Are bikes and businesses good for each other?

Rendering of Colorado Boulevard bike lane./LADOT

The city seems to think so and is in the process of setting up a  Bicycle Friendly Business District across Northeast L.A.

The pilot program would encourage businesses to adopt bike-friendly incentives and practices – such as discounts for bike riders and adopting bike-friendly dress codes for employees –   to complement new bike racks, corrals and repair stations, according to the Department of Transportation’s Bike Blog.   The payoff for businesses, according to the department,  is that districts would encourage short trips to neighborhood shops and restaurants.   Meanwhile, the program would also  “build community, increase physical activity, and make streets less congested while supporting Los Angeles neighborhood businesses.”

The concept, which has already been in place in Long Beach, comes after new bike lanes have been added on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock and York Boulevard in Highland Park . The city is also considering adding bike lanes along Figueroa Street from Highland Park to Cypress Park.   The addition of new bike lanes, which have been added by removing vehicle lanes,  have not been universally welcome.  Some business owners and residents opposed removing traffic lanes and there has been an increase in traffic and speeding on side streets where new bike lanes have been added.

It’s not clear from the posting on Bike Blog when the Northeast L.A. pilot program would begin or if there is a specific geographic area in mind.  But the city is teaming up with Occidental College for the Northeast L.A.  Bike Friendly Business District, which will serve as a test for a citywide program scheduled to begin next year.  Click here for a presentation on the program.


  1. Where did the information regarding “an increase in traffic and speeding on side streets” come from? Is this a personal observation or are there stats you can link to/reference?

  2. Car centric rant about cyclists rolling stop signs and riding the wrong way in 5, 4, 3, 2…

  3. Just so we get some of the silly comments out of the way…

    “no bike lanes until 100% of bicyclists comply with traffic laws” (by that same logic can we not repave any streets until 100% of drivers stop speeding or rolling stop signs or stopping in middle of crosswalks?)

    “Midnight Ridazz don’t follow traffic laws, therefore no bicyclists deserve to be safe” (tell me why my kid doesn’t deserve bike lanes)

    “I have never seen a bicyclist in the bike lanes” (then who are these people that show up at meetings? Also, people support bike lanes because of the traffic calming effects, so the bike lanes accomplish something even when nobody’s using them.)

    “I always see bicyclists swerving from lane to lane and running red lights” (this one is quite comical when the same person has just said the line above)

    “bicyclists don’t pay for bike lanes” (yes they do, bike lanes are funded by Measure R)

    “social engineering!” (because only catering to cars ISN’T social engineering, right?)

    “I see bicyclists riding at night, in dark clothes without lights or reflectors” (hey, I see dark cars driving without their lights at night, too. What’s your point?)

    • Echo Park resident

      Salts, cut the hyperbole. Yes, a handful (one? two?) Eastside commenters have made silly statements regarding bike use in the area, but it’s disingenuous to brush off valid complaints about the boorish and irresponsible behavior that cyclists in this area resort to on a regular basis.

      As someone who must drive to get to my job, I am very conscious about sharing road space with cyclists and always give them the room they need to pass, slow down when approaching a rider from behind, etc. However, there are still cyclists who refuse to follow the rules of the road and pull very dangerous (for both driver and cyclist) maneuvers/stunts on heavily trafficked roads in my neighborhood. Why is it “comical” to complain about cyclists running red lights? If a cyclists runs a light while I, a driver, has the right of way, that’s no laughing matter. Ditto on cyclists who plow down pedestrians and verbally harass drivers.

      Cyclists do not have free run of the streets, and it’s important that people who do ride bikes learn that SOME laws are there for everyone’s benefit, not just for drivers.

      • “boorish and irresponsible behavior that cyclists in this area resort to on a regular basis.”

        Why do you choose to ignore the boorish and irresponsible behavior that drivers in this area resort to on a regular basis? Speeding happens every day on almost every street. Drivers run red lights and cut off pedestrians. Drivers will speed up or pretend they don’t see pedestrians at crosswalks so they don’t have to yield.

        I say comical because people will say they don’t see any cyclists, then seconds later complain about the dozens of cyclists they see breaking traffic laws every day. Where’s the consistency? Either they see bicyclists or they don’t.

        “Ditto on cyclists who plow down pedestrians and verbally harass drivers.” Look, there’s reality and there’s fantasy. Pedestrians are mostly being plowed down by car drivers. Ask the LAPD how many pedestrians are killed and injured by stupid car drivers versus stupid bicyclists. Cut the hyperbole!

        Right now drivers seem to have free run of the streets and people insist on keeping it that way. We can’t make any concessions in the name of bicycle or pedestrian or traffic safety since that would change the current situation,

        • Echo Park resident

          Once again, you’re pointing fingers without acknowledging that cyclists aren’t always on their best behavior.

