Category Archives: Bike Infrastructure

Caltrans Adopts NACTO’s Street Design Guide!

NACTO GUIDE ENDORSEMENT, CALIFORNIA TRANSPORTATION COULD BE CHANGING ….. FAST

In an announcement Thursday night at the NACTO Road Show in Oakland, Malcolm Dougherty announced that Caltrans will be the third state to endorse the NACTO guide! Reported on Twitter by the National Association of City Transportation Officials and on Facebook by Fremont Public Works Director Bryan Jones, the head of the country’s largest highway department said his agency will officially endorse NACTO Urban Streets Design Guide, a document that tracks the best practices for adding protected bike lanes and other human-oriented infrastructure to U.S. streets. More, they issued a memo to every “manual holder” (i.e., engineer who abides by the Highway Design Manual) reminding them of the importance of being flexible with design. California became the third state to endorse the NACTO Urban Streets Design Guide in this dramatic announcement in Oakland last Thursday.

Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty (right), CalBike Executive Director Dave Snyder. Photo: Robert Prinz, Bike East Bay.
Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty (right), CalBike Executive Director Dave Snyder. Photo: Robert Prinz, Bike East Bay.

“It’s a permission slip for cities, for engineers and planners, to do the good, well-vetted, proven work that we know we can do to make our street safer,” said Ed Reiskin, president of NACTO and director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. “It’s only a first step — ultimately, we’d like to see the changes in the Highway Design Manual to see it actually integrated into Caltrans documents. But this is a huge step forward, and great leadership from Malcolm, Secretary [Brian] Kelly, and Governor [Jerry] Brown,” who commissioned a report that recommended Caltrans adopt the NACTO guide.

Received with enthusiastic applause from the crowd of bike advocates, city officials, and planners, Dougherty is quoted saying: “We’re trying to change the mentality of the department of transportation, of our engineers, and of those that are doing work in and around the state highway system. Many cities around California are trying to be forward thinking in terms of alternative modes, such as bike and pedestrian, as well as the safety of the entire system, and the very least we can do as the department of transportation for the state is to follow that lead, to get out of the way, and to figure out how to carry that into regional travel.”

This move sets the stage for a decisive victory in the “better design” prong of the CalBike’s Better Bikeways campaign. The next step is to amend AB 1193, The Protected Bikeways Act, to include a provision explicitly freeing local agencies to rely on the best available guidance from around the world, not just Caltrans guidance. With this free and official endorsement of the NACTO guide, protected bikeways, bike boxes, and other innovative treatments expected to be included in the frequently updated NACTO guide will soon be in the toolbox of local planners and engineers across the state.

Caltrans Director Video Message 4/10/2014

CalBike’s members made this happen. Two key factors were the pressure of The Protected Bikeways Act and the persistent professional education of Caltrans officials and other stakeholders in the Governor’s administration. The “Better design” prong of the two-pronged Better Bikeways campaign is close to victory. After we win The Protected Bikeways Act, the work will shift to focusing on promoting the benefits of protected bikeways and other innovations to spread them across the state. Sign CalBike petition to show your support for protected bikeways today. “More funding” is the next prong. CalBike is looking forward to working with the more bike-friendly Caltrans in finding innovative ways to provide the funding for bike infrastructure that’s necessary to triple biking by 2020.

Join the conversation. Join CalBike’s social media blast supporting protected bikeways set to go out May 8th, many of the state’s bike to work day. In Los Angeles it is different – more on that later.

More here on StreetsblogLA Caltrans Endorses the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide
by 

It remains to be seen how this endorsement will shape our cities and streets, but Caltrans certainly earns points for its effort to adopt reforms recommended by the State Smart Transportation Initiative. In the short time since the SSTI issued its report in February, Caltrans has already acted on several of its most urgent recommendations:

  1. Develop a new mission statement: Check.
  2. Modernize state transportation design guidance by endorsing the NACTO urban design guidelines: Check.
  3. Work to ensure success of S.B. 743, which calls for Automobile Level of Service to be replaced with transportation planning metrics that better accommodate the needs of all street users: Dougherty says meetings on this effort are currently in progress.
  4. Organize teams to develop action plans and performance measures: eight teams have been formed and are in the process of being staffed and readjusted.

