Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spotted On Memorial Day, Bike Lanes With Door Zone Buffer In Redondo Beach

The newly repaved Esplanade in Redondo Beach has moved the bike lane out of the door zone, with a buffered space created. I would love to see this style of bike lane replace the state minimum garbage, especially on streets with high parking turn over. Main St. in Santa Monica, Ocean Ave., and Broadway Ave. are all places that could really benefit from something like this. Or we could actually enforce laws against careless door opening already on the books and take the matter seriously, like they do in some countries. Since I'm not holding my breath for any American government to really hold drivers accountable for their actions anytime soon, if ever, we should at least give a cyclists a little extra room the dolts swinging their doors around without looking.

New Redondo Beach Esplanade Bike Lane With Door Zone Buffer

New Redondo Beach Esplanade Bike Lane With Door Zone Buffer

New Redondo Beach Esplanade Bike Lane With Door Zone Buffer

New Redondo Beach Esplanade Bike Lane With Door Zone Buffer

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bike It Day Returns To Santa Monica, Wednesday June 1st

Bike it day is coming up again for Santa Monica schools, and I received the following release about it. I'm going to just post it up in full to get the word out about this event. The one I attended at Samohi a little while back [photos] was pretty amazing and inspiring to see.  So many kids came into school by bike or walking, and the student volunteers had boundless enthusiasm as they cheered for bike commuters like they were MVP's. Events like this give me some hope for the future. Which is something I feel I really need more of after immersing myself in a lot of the recent news concerning the environment and resource depletion around the globe, which can get quite depressing at times. So cheers to the kids, and to all the parents, city staff, and others who help make it happen.

Bike It Day - 10-13-10 - Samohi

press release:


SANTA MONICA, CA, MAY 23, 2011: In an effort to reduce our school’s carbon footprint, the Samohi Solar Alliance started Bike It Day three years ago. On Bike It Day, SSA challenges the students of the Santa Monica School District to “leave the car at home”, and seek other methods of transportation to and from school. Biking, walking, skateboarding, and taking the bus are all encouraged. The most recent Bike It Days saw huge results. What began with less than 100 participants only at the high school saw 3,300 participants across the whole district, more than 30% of the total enrollment. Of that number, 700 students biked to school.

Since Bike It Day’s inception four years ago, the number of people who bike to school every day has increased to the point where we need more bike racks to accommodate the huge numbers. Upwards of 120 people bike every day to school, whereas four years ago, the racks were sparsely filled with twenty bikes - on a good day. Bike It Day has proved to be extremely beneficial to our community, bringing together all the schools, parents, students, administration, and local businesses in an effort to combat global warming, one bike at a time.

Bike It! Day makes a comeback on Wednesday, June 1st. This event will not only be at Samohi; efforts have recently expanded involving numerous schools within the district. With much support from various active PTA members and faculty, Bike It! has spread to middle school and elementary school level. SSA has recently worked closely with the SMASH Bike Club, working to help with community publicity and awareness. As for students who cannot ride a bike, alternative forms such as walking and riding the bus to school are promoted.

On a more personal note, sophmore Chelsea Brandwein, an active member of SSA described her experience of Bike It! at Samohi: “I became a member of SSA in my freshman year, lured in by the plethora of signs around campus that read: Kiss my SSA. Since then, I have been an active participant in the club, assisting with all Bike It Days, the most recent Club Day, and publicizing events. Bike It Day is a very special celebration because it is one of the few environmental events at Samohi where everyone comes together for a common cause. Even school administrators participate, ditching their formal uniforms for a day to don bike shorts. Bike It Day is inspiring-- it reminds us not to take Mother Earth for granted.”

So please join SSA and the rest of the Samohi community to celebrate the reduction of our carbon footprints as we bike, bus, scooter, skateboard, and walk to school. There will be many photo opportunities as students arrive to school (beginning at 8:30) and at lunch (beginning at 12:06) there will be a celebration in the school's Science Quad where members of SSA will pass out refreshing popsicles to participants. Hope to see you there!