          I am not ignoring the fact that other drivers act irresponsible — but I’m not “other drivers,” and I can only hold myself accountable for the way I drive and how I share the road with cyclists, pedestrians and the like. I am always cognizant of cyclists, and I’m always the first driver who slows or moves over to let them pass on narrow stretches of road, etc. I do my part to keep the roads friendly and safe, and I would just like the biking community to admit some of their members have horrible attitudes and need to also be aware of how they act on the road. You guys aren’t perfect just because you don’t drive. Get over yourselves and start acting like the conscious, law-abiding citizens you’re demanding drivers to be.

          • Did anyone ever claim that bicyclists were perfect? I don’t think so. I act like a conscious, law-abiding citizen… so why are you finger pointing at me?

            In essence, you left the most useless comment because you’re attacking cyclists as a whole yet individualize the behavior of people driving. Stop singling out cyclists. Preface every comment you make with “some people, whether they walk, ride a bike, or drive, do not obey the law 100%” Your comments unfairly attack cyclists.

            I ride a bike AND drive… I obey the law when I am engaged in either. So what is your damn point?

      • I’d rather be a boorish person than a murderer any day.


  4. I like bicycles but I do not want to give up lanes for them on major arteries. The new lanes on Virgil are backing up for blocks. The bike lanes on Rowena are a well know clusterfuck and if they put them on N Fig it’ll take a week to get from ave 26 to 56 at 5pm. Just put them on streets that are not major arteries or where you do not have to eliminate car lanes. Traffic engineering should be done by traffic engineers not the bike lobby. Yes Big Bike lobby. The same ones that wanted to allow them in Griffith Park and Elysian Park on the trails! I asked for the engineering studies for the bike lanes from Mitch o’Ferrel office but the could not provide the empirical studies conducted by the city. Its NO not anywhere just not everywhere.

    As for economic benefit that is ridiculous as they usually only have about 4 crumpled dollars in their pocket at best.

    • Virgil was a clusterfuck before they took a lane away, fools driving so fast running red lights it was chaos. A week before they put the bike lanes in a speeding idiot crashed into the light at Normal almost took out the furniture shop and Vinnie’s. I prefer safety to “traffic” . AND they added MORE parking when they reconfigured Virgil. It benefits everyone who lives and wants to spend money here NOT the speeding assholes using it as a pass thru.

      • Echo Park resident

        Before I moved back in the fall, I lived near Sunset Junction and used Virgil as part of my morning commute. It was never as bad as it is now. I took Virgil the other day just to see what my old roommate was complaining about. There’s nothing “safe” a bout traffic backed up for blocks.

    • Please drive each of these streets with a stopwatch running and tell us how long it actually takes to get from one end of the newly striped area to the other. In the middle of rush hour. Don’t just guess how long it takes you – actually get out a stopwatch and measure. (Or better yet, have a friend in the passenger seat with a stopwatch – I don’t want any more distracted drivers out there.)

      If any of these changes has added more than 5 minutes to a commute, I’d be quite surprised (especially once more drivers switch from Virgil to Vermont). Every single one of these changes goes through LADOT and their traffic engineers. Bicycle lobbying was involved in coming up with the 2010 bike plan, but when a lane is put in, there is a lot of study by traffic engineers to figure out exactly where to take out a lane of parking, where to take out a lane of mixed-use traffic, where to put in a turn lane, and where to move the bicycle infrastructure to a neighboring street.

      Don’t just come on here and tell us how your feelings are hurt by spending a few extra minutes on your commute so that someone else can be safer and healthier in her commute. Actually measure how much you are being hurt, and report back.

      • “have a friend in the passenger seat with a stopwatch ”

        I like to keep my passenger seat free of passengers, thank you very much.

    • Good thing you aren’t registered to vote! Type away anti-bike-infrastructure person!

    • Ollie, you spoke so right. Virgil Avenue was an instant bumper to bumper traffic jam after they restripped it for bikes. Yet, there are no bike riders. They restripped the adjacent area of Santa Monica Boulevard a year ago — and in the entire year (or any year prior to it) I have never once seen a bike rider there.

      This latest fantasy for Northeast Area is just that. Its a program looking for a large enough constituency to justify it.

      I’m happy with the idea of people riding bikes. But it is very unrealistic to think most people will ever choose to do that. And from observations since these lanes came in in the past 10 years, it would even seem unrealistic to think that much of anyone will want to use them. There are already lots of bike lanes all over, but hardly any bikers. I rarely see more than one bike rider when I go out and about all around the area.