For social media coverage of California’s statewide transportation issues, follow Melanie @currymel on Twitter or like the Streetsblog California Facebook page.

 

Beautiful New Green Bike Lanes in Santa Monica!

City Hall Green Lanes
Santa Monica City Hall Green Lanes, a proud commitment to biking!

New Green Lanes are Beautiful – but are they what was promised? What’s been left out and are there shortcomings?

There is no doubt the new green lane markings going in on Main Street and Broadway in Santa Monica are beautiful – however they are not what we were anticipating based on the Bike Action Plan (BAP) and the subsequent discussions of improved implementations.

First lets applaud the use of Thermoplastic bikeway markings! This is a wonderful more durable marking solution that although more expensive lasts much longer over standard painted road markings and are reflective which help to provide additional visibility at night. Next is the proactive implementations of what is referred to as the low hanging fruit from the BAP in coordination with regular road maintenance. Choreographing the installation or updating bike treatments to take advantage of this cost saving implementation the city has added miles of bike infrastructure since adopting the Bike Acton Plan. Kudos and compliments to staff!

But where are the green carpet lanes that were promised and are outlined in the Bike Action Plan?

Yes indeed Green Carpet Bike Lanes in front of City Hall make a GREAT VISIBLE STATEMENT of the City’s commitment to supporting biking – however those lanes do not extend the length of Main Street as they were outlined in the Bike Action Plan, and the ones on Broadway are the same way. What does that say about the city’s commitment?

What was outlined in the BAP

  • Main Street: Green carpet buffered bike Lanes on Main Street from Colorado Street south to city limits.
  • Broadway Bikeway: From 6th Street to Centinela Avenue green carpet buffered bike Lanes, from Ocean to 6th Street varied treatments with Sharrows

For these implementations the old markings were to be removed and the new revised markings (adding buffers) filled with green were to be installed. NOTE: This process has been quite destructive to the road surface and has created some substantial grooves and uneven road surfaces not conducive to safe and comfortable bike lane conditions. This problem has been identified and acknowledged by engineering department staff and they are looking into it.

What has happened….

  • For this implementation most of the old markings were removed and road space was slightly reallocated to widen bike lanes with a door zone buffer.

— However the new white striping is EXTREMELY thin – to the point that it is actually opaque in many places. This substantially reduces the visibility of the lane markings and we anticipate they will wear off within weeks as have similar markings installed recently, quickly becoming nearly invisible. What is also puzzling is that many of the old white lines were thick and visible but were ground off and remarked in the exact same position with this single thin layer of white paint. Is there a second phase of this white striping that would correct this current situation or is this the intended end result?

  • On Main Street much of the vehicle lane was narrowed or reallocated slightly and new white striping provides a buffer to encourage people on bikes away from the door zone hazard of parked cars.
  • On Broadway it appears that only the parking lane may have been slightly narrowed and a similar buffer looks like it will be applied with some sort of markings?
  • Old bike symbol markings were ground off. Some blocks had two bike symbols within a block. New bike symbol markings are now primarily limited to one per block, at entrance to bike lane only. These new symbols are a further distance from the corner, this reduces the visibility overall but particularly for right turning vehicles which now tend to turn into the bike lanes then merge over into their vehicle lane.

— Extending the green closer to the corner would help mitigate this reduced visible cue for turning vehicles and encourage them to turn into their own travel lane.

  • Overall number of bike symbol markings have now been reduced. This reduces the visual cue and specificity of a bike only lane. The expectation here was that we would standardize to at least 2 symbols per block with additional bike symbol markings on longer blocks.

— Also very key and not (yet) implemented is the addition of bike symbols at alleys so that cars exiting alleys will have an important visual cue they are about to cross a bike lane.

  • On Broadway the “green lanes” were supposed to be extended from 6th Street to 5th Street.
  • Why do we still not have Sharrows in Bus/Bike lanes as approved in the Bike Action Plan and as allowed by state law? They were there for quite sometime, and were removed with no explanation or discussion. This is not a Bus Corridor like the Metro Orange Line but a shared use lane that only extends a max of 2 or 3 blocks contiguously with multiple bus stops per block. In other words it will not slow bus flow. Putting bikes in vehicle lanes in this area where cars are usually backed up to enter parking facilities adds to vehicle/bike conflicts and the potential of being squeezed between stopped vehicles and busses when passing. Bus/Bike lane implementations are in use around the US & Canada for this very reason and were supported in previous conversations with LA DOT.