Websites that include more information:


Charlotte Biren
Santa Monica High School Solar Alliance

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bike To Work Week In Santa Monica, And Bike Action Plan Meeting On Monday

There is a series of events happening this coming week in Santa Monica to coincide with national bike week and month, and the city sent out a blast with details for some of those things. I just went ahead and copied the info below the post. An interesting idea this year is the addition of a bike from work event, to a wine bar. This Monday is the next round of community input on the pending Santa Monica Bike Action Plan, so I hope I'll see some of you there. 

Santa Monica Spoke is hosting a little meeting before the meeting in the park on Sunday at 3:30pm, to meet people interested in getting caught up with bike plan process, and just hang out and talk bikes. More details at the Spoke blog

City E-mail Blast:

Thank you for your interest in biking.  Just wanted to invite you to the next Bicycle Action Plan meeting where you will have an opportunity to help shape the Bicycle Action Plan for the City of Santa Monica, and share a few additional things we have planned for Bike Month.

Saturday, May 14th Bike to the Park Day - 9 am - 5 pm at Memorial park, event includes bike valet and bicycle safety tips from SMPD (see attached flyer for more information). 

Monday, May 16th Bicycle Action Plan Community Meeting – 6:30 pm-8:30 pm at Civic Auditorium East Wing, bicycle valet will be provided. Please join the Santa Monica Planning Commission and Planning & Community Development Department in setting a course of action to prioritize projects and programs, and prepare for rolling out the Draft Bicycle Action Plan. The Bicycle Action Plan will feature profiles of community members and the many ways in which bicycling can be incorporated into daily life – from teaching your children to ride, to living car-free. We want to hear your story. We’ll be capturing stories at the community meeting, so bring your bike and a smile.

Thursday, May 19th Bike to Work Day - come by one of the Pit Stops hosted throughout the City for snacks, extra-special goodies and bike info.   Find out more about the City's Bike Action Plan and the new Bike Transit Center opening this fall in downtown Santa Monica.  And if the ride is long or a full day at work makes it a challenge to pedal home, go multi-modal: Big Blue Bus and Metro are offering FREE rides to bicyclists all day on May 19.

City Hall lawn, 1685 Main Street, 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Map
REI, Inc., 402 Santa Monica Blvd., 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., Map
Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1920 Main Street, 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Map
Water Garden, 2450 Colorado Ave. in front of the Subway - 8-10 am, Map
Sustainable Streets/SMC CEUS - 17th and Pearl, 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., Map (exact location TBD)

PLEDGE TO RIDE ON BIKE TO WORK DAY: Not only do you automatically get entered in a drawing for some cool prizes, you show that bicyclists count. Pledge online through the California Bicycle Coalition.

Thursday, May 19th Bike from Work Event – 4 pm – 7 pm at Pourtal Wine Bar (104 Santa Monica Blvd).  Pourtal Wine Bar is teaming up with Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) to be a destination for Bike from Work Day.  Pourtal giving back 15% of our wine tasting sales to the LACBC that night in addition to offering some great giveaways for our biking patrons.  LACBC will also be the beneficiary of our Angel Shares Happy Hour where we'll be giving away 15% of all taste sales during happy hour weekdays from May 16th to the 31st.  They will also have food and wine specials during the event.  www.pourtal.com

Saturday, May 21st SMMOA/Buy Local bike tour – 10 am – 1 pm at SMMoA (2525 Michigan Ave) for a day of culture, style, and cycling! This half-day bike excursion includes:  A tour of SMMoA's current exhibitions, studio visits with artist Blue McRight and architect Warren Wagner of W3 Architects, preview McRight's recent work and Wagner's exciting green living projects. Also a rest stop at the Frank Gehry-designed Edgemar Center to learn about the Buy Local Program with the Main Street Merchants Association. Riders are welcome to stay on Main Street for a guided walking tour or return to SMMoA. Participation fee is $10 (Free for SMMoA members: RSVP to education@smmoa.org), buy your ticket here. Ride leadership provided by Santa Monica SPOKE.
Bicycle Racks are Coming – We’ve been busy marking locations for bicycle racks and approximately 400 racks are going to be installed city-wide at the end of May.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Raise Some Red Flags Bike Advocates, Expo Line Bike Path/Route Not Looking So Good

