The simplest way to help our environment is to commute by bike. The City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) are doing their best to make that happen by creating safer bike paths and bike lanes with the Los Angeles Bike Plan. Just to be clear a bike path is a dedicated path for bikes only. This means no cars are allowed, nor anyone else-pedestrians, roller bladders-must travel at his or her own risk. Of course, bikes must travel at the rider’s risk, too.
A bike lane is a dedicated lane which is attached to a road. This lane is shared with anyone and everyone wishing to encroach including parked cars with open doors, cell phone/texting drivers and the non-signaling drivers. If someone is injured on one of these lanes, they have the right to sue city. Best of luck to anyone who tries that! The Plan refers to both bike paths and bike lanes as “bikeways.”
The proposed plan to improve the situation for cyclists in the area will be overseen by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and the Bicycle Plan Implementation Team (BPIT).
The public may review the Los Angeles Bike Plan from June to August 2010. Public Hearings will be held at the end of July/August 2010. The City Planning Commission will meet to review the plan during August/September 2010 and finally, the plan will go to the City Council in the Fall of 2010.
Check out a map of the current and potential bike lanes and even propose your own routes by going to http://www.labikeplan.org/public_involvement/
Right now, the map has very few brand new bike routes, but highlights current areas that need improvement.
The Vision for the Plan is to create: A transportation system which is accessible, safe, and convenient for bicycle travel; where bicycle transportation is respected as an integral component of the broader transportation system and considered in all aspects of transportation and land use planning.
Sounds simple. The Plan is broken down into, what seems like, doable steps and attainable goals.
IMPLEMENTATION / ADMINISTRATION
Goal: Make the City of Los Angeles the most bicyclist-friendly large city in the United States by
2020 so that at least 5% of all daily trips and 5% of home-to-work trips are by bicycle.
The LADOT and BPIT will oversee this area. It will be interesting to see if by 2020 these percentages are met. Los Angeles has such temperate weather, it makes sense that, given time we could all enfold cycling into our lives.
ROAD AND BIKEWAY ENGINEERING FOR BICYCLING
Goal: Create a continuous bicycle network throughout the City.
The idea is to create a grid of bikeways no further than one mile apart by connecting current lanes and creating new ones.
Goal: Encourage the use of bicycles for everyday transportation by ensuring the provision of convenient and secure bicycle parking and support facilities Citywide.
The key-at least in my area-is SECURE parking.
Goal: Expand bicyclists’ mobility through the integration of bicycling into the transit system.
This means the grid for cycling travel can be extended. The question is will people use this system? It’s one thing to get people to stay local and bike, it’s another thing, altogether, to get them to carry the bike on an off a bus or metro.
EDUCATION & ENCOURAGEMENT
Goal: Improve the bicycling environment in Los Angeles through comprehensive education and encouragement programs.
Education is helpful. However, will it spur people to action?
Goal: Enhance safety for all road users through increased enforcement on City streets and bikeways.
This would be nice. Right now, there is no consistent enforcement, that I can see, on the Santa Monica bike path.
Goal: Ensure citywide bikeways are clean, safe, and promote active use.
A clear, safe bike path would definitely make a difference in my choice to commute via bike.
Goal: Assure that the Bicycle Plan is effective in achieving the stated vision and goals.
This is, obviously, the most important step.
Currently, there are 9,012 bicycle commuters in Los Angeles. The Plan estimates that if all areas are implemented, there is a base of potential commuters which will be tapped-77,524-increasing the commuters in Los Angeles to 1,547,062.
Time will tell if the numbers are even in the ballpark of what is possible. The best part about all of the above is that we still have time to review the Plan and voice our opinions.