Can L.A. learn from Bicycle-Friendly Rotterdam?

Rotterdam

Transit-friendly bike parking facilities in Rotterdam Netherlands.

L.A. cyclist Roger Ruddick has a cool piece running on KCRW comparing L.A. cycling infrastructure with Rotterdam, a progressive bicycle-friendly city in the Netherlands.

Click here to hear KCRW story.

As Roger writes in his intro, “Rotterdam is not your typical Dutch city, with charming canals and gabled houses. Instead, with its wide boulevards and glass and concrete towers, the city actually resembles parts of Los Angeles– like the viewscape along Wilshire or La Cienega.”

Roger’s insights and interviews are intriguing as L.A. gears up for CicLAvia — To the Sea this Sunday, April 21.

Having taken a trip to Rotterdam several years back, I was personally amazed to see how well the city accommodates bicyclist parking at transit nodes.  These amenities are quite common in the Netherlands. Just don’t forget where you parked…

Rotterdam1


Statement from Metro CEO Art Leahy

LASD Commander Ronene Anda

Interim Commander Ronene Anda, LASD Transportation Services Bureau. Photo by Luis Inzunza/Metro

Metro CEO Art Leahy has released the following statement regarding the appointment of an Interim Commander of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Transportation Services Bureau:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Commander Ronene Anda as Interim Commander of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s (LASD) Transportation Services Bureau. Anda replaces Commander Pat Jordan, who was reassigned by Sheriff Lee Baca.

Anda is a 29-year veteran of LASD. She recently served as Commander of the Countywide Services Division, which patrols county facilities, parks, colleges and county hospitals. Prior to that assignment, Anda was involved with the Metro Blue Line in the 1990s when she served in the region. She was also captain of the Sheriff’s Lomita station. 

I met earlier with top officials of LASD and Commander Anda and I feel confident that the high level of law enforcement services focused on our transit needs will continue and our close working relationship with LASD will be maintained.

“I look forward to highlighting how teamwork by our deputies helps to keep all Metro passengers and employees safe,” Anda said.

 

 

Another mobility option for CicLAvia riders … this one from Metrolink

CicLAvia map 2013.

CicLAvia map 2013.

Metrolink has just release this info … more good news for CicLAvia riders.

Metrolink will provide extra Bike Car service to CicLAvia

More than 1,000 bicycles are expected on April 21 scheduled trains

LOS ANGELES - Metrolink will employ all 17 of its Bike Cars in time for CicLAvia on Sunday, April 21 to accommodate the demand for public transportation options to and from Downtown Los Angeles for the region’s largest open streets event.

More than 1,000 cyclists took Metrolink to the previous CicLAvia in October and a similar turnout is expected Sunday. Metrolink will add multiple Bike Cars on its San Bernardino, Orange and Antelope Valley Lines to transport as many cyclists as possible.  With Metrolink’s convenient $10 Weekend Pass, people can ride the entire system an unlimited number of times between 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday night.

Metrolink’s Bike Cars are designed to hold 18 bicycles each and space will be limited to a first-come, first-serve basis. All other Metrolink coach cars are designed to hold three bicycles each.

Metrolink is modifying its regular Bike Car schedule, moving the special cars to different train sets. This means that regular trains that are scheduled to have a Bike Car may not for up to two weeks following CicLAvia. Metrolink will try to keep Bike Cars on trains with a high number of cyclists on a regular basis.

CicLAvia’s route will connect the city’s historic center at El Pueblo de Los Angeles in downtown and the bustling boardwalk of Venice Beach by way of Venice Boulevard, creating an unprecedented 15 miles of car-free space for strolling, biking, playing, and experiencing the city from a new perspective.

There will be activities along the route and shop owners and restaurants will open their doors to CicLAvia participants. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For details on riding Metrolink to CicLAvia and all train schedules, please visit www.metrolinktrains.com/ciclavia. For more information on CicLAvia, please visit www.ciclavia.org.

Transportation headlines, Thursday, April 18: L.A. air quality improving, roadway air pollution migrates, HSR plan fan no more

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

 

Photo by fksr/flickr

Photo by fksr/flickr

Air quality across Southern California better … but challenges remain (Los Angeles Daily News)

The 2012 peak ozone concentrations in our region were the lowest ever measured in the South Coast Air Basin, according to a new report, which further states that in 2000, there were 30 unhealthy days in Los Angeles County versus 11 in 2012. And yet the South Coast Air Quality Management District is (prudently) requesting tougher restrictions on wood burning in open pits and fireplaces as well as cleaner ports and railroads, including emission-reduction strategies such as encouraging the replacement and/or retrofitting of older diesel trucks and buses. Metro, as we like to repeat as frequently as possible, runs only clean-burning CNG buses.

