Thursday, November 11, 2010


The story is simple, ask a cyclist about the bike parking at retail destinations in LA and you'll likely get an earful about lack of accommodation to park safely and securely. Grocery stores in particular offer some of the worst bike parking options, forcing many would be cycling customer's back into their cars simply to avoid the numerous hassles and more importantly, to avoid the risk of theft due to insecure parking schemes.

On the bright side, a new leader is emerging in Trader Joe's. The recent addition of bike parking at its Hollywood & Vine location has received favorable reviews by the cycling community, albeit after a social media boycott started by illuminateLA. Following the Hollywood & Vine victory, representatives of Sustainable Streets and illuminateLA sought improvements at the Trader Joe's on the corner of La Brea & 3rd Street (click on image for before and after views). To be fair, cyclist's have been asking for better bike parking at this location for many years, myself included; however in this instance the ask transformed into real action. I also give credit to the fact that we were about to shoot video of the dismal parking conditions when Prince Clay, Store Captain, came out to see what we were up to. We explained that the bike parking conditions were unacceptable and simply wanted to document the lack of consideration given to customer's who arrive by bike compared to customer's who arrive with a car.

Mr. Clay handled the situation with grace and tact, requesting that we work together to solve the problem. After hearing our complaints and suggestions, he not only committed to solving the problem, he delivered on his promise (see image above). Thank you Prince!

Although these victories may seem insignificant to the casual observer, cyclists' depend on a safe, secure, accessible and comfortable place to store a bicycle while shopping. In my view, this is an easy and cost effective way for merchants to win loyalty from customers who cycle. My hope is this trend will continue and more stores will see the value of accommodating bicycles in their parking schemes. Do you know a store that needs a little motivation? Leave a comment.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Other Side of Bike Lanes Revealed

Video and commentary by Oikofugic Productions gives the cyclist's perspective on some recently installed bike lanes in New York City. I'm opposed to bike facilities that place cyclist's in more danger than they would face by simply riding in their rightful place on public roadways. Likewise, as the cyclist noted at 3:50 in the vid, motorists are inclined to wield more hostility and aggression towards cyclists who choose to avoid the hazards of the bike lane by riding in the normal traffic lanes. You be the judge, are bike lanes the panacea or an invitation for crashes?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bici Centro in Santa Barbara

I plan to check out Bici Centro in Santa Barbara in a couple of weeks during a visit to learn more about the innovative transportation solutions being implemented by the City. Ralph Fertig of the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition is leading a group of us on a tour by bike so we can see first hand the latest and greatest techniques for accommodating cyclists on the streets. Besides facility and amenity improvements, the human aspect is also important and Bici Centro is just another example of how an initiative centered on meeting the needs of cyclist's spins off to become a wider community asset. In my experience, these bike collectives serve as vital meeting grounds where people with a common interest in sustainable transportation can share ideas on a wider array of interrelated sustainability issues, such as food, energy, land-use, resource acquisition, water quality, air quality and more.

Fortunately here in Los Angeles we have at least four DIY bike repair shops that have been thriving and not only serving the needs of cyclists, but also serving the greater community for up to five years now. For those that are not familiar with the LA offerings, check out Bicycle Kitchen/LA Bicicocina in Koreatown, Bikerowave in Mar Vista, Bike Oven in Highland Park, and Valley Bikery in Chatsworth.

Enjoy this video, which sums up quite nicely what all of these shops have in common and how they are an important asset for the entire community whether you ride a bike or not.

The Pedal Home from Nick Hoyle on Vimeo.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sustainable Streets FREE 2010 WeHo Bike Ed schedule

Choose your dates, register with Ron, mark your calendar and join us in West Hollywood for an upcoming bike education class.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Santa Monica BikeIT Days - June 7 thru 10

Video from BikeIT Day, March 2010, in Santa Monica featuring Samohi students. Sustainable Streets will be at JAMS on June 7 for a FREE after school prep course for cyclists. Parents and kids are invited to attend, please meet near the main bike rack after school.

Information on specific BikeIT Day events at schools in Santa Monica.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

EXXON rapes the world and achieves #1 profitability for its effort.

How much more evidence do we really need to break oil consumptive habits? Its time to hang up the pump handle and pedal or walk to your destination's. At the very least, please stop supporting ExxonMobil.

Monday, March 8, 2010


The East Hollywood Neighborhood Council and the East Hollywood Arts and Culture Committee announce the Second Annual East Hollywood ArtCycle, an event designed to showcase the emerging art and bicycling cultures in East Hollywood. On Saturday, March 13th, 2010 from 2-10 p.m., artists will take over the street in celebration of the art and culture of East Hollywood. This year, the event will be held at Santa Monica Boulevard between Vermont & Virgil, right by the Metro Red Line (Santa Monica & Vermont) in the heart of East Hollywood and on Historic Route 66.

For the full line up of events and music click here!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bike Working Group V

Join the Bike Working Group for its fifth session dedicated to the creation of LA's Best Bike Plan.

When: Saturday, March 6, 2010 from 2 PM - 5 PM
Where: Hollywood Adventist Church, 1711 N. Van Ness Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What does cycling culture look like?

Could this be the future of Los Angeles? Check out this circa 1950's video from the Netherlands, the music is a bit dramatic but the images speak volumes on the applicability of bicycles for getting around, moving goods, and providing services. Notice people aren't wearing helmets and they don't appear to be frightened to death to include children in the mix; this is a good example of safety in numbers in action.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Are Mood Rings the Answer to Calming Cyclists' Fears in Culver City?

