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Westside Cities Council of Government Considers Biking Projects

Representatives from the panel met Monday to discuss regional transportation planning.

In an effort to make traveling through the Westside easier, the transportation committee of the Westside Cities Council of Government (WSCCOG) met Monday to discuss ways to support bicycling in the area.

The WSCCOG is a collaboration between the cities of Beverly Hills, Culver City, West Hollywood and Santa Monica as well as Westside portions of Los Angeles and unincorporated Los Angeles County.

In attendance were the three elected officials on the committee: Beverly Hills Vice Mayor Dr. William Brien, Councilman Jeff Cooper of Culver City and Councilman John Heilman of West Hollywood. The meeting also included WSCCOG Executive Director Maria Rychlicki, staff members from the member communities, a representative from the Federal Highway Administration and members of Angelenos Against Gridlock and Better Bike LA.

Rychlicki said the WSCCOG unites the otherwise autonomous cities so they can take advantage of opportunities as a sub-region.

Among the topics discussed Monday was closing the gaps in bike lanes that pass through multiple cities. An example given was a bike lane on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood that stops when it reaches Beverly Hills and resumes in Los Angeles.

“The cyclist gets on the road and suddenly the bicycle lane drops off the planet,” Rychlicki said.

The committee is working on identifying five bike routes to improve based on project feasibility, safety and connecting as many member communities as possible.

In addition to closing the gaps between cities, the committee will recommend signage to help riders find the bike lanes.

Possible areas to improve include the bike lane on Santa Monica Boulevard and a north-south route into Culver City, possibly on Beverly Drive.

The committee is also studying a bike-sharing program based on those used in Washington, D.C., and Paris, where participants check out bikes to use in different parts of the city in an effort to close the so-called “last mile” between public transportation and user destinations. The committee discussed the best ways to implement such a program in the Westside.

“It’s essential that, in whatever program we develop, somebody can get a bike in West Hollywood, ride to Santa Monica, drop it off there and then, if they wanted, get a bike in Culver City and ride back to West Hollywood,” Heilman said.

The committee will discuss these plans further at its next meeting, which Rychlicki said may be scheduled before Christmas.

The committee’s recommendations will be brought to the entire COG board in January for a vote on whether to adopt them as formal recommendations for the member communities.

