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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Councilman favors lane change on Colorado Boulevard

One bike lanes – in red – would replace a traffic lane in each direction.

A community meeting tonight will measure public sentiment in Eagle Rock for adding bike lanes to Colorado Boulevard, a proposal that would mean cutting down the number of traffic lanes to two from three in each direction.  The proposal has won favor among cyclists as well as many residents and groups seeking to slow down traffic and create a more pedestrian- friendly environment on Eagle Rock’s main street.  Not everyone welcomes with the loss of traffic lanes, however. Boulevard Sentinel publisher Tom Topping, for example, has started a Take Back The Boulevard Petition asking Councilman Jose Huizar not to remove those traffic lanes, noting the rise in congestion when traffic lanes were removed and bike lanes added to nearby York Boulevard.

But Huizar, in remarks last week, indicated that swapping bike for traffic lanes makes sense on Colorado Boulevard.

“I think the trade off is very well worth it,” said Huizar during a luncheon hosted by the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum. “I don’t think it’s going to create any congestion. I don’t think it’s going to affect our ability to move traffic freely throughout the city. It’s good for local neighborhoods when you slow traffic down.”

The councilman emphasized that the reduction of traffic lanes on Colorado between Sierra Villa Drive on the west and Avenue 64 on the east was not intended just to benefit cyclists. Instead, it was part of an effort to improve public safety and create an environment that would support businesses along the boulevard.

Huizar said he would like to see Colorado Boulevard form the northern leg of a bike lane loop that would include Eagle Rock Boulevard, Figueroa Street as well as York Boulevard.

Earlier this year, the city released a draft environmental impact report that showed  that adding bike lanes along Colorado Boulevard and Figueroa Street would encourage  bike riding and bike safety but will also lead to more delays and congestion for anyone riding in a car, truck or bus because of the reduction in traffic lanes.

Huizar said more public meetings will be scheduled to allow the public to voice their opinion on adding bike lanes to Colorado Boulevard and Figueroa Street . “If people don’t want that on Colorado, we won’t do it.”

Tonight’s meeting, hosted by Council District 14, will be held from 7 pm to 8:45 pm at Occidental College in the Norris Hall of Chemistry Mosher #1, 1600 Campus Road.

Related Link:

  • Bike lane forum scheduled for March 27. Patch

57 comments

  1. Thank you Councilman Huizar for standing up for safety and a more vibrant, livable community!

  2. I’m not even a bicyclist and I fully support this plan!

  3. This is our politicians’ great idea to help solve the transportation quagmire we have in Los Angeles. Let’s cut out 1/3 of the car capacity of a street. Then we get light rail or subways? Nah, get a bike!

    • Bikes are a nice way to close that last mile between the rail and home. With rail plus bike I’m faster than my car during waking hours.

  4. The environmental impact reports shows that the traffic delays will be just a couple minutes. Taking the traffic delay argument away from those against the bike lanes, what’s the real reason to not support more livable communities? These bike lanes encourage good things (exercise, reduced pollution, etc). And slower traffic is safer for children. Can’t we just give a little?

  5. This is real bullsh–. These lanes have been put in all over the place now — and nearly no one uses them. Oh, the advocates say that lots people use them, but that is just more bullsh– as anyone with eyes can see otherwise. It is rare to see bicyclists using these lanes.

    That is to say, this entire effort for bake lines and eliminating traffic lanes for them in the past many years is already proven to be a complete failure. Nearly no one is biking anyway. No one wants to, except as a very infrequent pleasure ride sometime.

    Yet, by eliminating traffic lanes to turn over to bikes, they are serving to severely hamper driving. Of course, that is the real reason for the lanes, a minority that just has a truly bizarre idea that cars are the enemy and is on the attack in any way they can be, do anything you can dream up to thwart cars. And this closing of traffic lanes in favor of bike lanes that won’t even be much used is just that.

    This anti-car militancy of this minority is very much misguided. Cars are already being changed over to non-polluting, so that no longer is an issue, meaning this group is just an anachronism. They would serve the environmental cause far better by lobbying for such things as solar panels on all roofs to provide power, but they instead take the anachronistic approach and the approach that is most burdensome on people — and the approach that will accomplish the least.

