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Majority of Colorado Businesses in Chamber Survey Oppose Bike Lanes

An Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce survey reveals 43.5 percent respondents want Colorado to stay as it is, as opposed to 17.5 percent who favor bike lanes.

The Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce released the results Monday of a survey it conducted of whether or not business owners along Colorado Boulevard support the Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s installation of bike lane on the thoroughfare or if they prefer “sharrows”—lanes shared by both automobiles and bicycles.

Respondents were also given the option of offering their own ideas for installing bike lanes.

Of the 108 responses received, 43.5 percent said they wish to retain Colorado as it is, without the addition of bike lanes, according to Chamber Vice President Allen Yap, who informed members of the organization about the vote in an e-mail blast Monday.

Just 17.5 percent of respondents opted for the installation of a bike lane in both directions of the boulevard, while 28.7 percent preferred sharrows—an option that is not part of the city’s 2010 Bicycle Master Plan.

Slightly more than10 percent of respondents abstained from participating in the survey or were undecided on the issue, Yap said.

The survey was conducted by a Chamber volunteer who walked both sides of Colorado Boulevard from Loleta Avenue to the Glendale 2 freeway bridge from May 6 to May 10, Yap said, adding that the survey was an “an effort to assure that we were correctly representing the feelings of Colorado Boulevard businesses in Eagle Rock.”

The survey follows a unanimous 17-0 vote by the Chamber’s executive board on March 26, opposing bike lanes in Eagle Rock.