Designing a Park by Bike, update from Airport2Park

Airport2Park News & Update: Airport2Park Design by bike

Nine USC graduate landscape architects under the direction of internationally renowned landscape architect Aroussiak Gabrielian (FORGROUND Design) took a practical approach in choosing bicycles for the their site visit to Santa Monica Airport where they started working on a three month project to design a park to replace the controversial facility. They jumped at the chance to ride their bikes to evaluate the site.  Since the site was designed many years ago expressly to exclude pedestrian access, the bicycle turned out to be the right tool to explore the airport site with a four mile ride around the perimeter fence – which someday could be a dedicated bikeway.

USC is a fairly bike friendly campus with a rapidly growing bicycle culture so nearly everyone had a bicycle and were quite completely comfortable on a group ride. The class demographic includes students from across the country and around the world. There was one student from China, who had NEVER been on a bicycle, yet even she didn’t even miss a beat. She took the extra initiative and learned to ride a bicycle just for this visit, though in the end, opted to rent a Tandem from Perry’s just to be sure that she would keep up.

Leading the ride was Michael Brodsky, a Loyola Marymount University Professor and Santa Monica Spoke member. Also in attendance was Mike Salazar, a Santa Monica Architect, member of the Santa Monica Conservancy and an expert in historic preservation. Both are founding members of airport2park.org  which is a group dedicated to creating a grand park to replace the Santa Monica Airport.

Aroussiak Gabrielian is using this opportunity for her USC group of graduate landscape architects to put practice into real life. She has designed a rigorous timeline of environmental, social analysis and needs assessment that will inform the development of the project. Each student has an assigned specialty including the natural environment, history, topography, site mitigation, and community connectivity. All data collected informs the final design proposals which should be completed by May 2014.

During the 3 hour bike ride there were many stops to talk about the role of parks in the social fabric of the community. Discussions ranged from the westside’s regional need for natural habitats, water reclamation, and carbon rejuvenation, to the more local needs for bike paths, sports and playing fields due to the severe lack of parks in Santa Monica.  They also had the opportunity to explore linkages between the south side of the airport site where the Santa Monica College classrooms (and public art galleries) are located, with the north side Ocean Park community by what could be a newly created bicycle and pedestrian access.

While the ride was constantly interrupted but he roar of jet planes and the smell of jet fuel, the participants on their bikes were also able to see the spectacular views of Century City with the Hollywood sign to the east and to the setting sun on the Pacific Ocean in the west. These views are currently reserved for only those privileged to be flying in private planes or jets, yet these coveted vistas could one day invite thousands of hikers and bikers to enjoy what could be a most extraordinary park in Santa Monica.

IMPORTANT UPDATE FROM Airport2Park: The Santa Monica City Council will be meeting on Tuesday, March 25th to consider what to do with Santa Monica Airport after the FAA contract ends in July 2015. For more information on how you can support in this project visit Airport2Park for updates for the latest updates and how you can get involved. If you would like to see this turned into a grand park complete with 150 acres of walking and biking, you may write the city council before the March 25th meeting at council@smgov.net

2014-03-13 Rios charette1 design summary

ACTION ALERT: Support Bike Lanes on Santa Monica Blvd in Beverly Hills: Tuesday, March 4th

ACTION ALERT: Support Bike Lanes on Santa Monica Blvd in Beverly Hills, Tuesday March 4th, 2013

With bike lanes in West Hollywood and Los Angeles on Santa Monica Blvd, the missing gap along this important east/west corridor is Beverly Hills. A Blue Ribbon Committee has officially recommended to council that they widen Santa Monica and stripe in bike lanes, but the council may still need convincing as detractors have been attending meetings in the past. Can you attend the council meeting and speak in favor of bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd.?