Paul December 13, 2011 at 07:03 PM
We really need to get rid of a lot of the cars so us bike riders can ride safely. Also, a lot of the fatties that drive need to buy a bike and get moving so they won't be fat anymore.
catman December 13, 2011 at 07:26 PM
Safety begins with following traffic laws Paul. And the vast majority of bike riders don't. They ride the wrong way down Speedway (and go over the speed limit there as well), they blow through Stop signs like they're not even there, etc. etc. etc. Personally I don't feel sorry for any of them when they're involved in accidents with motor vehicles. And the reason I don't is because based on what I see them doing everyday I think its safe to assume that the accident was caused by the bike rider thinking the rules of the road didn't apply to them.
William Margold December 13, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Bicycle riders should be subject to paying California state license fees. And they should be given tickets for breaking laws such as peddling moronically on sidewalks and running stop signs. Why not run images on what happens to them (and their bicycles) when they blissfully challenge automobiles. Those shots might scare most of them out of perpetually making nuisances of themselves.
Paul December 13, 2011 at 10:45 PM
The people who complain about people who dislike bike riders are more then likely fats or over weight and to lazy to exercise.
Chris Loos December 13, 2011 at 10:57 PM
Hope they use Bixi for the bike sharing. They have a proven track record in DC, London, Montreal, Boston, and soon NYC. Use what already works.
jamie December 14, 2011 at 12:23 AM
In the last week I have seen multiple bikers run STOP Signs -- just plow right through. Do they not have to Stop, or are they taking advantage???
Paul December 14, 2011 at 02:13 AM
Pedestrians & biker riders have the right away. Cars have to stop!
catman December 14, 2011 at 02:57 AM
Yes Jamie they're supposed to stop at all stop signs. They are in fact supposed to obey all of the motor vehicle laws like not riding the wrong way down one way streets, not going over the speed limit, signaling when they're going to turn , etc. This guy Paul doesn't know what he's talking about.
joninla December 14, 2011 at 05:20 AM
I think there is an attempt by local residents who want a bicycle lane to use for recreational purposes to try to jump on the serious attempt to provide an actual transportation corridor as a realistic alternative to people who can and want to commute to work by bicycle instead of car or bus. The Mayor says he finds it difficult and dangerous to ride his bike in WeHo as it is. I am not sure where the Mayor is bike to and from, or why he is not able to focus his attention on the traffic and safety to not just himself on his bicycle, but to driver and pedestrians who face potential injury from irresponsible bikers who do not pay attention or give the same degree of consideration of the hazards that potentially exist anywhere and anytime one is using traveling on City Streets be it by car or bicycle. I was totally wrong when this issue last came up and I said I did not ever see people using the existing bike lane. There are quite a few. You can identify them from recreational users because they are very focused and alert of all of their surroundings, wear protective gear, are illuminated at night and don't explode with anger if they have to take unexpected efforts to maneuver around what would otherwise pose a possible danger or delay when using the bicycle lane. You can identify the recreational users by their complaining and wanting more lanes clearly painted to make their recreation more fun and less demanding on normal bicycle safety & awareness.
Paul December 14, 2011 at 06:45 AM
No bike rider stops at stop signs. Controlled stops with lights yes but not stop signs. People who drive cars act like they own the road and they do not pay attention because they are to busy texting. That is the main problem and it has not stopped since it becoming law, NOT TEXTING while driving!!! STOP doing it. People are being killed for no reason.
Paul December 14, 2011 at 06:50 AM
The mayor, John Duran has a bad ticker and already had one heart attack. He should learn to ride a bike properly around town. People are doing it more then ever.
Insider December 14, 2011 at 04:35 PM
From the DMV: http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk/shr_slow_veh.htm#bike Bicyclists: Must obey all traffic signals and stop signs.A sign telling drivers to share the road with bicyclists. Are lawfully permitted to ride on certain sections of roadway in rural areas where there is no alternate route. Must ride in the same direction as other traffic, not against it. Shall ride as near to the right curb or edge of the roadway as practical– not on the sidewalk. Are legally allowed to ride in the center of the lane when moving at the same speed as other traffic. May move left to pass a parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, animal, avoid debris, or other hazards. May choose to ride near the left curb or edge of a one-way street. Should ride single file on a busy or narrow street. Must make left and right turns in the same way that drivers do, using the same turn lanes. If the bicyclist is traveling straight ahead, he or she should use a through traffic lane rather than ride next to the curb and block traffic making right turns. Must signal all their intentions to motorists and bicyclists near them. Must wear a helmet if under the age of 18. Should carry identification. Shall not operate a bicycle on a roadway during darkness unless the bicycle is equipped with: A brake which will enable the operator to make one braked wheel stop on dry, level, clean pavement.
Scott December 14, 2011 at 07:40 PM
Bicyclists need a better north/south option from the Marina to SM. The bike path at the ocean front is too difficult to navigate with it's curves, sand and oblivious pedestrians. Pacific has too many speeding cars, Main is not much better and when you get to SM Main is just too congested. The other streets are one-way or too hilly for all but the most fit. I used to bike Speedway a lot, obeying all the traffic signs even when they faced the other way, until LAPD started cracking down. Others may not agree with me, but I'd love to see streets like Speedway and 2nd St. in SM opened up to 2-way bike traffic. Seems like all it would take is signs to alert drivers and small stop signs for bike traffic.
