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 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.
(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.
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 email@example.com, 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.