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Bike Lane Forum Scheduled for March 27

The forum will give NELA residents an opportunity to complain about or laud local bike lanes.

Bike lanes have drawn mixed reviews in Eagle Rock.

Some proprietors, such as Dave Evans, owner of   like the idea of bicycle lanes slowing down traffic on Colorado Boulevard, which may lead to motorists stopping to smell the local business.

Others would prefer to keep things just as they are, and allow motor vehicles to maintain domain over Colorado's three travel lanes.

Both voices will have a chance to be heard on Wednesday, March 27 at 7 p.m., when Council District 14 will hold a public forum on bike lanes at Occidental College's Norris Hall of Chemistry.

The announcement of the forum comes just a week after the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council delayed a vote on a motion to support bike lanes, pending more community input.

"After announcing that we were planning to discuss this tonight, we found out that [Council District 14] is actually planning to hold a community outreach meeting specifically on this topic later in the month," said ERNC member Ashley Atkinson, who submitted the bike lane motion.  "We wanted to give the opportunity for more public comment, and for more people to attend that meeting if they so choose."

Click here to see more details about how bike lanes would impact both pedestrian and bicyclist safety and car travel in Eagle Rock.

bbkong March 22, 2013 at 09:35 AM
Why, thank you Alex. I've been short on time for things like this but had to pop in after hearing a few conversations at Tritch's. It's surprising to hear how many people have their panties bunched up about this topic. It's a non-issue to me. Bike lanes are coming whether they get used or not, and in my view it really won't change much at all. People will still talk on phones while they drive, traffic will continue to increase, store fronts will continue to come and go as they discover the general lack of parking won't keep most businesses alive. As long as I've driven in Los Angeles I'm convinced you'd have to be insane or self delusional to ride a bike out there with all the inattentive idiots, me first speeders and uninsured drivers who have no qualms about hit and run. It's like parking under a tree and expecting birds to not poop on your car because "WE HAVE RULES ABOUT THAT!" lol Oh, and I saw my first bike of the day as I was pulling away from the curb this morning. He blew right through the stop sign on the corner. Just like most of the cars do.
bbkong March 22, 2013 at 09:39 AM
@Max "Because that would achieve what exactly?" Raise money for the state by paying your share for using the roadway and establishing parity with other users of the road who are required to have insurance. Bicycles shouldn't be claiming rights and immunity at the same time. There is no logical excuse.
MaxUtility March 22, 2013 at 03:42 PM
@bbkong - This debate has been hashed through endlessly, so I won't go into every detail. But I will say this: - The costs of road construction and maintenance are only covered about 50% by gas taxes, registration, and other "user fees" that drivers pay. Everything else comes out of the general taxes that everyone pays. Since bikes put much less wear and tear on a road than even a small car, it is likely that they pay more than "their share" of the costs to maintain the roads. - The point of liability insurance is deal with the fact that nearly every driver at some point causes a significant amount of damage that they may or may not be able to pay. This results from moving around in a multi-ton object going at high speed. Bikes don't have liability insurance because they very rarely kill people or cause large amounts of property damage. Not never, but extremely rarely. Not having insurance doesn't mean they have "immunity". We don't force people to get insurance to do a lot of daily activities because there is not a big problem of liabilities not getting paid involved. So again I ask what would that achieve. I don't consider, "make riding a bike as expensive and annoying as driving" to be a valid answer.
bbkong March 22, 2013 at 04:22 PM
@Max. Yeah, I've heard all those excuses. My Harley doesn't present any more wear and tear than a bicycle either but I still pay my fair share. And bicycle scofflaws never cause accidents either, right? Why do I get the impression that bicyclists want something for nothing? Cry me a river. I bet Jerry Brown would love the idea. So would the insurance commissioner.
bbkong March 22, 2013 at 04:26 PM
@Max Also, the point of liability insurance is profit. Econ101.
MaxUtility March 22, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Well, motorcycles typically do much less damage in a crash than a car, which is why they pay much less in liability insurance. Of course, bikes do occasionally cause damage and even hurt people, but extremely rarely. So yes, you could set up a massive expensive state bureaucracy that would manage and enforce liability insurance for cyclists. But the rates they would pay for insurance would be so low that it would likely cost more to administer the system than it would bring in in fees. We don't make people insure themselves for every possible event. We don't make people who buy assault rifles get liability insurance and I suspect they have a slightly higher rate of injury than cyclists. The purpose of insurance isn't profit (that's the purpose of insurance <i>companies</i>). The purpose of insurance is to spread risk over larger groups of people and over larger spans of time so that when an expensive event happens, victims have a reasonable likelihood of getting compensation.
