Metro’s Bicycle Program will hold its next Implementation/Operations subcommittee meeting next Monday, Aug. 22 at Metro headquarters.
The meeting, to be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Metro’s third floor Gateway Plaza Conference Room, will review a new training module and safety guide for Metro bus operators that focuses on pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Metro Operations staff will be on-hand to answer questions about the training program and other related issues.
Also part of the agenda, Metro staff will provide an update on seat removal plans for light rail trains. See earlier post on the seat removal efforts.
The subcommittee will also get a presentation on Metro’s summer education campaign “Bikes on Rails-Anytime.” Subcommittee members can hear feedback on the education campaign from Metro Bikeway planning support staff.
See the program agenda here.
The third CicLAvia event was today made official — mark Sunday, Oct. 9 on your calendar. The route for walkers, cyclists and skaters will be expanded from 7.5 miles of street closures to 10 miles, with two new spurs shown in the map above.
One of the spurs will run from City Hall to the Gold Line station in Chinatown. The other will push the route deeper into the southeastern part of downtown Los Angeles to just beyond 14th & Central, a short pedal from the Blue Line’s San Pedro station.
As we said the first two times around with CicLAvia, the easiest way to get there is by taking Metro. It’s great that the event is continuing — it’s really an awesome way to see a big slice of Los Angeles. It would also be great if the route gets more add-ons in the future!
After reading our earlier post, several readers are asking why Metro doesn’t just install three-bike racks on the shorter 40-foot buses like some other California agencies have done.
On those, the 48.5-foot limit probably would not be approached, even by protruding bike handlebars.
Equipping the shorter buses might, in fact, be what happens at Metro but for the moment it makes economic and manpower sense to wait until it’s determined if all buses can have the three-bike racks, according to Metro staff. Our friends in Sacramento are the folks who will decide.
A question that keeps popping up: cyclists asking why Metro can’t switch from bus racks that hold two bikes to those that hold three. The answer, my friends, is that it’s illegal under state law. At least for the moment.
The California Vehicle Code doesn’t allow for more than two bikes on the front if the bikes and rack make the bus longer than 48.5 feet. This may sound odd to anyone who has visited another city and seen buses toting three bikes, but different states and cities have different ideas about what’s safe on city streets. And different agencies have buses of differing lengths — many of Metro’s are between 40 and 60 feet.
Yet there’s hope for L.A.County. Metro wants the California Legislature to allow it an exemption — as is the case for Alameda County Transit in the Bay area. In fact, the Metro Board in September 2010 approved a motion (see item 9) by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa that orders development of a plan to prompt such an exemption. What this requires, however, is a sponsor for the legislation. And at the moment, no legislator seems to be stepping up to the plate.
The motion asks that Metro staff return with a plan for a bike sharing program within the next 120 days.
Bike sharing — popular in many cities around the world — allows people to rent a bike at various “stations” around town. Most programs charge a small fee and are run by nonprofits or private firms that partner with cities.
“We need to recognize this is a growing movement and this is another tool in our toolkit in helping people get to and from our bus rapid transit and rail stations,” said Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who co-wrote the motion with Board Members Pam O’Connor and Antonio Villaraigosa.
As many of you know, Metro has been working to increase space for cyclists on its subway and light rail cars — and will be taking out a few seats here and there to help.
Metrolink is getting in the act, too — and vastly increasing room for bikes on two rail cars on the Inland Empire line. If cyclists respond, Metrolink says it’s prepared to add 10 more bike cars to its fleet.
Here’s the news release:
As part of a pilot program, Metrolink will introduce its first two “bicycle cars,” passenger railcars outfitted with space for at least 18 bicycles, instead of two slots like Metrolink’s other railcars. The agency hopes this will encourage more bicyclists to take the train to their destination.
To accommodate the additional bicycles, Metrolink crews removed 29 passenger seats on the bottom level of one of its railcars that traditionally seats up to 149 people.
If you’ve traveled along Fountain Ave. in Hollywood or Reseda Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley in the last year, you may have caught a glimpse of an LADOT trial “sharrow.” Also known as a shared lane marking, these painted road icons are designed to help Angelenos in cars share the road more safely with Angelenos on bikes.
City of Los Angeles transportation officials wanted to study how and where sharrows were most effective at improving safe conditions for bicyclists before making the decision to expand their use. After a year of studying the effects of sharrows on six streets, the results are in and they look promising, according to the city.
As mentioned in today’s headlines, the Los Angeles City Council took up a motion this morning “that would make it easier for cyclists who are harassed to pursue damages in civil court, where there’s a lower burden of proof than in criminal cases.”
To the applause of dozens of bike advocates in attendance, the Council approved Councilman Rosendahl’s motion by a 12 to 0 vote.
During the public comment period, many advocates recounted their harrowing experiences of harassment and injury — having objects thrown at them and vehicles honking and swerving at them — and welcomed the opportunity to seek justice.
Councilmen Ed Reyes and Tony Cardenas in particular hoped that this ordinance, combined with the city’s robust bike plan, would make the city’s streets safe for their children to ride on. For a more in-depth recap, check out the LADOT Bike Blog, which will have all the details later this afternoon.
And while were in a biking mood, here’s some good lunchtime viewing: a documentary called “Detroit Bike City,” about the culture and challenges of biking in the Motor City.
(UPDATE, 12:48 P.M.) The bikers won, making it from Burbank to the Long Beach Aquarium in 94 minutes, according to the Wolfpack Hustle cycling team.
Jet Blue’s special flight from Burbank to Long Beach — let’s call it the “Greenhouse Gas Limited” — is a couple of minutes away from taking off. The idea is to give passengers a way to avoid potential traffic from the 405 shutdown.
Meanwhile, the cyclists racing the flight have already made it from Burbank to Downey, according to the Wolfpack Hustle’s Twitter feed.
The cyclists are racing a passenger on the plane from a home in Burbank to the Long Beach Aquarium. The flight is supposed to take off from Burbank at 12:20 and arrive at the Long Beach airport at 1:05.
In other words, unless the cyclists stop for a long lunch, siesta and in-race massage, they should easily win this thing.
But there’s a twist! The cyclists are also racing some folks taking Metro Rail to Long Beach via the Red Line and Blue Line. That one is apparently close at the moment.
Members of Wolfpack Hustle via Flickr user Sarah Sitkin
(UPDATE, July 16, 12:48 P.M.) The bikers won, making it from Burbank to the Long Beach Aquarium in 94 minutes, according to the Wolfpack Hustle cycling team. Read about it here.
By now, you’ve probably heard that JetBlue Airlines was offering $4 tickets on two round-trip flights this weekend between Long Beach and Burbank airports. The tickets were all snatched up in short order, but L.A. Streetsblog is reporting that a group of cyclists — the fastest on the racing team Wolfpack Hustle — will race one of the airplane passengers door-to-door.
Both the airplane passenger and the cyclists will depart a home in Burbank at about 10:50 a.m. The cyclists will begin pedaling to the finish line at the Long Beach Aquarium. The airplane passenger will travel by taxi to the Bob Hope Airport, catch the 12:20 p.m. flight scheduled to arrive at 1:05 p.m. in Long Beach and then make it to the Aquarium.
The cyclists say they are going to “ride legal” — i.e. they will follow all applicable traffic laws. The cycling route will run about 40 miles.
Update: One of the race’s organizers, Gary Kavanagh, reports that he will be entering in the race as well — by taking public transit. So this is now officially a bike vs. plane vs. train/bus race. More details to follow.
USA Today also picked up the story, as did the L.A. Times. I for one am pulling for the low-carbon, low-noise bike riders to beat JetBlue’s A320.