Courtesy of Mark Elliot of Better Bike Beverly Hills, here are the full details:

On March 4th City Council will review the Santa Monica Boulevard Blue Ribbon Committee recommendations. The Council will provide direction on project design. The two issues to be discussed are whether to:

(1) Widen the existing curb-to-curb width to improve conditions for motor vehicles and bicycles. This requires widening beyond the existing northern curb face. If City Council approves the widening, the Blue Ribbon Committee recommends striping the pavement for bicycle lanes.

(2) Add landscaped medians to the Boulevard.

Take Action!

1. ATTEND!

Beverly Hills City Council
When: Tuesday, March 4; 7:00 p.m.
Where: 455 N. Rexford Dr., Beverly Hills, California 90210
Facebook Event: Facebook event and spread the news.
Feeder Ride: Mark Elliot will meet with whomever wants to ride together to City Hall before, at 5:45 at Peets, 258 S. Beverly. Depart at 6:45.

2. EMAIL: Correspondence can be addressed to Council in advance of the meeting:
mayorandcitycouncil@beverlyhills.org - bcc: alek@la-bike.org

3. CALL: Council can be reached by phone: 310-285-1013

SRTS at Samohi and MANGo Passed!

SRTS Samohi
Staff recommendations for Safe Routes to School Conceptual Designs passed by unanimous vote this evening by City Council. These improvements will improve all modes of circulation around Samohi and create a safer environment, encourage and prioritize healthy active transportation and help build on the leadership and momentum of the Solar Alliance Students and Bike it! Walk it!

MANGoMAP
MANGo, Santa Monica’s first Neighborhood Greenway passed unanimously this evening!
Council set reduced long term goals to 1500 ADT (average daily trips) YEY!
Unfortunately, although traffic diverters remain in the ‘TOOL BOX’ – we will need to return to council for “implementation approval” if diverters are needed to reach ADT goals – adding another layer of “vehicle priority” circulation bureaucracy to healthy, safer streets that should prioritize people and SRTS for future generations of children getting to Samohi.

Media coverage:

Council Approves Two Projects That Prioritize Pedestrian and Bike Safety
Santa Monica Spoke: For MANGo to Work, City Needs Proper Traffic Reduction Goals
Op/Ed: On MANGo, Staff and the Council Need to Believe Their Own Eyes

Support Safe Routes to School Improvements at Samohi

SRTS Samohi

Improved Multi-Modal Circulation and Safe Routes to School at Samohi – YES!!

Santa Monica Spoke is excited to support the Conceptual Designs presented for the Samohi Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Project. These improvements will improve all modes of circulation around Samohi and create a safer environment, encourage and prioritize healthy active transportation and help build on the leadership and momentum of the Solar Alliance Students and Bike it! Walk it!  We were pleased to participate in the process with City planners and consultants who worked closely with stakeholders to envision this plan.

After identifying the many conflicts and obstacles in the current  traffic circulation and personal safety conditions at Samohi the plan proposes many improvements in multi-modal circulation and infrastructure to encourage and prioritize walking, biking and public transit while improving vehicle circulation.  Currently the majority of students at Samohi are dropped off and picked up from school by their parents. Statistics suggest these trips are generating 3000-6000 vehicles per day (VPD) around Samohi and creating huge health, safety and traffic burdens as wells as contributing to the larger city wide issues of gridlock . The residents on Michigan Avenue and 7th endure heavy traffic burdens that spill over west of Lincoln onto Michigan Avenue that sees nearly 4300 VPD through to 11th.  This creates chaos and safety concerns for residents and kids with added safety issues for the kids that actively transporting themselves walking and biking.  Without the students who carpool, bus, walk or bike the situation here would certainly be even more untenable. With this SRTS project we can improve vehicle circulation and help prioritize these active kids with improved safety and infrastructure. With this project we will help encourage more students to choose active, healthier more sustainable transportation modes and help mitigate the health, safety and traffic problems.