And … freeway air pollution travels farther in early morning (Los Angeles Times)

This study shows that heavily trafficked roadways have a large impact on downwind populations.

One man’s journey from L.A. to Real Madrid (Sports Illustrated)

Here’s a story about following your heart that has nothing to do with transportation, except that the main character is a Metro employee. The piece, originally published in Sports Illustrated but posted this morning on LA Observed, tells us how Metro employee Abel Rodriguez, obviously a major soccer fan, flew to Spain to see a match between Madrid and Barcelona — without a ticket or a place to stay — and ended up the guest of Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho. It’s a lot of fun and it will make you feel good.

No longer on board the bullet train (Los Angeles Times)

Interesting interview with Quentin Kopp — one-time head of the California High-Speed Rail Authority — in which he criticizes the current version of HSR and talks about why he thinks we ought to kill it. Among his observations is something many Southern Californians would buy: the Central Valley is not the best place to start. The best place would be by building L.A. to San Diego first.

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, April 17

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

Our response to So Cal Connected’s segment on pedestrian safety (L.A. Walks)

The pedestrian advocacy group wasn’t happy with the piece that focused on new high-visibility crosswalks and where they are installed in the city of Los Angeles. My three cents: I thought the segment was interesting; I also think poor pedestrian infrastructure and the almost complete lack of enforcement of motorists encroaching on crosswalks could be the subject of many more hours of media coverage.

Here’s the KCET piece:

Tabloid columnist calls for bicycle ban in Toronto (The Urban Country) 

The Urban Country spends a few hundred words completely taking apart the argument that traffic congestion in Toronto, the largest city in the Great White North, is caused by cyclists. It’s a very satisfying taking apart/takedown.

Smart tips for building a better subway car (The Atlantic Cities) 

More doors, better spread is the way to avoid crowding and get people to the seats they covet, so says this blog post.

New bicycle friendly universities announced (League of American Bicyclists)

One local school makes it: the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. I bike through there all the time and it is a bike friendly campus — mostly because it’s small and cars are mostly kept out of the two main east-west paths through it. Of course, CalTech is in Pasadena, which hasn’t done much for cyclists in recent years. On the east side of campus is Hill Street, where the city of Pasadena could easily install bike lanes but has decided that providing street parking for cars is more important despite the fact that homes on the street all have big driveways. On the west side of campus is Wilson Avenue, which has bike lanes that are dangerously close to the parking lane and where it’s very easy to get doored.

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, April 16

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

The Boston T's Park Street station. Photo by Dylan Pech, via Flickr creative commons.

The Boston T’s Park Street station in a photo taken last month. Photo by Dylan Pech, via Flickr creative commons.

Anxiety, heightened security on the ‘T’ (Boston Globe) 

The Globe’s story posted today about the city’s transit system on the day after the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Excerpt:

For many of the day’s commuters, the sight of Boston police officers, SWAT teams, National Guardsmen, and police dogs at MBTA stations around the city — and especially downtown and the Back Bay — brought a small measure of relief to a region trying to go about the business of downtown life the day after a tragedy.

At stations around the city, law enforcement officers paced up and down train platforms, rifles in hand. At Arlington Station, National Guardsmen asked commuters heading into the station to open their duffels and purses for a security check. “No guns, no bombs?” asked one as he pulled back the zipper of a backpack.

Joe Pesaturo, spokesman for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, said federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel were conducting random baggage checks throughout the subway system.

“Customers have been very cooperative, and we greatly appreciate their patience and understanding,” Pesaturo said this morning.

Thwart terrorism, experience CicLAvia (L.A. Streetsblog) 

From Streetsblog editor Damien Newton:

So when I look at yesterday’s tragedy and say that there’s a peaceful way Angelenos can fight back against whoever plotted and executed that attack and, it’s not something I say lightly. Think about it for a second. Terrorism is using force in some form to scare people and keep them apart. Keep people in their houses and behind closed doors. Keep people from meeting and understanding their neighbors. Keep people angry.

The idea of Livable Streets is the exact opposite.

Livable Streets is about breaking down barriers our society has accidentally (and not accidentally) created that keep people apart now. There’s no greater example of the power of Livable Streets than our own CicLAvia.

This Sunday, somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 of your neighbors will take to the streets in Downtown and Mid-town Los Angeles and West Los Angeles. Tree Hugger might think that nobody in L.A. rides a bicycle, but we know better.