bbkong March 22, 2013 at 05:47 PM
@Max "So yes, you could set up a massive expensive state bureaucracy that would manage and enforce liability insurance for cyclists." You mean the one that's already in place? Adding bicycles wouldn't cost anything. Papers, please. No papers? Here's your fine. "The purpose of insurance isn't profit " Oh really? Take the profit out of the picture and see how long it lasts. Spreading the cost of risk is the method, not the purpose. "We don't make people who buy assault rifles get liability insurance" I wouldn't have an issue with changing that either, but that's another topic. Like I say, no excuse. They should pay their fair share.
Dennis Hindman March 22, 2013 at 08:33 PM
@bbkong The damage that a vehicle does to a roadway is largely determined by its mass and speed. Your Harley does considerably more damage to a road than a bicycle and in an accident there is also a much larger amount of damage done by a motorcycle than a bicycle due to the difference in mass and speed.
bbkong March 23, 2013 at 12:29 AM
@Dennis. Bud, you're just repeating the same excuses and it doesn't hold water with any kind of critical logic based on equality. Semis create more wear and tear than any other vehicles and they pay a higher rate than cars. Cars are responsible for more wear and tear than motorcycles so they pay more too. If bicyclists want to use the roadways they should pay an appropriately scaled fee for their licenses too. And we all should be paying for insurance. I wouldn't care if it was $10/$10 a year, it's a fair and equitable arrangement that gives everyone a solid basis for demanding the use of the public roadway. Otherwise it leaves the impression that bicyclists are not only scofflaws, they want something for free. We already have our streets flooded with uninsured/unregistered vehicles and they want to add more? Back to the sidewalk with those 2 wheeled anarchists!
Dennis Hindman March 23, 2013 at 12:57 AM
It cost far more to pave and maintain roads than the license fees, registration and the fuel taxes that are paid by motorists. People that don't even use the roads have to pay towards this through the federal, state and local general funds (including sales tax which almost every adult pays) The added costs of damage that motor vehicles do to the environment also should be included. The increased public costs of paramedic services and medical costs from these large massed vehicles hitting people at a high rate of speed should also be included. The property damage inflicted from motor vehicles also need to be calculated. Its a bargain for a city to encourage people to bicycle for some trips instead of using a private motor vehicle.
bbkong March 23, 2013 at 01:46 AM
@Dennis. Once again you miss my point here. It's not about the cost, it's about everyone playing by the same rules. "Its a bargain for a city to encourage people to bicycle for some trips instead of using a private motor vehicle." It's also a bargain for a city if everyone stops using tap water. I think that's what they call a straw man argument and it doesn't support the point of finding reasons why we need bike lanes. As I've said before I'm ambivalent about this issue, mostly because it's not a very good use of limited funds and the positive impact will be minimal, particularly for the reasons being offered. If anyone is serious enough about changing traffic patterns to benefit local business that they'll promote providing ample parking at both ends of the boulevard and bringing back the trolley I'll be the first to sign up. That would bring in some serious investment. Anything less is just pointless tinkering and animated chin music.
Dennis Hindman March 23, 2013 at 02:59 AM
@bbkong, All of your arguments are based on a lack of knowledge about the subject. Portland went from a bicycle commuting modal share of 1.2% in 1990 to 6% in 2008 and the main reason for this was the bicycle specific infrastructure that was installed. In 2008 dollars, all of this infrastructure was about what it would cost to built a mile of 6-lane freeway. The engineering methods that Portland used to achieve this are the same ones that Los Angeles is using now. Then there is the argument that Los Angeles is not Portland, and so this does not apply here. Its clear from surveys which were conducted in cities in the U.S. and Canada that about seven times more people would be willing to bicycle in a bike lane compared to riding in mixed traffic and if even more if it there is a barrier protected bike path. This has been shown to be true in LA with the bike counts conducted. Few businesses can be supported entirely by vehicle parking in front of their storefronts. Most people get there by other means. Encouraging people to bicycle along a street has been shown to increase business in that area and by replacing a parking space for motorized vehicles with racks for 8-12 bicycles, this increases customer parking. This has been shown to be the case with a bicycle corral that was installed in front of Café De Leche on York Blvd. There have been an ever increasing amount of bicycles parking there since the bike lanes and corral were installed.
