Why does West Hollywood need separated bike lanes? Here’s why:
A report from WeHoBike member Kevin Burton:
Presentation to Westside Cities COG Board, Nov. 17, 2011
Bikeway to the Sea
The ad-hoc Bike Coordination Committee of the Westside Cities Council of Governments (COG) has assembled COG staff, led by Maria Rychlicki, and advocates from the bicycle community to recommend regional routes through its member cities that would benefit from closure of gaps in local bikeways. While one of the five member-cities, Culver City, now has access to several such routes (Ballona Creek Class I bike path and the Venice Blvd. and Exposition Line Class II bike lanes), the other four members (Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica) lack any such long-distance route. The obvious candidate is the Santa Monica Boulevard corridor, which currently is served by short stretches of Class II bicycle lanes in West Hollywood, Century City/Westwood, and streets adjacent to the Boulevard in Santa Monica. Plans already exist in various forms to add bicycle lanes to close the current gaps in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood, but since each of these plans has its own challenges, progress could easily occur at highly different rates in the various cities. This is an opportunity for the COG to act as an umbrella organization to coordinate and support developing a route along the Santa Monica Blvd. corridor into a “Bikeway to the Sea”, in analogy with the “Subway (almost) to the Sea”, which received considerable logistical support from the COG. This corridor has in fact been accorded a high priority by the bicycle community in earlier meetings of the COG Bike Coordination Committee.
This Bikeway to the Sea would begin at the existing Class II bicycle lanes on Sunset Boulevard at Elysian Park Ave. near downtown LA that extend north to Santa Monica Blvd. and then Fountain Avenue. Fountain Ave. already has shared-road markings (“sharrows”) from Sunset Blvd. to La Brea Avenue, and West Hollywood is considering proposals to continue the bikeway with Class II bicycle lanes to the western terminus of Fountain Ave. at La Cienega Boulevard. This can easily connect to the adjacent bicycle lanes now on Santa Monica Blvd.. Both Los Angeles and West Hollywood are also considering plans for Class II lanes on Santa Monica Blvd. itself from Sunset Blvd. to the current bike lanes in West Hollywood, but there are a number of obstacles to those plans, including on-street parking near businesses and CalTrans ownership of Santa Monica Blvd. from Highway 101 to La Brea Avenue.
In addition to being useful for commuting, recreation, running errands and shopping by bicycle, the Santa Monica Boulevard corridor has many attractions for special events, an example of which is the LA Marathon that now courses along a similar route. Although more athletic and experienced cyclists already bicycle along Santa Monica Blvd. from downtown LA to the beach at Santa Monica, how nice it would be if the rest of us could look forward to safely bicycling along that corridor!
… the added patrols will be primarily centered in the Boystown area, with its heavy concentration of nightlife venues, but Farrell said officers on bikes will cover the entire length of Santa Monica Boulevard.
More cops on bikes is always a good thing. Hopefully they’ll take this opportunity to ticket all of the vehicles that habitually double-park in Santa Monica’s bike lanes at night, forcing cyclists into dangerous fast-moving traffic.
In the midwest alone, more bike-friendly infrastructure could save $7 billion in healthcare costs. That’s thanks to the improved health of the people on bikes, and the improved air with fewer gas-burning cars on the road.
A new study offers some hard numbers: If people in the upper Midwest chose to take half of their car trips by bicycle, health care costs would drop by $7 billion. And with better air quality for its now more-fit citizens, the region would end up with an estimated 1,100 fewer deaths each year.
And the amazing part: the researchers only analyzed what would happen if people biked for a few months out of the year, since it gets so cold in the midwest. Imagine how much money and how many lives we could save in a year-round biking paradise like California!