Currently the closest thing to “bike friendly” access to Samohi is along Michigan Avenue east of Lincoln. But Michigan Avenue carries many of the hundreds and thousands of parents driving kids to school as well as cut-through traffic accessing the freeway. The Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway (MANGo) supports SRTS at Samohi and can help improve the safety of students walking and biking through improved safety along Michigan Avenue west of Lincoln. By calming traffic on MANGo with ambitious traffic reduction goals we will help provide a safe link from Samohi to bike lanes on 11th, 14th and 17th Street and safer conditions for kids walking.  The SRTS plan also identifies needs for improvements on 4th Street, Olympic Boulevard and 7th Court that can be supported by the MANGo project. Outlined in MANGo on this corridor are wider sidewalks and a cycle track that will improve both pedestrian and bike safety and connections to Expo, the Civic Center, downtown and the beach. We will urge staff and council to prioritize these sections of the MANGo project for early implementation. These and other aspects of the SRTS project also build on the synergy of the City’s Bike Action Plan by connecting the bike network from south of Samohi and Pico via 6th and Michigan and 7th to MANGo.  As we we provide for SRTS to Samohi from the south we connect the bike network from Pico to the proposed MANGo and fill in a challenging hole in the current bike network with safe, easy access. The concepts in this plan on Michigan Avenue, 7th Street and Pico Boulevard will not only provide improved safety and encouragement for current and future generation of students walking, biking or taking the bus to school but help mitigate the traffic congestion, improve vehicle circulation, health and safety issues.  These proposed improvements are better for kids, parents, Samohi teachers and staff, nearby residents and the community.

We urge Council to approve staff recommendation and support the exemplary student leadership of the Solar Alliance students and the Bike it! Walk it! momentum they have built by providing our kids with the needed improvements to support healthy, active transportation and the ability to envision a more sustainable future.

You can send a support letter by Click here to email a letter
or

I Support Safe Routes to School at Samohi

This petition is now closed.

End date: Feb 12, 2014

Signatures collected: 5

5 signatures

Pledge YOUR Support for MANGo Today!

Community EventPlease help us Support MANGo
with all the benefits and options!

MANGo will be presented to City Council, February 11th
Send a Letter of Support for MANGo Today!
AND
if you can …. Please come to Council Meeting and voice your support!
Great video on POP-UP MANGo!

Santa Monica City Hall Council Chambers, 1685 Main Street, Rm 213 - More info HERE.

Support Santa Monica’s and the region’s first Neighborhood Greenway: MANGo! with an email to Mayor Pam O’Connor, City Council, Commissioners and staff. Even with this AWESOME PROJECT there is opposition from those who still want vehicles prioritized over people, our health and safety. To help we have created some template letters you can use for inspiration or to cut and paste. We encourage you to customize with your personal comments or please feel free to simply cut and paste and email to the list provided below. You can see more about MANGo in the drop down menu here on our website. “Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway”

Support letters: DON’T FORGET TO ADD YOUR NAME AT END OF LETTERS!
Read Santa Monica Spoke’s letter of support sent to City Council here
Santa Monica Spoke Supports Staff Recommendations letter here
If you live in the Pico Neighborhood we have a specific letter here.
If you have children we have a letter from that perspective here.

Here is the basic MANGo Support letter:

______________________________________________________

Dear Council Members,

I support the Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway (MANGo) and urge you to approve the staff recommendations for this regionally important plan. I want a calmer Michigan avenue where it is safe and pleasant to walk and bike, and where this community can simply spend time outside enjoying their neighborhood and their neighbors.

Michigan Avenue has been adversely impacted for years by high levels of cut-through traffic rushing to and from the freeway and Samohi, further adding to the burden caused by the Santa Monica Freeway and the large boulevards that isolate this community. MANGo will create a safer calmer street and an inviting alternative east/west walking and biking connection to numerous destinations along its spine. This includes safe routes to many schools (including SMC & Samohi), Farmers Markets, parks and recreation, the Civic Center, beaches and the new Expo Line stations.

Through a very inclusive process MANGo planners have presented a variety of options to address the traffic and safety issues on Michigan Avenue, included are traffic reduction goals. I support establishing an ambitious project goal of less than 1500 vehicles per day on MANGo along with easy steps that measure if implementations are effective. If we need to do more to reach these goals, let’s make sure we are able to use the full range of traffic calming measures explored and outlined in the project to create safer street on Michigan Avenue, similar to those that have been used in other parts of Santa Monica. I believe this is a prudent course of action and important for the ultimate success of MANGo.