    In fact, this bike crap is actually being exploited by those who want to dramatically overbuild, so they can pretend that no one living in their overdevelopments will be driving a car, so the impact on traffic need not be considered. If you want to support dramatic overdevelopment, then fight for bike lanes — this is the real reason why city officials like them, to accommodate the big developers who give them money.

    Even those saying housing must be built, thongs are coming — hey, you would be better lobbying to stop the idiotic city officials who keep screaming for everyone on the planet to move here, keep promoting LA to the world every possible way. We do not need things like an NFL team to keep our profile high to attract the world. We do not need to tap into every possible way to promote ourselves. Just shut up and let people forget we are here, and those hordes won’t even think of moving here. We don’t even have the water for them, unless you really like the idea of starting to drink the toilet water, as the people screaming for the world to move here want us to do.

    • @Henry: you say this kind of plan has proven to be a complete failure. What is your evidence? And you say no one is biking?! Lets see your facts.

      • Try opening your eyes. You can’t just look and see hardly anyone ever using the bicycle lanes? You need some statistics to tell you? What’s the matter with you?

        Hey, there is an old saying, liars figure and figures lie. If you want lies about massive use of bicycle lanes, go find some statistics. But since seeing is believing, then if you want the truth, just go along the street with your eyes open. Its not a close call. And like Henry said, that is the proof.

        • @Nic: Using your “seeing is believing” method of analyzing the world, I live near DTLA and just about everyone is on bikes these days. I have also never seen a panda bear so therefore they do not exist.

          • If you’ve never seen a panda bear, then perhaps they are rare in downtown LA — which was Nic’s point. He didn’t say bicycle ridders don’t exist, he said they are rare to see in the bicycle lanes.

            If just about everyone in downtown LA is riding a bike, then who is it that is in all those cars there?!

            C’mon, you can’t just assert fantasy as truth.

    • Well put, Henry! I am in total agreement. Why does the city want to gridlock one neighborhood (Eagle Rock– my neighborhood) that is currently one of the rare, more liveable and driveable parts of town? NO to bike lanes that take away car lanes.

    • “Just shut up and let people forget we are here”

      You might want to consider listening to your own advice.

    • @henry. I’m a total bike advocate; however, I agree with you about a general anti-car sentiment. I think it’s misguided. The car is not going away, and for the vast majority of trips, it’s the best mode if transport.

      I also agree that we are over building, cramming too many people in here.. Where our infrastructure won’t support it.

      The bright side of bike lanes is that it reduces auto capacity.. Which might help slow down over development based on traffic concerns. Sort of a twisted view, I know, but a potential benefit nonetheless.

      • Your comments are worthwhile. However, your last statement suddenly went bizarre. The idea of eliminating cars in favor of bicycles won’t reduce overbuilding, it plays into it.

        You see, under CEQA, they have to consider the impact on traffic of a development. But if they simply say no one is going to drive a car, they don’t have to be limited in size accordingly, so they overdevelop as big as they want. They’re not going to reduce the size of a development because they pretend everyone will ride a bicycle; that is to provide for overdevelopment.

        • @nic: well, it’s likely overbuilding will happen regardless, given there’s alot of money to be made by developers.. and developers have deep pockets for donations and stuff.

          But, here’s the argument: with the CEQA, as I understand it, they grade intersections and routes on how bad the flow is. With new bike lanes, undoubtedly, the auto flow will not get any better.. it will either stay the same or get worse (likely worse). Then, we new developments are proposed, some percentage of the new residents will own/ use cars. Any percentage greater than zero will increase traffic to some degree, potentially making already low flow routes worse, thereby increasing the liklihood that the development will not pass CEQA.

          Like I said, though, even though restricting auto flow (via bike lanes) makes a development less likely to pass CEQA, they’ll likely pass because of politics.. not data.

  6. Please remember, Eastsider, that bicycles are traffic. So there is no “reduction in traffic lanes” being proposed here. Rather, in each direction it is a swap of a standard traffic lane for a bicycle-only traffic lane.

    • This is an EXCELLENT point. Why does the eastsider believe that if a person uses the road on a bike, they somehow aren’t “traffic”?

