards recognize the achievements of corporate rideshare programs in the region and their contribution toward decreasing gasoline consumption, air pollution and commuter costs. New this year were the Ambassador awards, which acknowledged commuters for ridesharing and for taking the initiative to promote transit alternatives to their peers.

The recipient of the Bicycle Ambassador award, Wesley High with Phelps, is a truly avid bicyclist. Wesley began biking three years ago on Bike to Work Day and now rides from Silver Lake to where he works at Phelps in Santa Monica—a whopping 30 miles round trip. He also founded his company’s bike to lunch club, leads a company team during the national bike challenge, and his desk often acts as a makeshift bike repair shop for coworkers.

Below, Wesley shares his thoughts on his daily commute and talks about why he rides.

How did you commute before you started biking to work? What made you decide to ride?

When I moved to L.A. five years ago, I was commuting by car from Encino to Santa Monica. When I moved to Silver Lake I started taking the bus instead, which I did for about six months. We’d get stuck in traffic trying to cross the 405 and I’d see people riding right past us on their bikes. I thought to myself “I could do that.” I did a test ride on the weekend and said “I can do that” and from that point started making it a regular thing.

How often do you bike to work? How long does the trip take? Do you ever connect to transit? 

I try to ride at least three times a week. I recently got a dog and we can bring them into work, so she has cramped my riding a bit, at least until I get her trained to ride in a trailer. The trip takes about one hour in the morning and an extra 5 to 10 minutes in the evening, depending on if I’m riding alone or with others. I use transit occasionally, mostly when I’ve encountered mechanical troubles like a broken spoke or flat tire. I just put my bike on the next bus and then repair my bike when I get to work.  

What tips do you have for making a bike commute easier?

Finding some other people who commute by bike, especially along your same route. I try to say “hi” to other people I see riding along my route and strike up a conversation. I’ve made a few friends, just because we were both heading the same direction and decided to ride the rest of the way together. Making friends while commuting to work is not something that really happens when you are driving by yourself. This is one of the reasons I joined an organization called L.A. Bike Trains, which lets you join up with experienced bike commuters along routes across the city. 

Do you have any interesting tales from your bike commutes?

I’ve seen all sorts of things. Other riders wearing only a Speedo, someone driving around with their hood up, countless people using their phones, calling, texting, watching videos. Incredible amounts of backed up traffic, one day I passed 631 cars in a 3-mile stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard in about 15 minutes. I was very happy I rode that day.

Thank you, Wesley, for your commitment to bicycling! Keep up the good work, and happy commuting.

Bike to the Bowl to see Janelle Monáe on June 22

“Bike To The Bowl” on Sunday, June 22 to see Janelle Monáe! The concert starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are available online. LACBC is also offering free bike valet service at the Hollywood Bowl Museum Patio. The valet will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Enjoy a sweet treat from Peddler’s Creamery before the concert. Just show your valid TAP card or bike valet ticket at the Museum Patio and receive a free scoop of ice cream. (One scoop per person while supplies last.)

You can also go Metro to the Hollywood Bowl via the Red Line Hollywood/Highland Station. Bring your bike on board and ride the rest of the way from the station, or transfer to the Hollywood Bowl shuttle–the ride is free with your valid TAP card.

To find out more about LA bike paths, lanes, routes, and racks, check out the Metro Bike Map. And for those who need an introduction to Janelle Monáe:

Cycling in the Los Angeles area: dealing with buses

Photo by waltarrrrr via Flickr

Photo by waltarrrrr via Flickr

For the most part, my experience with bus operators while cycling in Los Angeles has been good and one of mutual respect for each other on the road. Many of the bus operators I’ve encountered here are courteous, patient and professional. They’re able to navigate skillfully in the most stressful of L.A. road situations with a high regard for safety.

But there are sometimes complaints from cyclists about bus operators — and you may have seen some on social media. One common conflict point, and I’ve experienced it: a bus from behind approaches a cyclist and then tries to overtake them in order to reach a bus stop ahead. That forces cyclists to either slam on the brakes or swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid being sideswiped or rear-ending the bus. These incidences are frustrating to say the least.

There is also the fact that Metro for the past year has been pushing a “Every Lane is a Bike Lane” and “Every Day is a Bike Day” campaign to encourage area residents to use bikes as a way of getting around. More importantly, through these campaigns the agency has become one of the many leading voices advocating for cyclist’s safety and rights.

Metro stands by its message.

Metro’s rules and procedures require that the agency’s bus operators share the road safely with cyclists. As part of Metro’s training programs, there are seven strategies that are provided for sharing the road with cyclists and it is constantly reinforced that cyclists have the same rights as motorists and an equal share to the road. Metro’s safety training also includes videos such as the one below titled “Share the Road – Buses & Bicycles” that was produced by Chicago Transit Authority and the city of Chicago. It is required viewing for new Metro bus operators and seasoned veterans.