Elijah H May 14, 2013 at 06:04 AM
Most of the No votes were organized by the manager of the Eagle Rock Plaza. Who knows what instructions he gave his tenants.
eaglerocker May 14, 2013 at 06:17 AM
So, only 43% of Chamber-selected businesses support their unanimous vote to leave Colorado as-is? Now there's a headline: "See? We Were Almost Half-Right!" I've got some questions about this survey: - What are the names of the businesses in the survey? None are listed in the Boulevard Sentinel. - Were they representative of all Colorado Blvd merchants, or were they weighted toward auto-related businesses? - It appears that a large percentage of the businesses in the survey are located inside the Target mall near the 2 freeway Why are their opinions on bike lanes even relevant, since they are located indoors? - Does it not stand to reason that businesses inside the mall will lose money to the Colorado Blvd businesses who will see an increase in profits as a result of bike lanes? If they voted against the lanes just to hurt the Colorado Blvd shops, doesn't this skew the results? - How is an anonymous survey with the liabilities mentioned above even remotely equivalent to hand-signed letters of support from 48 prominent businesses on Colorado Boulevard bike lane route, each listing the name of the proprietor and their business? - The Chamber survey lists options that are not available on Colorado, like "shared lanes" (sharrows). Over 30% of respondents voted for this non-option. Doesn't this (1) make it a biased survey, and (2) invalidate all the data? Hopefully someone from the Chamber of Commerce will weigh in.
Hooper Humperdink May 14, 2013 at 07:14 AM
This is how I imagine the Topping survey technique sounds when he walks into a local business: "Hi, did you know that Jose Huizar is going to remove your parking spots, force your customers to ride bikes to your store, and narrow Colorado Blvd. to one lane each direction?" "Here, have an anti-bike sign to advertise your misunderstanding of the situation."
Dennis Hindman May 14, 2013 at 07:18 AM
Bike lanes require at least a ten foot wide space on a arterial street. If you are unwilling to allow the reallocation of motor vehicle lanes on arterial streets in Eagle Rock to install bike lanes, then you are against bike lanes in Eagle Rock, period.
Dennis Hindman May 14, 2013 at 07:36 AM
The logic in your argument goes like this: I am unwilling to give up enough space to put roads in my area. But, I am not against having roads in my area.
Tim Ryder May 14, 2013 at 08:46 AM
Sorry 'la-agog' (whoever you are???) but I really haven't had much interest in what the City of New Yawk has been doing lately. Not being one would ever want to live in a place where even an attempt to enter the City by automobile constitutes a lesson in abstract futility, I'm not sure what relevance Jennifer's self-serving statistics would prove in our local conundrum here in Eagle Rock. Though I do agree that the city of New York is a monstrously crowded metropolis and replacing the millions of clanking automobiles with the soft peddling of Severson's two wheelers would greatly enhance the attraction of the place, I still would choose to drive my car down three lanes of Colorado boulevard instead of the two proposed by TERA and their Huizar sychophants..
Andrew Hindes May 14, 2013 at 03:12 PM
@Tim Ryder The term Huizar sycophant (no "h" by the way) seems to imply that Eagle Rock residents and businesspeople who support the bike lane plan do so out of blind allegiance to Councilmember Huizar. In my case, as I suspect is true with others, I'm neutral on Huizar but would be more inclined to back him if he has the spine to stand up to the Chamber leaders and vote in favor of a plan that has broad support among both residents and business owners along the part of Colorado that will be most affected by the changes.
Jose Ramos May 14, 2013 at 04:11 PM
I've said it before and say it again, what's the need for bike lanes if it's being well stated that "all lanes are bike lanes"? Don't get me wrong, I'm of course all for safety and all that but bicyclists have already been given the spirit of entitlement to ride anywhere in the streets and/or sidewalks. I say when the statistics show there are more bicyclists than automobilists then make bike lanes.
Raymond Gonzalez May 14, 2013 at 04:27 PM
I drive, I ride my bicycle, and I walk. What category does that put me in? Automobicycwalklist?
Darren May 14, 2013 at 04:57 PM
What was the motivation to place "sharrows" as an option on this survey, when, in fact, it's not being considered? My guess is it was a strategy of bike lane opponents to say, "Hey, look, there's a middle ground -- you can have sharrows!" And it lets the businesses also think they are being accommodating to cyclists. But what do people know about the relationship between sharrows and the goals of making Colorado safer for all? Sharrows are a relatively new treatment and one of the first things you'll discover when you begin to research them (as I did yesterday) is that not much research has yet been done on them. Bike lanes, on the other hand, have a body of lit underscoring a proven track record of calming traffic, making roads safer and increasing modal choice. It should be noted that the LADOT study on sharrows recommended "to prioritize installation of the marking on two-lane roadways with lower posted speed limits." In other words, there's a good reason this isn't an option for Colorado; sharrows on Colorado would truly be a largely untested experiment, whereas the impact of bike lanes are much better known. In any case, as has been pointed out, there's no majority for maintaining the status quo.