Michael Turmon March 23, 2013 at 05:34 AM
bbkong: "I'd just like to see bikes ridden by people who obey the same traffic laws that cars are expected to follow." I very rarely observe bikes exceeding the speed limit on Colorado Blvd. I constantly observe auto drivers exceeding the speed limit there. Why do you choose to single out one lawless behavior (e.g., bikes rolling through stop signs), but not others? Or do you also have no sympathy for car drivers?
bbkong March 23, 2013 at 06:57 AM
@Dennis "@bbkong, All of your arguments are based on a lack of knowledge about the subject. " Bro. Ease up. What subject are we really talking about? You seem to be rehearsing speeches in favor of bike lanes in my general direction when I've already said I'm ambivalent about bike lanes. Hey, I'm cool with bike lanes. You don't have to sell me on the idea. I think it won't make much difference but sling as much paint as you like. But I want them to pay up like everybody else. That's how you get respect. Let's see a few tickets for infringing on bikes and let's see some for not following the rules of the road on two wheels. People will start feeling better about it and public sentiment might start to shift.
Jeremy March 25, 2013 at 08:11 PM
It's going to suck when I have to pay walking fees.
bbkong March 27, 2013 at 02:18 PM
I took a leisurely cruise up Colorado yesterday, stopped at Pete's for a sandwich, went home the way I came and didn't see a single bicycle. Not one. I'm just not seeing the traffic to justify the bike lanes. On the other hand, I'm coming off the fence about cutting back to two lanes. Nobody wants to admit it, but three lanes on that wide boulevard going west feels like a race track from the top to the bottom and there's no denying the temptation to get a little lead footed about it. It looks like the perfect spot for a soapbox derby. Two lanes would definitely slow things down over time which would help businesses and maybe even make way for diagonal parking, which would be insane with three lanes. It was obviously a mistake on York, but it may be the right thing for that stretch of Colorado, even without any significant bicycle traffic.
John Goldfarb March 27, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Perhaps if the bike lanes are designated, cyclists will start using them, since they'll no longer be biking on a virtual freeway at great risk to life and limb. I will not be among them, but I can't imagine why the owner of any business along Colorado would object to slower traffic than we have now. More traffic signals and more parking options would be better still, but if bike lanes is what we're being offered and if they'll slow things down at all, let them be the beginning of the small-town atmosphere Eagle Rock is supposed to be known for. There aren't many small towns you can careen through at 50 mph.
Tim Ryder March 27, 2013 at 03:49 PM
I walk my dog all the time up and down Colorado Blvd.and have no problem stopping in at various shops and meeting people. It seems there is a faulty assumption going around that we need to 'slow down the traffic' yet there is no evidence that the current rate of speed is hindering any customers for the local businesses. The successful businesses on Colorado blvd are successful because of the cool stuff they sell or because of the exemplary service they give. The people on here advocating for 'slower traffic' have no evidence that it needs to be slowed down at all except that it just makes them feel good to say that it needs to be slowed down.
rebecca niederlander March 27, 2013 at 04:05 PM
"On the other hand, I'm coming off the fence about cutting back to two lanes. Nobody wants to admit it, but three lanes on that wide boulevard going west feels like a race track from the top to the bottom and there's no denying the temptation to get a little lead footed about it." Exactly. People are not dying, nor are businesses being driven into, on York. But this does happen on Colorado. We need to slow down traffic to make the whole boulevard safer. Thank you for sharing your evolution of thought on this matter.
Tim Ryder March 27, 2013 at 04:05 PM
Sorry, I have to disagree with you on this one John. I just don't see people getting out of the safety/luxury of their automobiles to chance the risk of death by riding their bike to work just because we paint a couple white lines on the road. And you know I've live in Eagle Rock for over 40 years and we've always had this small-town atmosphere so we don't really need a bike lane to confirm that fact. The question is HOW slow do we want traffic to move down Colorado? You don't like 35mph so do we want 25mph? Do we want 5mph? How 'slow' is 'slower'. Most Eagle Rockers driving down Colorado blvd. seem to be just fine with the current speed limit and like most people, I agree with them.
John Goldfarb March 27, 2013 at 04:16 PM
Traffic usually moves along Colorado at more like 45 to 50 mph, because the signals are so far apart and there's so little enforcement of the speed limit. Most people who have attended the Take Back The Boulevard meetings are definitely not just fine with the current speed of traffic, and I hope they'll speak out at tonight's forum.