I realize it’s a bold and scary move to make a street that demands slower car traffic, and that there are editorialists and pockets of resistance who think that doing anything to impede auto circulation is a bad idea. We’ve suffered decades of an increasingly car dominant culture that has split the city in half, made the skies smoggy, and hurt and killed too many people. MANGo is a big step toward encouraging a change in that thinking of how we get around and can help set the tone for the next fifty years of the way Santa Monica works. What kind of city do you want? One for cars, or one for people? I hope you will choose the latter and cement your legacy as the city council that said yes to MANGo and everything that will follow.

Please support MANGo and make sure we set an ambitious target for reducing traffic on Michigan Avenue to less than 1500 vehicles per day and assure that we have all the tools at our disposal (including traffic diverters if needed) to achieve safer, healthier more active options for circulating in Santa Monica and regionally.

Sincerely,
Name
Address or neighborhood (optional)

______________________________________________________

Click here to email your letter : Add your content or use one of our letters above. Or you can copy this emails list: pam.oconnor@smgov.net, terry.oday@smgov.net, ted.winterer@smgov.net, kevin@mckeown.net, tony.vazquez@smgov.net, gleam.davis@smgov.net, robert.holbrook@smgov.net, Rod.Gould@smgov.net, David.Martin@smgov.net, Francie.Stefan@smgov.net, Jason.Kligier@smgov.net, Mango@smspoke.org, lucy.dyke@smgov.net, Jim_Ries@hotmail.com, parryj@gte.net, gnewbold@gmail.com, richard@richardmckinnon.com, jenniferfkennedy@gmail.com, suehimmelrich@gmail.com, andersonsmpc@yahoo.com, clerk@smgov.netcouncil@smgov.netplanning@smgov.net

smspoke_mango_traffic

MANGo to City Council February 11th

MANGo Council crop

Save the date: February 11th
& get your typing fingers ready to Support MANGo.

MANGo is due to be presented to Santa Monica City Council a week from today, Tuesday February 11th. We are looking forward to seeing the Final Project Report & Presentation to Council on this major improvement to the Santa Monica Bike network and a long overdue investment in the Pico Neighborhood.

MANGo will create a safer calmer street and an inviting alternative east/west walking and biking connection to numerous destinations along its spine. This includes safe routes to many schools (SRTS, including SMC & Samohi), Farmers Markets, parks and recreation, the Civic Center, beaches and the new Expo Line stations.

Through a very inclusive process MANGo planners presented a variety of options to address the traffic and safety issues on Michigan Avenue, including reduced traffic goals. We are advocating for establishing an ambitious project goal of less than 1500 vehicles per day* on MANGo along with easy steps that measure if project implementations are effective, and a tiered implementation approach over time to meet goals.

You could say it is a bold and scary move to create a street that demands slower car traffic. There are editorials and pockets of resistance who think that doing anything to impede auto circulation is a bad idea. We have suffered decades of increasingly car dominant culture that has divided cities, created smoggy skies, and hurt and killed too many people. MANGo is a big step toward encouraging a change in that thinking of how we get around and can help set the tone for the next fifty years of the way Santa Monica works. What kind of city do you want? One for cars, or one for people? We hope our decision makers will choose the latter and cement their legacy as the City Council that said yes to MANGo and everything that will follow.

More on what you can do and how coming soon..

*Design guidelines from National Association of City and Transportation Officials (NACTO)

IMPORTANT Community Meeting MANGo: SAVE THE DATE JANUARY 7, 2014

Community EventSAVE THE DATE: January 7th 2014, evening IMPORTANT MANGo Meeting

The City and Consultant Team will host this last Community Meeting to go over the concepts and plans for the Michigan Ave Neighborhood Greenway: MANGo!
Whether you have participated in the past or this is your first view of the project – we urge you join us to provide needed support for the project with your attendance and input.

This is the last public community meeting scheduled on the project before it is presented to Council on February 11. We would like to invite you to join us in support of this major community investment and hear first hand the benefits and concepts it proposes for the Pico Neighborhood, place making for people, connectivity for bikes and the Community at large.

For more information, please visit http://www.smgov.net/michigan or contact Jason Kligier, AICP at 310-458-8341 or jason.kligier@smgov.net

Place: Virginia Avenue Park, 2200 Virginia Avenue
Day: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Time: 7 pm to 8:30 pm

Videos
Pop-Up MANGo Tactical Urbanism                  MANGo Greenway

MANGoMAP