Metro bus operators are instructed to, among other things:

  • When passing a bicyclist on the road, operators should maintain steady speeds and not accelerate. The operator must allow safe clearance between the bus and the bike at a minimum of three feet.
  • If there isn’t enough room for a bus to pass, operators must slow down, stop and wait their turn.
  • Operators should keep the bicyclist in front of them unless the operator is absolutely certain they can pass the cyclist safely. Operators should not stop shortly after passing.

And here are some key safety tips for cyclists:

  • Cyclists are legally allowed to take control of a traffic lane. Many cyclists do this on streets where there is no bike lane or room to ride on the side of the road. Why do cyclists do this? Positioning yourself in the middle of the lane makes cyclists more visible and requires motorists to switch lanes to pass, thereby giving more space to cyclists in case they need to swerve to avoid a vehicle that encroaches on their lane.
  • When passing a bus, bicyclists should allow at least three feet between their bike and the bus. If there’s about three feet between the bus and the bike, the bike should be visible in the bus operator’s rear-view mirror.
  • Always merge with traffic to pass on the left. Never split lanes to get ahead of a bus. At some point the bus will leave the bus stop and enter traffic. Remain visible and alert.
  • Never pass on the right. Passing on the right can endanger people getting on and off the bus.
  • If a bus passes you, stay alert and watch to see if the bus is going to stop.

If you want to file a complaint to Metro, please note the time, place, date, bus route, identification number of the vehicle and direction of travel and report it to metro.net/comments or via email at CustomerRelations@metro.net with your name and contact information.

Complaints are taken seriously and Metro reviews and takes action if it’s warranted. Let’s continue working together on the same path to make our streets safer for all.

Metro’s Dave Sotero contributed to this post.

Upcoming bike ride: Pedal Powered Street Theater Ride on June 21

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From a previous ride with CICLE.

Join Metro, CICLE, and Bike Odyssey LA on a theatrical community bicycle ride on Saturday, June 21. Riders will be immersed in stories from Homer’s The Odyssey, reimagined in modern Los Angeles County. The ride will make several stops throughout Balboa Park. Dressing up in togas and laurel wreaths is encouraged!

Meet up with the group at the Metro Orange Line Sepulveda Station at 6 p.m. The ride leaves promptly at 6:30 p.m. and will return to the starting location by 8 p.m.

Besides the Orange Line, you can also get to the meeting spot via Metro Bus 154, 156/656, 164, 234, 236/237 and Rapid 734. Plan your trip at metro.net.

Metro sponsored rides provide an opportunity to practice riding comfortably with traffic, bike safely in a group and become acquainted with bikeways in Los Angeles County. C.I.C.L.E. rides are leisurely, family-friendly and led by fully-supportive and trained Ride Leaders and volunteers. Prior to the ride, safe street riding and group ride etiquette will be reviewed to ensure smooth sailing.

Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – Daniella Alcedo, an inspiring bike advocate behind bike rides, a radio show, and more!

We are collecting nominations for the Year-Round Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a monthly Why You Ride series because for many Angelenos, Bike Week never ends!

  • Name: Daniella Alcedo
  • Distance: Short commutes (Less than one mile), medium commutes (one to five miles), and long commutes (five miles or more)
  • Type of commute: Scenic 
  • The Commuter: Comrade commuter – for friends and family who bike together. Chic commuter – for those who ride with flair
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Daniella Alcedo co-hosts the #WomenTalkBikes’ radio show. Photo: Maria Sipin.

Maria Sipin, a Golden Pedal Award winner in 2013 and supporter of Bike Week LA, nominated Daniella for the award. Thanks Maria!

Daniella’s ties to bicycling go beyond mere commuting. Her dedication to the Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition and getting people involved through bike rides is inspiring. She leads the Ride Around Pomona Ride each month along with other social rides and invites all bicyclists to join. As Maria says, “Daniella is one of the reasons I became more involved in advocacy work. She changed my mind about it in general by challenging the misconceptions I had about activism and bicycling.”

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Daniella and friends at a Metro Rail platform on one of their bike rides in LA County.

Although Daniella may not commute by bike daily, she serves those who do and gets others excited about volunteering for bike events. As the founder of the radio show #WomenTalkBikes, she elevates the voices of women bicyclists, including those with commuter stories to share.

With help from our generous Bike Week LA sponsors, Daniella will receive a Bike Week LA bag with a Nathan safety vest, patch kits, ankle straps, bike maps, Metro Bike Guides, and “Every Lane is a Bike Lane” bumper stickers.