Los Angeles’ Department of City Planning is set to hold the monthly meeting of the Bike Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) a week from today. That’s one week for us, the cycling public, to prepare our case for bike projects that will advance LA toward its destiny as premier city for cyclists. Here at Bikeside, we’re working on three initiatives for next Tuesday’s meeting: We want to establish a competitive and comprehensive program of education that fosters respect among all road users. We aim to connect Entertainment and Education to the Beach by increasing accessibility along Sepulveda Boulevard. Finally, we plan to raise the standard set by Venice Boulevard as LA’s best street to ride on, by making it the city’s first street with continuous cycling facilities along its entire length.
Comprehensive and Competitive Education
Every LA cyclist has been thrown a sharp elbow. Sometimes, drivers create hazards for us in the form of right hooks, verbal abuse, or dooring. Sometimes, the streets themselves present a challenge, whether it comes from potholes or debris. Cycling citizens deserve an opportunity to learn the skills necessary to handle any condition. When drivers are added to the mix, they should know better than to deny us proper space and respect. And when we can’t protect ourselves, we deserve educated law enforcement that offers protection based on the letter of the law. Let’s demand that the City set a standard of education for road users that touches on all modes of transportation, and opens up a competitive bid for the contract that will fulfill this standard.
In addition to educating citizens, we will of course continue to move toward greater access to the streets. One area that causes a great deal of consternation is UCLA. Currently, the campus is extremely difficult to access from any direction, but with a few small changes it could become a highly connected part of the Backbone Bikeway Network. Consider what would happen if we allowed cyclists safe passage from Santa Monica Boulevard to Venice Boulevard via Sepulveda. As soon as Beverly Hills finishes redesigning Santa Monica in 2012, a few high-traffic components will link together to form a giant bikeway running from Hollywood to Venice. Los Angeles, by re-orienting a mere three miles of road toward bike use, could connect Entertainment and Education to the Beach, and alleviate an ocean of parking issues by the shore. (Stay tuned for more on Beverly Hills’ effort as it develops.)
Venice’s Final Four
Finally, we have an opportunity to go after a big win this month. We already know that Venice Boulevard is the best street to ride on in our city, and that it plays a central role in linking together the Backbone Network. Now is our chance to take a leap by making Venice the first complete component of the Network. Today, the lane on Venice ends at Crenshaw Boulevard, just four miles short of where Venice ends in Downtown. Bikeside advocates for increasingly accommodating cycling in these Final Four miles using a variety of techniques, from creating new facilities, to strengthening enforcement against dangerous driving. The opportunity for raising the standard on LA’s premier cycling street is truly immense.
So what do you think? Good ideas or just some more hot air? Are you ready to join us in guiding the implementation of the Bike Plan? Weigh in with a comment below, or, better yet, join us at the BPIT meeting, Tuesday April 5 at 2:00pm. We will be at City Hall, 200 North Spring Street, Room 721.