Bike plan heads toward finish line
January 12, 2012
A revised bicycle master plan, infused with some new and creative elements, is on its way to the Board of Supervisors following approval Wednesday by the county’s Regional Planning commission.
The bike plan represents the county’s first such effort since 1975. Prompted by supervisors and members of the cycling community, who urged planners to move into the vanguard of bike innovation, the current version of the plan includes a number of up-to-the-minute design elements that could be placed on streets in unincorporated parts of the county. Those include colored bicycle lanes, “cycle tracks” and buffered lanes in which bikes are separated from automobile traffic, and “bicycle boxes” that designate a place for cyclists to move ahead of cars at some intersections.
“While these treatments do not have approved design standards at this time, the County will incorporate them into the Plan’s toolbox of treatments as their uniform designs and standards are approved by the State of California Department of Transportation,” according to an executive summary of the plan approved Wednesday. “The County promotes the use of these innovative treatments and will apply for and implement experimental projects utilizing them where cost effective and where such projects enhance the safety of bicycles, pedestrians, and motorists.”
The latest version of the plan also increases the size of the network of new bikeways proposed for unincorporated part of Los Angeles County over the next two decades, from 816 miles to 832 miles. Creating the network will cost an estimated $331 million. The plan calls for nearly 72 miles of dedicated bike routes and nearly 274 miles of bike lanes, as well as 22.8 miles of slower moving, cycling-friendly “bicycle boulevards” on local or residential streets. However, most of the network would be devoted to some 463 miles’ worth of “Class III” bike routes, with signage but no dedicated space for cyclists.
The Board of Supervisors is expected to invite more public comment before it takes action on the bicycle plan in coming weeks.
“Generally speaking, we feel there’s been quite a bit of improvement,” said Alexis Lantz, planning and policy director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. She said her group will continue to advocate for the plan to function as a “living document” that will contribute to more and better cycling in the county over the next 20 years. That means streamlining the process for engineers in the future to upgrade bike facilities when the opportunity arises to do so, she said.