      Yet, the bicycle lobby keeps claiming there are lots and lots and lots of people biking (I have eyes, I can see how incredibly false that claim is), and pushes it as if bikers are backed up in terrible bike congestion and need more, more, more. AND, there seems to be a general consensus among them that we should have a massive increase in building density to go along with the bikes. They don’t really seem to be so interested in bikes as in more building density, with bikes as the excuse to justify the density, claiming there will be no increase in traffic.

      The entire bike push seems completely detached from reality. And the arguments for it seem completely based on Tea Party-like newspeak and doubletalk. They are so twisted and dishonest with their arguments.

  5. “they usually only have about 4 crumpled dollars”

    That’s only true towards the end of the month when my check from the “Big Bike Lobby” has run out.

  6. there are no cyclists on Colorado in ER. none. ” Rowena Ave.” should be a rallying call to those opposed to the demands of the bike lobby.

    • If there are no cyclists then who is running all the stop signs and red lights and flipping Tom Topping the bird?

      • The idiots on their bikes on the sidewalks, that is who. The idiots on their bikes on the side streets. I see many more cyclists on the sidewalks than I do in the bike lanes. Why bitch for them to be put in and then not use them.

  7. The City Is Changing!

  8. Rowena was never good, but now with reduced lanes it is unbearable. I either drive complete around on Waverly, or avoid area altogether. On Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock, the reduced lanes have not been too bad with the exception of the intersections of Colorado and Broadway up to Sierra Villa near ER Plaza, and the area where people line up to enter and exit Trader Joes parking lot. Sometimes the traffic is so bad at Colorado and Broadway that I get caught at the light for a couple cycles because its so locked up no one moves when the light changes to green. Traders Joes was always bad, but when they reconfigured the street lanes, they really failed to come up with a solution, and a solution is certainly possible. Frankly, I could support bike lanes if there were a lot of cyclists on the road, but honestly there are so few that this really seems like self-imposed insanity that frustrates almost everyone and benefits almost no one.

    • Expecting there to immediately be a large user-base for bike lanes where none existed before, and using the absence of said user-base as a preemptive excuse not to build the lanes in the first place sounds a lot more like insanity to me. As biking culture expands along with the rest of the city’s planned bike infrastructure network, so too will the use of existing lanes.

    • “Sometimes traffic is so bad …” blah blah blah.

      Bike lanes are not there to fix car driving troubles (though they sometimes do). Car traffic – has it measurably gotten worse than it would have? How much delay is added to motorists drive times on Colorado, York, Avenue 50, Rowena, etc.? 30 seconds? 3 minutes? Average speeds have barely budged.

      We have gone as full tilt in the pro-car direction as possible and what has it gotten us? I met a man yesterday with his crippled little girl (injured in a car vs car hit and run) trying to get to school with no curb ramps and people in cars driving like maniacs around us. A man was killed in a hit and run on Fletcher and Riverside tonight. Cops spend massive amounts of public dollars scraping bodies off the pavement from car crashes. The costs are too high and people want positive change and safe transportation options.

      Bike lanes make the streets safer – measurably safer, with less crashes, less severe crashes, and better psychological outcomes for those using the street and those living alongside it.

      So, yes, sometimes car traffic is bad – does that mean we should never build rail lines or fund buses or build bike lanes? That is a pretty silly tack to take.

  9. The way things are going, we’re set up for some serious catastrophes that threaten us — and other species — with extinction. We’ve got to get out of our cars.

    I regret I cannot be out of my car 100% of the time at this point. I drive Rowena, and it does take a little bit longer than before losing an auto lane each way. But I’m much more worried about what I and my kids are going to experience (and already experiencing — i.e. the drought) as a result of climate change than the few seconds I lose driving Rowena.

    • If you think cars are the problem please go spent a day in the Port of San Pedro/ Wilmington.Watch a container ship be unloaded and see the trucks and trains haul off the booty. It is consumerism and peoples needs for shinny object from all the big box stores. Pleases ride a bike and feel righteous but that means squat in the world carbon footprint

      • Yes, consumerism is definitely a problem, but automobile use is hardly squat in terms of contributing to greenhouse gases.

        From the EPA:

        “In 2011, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation accounted for about 28% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, making it the second largest contributor of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions after the Electricity sector. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation have increased by about 18% since 1990. This historical increase is largely due to increased demand for travel and the stagnation of fuel efficiency across the U.S. vehicle fleet.”


  10. There will never be enough bike riders to justify taking car lanes away. Like it or not, there will always be more cars in L.A. (a LOT more) than bikes. Even bike riders use cars, so it’s not like every bike means one less car on the road. Bike riders complain about “speeding” cars,Well, when you’re on a bike any much larger object going 25+ MPH around you is going to seem like it’s speeding! Cars can’t be expected to go 15 MPH at all times to match bike speed. Better to work for more mass transit options and leave most of the bike riding for rural areas.

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