rebecca niederlander March 27, 2013 at 04:54 PM
Agree, John. And we will be there.
Manijeh Nava March 27, 2013 at 09:12 PM
DO NOT REMOVE ANY TRAFFIC LANES!! Also, has anyone ever thought about the fact that bicyclists would have a false sense of security, if given their "own" lane?? Cars will still be turning right -- not necessarily following rules, etc, etc...... Also, I've only seen 2 bikes on Colorado in the past 3 weeks --- I would actually support the "green" shared lane OR just posting many signs that say "share the road" -- I've seen these elsewhere. Oh, and I've noticed that there are bike racks all along Colorado now -- again, haven't seen one bike on them!! I really would like to be there tonight, but unfortunately I'll be on the other side of town :( I hope there are many others like me out there to talk some sense into those of you not thinking this through. Hill will have so much more traffic (I know I'll be using it more). Whatever -- my 2 cents.
Mr. jepg March 27, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Tim has a good point. why don't you guys think about why you don't use bikes. my guess its not because of traffic. thinking it the size of the city we live in, oh yeah and the hills.
Jimmy Iaei March 28, 2013 at 03:22 AM
I suggest that the bike lane be routed up Eagle Rock Blvd to Hill Dr and run along there to Figueroa. Then all the NELA Bike Nazi's can roll along safe from traffic. And be close to home. This truly an example of the Vocal Minority - everyone will suffer so just a very small portion of residents can ride their bikes and pretend the evil automobile will go away. Take Back the Boulevard? From who? For who? So cars will jockey around in 2 lanes instead of three? Today I saw a father with his child in a seat on the rear of his bike lamely point a finger left, then cut clear across Eagle Rock Bl completely oblivious to traffic. He somehow felt he had a right to disobey traffic laws because he was on a bike and risked his child's life to do so.
MaxUtility March 28, 2013 at 05:43 AM
@jpeg - yeah, I have thought about it. It's the traffic.
MaxUtility March 28, 2013 at 05:53 AM
Shorter Jimmy - "I saw a guy do something stupid once, therefore people who engaged in the democratic process, worked over several years with local agencies, and pushed hard for public outreach and feedback to make extremely small changes to one local road are equivalent to history's most notorious mass murders." That is a well reasoned and convincing argument, thank you for your input.
Jimmy Iaei March 28, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Max - smarmy replies have no meaning to me. You make think you're witty but it falls short. Your reply makes no sense. It's not a democratic process but instead one pushed by special interests. If it was one it would be decided by a vote of all ER residents. Second. It's not an extremely small change. Instead it is a small group of residents determing what is good for all and if they don't agree something is wrong with them. It's Mario Cuomo type thinking of todays misguided thinkers. "The people are sheep and we are their shepherds."
Haley March 28, 2013 at 11:31 PM
My first month living in LA I witness a bike hit and run right in front of my face. It made quite an impression, and gave me a good idea of where I had moved to. We were sitting on our front yard on our steep, quiet street, and the poor guy got plowed. The car screeched away. I would love nothing more than to be able to ride a bike to work, from eagle rock to highland park, glendale, and south pasadena, but its not going to happen, ever. Because, dammit, I want to live. Even if those painted lines some how protect the bikers, what happens when they come to an abrupt halt two miles down the road when they are only 1/3 the way to work? Its not very practical or well though out. Personally, I think it would be wise and worth the expense to invest in city wide bike only thorough fares if it were even possible. But these two streets are heavily used, and the only way in and out for most of us. I am occasionally relieved that I survive them, FROM MY CAR.
MaxUtility March 29, 2013 at 06:11 AM
I don't know if I'm witty or not. But pretty sure I'm neither a Nazi nor a "Mario Cuomo type". I'm not sure if you're more upset the the road is changing or that some cyclist made a condescending comment to you at some point. Look, I would never pretend that the way the city in general, and DOT in particular is perfect by any means. But you make it sound like cycling advocates have some kind of awesome power to shove this down people's throats. They don't. They worked hard for many years, in collaboration with many different groups and agencies to advocate for change and were able to get a relatively small part of what they were fighting for through. We don't have "direct democracy", we don't do mass voting on every single policy decision in our society, and certainly not on road layout and design. At the end of the day, not much is going to change. A few cars will have to wait an extra 30 seconds, a few more people will ride bikes, average speeds on Colorado may drop a couple mph, there may be a tiny number of fewer accidents. Maybe not, we'll see. But let's step back from the edge of the 'nazis are destroying my neighborhood' BS.

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