On Saturday, January 30, 2010, Culver City hosted another workshop to invite comments and inform the public on the progress of the Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan (BPMP) initiative. The workshop portion began with Alta Planning dividing the group and leading the usual foreplay of inviting comments on prepared citywide maps. After this exercise the congregation regrouped to hear a report from the consulting engineer on the project related to Bike Access Between East Culver City/Expo Area and Downtown Culver City. This is when the meeting raised some alarm bells with the public. During this discussion there was a recurring outcry to transform Washington Blvd. as the primary access road for cyclists to get downtown from the soon to come Expo Station at National and Washington Blvds.

Unfortunately the consulting engineer and the city don't see the same reality as the people who give their time to attend a meeting on a Saturday. The city contends that Washington is a gateway road for motor vehicle traffic and changing it would result in diverting motor vehicles onto alternate roads and thereby creating even bigger problems elsewhere in the network. Let me get this straight, the city is preparing a BPMP with money from LA County Public Health, but it won't entertain options that might motivate motorists to consider healthy alternative modes such as cycling and walking. Ding! The alarm goes off in my head and it becomes clear that the city doesn't yet envision or fully embrace transportation solutions that will reduce the number of automobiles on our streets and improve the health of all citizens.

Currently Washington is an arterial with a volume of 25,000 ADT (Average Daily Traffic). One proposed counter measure from the audience was to consider a Road Diet (RD) as an effective tool for accommodating bicyclists along this now motor vehicle laden arterial. At this point city officials stepped in and state that RDs are used on roadways with 20,000 ADT and under.

True, but not exclusively.

In a report entitled Road Diets Fixing the Big Roads by Dan Burden and Peter Lagerwey, a number of examples are highlighted where RDs proved effective with ADTs above 20,000. So, while most of the time RDs are implemented with an upper threshold of 20,000 ADT, it is not unheard of to utilize this counter measure on streets with much higher traffic volumes. In fact, on page 3 the report notes that "roads with 19 - 25,000 ADT qualify for a diet" and again on page 4 it states, "The upper comfort range for arterial conversions appears to be between 20 - 25,000 ADT." Additionally, page 6 illustrates that Kirkland, Washington had the nerve to search for an upper limit back in 1995 by converting a road with 30,000 ADT, "the roadway never crashed."

The actual treatment is fairly inexpensive compared to more elaborate counter measures. The road is re-striped from four lanes to three, and in some cases six lanes down to five, with a shared center lane for left turns. The remainder of the space is used to accommodate bike lanes to achieve a more welcoming and inclusive street without reducing the overall traffic volumes. And, if the city actually counts the peds and bikes as viable traffic, the street would likely show an increased ADT after a RD is completed.

I understand that a bike plan should be open to all options and RDs are not a magic bullet for arterial roads. However, what has me fired up is the consulting engineer for the project doesn't offer anything other than, "The City has a plenty of bike access to downtown from the Expo Station, but its up to you to choose the proper route based on your level of fear." Case and point, his presentation kicked off by polling the audience on their level of fear when riding on "Big Roads" versus local residential streets. The polling exercise was nothing more than a clever tactic to justify the predetermined conclusion that Washington and Jefferson Blvds. aren't going to change much when it comes to accommodating bicyclists.

The engineering analysis then offered a map, see below, with color coded streets to illustrate various access points to downtown from East Culver City. Now I'm wondering how citizens and visitors might use this map since the streets will likely be the same as they are now with minimal improvements. Perhaps the city will issue mood rings to all citizens as a way for people to identify their level of fear and thereby take responsibility for choosing the appropriate route. Using the map below as a reference, if your mood ring is red you're in a fiery mood and can take on Jefferson Blvd., by contrast if your ring is green you are in the mood for a calmer street and should take the Wesley/Lucerne route, when you're in a yellow mood take Washington and so on. Of course this plan will require colored way finding markers so people can choose the correct mood route and easily adjust their course if mood swings occur along the way. Brilliant! Why didn't we do this sooner.

Seriously, I wonder how much of the grant funding was spent on this analysis when It could have been done for free by a group of middle schoolers? The overall message is that while cyclists do have a right to use every street, don't expect the city to make it more inviting for cyclists on the arterial roads. I find the entire approach absolutely uninspired and lacking vision.

In fact, this approach is very similar to what Los Angeles is attempting to do with its bike plan. LA wants to herd cyclist's to side streets and do as little as possible to change the "Big Roads" to accommodate cyclists. Is this also the plan for Culver City?

The problem is that the "Big Roads" have the commercial destinations that cyclists want and need to access without FEAR. If people are afraid to ride a bike on the streets, it indicates a problem with the street design not with the people who want to ride a bike as a transportation solution, a funding solution, an environmental solution, a public health solution and a community building solution.

The one nugget of hope I left with on Saturday came when Charles Herbertson, Culver City Director of Public Works, stepped up and said that improving bike access on Washington Blvd. has been a recurring comment at public meetings. As such, they will make sure to examine potential improvements and look for funding opportunities after the plan is adopted. Great your listening, but what about Jefferson, Culver, Overland, National and Sawtelle boulevards? These Big Roads are just as important to cyclists. Culver City has an opportunity to create a connected Backbone Bikeway Network similar to what bike advocates are proposing in Los Angeles.

My FEAR is that even with a BPMP in place we'll get more of the same on our streets where cars are treated like kings and humans are accommodated only when space permits. We need people to attend these meetings, please go to and get on the mailing list to be notified when public meetings are scheduled. Let your voice be heard.