Michael Turmon May 14, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Right. It's a bogus number. I recall seeing Tom Topping criss-crossing Colorado Boulevard in the latter part of last week, carrying a sheaf of papers. If I were to guess who is stirring this pot, I'd have to guess Billy Biker himself. The news won't just make itself.
Andrew Hindes May 14, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Good point. It's as if pollsters in the last election offered a choice of Bill Clinton in addition to Romney and Obama and then said, "look a majority (well, actually a plurality) want Romney!"
Andrew Hindes May 14, 2013 at 06:17 PM
By your logic, Jose, when statistics show there are more bicyclists than automobilists, we should take away ALL the car lanes and JUST have bike lanes. After all, the reverse is true now. And while you may think cyclists have the "spirit of entitlement to ride anywhere" riding on Colorado is still flat-out dangerous. Cars drive way above the speed limit and do not share the road or look out for cyclists. And if you stay all the way to the right you risk being hit by an opening car door. So it's no wonder you don't see casual riders on the street. The idea of the bike lanes is to create a pedestrian- and bike-friendly environment that encourages people to get out of their cars, get some exercises and fresh air, patronize local businesses and develop a greater sense of community.
Dianne Ennis May 14, 2013 at 06:19 PM
I would like to know where they will park the bikes while they are inside all these shops along Colorado Blvd...do they take up the parking spaces just like motorcycles and cars or do they get special priviledges and park on the sidewalk in the way of the pedestrains? If they park im a "metered" spot, do they have to pay for the parking? Or wait, do they get to take their "transportation" inside the stores/eateries while they shop/eat? These bicyclests will do about as much shopping and eating along Colorado Blvd. as they do going around the Rose Bowl. I am tired of hearing that this is the reason the owners/businesses in ER want the bike lanes. How many of them are going to stop and shop then take their little totes with them on their bikes to finish their 20 miles for the day? Really? Maybe bike lanes should only be allowed on Saturday and Sunday...not Monday through Friday as these seem to be the heavest traffic days for Colorado Blvd.
eaglerocker May 14, 2013 at 06:41 PM
You tell 'em, Diane. I think you should go into every one of those stores up and down Colorado who support the bike lanes and warn all those foolish merchants about the hordes of bicyclists with their little totes clogging up our streets and sidewalks, shopping and dining and spending their gross sweaty money. We don't want more business here -- take your stupid bicycles and your stupid wallets to old town Pasadena, where they belong.
Raymond Gonzalez May 14, 2013 at 06:43 PM
I live by Colorado and Figueroa. My wife and I don't frequent the shops or farmers market because it is too far and inconvenient to walk. In order to get to the shops, we have to walk through this mess http://goo.gl/maps/67qHB . It doesn't make sense to us to drive 1 mile to get to the shops. It would be much more convenient to just ride our bikes. It takes roughly 5 minutes per mile on a bicycle. It takes roughly 20 minutes to walk per mile. The way Colorado is set up right now is not safe to ride a bicycle so we don't.
Andrew Hindes May 14, 2013 at 06:46 PM
The reason bike lanes have been proven to increase local business is not just because "these bicyclists" will stop and shop more frequently. It's because it slows traffic down from freeway speeds, making it more attractive for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists to stop and enjoy what the town has to offer. As for parking, the great thing about bikes is you can fit a lot of them in a small space. I don't know if the plan is to put bike racks on the sidewalk or in the parking lane, but you could probably fit 15-20 bikes in a single car spot, so if people start riding it could actually make parking easier for motorists.
Dianne Ennis May 14, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Ok, but IF they take up a parking space with 15-20 bikes as you say, will each one of them have to put money in the meter like I do? That only seems fair since they will be taking up an auto parking space. And then my question is how do we know they each put in the required amount to park there. I for one shouldn't nor should I have to "dodge" bikes parked on the sidewalks. That isn't pedestrain friendly. And to "eaglerocker"..I wasn't trying to "tell" anyone..I was trying to have an open conversation with someone else for input. We don't need to go at each others throats to solve this issue. It will either be good for ER or it won't. I have lived in ER for over 40 years. I don't care for some of the changes purposed, but I am only 1 person. I don't like it when people come here and tell us our town is so cute and nice then the buy property here and then want to change it. If it was good enough to move here then leave it alone. We don't need to make it like Glendale or Old Town....We are ER..progress is good, but we need to fix the broken issues first.