  7. I can see it on Colorado – lots of retail, no schools, 3 lanes to 2, and plenty of opportunity to turn left or right without blocking lanes, ability to pass retained … ok. On Figueroa? No. Exactly the opposite. Loads of dense residential (and getting denser all the time), multiple schools where folks drop their kids off, many people turning from side streets onto Fig because they have no alternative – all those streets dead-end up in the hills, and Fig is the ONLY north/south through route. Most importantly – Fig will be going from 2 lanes to 1, meaning that LADOT projections about mere seconds lost while driving are patently false. Just ridiculous. All it will take is one guy driving 15 mph in his truck, one mom dropping her kid off at school, one bus swerving in and out of traffic, to hold up everyone behind, with nowhere to go. Not bad people, not rampant destroyers of the environment, just working people trying to get to work, shop, take care of their kids. Maybe some folks can bike 10 or 20 miles to work, but most of us don’t have that option. Given L.A.’s public transportation system (or lack thereof), we have to drive, and from Highland Park, Figueroa is the only viable route.

    • If you’re that worried about getting stuck behind a bus, maybe you should ride the bus?

      • @mArk: I fully support the bike lanes, alternative modes of transport, etc.. but the fact of life in LA is that for most people.. most trips by public transport take significantly longer. In the bulk of instances, tripping by bus is simply not a viable alternative.

        This opinion is coming from a dude who rides a bike to work most days. I would ride a bike everywhere, all the time, if I could. I own ten bikes.. from road racing, single speed, commuter, downhill mountain bike, freeride bike, fourcross, bmx, etc. I love bikes. However, even for me, bike riding isn’t always practical either. Some days, I need to pick my kids from school and run them to music or dance or art classes. Some days, I need to take my elderly mother in law somewhere. Some days, I need to run home several times to meet contractors, etc (too much time overhead riding on these days).

        We’ve got to get real and acknowledge that the car is not going away.

        However, I totally support re-allocating three car lanes to two cars lanes and a bike lane.

    • @sara: You should try an experiment: drive the distance of the three lane portion several times and note the total travel time. Compute your average time. Divide the total distance (in miles) by your time in minutes and multiply by 60. You’ll get your average MPH over that stretch. Do the same with the longest and shortest times that you logged. This will give you your range of speeds.

      It may be very likely that your average MPH on regular days is already close to 15mph.. because of lights, etc.

  8. That would be an improvement for the neighborhood… what would be really amazing is if they swapped the bike lanes with the parking spots like they do in some other cities: http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2009/08/large_PT.bikelane.RLR5802.jpg

    • now that would be cool. (for those who don’t look at the picture, corner soul’s post is not about “removing” parking, but rather putting the bike lane between parking and the sidewalk.)

  9. I rarely see all three traffic lanes full on Colorado anyway. I think taking away one of them is perfectly fine. If you really have a long way to haul and have to go fast, cut up to the freeway–it’s so close!

  10. has anyone seen the madness that passes for driving in the far right lane? i’m constantly dodging people flying over to turn right, get a parking spot, or simply belong to a certain ethnicity and are as unpredictable in their driving habits as the seizure pattern of an epileptic.
    removing one lane will slow things down, then a few bike riders will be hit/killed/paralyzed, and then there will be no more bikers and one less lane.

    good job.

  11. Gimme a break! When bikers start paying taxes for the roads than they can have more of them. Pay your share freeloaders! Get out of my way while your at it. So sick of these self righteouse ridderzz who drive worse than Prius drivers demanding more of our roads. Bike tax. That’s the solution. I promise not it bitch then.

  12. And why on earth are politicians suggesting and proposing traffic solutions whe we have proper transportation experts paid for by the city to sort this stuff out? Maybe he can deliver a couple of babies and do some landscaping while he’s at it. Hiuzar is a seriously corrupt politician who’s been investigated by the FBI and others and now he’s an expert on traffic? Try patronizing BS artist! Que loco.

  13. OPPOSED! Immoral use of tax just to benefit a few random bikers. If there were even a third as many bikes as cars on the road, I would support it. This is just a plan to appease a vocal minority and appear to be progressive.

    It is not progressive. And for those of you saying that the extra minutes do not matter, you are true fools. Multiply the extra minutes for EACH CAR by the thousands of cars that pass this way and that is how much extra time you have cars on the road. Spewing fumes and taking away economically or socially useful time.

    What a f__king stupid boondoggle.

    • Get out of LA and move to the midwest. Coastal cities are taking an approach to transportation that is comprehensive of all modes of transit. Either embrace it or leave!

    • I guess you’ll have to explain why my travel times (and stress) actually decrease when I drive on streets where they’ve reduce lanes. Travel time should be the measure, not raw speed. All raw speed gets you is to the choke point faster.