You won’t know many of the participants. But one of the many great things about CicLAvia, is you’ll probably know more of them by the end of the day. And that gives all of us a chance to make Sunday about more than a car-free trip to the beach.

Doubling efforts on Metro fare studies? (L.A. Streetsblog) 

Dana Gabbard posts a Metro staff PowerPoint given to the agency’s Citizen Advisory Committee last month on different fare scenarios. As Dana points out, Metro Board Vice Chair Diane DuBois has requested a staff report on fare structures — and that will be given as an oral report at the Metro Board’s full meeting on April 25. Just to emphasize: this report, written in February, looks at some different and obvious fare structures, including distance-based fares, time-based fares and fares based on type of payment.

I do want to emphasize that the report doesn’t propose any imminent changes to the current fare system, nor is there anything on the table at this time. Changing Metro’s fares is a long process that involves public hearings and ultimately a vote by the Metro Board of Directors.

Transportation headlines, Monday, April 15

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

ART OF TRANSIT: Here's a nice one for a drizzly morning, taken last week near the Expo Line's new bridge over Cloverfield Boulevard in Santa Monica. Photo by Expo Line Fan, via submission. Click above to visit his photostream of Expo Phase 2 construction photos.

ART OF TRANSIT: Here’s a nice one to distract you from a drizzly morning, taken last week near the Expo Line’s new bridge over Cloverfield Boulevard in Santa Monica. Photo by Expo Line Fan, via submission. Click above to visit Expo Line Fan’s Flickr page of Expo Phase 2 construction photos.

A one-man sanitation engineer for the busway (L.A. Times)

Nice Steve Lopez column about a 64-year-old man whose daily 5:30 a.m. walks have turned into a mission to pick up trash along the western portion of the Orange Line. Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of trash, nor is there an easy explanation for why some public trashcans along the busway are overflowing.

Traffic experts don’t like Garcetti’s traffic idea (LA Weekly)

In last week’s mayoral debate, Councilman Eric Garcetti tossed an idea out there as an example of outside-the-box thinking: what if the city raised $1 million in private funds and offered it as a reward to someone who could solve Los Angeles’ notorious traffic?

The Weekly picked up the phone and gave some well-known traffic academics around the area a jingle, asking them what they thought of Garcetti’s idea. Very little, it turns out. The academics say that there are plenty of good ideas out there — one-way streets, more congestion pricing, higher gas taxes, limits on who can drive on particular days, parking and development reforms — but the problem is that politicians don’t want to implement them because all reforms end up ticking someone off.

A missionary’s quest to remake the Motor City (N.Y. Times)

Check out the lede of this story, journalism fans:

The best way to experience all that is strange and a little otherworldly about downtown Detroit is to walk the streets around 5 p.m. on a weekday. At that hour, you’ll notice not just the peculiarity of what is around you — notably, the gorgeous, Art Deco skyscrapers alongside empty, decrepit buildings — but also what is missing. There is no traffic here. As the workday ends, cars trickle out of underground parking lots and speed off to nearby highways, but in a volume that doesn’t cause delays.

It is just one small sign of how far Detroit’s fortunes have fallen: the birthplace of the mass-produced automobile, the city that gave us the infuriating, bumper-to-bumper commute, is now so sparsely populated that it doesn’t have a rush hour.

The article is about Dan Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, and his attempt to revive downtown Detroit, which like the rest of the city is in the doldrums these days due to a precipitous drop in population, employment and local government’s ability to pay for anything. My three cents: every time I read one of these Detroit stories, I just want to  watch “RoboCop” again. The original, btw, was made in 1987 and maybe it wasn’t just a dumb, fun action flick after all! :)

What if you could decide how your tax dollars were spent? (N.Y. Times)

As the story notes, Americans fail to see their taxes as money well-spent. Excerpt:

Why the hatred? One reason is that it’s not easy for people to see how taxes provide benefits. One survey that asked Americans whether they had used any government social programs found many saying they hadn’t — when in fact, a majority had taken advantage of tax deductions for mortgage interest or child care. Fifty-three percent had taken out student loans, and 40 percent had benefited from Medicare. Clearly, the government has a marketing problem.

And the solution: The co-authors propose allowing taxpayers to choose how some of their taxes should be spent — i.e. on anit-poverty programs, the military or even transportation!

The idea is that many people actually gain satisfaction from giving – they just want to know how their gift is being used. And how is your tax money being used now? Check out this nifty tool from the White House website.

One man’s journey from Los Angeles to Real Madrid’s good luck charm (Sports Illustrated)

Nice story about how a Metro used his vacation time to haul equipment for the Real Madrid soccer club and befriending team manager Jose Mourinho.