la-agog May 14, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Andrew - Yes! Bike lanes are but one part of this redesign. The core thrust is to move away from a "thoroughfare" model and to one that is safer, more pedestrian friendly, and, ultimately, a better neighborhood presence.
eaglerocker May 14, 2013 at 07:38 PM
Dianne - I agree, we should be having a conversation and working together to get the kind of change we all want. If you're really worried about bike parking, you should send an email to our Neighborhood Council and ask for more bike racks. If there are so many bikes in town that they spill onto the street, then I'll bet both bikers and merchants will happily put money in the meters. But when it comes to those people who call Eagle Rock "nice" and "cute" and buy houses here, you and I disagree. I think it's a good thing, for everyone. And just because you've lived with some of those "broken issues" for 40 years -- like a deadly 6-lane freeway running through the middle of town -- doesn't mean it has to stay that way. And just because it's the "newcomers" (who've only lived here 10 or 20 years) are the ones trying to fix these broken issues, doesn't mean you should automatically oppose them. Change is hard, but let's give it a chance.
Jon Leibowitz May 14, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Jose, although it's true that "all lanes are bike lanes" is being widely promoted, bike lanes actually have more benefit for motorists than cyclists. It will allow motorists to safely pass cyclists and keep traffic flowing, which is what everyone here wants.
S.M. May 14, 2013 at 10:24 PM
Dianne, People do cycle to local businesses. This flickr set has documented what it looks like when people cycle to patronize local businesses http://www.flickr.com/photos/walkeaglerock/sets/72157633374093068/ Bike racks are installed on the sidewalk like street lights and street trees and newspaper boxes. And I can't speak for the entire population that cycles, but I personally don't bike 20 miles before shopping, I just ride the mile and a half it is from my house to Trader Joe's if I need groceries.
Dan May 14, 2013 at 11:31 PM
I wrote when this was first proposed. My question was about turn lanes. I come off of Dahlia Dr. onto Colorado: there is no light. At rush hour, the intersection never clears for a left turn. I would be far happier with decreasing the lanes and so increasing the "length" of the tails leading to the on-ramp, if the plan included new lights, but no one seems to be addressing this problem.
Dan May 14, 2013 at 11:33 PM
I wrote when this was first proposed. My question was about turn lanes. I come off of Dahlia Dr. onto Colorado: there is no light. At rush hour, the intersection never clears for a left turn. I would be far happier with decreasing the lanes and so increasing the "length" of the tails leading to the on-ramp, if the plan included new lights, but no one seems to be addressing this problem.
Jennifer Wright May 15, 2013 at 12:53 AM
I'm afraid I don't follow this logic. The rates of retail sales did not up when the apartment buildings went up in Chelsea. The report was in reference to the constant stream of people riding THROUGH the space when the city redesigned the flow of traffic to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Its better for community and health and safety. When Im on my bike, I stop all the time at local businesses, especially when Im exploring a new street. When I'm in my car, I try to get through (literally) as fast as I can. I loathe to stop, unless I HAVE to.
Jennifer Wright May 15, 2013 at 12:59 AM
The previous article shows images of signs being put up in business windows. The image is that of a cyclist (not a bike lane.. I realize it wouldn't have an effect) with a huge red line through it. Creating more aggression towards cyclists is not going to help prove the logisitical reasons to not take away car lanes. Could they show images of lots of cars? Its really scary to me as a cyclist to feel this anger towards our community when all we want is to share the road (One or two of them) and feel safe. We get 1% of the transportation budget and there are still fights. http://eaglerock.patch.com/articles/how-strong-is-the-opposition-to-bike-lanes-and-where-is-it-coming-from
Jennifer Wright May 15, 2013 at 02:02 AM
Jose, I have to assume you have never ridden a bicycle in the streets of Los Angeles or you wouldn't ask that question. Just taking command of a lane angers drivers, which can lead to aggressive advances with the vehicle, intimidating honking and swerving at cyslists. Bike lanes are a visual space dedicated to bikes. Please understand that more people would ride if they felt it was safe to do so. We have to build the infrastructure before they will "risk it". I do love the Metro campaign (that is only a month old), but it certainly does not get to every driver... Many of my friends have never seen or noticed the campaign.