    • The point is to get a third as many bike riders as cars on the road. The bike lanes and slowing traffc is a start. This is the future. The whippersnappers aren’t interested in cars. They don’t connect car ownership with their identities. If there wasn’t a demand this wouldn’t be happening (across the country). Times are changing. Sorry you can’t understand that this happens with each generation.

    • “Immoral”? LOL…

  14. Thanks councilman for actually listening to reason instead of the shrill rantings of a few bike-haters. I’m a car driver and my travel times have actually decreased on streets where they take away lanes. Most of us motorists know the difference between top speed and travel time and how they often have an inverse relationship. Most of us understand that bike lanes actually help us coexist with bike riders. If more people rode bikes for short trips or used them to augment transit then there would be less congestion and more parking for those who choose to drive.

    • Thank you for this – yes! I’ve been thinking about this a lot, both while riding my bike and while driving in my car. Traffic seems to slow down when there is a “need to merge/switch lanes” situation much more than when there are consistent, but fewer, lanes. Think about what happens to the speed of traffic when cars need to switch lanes for a minor hiccup like road maintenance, a stopped bus, a car legally turning left or right where there is no dedicated turn lane, or a cyclist needing to take the lane. If an entire lane is dedicated to bus traffic, or left/right turns for cars, or bike traffic, traffic stays at a steadier pace.

  15. Hi there – I live in Eagle Rock, so this matters to me. A few points:
    1. Colorado is a speedway right now, often used by people who do not live here as a freeway alternative. This harms local commerce, and endangers local lives. I risk my life, and my child’s, every morning when we walk to school and have to cross Colorado. Drivers are going 60mph — no exaggeration — in the right lane, trying to beat traffic, running red lights, every weekday morning. If bike lanes remove the speeders’ lane, and slow traffic in the others, as some above are predicting – then Hallelujah!
    2. Data points: I own a bike, a car, and a house. I pay my fair share of road and gas taxes. And yes, if the bike lanes are installed, I will use them. Right now, I don’t ride my bike on Colorado because it is too dangerous.
    3. Tom Topping is not a “publisher.” Everyone here knows he’s a pathetic, beer-bellied troll with a printing press, who lives to attack anything good in Eagle Rock. His “news” is usually a mix of his own dim-witted opinion, fabricated quotes, and foolish innuendo. Take a look at his petition: most of the signatures are from people who SUPPORT bike lanes, mocking Topping for his self-defeating stance and made-up ‘facts.’

  16. No one would ever say that the sidewalk was a ridiculous idea. Hopefully one day we will view bike lanes the same way.

  17. I just want to know why there is a red penis in each lane.

  18. I would prefer if the bike lines where between the sidewalk and the parking lane. I think more people would use the bike lanes because of the sense of security compared to being right next to moving cars. In Highland Park there are bike lanes but I see many people who use the sidewalk to ride their bikes. Most of them are young, like middle or high school age kids or really slow riders.

  19. How about bicyclists actually stay in their designated lanes? If cars weaving in and out of lanes like bikers do we’d have even more accidents on our hands. Totally dangerous and unaware bike riders.

    • I totally agree. There are alot of bikers who do not follow the rules. As a biker, I hate this, not only because it’s dangerous, but it makes the rest of us look bad and give ammo during talks to improve bike infrastructure.

      Whenever I see some goon running lights, or riding on the wrong side of the road, I always try to educate.

      Along a similar vein, drivers need to be educated on what the law actually says about cyclists rights on the road.. especially related to when it’s acceptable for the biker to “take the lane”. I had three different ass-crackers buzz me (within inches of my handlebars) on a three lane road that had two other free lanes, during my commute home last night. Then, they were polite enough to flip me the bird.

  20. I think a better idea would be to create combined bike/bus lanes. Thats how they do it in a lot of bike friendly cities around the world. It would also increase the usage of the bike lane for all the haters that think they never get ridden on.

    Buses stop frequently and they slow down car lanes. If you remove a lane it leaves only one lane that is really free flowing during rush hour.

    • Can’t say I’m thrilled with idea of cycling in a shared lane with buses, especially when the Rapid 780 bus goes along Colorado Blvd– even buses go too fast for me. I’d love to see a dedicated bike lane and a dedicated bus lane and one lane for private motorized traffic.

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