|Is it something in the water? The bicycle movement seems to be accelerating in a region known far better for its love affair with the car. Late last month the LA City Council approved a major and long-debated update to the city's bicycle master plan. Meanwhile, the city attorney gave the go-ahead for a proposed ordinance that would allow bicyclists to sue motorists who harass, threaten, endanger or harm them.|
This month, the LA Police Department issued a video to train its officers on the rules of the road as they apply to cyclists, a product of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's bike summit last summer. And early next month the LA City Council will take up a proposal to fund a citywide Safe Routes to School program, as called for in the recently approved LA Bike Plan. The proposal is meant to provide for more comprehensive programs to protect the safety of school children who walk or ride bikes between home and school.
The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition continues to play a central role in shaping all these initiatives.
Yes, that's billion with a B The San Diego Association of Governments set the bar high this month by allocating $2.58 billion for regional bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure improvements over the next 40 years as part of its 2050 Regional Transportation Plan. The $110.7 billion plan calls for spending $450 million on bike and pedestrian improvements over the next decade and double that amount over the following 10 years.
By contrast, the City of Los Angeles plans to spend $50 million to implement its recently updated bike plan over the same period, while the Bicycle Transportation Account within the Caltrans budget contains about $7 million for bike improvements statewide, not quite 0.3% of the amount SANDAG will spend.
Two reasons for SANDAG's big investment? San Diego's full embrace of Senate Bill 375, which closely links land use and transportation planning, and the growing clout of San Diego's bicycle and pedestrian advocacy communities.
Pathway on the chopping block The Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit
agency suggests closing a budget shortfall by cutting one-third of a bicycle-pedestrian pathway planned for the commuter rail system linking Sonoma
and Marin counties. Bicycle advocates in both counties say the multi-use path is integral to the system because many of the proposed SMART stations have been designed specifically with little or no parking for cars. Bicyclists are already using a segment of the pathway through a tunnel near San Rafael that will eventually also carry SMART trains.
Complete Streets for Redding This month the Redding City Council named complete streets as its top policy priority as it prepares to cut the city budget by 25%. At its priority-setting workshop last month, the council also gave priority to extension of a main cross-town road and privatization of city services.
"I want to be able to use my bike for transportation," said City Council Member Francie Sullivan about why she supports a complete streets for Redding. "But I also have neighbors who can only get around in electric wheelchairs, and neighbors who can only afford to get to their job on a bike. As a society, it benefits every one of us to make it safe and pleasant to use nonmotorized transportation."
Meanwhile, Redding is getting set to host its first ciclovia event on Saturday, Apr. 23. The city will open streets along the Sacramento River to residents on foot, bicycles, skateboards and rollerblades as part of the annual Whole Earth Festival. The open streets event is being organized by Shasta Living Streets, for which CBC serves as fiscal sponsor.
Bike-friendly California Four more California businesses have joined the 14 others from California already recognized as bicycle-friendly businesses by the League of American Bicyclists. The League announced first-time awards for the California State University Long Beach (gold award), Sacramento restaurant Hot Italian (bronze award) -- the first California restaurant to receive a League award -- and the Path Bike Shop in Tustin (bronze award). Sierra Nevada Brewing in Chio renewed its silver award. The League currently recognizes 252 businesses throughout the U.S.
California dominated a new award category for bicycle-friendly universities. Of the 20 U.S. universities recognized, Stanford University received the only platinum award, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara received the only gold awards, CSU Long Beach and UC Irvine received silver awards, and UCLA received a bronze award.
PHOTOS (from top): LACBC, Clintus McGlintus, SMART, Francie Sullivan