joninla December 15, 2011 at 02:18 AM
Until the City of West Hollywood clarifies its position and policies about weather bicycles can ride on the City Side-Walks or not. If in fact there is a definite set and in place policy - the next step BEFORE considering adding more in haste, is to ENFORCE THE CORRECT POL.ICY - Both as to Bike riding Prohibition on all or certain sidewalks, as well as all bicycle riders exercising appropriate safety at all times, weather on side walks, or riding in the current designated bike lanes. I have seen countless reckless, dangerous and just foolish bicycle riders go right past West Hollywood Sheriff's Patrols - I mean countless times by Sheirff Cars, Sheriff's walking/standing on patrol and the Sheriff's on break at or around Trader Joe's show seem oblivious to any unsafe bicycles (I don't mean to say they have to end their breaks to patrol bike riders - but they can clearly see and know there is a pretty regular to non-stop situation involving bicycle riding in and around the Trader Joe's / Starbucks intersection which can (and has) suddenly turned into a dangerous situation with near misses with all the people, cars, bicycles, homeless (with and without luggage/shopping carts) and Signature Gatherers. It is a nice example of a community that functions in a friendly way - but it's only a nice experience until someone gets hurt or there is a car crash (just the other day) with the Pedestrian Cross way not being seen by cars driving.
Mark Elliot December 16, 2011 at 03:37 AM
These steps by the COG represent a long-overdue effort to balance its action on Westside motor and mass transit with people-powered mobility. Cycling is not only enjoyable, but it meets federal transportation policy objectives and our own our state's environmental policy objectives. We simply need to make our streets safe for people who ride, whether for recreation or utility. We at Better Bike have advocated to Beverly Hills elected & transportation officials the need to close the Santa Monica Blvd. gap, but there is a built-in resistance to putting bike lanes on that boulevard. And our officials at COG meetings are entirely silent as those from other cities talk about the progress they're making. And what's for Beverly Hills to talk about? In spirit and practice we're a motorists' city. Read more: http://betterbike.org After all, the federal government's DOT
joninla December 16, 2011 at 04:19 AM
I gather you do not follow Beverly Hills Politics regarding ANY form of Public Transportation. Beverly HIlls has ALWAYS REJECTED COMPLETELY every attempt to have any addition/improvement to a public transit line that needs to pass through Beverly HIlls, not by choice, but by necessity since it is right in the middle of all Westside Transit Lines. BH fought to prevent the MTA's SUBWAY extension from passing under any part of their City, until it was determined the MTA (not the cit of BH) held the right of way for a subway line at the depth below the city it would Travel. Likewise the proposed (and I think approved) Wilshire Blvd. BUS LANE, with a dedicated bus only lane - making bus travel almost like having a freeway thought the City(s) from Santa Monica to Downtown. BH would not budge an inch an allow the Wilshire Blvd Bus Lane pass the BH. So the new plans are to run the BUS Lane on Wilshire unitl it reaches BH. At that point the BUS LANE will simply stop and revert to regular bus service down Wishire Blvd through the CIty of BH, where it will once again become a BUSWAY lane. BH is smug and happy with their 'power play' irrespective of what seems like the obvious ..... There will be a pile up of MTA buses from the Bus Lane crowding the buses through BH, along side with all the regular Daily Traffic in BH. You will NEVER get BH on board with a bike lane, or anything else.
joninla December 16, 2011 at 04:29 AM
Another point - It is of couse a wonderful idea to have a bicycle lane for an alternative to Driving as well as for Recreational Use. However, some portions of the Greater Los Angeles area are simply too overcowded to even consider converting alrady insuffiencent traffice lanes into recreational bike riding. Most of the City of West Hollywood fits into that catagory. The portion that could accomodate a bike lane, has one already and it has many problems due to the undefined nature of the use, the unenforced rules (which change so often, but never are enfored) regarding Bicycling on the Sidewalks or Not, and the Requirments the biker must follow when sharing the road with Cars. It all sounds nice to reiterate Bicycle Safety Laws - But in actual current daily use, there is no attempt to enforce any compliance or to consistently deal with a dangerous stiuation caused by irresponbile bicycle riiders using the existing WeHo bike lanes. Unfortunately, there is simple not enough room for recreatation safe bicycling lanes without severly reducing the needed Car Traffic Lanes.
joninla December 25, 2011 at 05:45 AM
http://parklabreanewsbeverlypress.com/news/2011/12/garden-to-bring-greenspace-to-hollywood/ Now here is a very sensible way of increasing park space in a dense urban city, like West Hollywood, at a fraction of the cost of an underground parking garage. Not only would it save a fortune, it would keep the precious trees from being destroyed AND create MORE OPEN PARK SPACE IN AND AROUND THE EAST SIDE, and reducing the blight from empty, or nearly dalapodated properties that could and should be leveled soon. And - when all is said an done, who knows maybe sometime during the NEXT 25 YEARS, a new idea/need/solution may arise that would make the newly acquired lots - converted to park space - into whatever a yet to be discovered technological/ecological concept is created an needing just some space to implement a potentially enormous life changing for the better future project. If nothing new comes along, there will always be the park space such an economical and certainly appropriate for the City of West Hollywood (if it's good enough for LA/Hollywood, there are fewer stupid excuses why this approach to improving the East Side, saving costs and not destroying the old trees and structures in Plummer Park for the addition of only 89 parking spaces. BTW - if the Bond is ONLY to be used to improve the Eastside - Tearing out 56 mature trees IS NOT AN IMPROVEMENT but a LOSS to the east side, making the bond money unavailable for the planned project.

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