County Bike Plan Ignores Safety
Bikeside went to the LA County draft Bicycle Master Plan meeting in Marina del Rey last night. The draft plan covers unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County and other seemingly random patches of land, like the Westside VA campus (we’ll get back to that one later).
The existing LA County Bicycle Master Plan was adopted in 1975 and not updated since. The draft plan identifies 695 new miles of bicycle facilities. Most of that will be in the Antelope and Santa Clarita Valleys, but there are important parts of Western LA County that the draft plan covers, like Marina del Rey and the Santa Monica Mountains.
About half of the new miles will be Class III bike routes designated only by a “Bike Route” sign. Only 20 miles—3 percent—of the draft plan are nonstandard treatments, and those are limited to Bicycle Boulevard Class III enhancements. County staff stated that no other non-standard facilities would be included in the plan, citing the fact that they are still considered “experimental” by CALTRANS.
Steve Diels, Redondo Beach Councilmember, led an icebreaker and then Brett Hondorp of Alta Planning gave one of Alta’s tried-and-true presentations before opening the room up for questions. At that point, a cascade of pent-up frustration fell upon County staff. Why no continuous bike path along the beach? Why no nonstandard facilities? How were new facilities chosen? Why is the draft plan unfunded and what about Measure R funds? Why can’t Marina real estate developers include facilities as part of their projects? What’s with inconsistent enforcement by LA County sherrifs? LA County staff Abu Yusuf and Allan Abramson dutifully answered each question, but could not offer any solutions or assurances beyond the scope of the draft plan itself.
The largest frustrations were with the proposed facilities around the Marina. Several attendees complained that the draft plan did not really enhance cyclist safety. One attendee ask why not a separated lane around the Marina on Admiralty Way? Cycle tracks are experimental, County staff replied. One attendee said he would never take ride on Washington Blvd with his family during the summer, even on the existing lane. The draft plan essentially ignores two of the largest incident points in the Marina, especially Admiralty & Palawan Way:
To its credit, there is a lot of good in the draft plan. One facility Bikeside likes in particular will help link the Westside with South Bay along Aviation Blvd. Aviation Blvd is the only way for cyclists to take a mile-saving inland route to the South Bay and avoid the Sepulveda Tunnel. This— thankfully a Class II lane—will link up to LA City facilities to the north and, hopefully, to another facility included in the South Bay draft master plan.
There is one enormous Westside gap, however: Sepulveda Blvd. As Sepulveda crosses the VA Campus, from Ohio Ave to Cashmere St, it falls under County jurisdiction. The County’s section of Sepulveda includes the intersection of Wilshire & Sepulveda. That intersection, as shown by maps in the County’s draft plan, is one of the biggest incident points in the Westside under County control, and they are essentially deciding to do nothing about it. Their plan will dump cyclists into traffic at the most dangerous intersection along Sepulveda.
County staff stated at the meeting that they wanted the plan to make it so a cyclist would never know when he or she were entering or leaving County territory. That clearly doesn’t apply here. The City of LA made Sepulveda part of the Backbone and thinks it perfectly reasonable to put down a lane all the way from Culver City to Van Nuys, yet the County considers a bike lane on this strip of Sepulveda “Not Feasible.” Way to go, LA County–you just made the City of LA the more progressive bike planning entity!
Staff are taking public comment on the draft plan until May 20th. Let them know you want a safer Marina and a lane on Sepulveda at http://lacountybikeplan.com/contact/.