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L.A. City Council approves bicycle master plan

The Los Angeles City Council approved a new blueprint Tuesday for the city's streets that shifts focus away from automobiles.

The bicycle master plan calls for an eventual network of 1,680 miles of interconnected bikeways, including more than 200 miles of new bicycle routes every five years. It also calls for a safety campaign to educate drivers about sharing the streets.

"It's a cultural shift toward different types of transportation," said Councilman Ed Reyes, one of the plan's major proponents. The challenge now, he and other lawmakers said, will be in implementing it.

The City Council agreed last year to put 10% of the city's share of money from Measure R, the 2008 sales tax to support transportation projects countywide, toward initiatives for cyclists and pedestrians.

City Councilman Bill Rosendahl said some of the Measure R money should be used to bring the bicycle plan to life. He stressed construction will not start until the council comes up with the required money and specific projects are approved.

"We are not changing any streets as of this moment," Rosendahl said. But, he continued, "what they have given us is a great map to work with."

The plan was designed by city planners and transportation experts with significant input from L.A.'s growing bicycle activist community.

In 2009, cyclists organized a campaign against the first draft of the plan, which they derided as a piecemeal network of bikeways that seemed chosen for the city's convenience, not cyclists'.

The revised plan includes many of their suggestions, including a call for a freeway-like system of upgraded streets known as the "backbone network."

Cycling advocates at the City Council meeting said they were pleased with the final draft, and it would help Los Angeles catch up with other cities.  

"I think it's a better bike plan than they've got in Chicago," said longtime activist Alex Thompson.

Several speakers favored an amendment that would protect a current ban on mountain biking on equestrian and hiking trails in city parks.

City Councilman Tom LaBonge, whose 4th Council District includes Griffith Park, introduced the motion, which was adopted. It requires any changes to the regulation of mountain bicycling on trails to first be analyzed by the Board of Recreation and Parks.  


Making L.A. better for bicyclists: What should the city do?

-- Kate Linthicum

Comments () | Archives (19)

I am a homeowner in LaBonge's district, and a cyclist (Road, not mountain). I would like him to reconsider his amendment. It needs more thought before outlawing citizens access to trails in city owned park areas, especially to the inclusion of equestrians over cyclists. We may see precious city money spent in legal fees over this issue. We needn't face that money loss to lawyers.

The bicycle master plan calls for .....a safety campaign to educate drivers about sharing the streets.

Drivers have been sharing the streets for years. The bicyclists are the ones that need an education!

Why didn't you post a link TO the master plan? I want to know what streets I'll have to avoid for all these ghost bicleststsssss that supposedly use LA's streets cause I never see any and don't need any more bike lanes to have to navigate.

Let's hope that as LA steps up with such great leadership that it inspires other Southland cities to pick up the mantel of bike safety advocacy.

More people riding bikes means less traffic and less smog. I say bike lanes on every street.

I wish the government would come up with some bucks to support my hobbies and pastimes - none of which involved violating the law or interfere with normal people.

Liberals are the problem. 2012. Solve the problem.

I hope a better bicycle infrastructure in LA will eventually cut down on the vicious back and fourth in the comments section of every article in this newspaper involving bicycles. Sadly history seems to indicate that there needs to be a "separate but equal" era before a portion of Americans come to their senses. Let this be an armistice between the cycling community and the Car Supremacists.

They need to allocate funds to install the tubular waist high cone dividers to separate the vehicles from bicyclist. Some protection is better than nothing because worse scenary when a car hits those cones it will break their grills and front head lights and warn bike riders because of the noise from the slapping of the cones against the cars so the rider can possibly pull over and avoid being hit. What I fear is a false sense of security where the rider is hit by a DUI, or driver texting or distracted by a cell phone or someone else in their vehicle. Those cones will wake them up to steer away and avoid hitting the rider.

yes one for the bike riders!

Schools may not have money to buy paper, but gosh darnit, the .1% of Angelenos that ride bikes must get their bike lanes. I guess the squeaky (bike) wheels really do get the grease, pun intended.

And if there's any money left, maybe they'll spend it on floating traffic lights for the 0% of people that drive flying cars.

Great news!

I am a dedicated cyclist and welcome bike lanes, paths and routes anywhere. I am stunned that with all the gas price increases we have seen lately that the number of vehicles out there seems to actually have increased. Apparently drivers will never use a bike no matter how high the price of gas or how absurdly close the destination is. I see obese school kids living less that one mile being driven to and from school each day. We have GOT to stop this mindless automatic reaching for car keys to take every trip. I am 63 years old and completely disabled and yet I can average 15 mph easily on my bike. People have simply got to change their outlook and dump the gas eating vehicles that keep us in hock to the Saudi's.

Bicycling is not a mere hobby or pastime. It is a mode of transportation, and it is used every day by thousands of "normal people," as you call them, commuting to work, going to school, running errands, making social calls, etc. As someone who braved the streets of the Westside for over a year commuting to and from UCLA, I'm glad that the city of LA is making a commitment to improving the quality of its streets for cycling. The costs are ridiculously small ($50k for each mile of bike lane), and the benefits -- in the form of healthier living, cleaner air, fewer crashses due to reduced speeding, increased property values due to calmed traffic -- are many and real.

horses and cars and bikes should share. a horse trail violates equal treatment under the law.trails are built for all to enjoy.

what part of there is NO MONEY doesn't the city council understand?

Memo to Joe Cooke - Bicycling (which is legal last time I checked) is transportation as well as a hobby. Like driving. The government you despise (it's us, Joe) spends billions on roads for cars. Why not support more than one way to get around this city?

Those of you posting petty comments about bicycles being a hobby might consider the numerous low-income people who bicycle for transportation, not to mention kids and college students without driver's licenses. Or you could consider the fact that when I bike to locations near my home, I'm not creating traffic or filling up parking spaces that you could use. See, even drivers who don't bike win when more people bike!

To all those commenting that there is "no money" for this, a few points
- Some of the funding for this will come from Measure R funds which was approved by 67% of voters and always included a portion going to bicycle and pedestrian projects
- I hope you voiced similar opposition to the $1 Billion project to add a single lane to the 405 for 10 miles. BTW, that's $19,000 per foot.
- Increased bicycling usage can actually save the city money. Bikes put much less wear and tear on the streets, reducing repair costs, help reduce traffic congestion, pollution, health care costs, gasoline prices. And bicyclists tend to spend more money at local businesses that provide jobs and taxes to the local area instead of exporting most of the money spent to foreign countries.

As a San Diegan I'm quite impressed with LA's growing commitment to biking as a viable transportation option. Hopefully, our officials will take note and create a new bike plan down here.

See you at Ciclavia!


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