Monica G May 16, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Here are just a few thoughts regarding the arguments FOR a bike lane addition: 1. Bike lanes slow down traffic - The posted speed limit is 35, and police officers handing out speeding tickets (they could make a killing here) would actually do the same thing, without causing the traffic congestion that is sure to come with removing a traffic lane. 2. Bike lanes improve the environment - Um, last I checked, cars idling on traffic-congested streets does not reduce vehicular emissions (and not everyone has a hybrid), so unless more people change their mode of transportation from automobile to bicycle, I can't really see this happening. 3. Forcing cyclists to ride "all the way to the right" puts them at risk of being hit by, or running into, an opening door from a parked car - bike lanes ARE IN THE PATH of a parked car's door width, so this argument just cancelled itself out. 4. Cyclists are currently only allotted 1% of the transportation budget - yet they "require" EXPENSIVE changes. Maybe bicycles need to become licensed, registered, and INSURED vehicles thereby providing more revenue to help pay for some of the changes they so fervently demand. (Previous arguments against bike registration goes "we pay registration for our automobiles and shouldn't have to register our bikes because they are not motorized vehicles" - yet you demand expensive changes to the roads that you want to SHARE with vehicles...and sometimes aggressively so.) I am all for sharing the road, but not at the expense of losing a car lane. There are many ideas on how to solve this issue, and here is one of mine: Let's remove the center park strip to make into a center turning lane, divide the sidewalks to accommodate two forms of use; in the width that the street trees are now occupying, turn it into a dedicated bike path, separating the pedestrian portion from the bike portion by use of a short curb. This type of "shared" pedestrian/bicycle path works at the beach, and it can work in an urban environment as well. We do not need such a wide pedestrian sidewalk, and if we use the same basic layout, the new bike "road" can still be used as a buffer between us, the parked cars, and the moving traffic, since distance between pedestrians and the moving traffic would remain pretty much the same. Cyclists would have their bike lane, the autos would keep their 6 lanes of traffic, and pedestrians would also have their footpaths. We could also remove one car parking spot every two blocks, on alternating sides, to provide bicycle parking (hey, they can walk two blocks, the same way some of us drivers have to do, when we can't find near-by parking.) ;) On a closing note, maybe we could remove a few of the unsightly (and empty) buildings, in favor of a streamlined parking structure, thereby providing (income to the property owner, and more revenue to the city), more appeal to the motorists who would otherwise pass up a shopping experience in Eagle Rock, due to the lack of parking...after all, the businesses are interested in attracting more shoppers, aren't they?
Joanne Turner May 18, 2013 at 11:08 PM
So you would remove ALL the trees and plantings in our commercial districts, just to keep cars zooming by at their present dangerous speeds and make bicyclists more likely to hit pedestrians and restaurant patrons sitting at tables on the then-more-crowded sidewalks? First of all, that would be against the law. The Specific Plan (the law) states that attractive, maintained landscaping and street trees are integral to the appeal and success of the Plan area. Removing and not replacing any of it would make for one very hot and visually unappealing downtown district, in direct contrast to the word, spirit, and intent of the Plan. It took YEARS of hard work, by the way, to get the diseased and deformed flowering pear trees replaced with the stately London planes that now line much of Colorado Boulevard. This should not need to be explained, but they soften and shade the sidewalk and the parking lanes, not to mention create oxygen to clean our air. Someday they will grow tall and wide enough to shade what I hope would be the bike lanes, too. Walking, riding, eating, or parking in the blistering sun is not something I care to do while shopping locally. That scenario would downright scare off shoppers and send them to commercial areas that value making the shopping experience a very pleasant one for customers. Not so long ago, when our commercial districts were dirty, depressing, weed-chocked and full of empty storefronts, local residents flocked to Old Pasadena and Glendale to do their shopping because our district had very little or nothing to offer in terms of goods, services, and visual appeal. We might have many more businesses now, but taking away prominent, positive features will badly hurt rather than help. Further, it WON'T attract new business. We can't go back to doing ugly. In both commercial and residential districts, GOOD DESIGN MATTERS, and trees and landscaping are central to it. So is slower traffic.
eaglerocker May 21, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Still waiting on answers to my questions about this survey. Who were the businesses who answered it? Was the "Chamber volunteer" who asked the questions our local bully, Tom Topping? Did he only go to businesses who advertise in the Boulevard Pennysaver? Did he target or threaten businesses who have come out in support of bike lanes? Inquiring minds want to know: Do we have a Chamber of Commerce, or a Chamber of Crooks?

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