I attended the Expo Line open house in Santa Monica this Monday, and after a little questioning and prodding on bike connections, I have very little faith this project will be done well. We really need to start looking at specific areas and plans more closely, because some of the ideas I heard proposed for some gaps and major intersections are pretty terrible. In Santa Monica I have seen some of the plans for trying to bridge the gap from 17th, where right away for separated path stops, to the beach, and some of those ideas seem pretty good, and I'm fairly confident once Santa Monica sets it's mind to make it work, it will do an alright job. For everywhere else along the line, what to do with gaps and intersections is up to LADOT, and this does not inspire confidence at this point.

Problem Areas For Expo Bike Path

One of the Metro representatives I talked to mentioned an idea for the complex Pico and Gateway intersection that included cyclists crossing to a sidewalk, riding the wrong way on the sidewalk to a crosswalk further down Pico, crossing at a ped crossing, and riding on the sidewalk against traffic again, this time backtracking, in order to bridge the gap to the next section of path. I mentioned how much simpler it would be if a quick bike only signal phase were added, like I saw in Portland to bridge a connection from a bike path to a bike lane. Anytime this idea was mentioned I received a lecture in a very patronizing tone about how nothing can ever be done to effect that green time for cars, and cars, cars, cars, they will back up.

Diagonal Bike Crossing To Bridge Bike Path To Bike Lane Diagonal Bike Crossing To Bridge Bike Path To Bike Lane
(Diagonal Bike Signal Crossing Connecting Off-Street Path To A Bike Lane In Porland)

I do want to take a closer look at this intersection in person, but looking at the satellite view, it seems another approach might be to have mixed bike-ped crossing at Pico down to corner at gateway, and create a bike box for cyclists to queue into without blocking the crosswalk, and then ride straight across Pico to the next section of path.

 PDX Bike Boxes PDX Bike Boxes
(Portland bike boxes, pictured right is a box for making a 2 phase left turn for cyclists uncomfortable  getting over and making a left from left turn lane.)

I did not get the impression that creative thinking way going into how to approach these important connections. Asking cyclists to ride against traffic on the sidewalk, a pattern of riding that results in numerous collisions at driveways and intersections, and is highly discouraged in safe cycling instruction is not an acceptable option.

Problem Areas For Expo Bike Path

Also worrisome is the trench where the train goes under the 10 freeway. Adjacent right of way is not yet secured. If it is not, the alternative route using residential streets would include some serious hill climbing. I'm not familiar enough with the area to really gauge how steep, but cyclists I talked to made it sound pretty serious, but I'll try and get over there to check that out as well. Concerning this area, what really boggled my mind, was hearing a Metro represenative seriously float the idea that cyclists wanting to ride the full route could always hop on the train for one stop. Really?! Seriously? We don't build highways for cars adjacent railways, then leave a gaping hole in the highway and then ask drivers to use the Amtrak Auto Train Service to get accross. Such absurd thinking shows how much bicycling is still an afterthought in the planning process.

This was just looking at a few parts of phase 2 going into the West Side, I'm even less familiar with phase 1 plans. After seeing and hearing what I did on Monday, I have very little confidence that cyclists are in good hands with Metro and LADOT.

If we want this Expo bike path and route to be anything remotely resembling a successful and viable cross town bicycling option, I think a lot more attention from bicycling activists needs to be directed at these plans. The handout directs questions comments and concerns to info@buildexpo.org, but I'm sure there is a laundry list of other contacts that would be relevant toward addressing these concerns. This is a major piece of infrastructure investment being put in, and some things can always be improved later, but that should not be counted on, and some things may be next to impossible to change later due to budget constraints. So let's make sure we get this thing done right.

Another meeting, basically a repeat of the one in Santa Monica on Monday, is happening tonight at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services in the Gymnasium. 6:30-8:00 pm 3200 Motor Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90034.