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Are You Ready to 'Ride Figueroa?'

Gear up for an 11-mile bicycle ride on Feb. 10 along Figueroa, York, Eagle Rock Boulevard and Colorado.

Would you like to “Ride Figueroa?”

More accurately, how about pedaling along Figueroa, York, Eagle Rock Boulevard and Colorado on a bicycle around the neighborhood?

A bit of a misnomer, Ride Figueroa is the otherwise catchy name of an 11-mile multi-street bicycle ride scheduled in exactly two weeks. Sponsored by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, the ride is designed to offer participants an opportunity to explore proposed bike lanes on Figueroa Street and Colorado Boulevard, which would complete a loop with Eagle Rock Boulevard and York Boulevard.

At 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10, scores of people-friendly bicycle enthusiasts from across Northeast L.A. are expected to gather at Greayer’s Oak Park, located at Figueroa and Marmion Way in Highland Park. From there, the group will ride up Figueroa, west on York, north on Eagle Rock Boulevard, east on Colorado, south on Figueroa and then back on York, concluding the heady trip with a dose of local politics at Occidental College, where a Council District 1 candidates’ forum is scheduled at 1 p.m.

Besides expressing solidarity with other bike riders and getting a feel for York’s celebrated bike lane, the idea is to “get the experience of what Figueroa and Colorado feel like without bike lanes,” said LACBC Campaign and Policy Manager Alek Bartrosouf.

An advocacy, education and outreach group with more than 1,500 members, LACBC “brings together the diverse bicycling community in a united mission to improve the bicycling environment and quality of life for the entire region,” according to the nonprofit group’s website.

The proposed bike lanes on Figueroa and Colorado would replace one lane each currently devoted mostly to vehicular traffic. The bike lanes are part of L.A.’s ambitious 2010 Bicycle Master Plan. Implemented in March 2011, the plan identifies an elaborate 1,684-mile bikeway system intertwined with 334 miles of existing bicycle paths that have been installed over the past three decades or so.

“This is also an opportunity to rally folks in the neighborhood to advocate for bike lanes,” Bartrosouf said, adding that two speakers for the CD 1 candidates’ forum have been confirmed so far and that LACBC is expecting to hear back from one more speaker shortly.

The CD 1 election in March will decide who succeeds termed-out Council member Ed Reyes. Most of the proposed bike lane on Figueroa is in CD 1. The rest is in CD 14 led by Council member José Huizar, who won’t be up for re-election until 2015.

Besides LACBC, the candidates’ forum is jointly sponsored by the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College and L.A. Streets Blog.

Snacks and refreshments will be provided during the 11-mile bike ride. An organized ride after the candidates’ forum will take participants back to Greayer’s Park.

For more information, contact Alek Bartrosouf at (213) 629-2142 or e-mail him at alek@la-bike.org.

Related: Bikeways Planning Begins For North Figueroa

karl January 28, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Looks like a great way for more riders to experience the rough road and heavy traffic gauntlet otherwise known as Figueroa.
jayres January 28, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Ajay, I am surprised that you ignored the preliminary environmental report regarding the negative impacts that these proposed bike lanes would have on the flow of traffic. The Eastsider LA wrote about it, here's the link: http://www.theeastsiderla.com/2013/01/new-northeast-l-a-bike-lanes-will-leave-motorists-seeing-red/ I'm sure the Take Back the Blvd people, and the bicycle advocates(Flyin Pigeons/WalkEagleRock) are not too happy about this report, but its common sense that removing traffic lanes to all the main thoroughfares in HP and EagleRock will significantly congest commutes. How do you expect readers to understand both sides of the issue, if we only read articles that push the agenda of cycling advocates and TBTB backers. Shouldn't readers also get the info about how bike lanes will make their commutes longer, or drives around town more frustrating? There isn't that much going on in ER right now, I find it hard to believe you missed this EIR. Was this an Editorial through omission?
Gil January 28, 2013 at 04:09 PM
NOPE i do not support any plan that includes reducing lanes. York Blvd. during traffic hours is a mess, Meridian st. is a mess, traffic has increased on Merdian among several other side streets. Turn onto York is almost impossible during certain times of day because all the cars blocking intersections. I m all for riding bikes i do every weekend, but i do not support a plan that affects homeowners, business owners, and residents who simply want to get home after working 40 hours a week in a decent amount of time. Not everybody has the luxury of working where they live.
Gil January 28, 2013 at 04:16 PM
I also have to question why the PER report is not inculded on your site or at least a link.
Timothy January 28, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Getting out of ER/HP across the river/5 fwy is already tough enough in the mornings. Let's not make it worse.
Ajay Singh (Editor) January 28, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Thanks for bringing the EIR up, Jayres. I read it on the Eastsider and was considering a separate story, given how clearly important it is. Stay tuned.
Hooper Humperdink January 28, 2013 at 06:44 PM
jayres, The total delay for a motorist at peak commute times driving the entire length of North Figueroa from Colorado to San Fernando Rd. would increase by ... are you ready? Are you sitting down? 2 minutes and about 36 seconds. OMG! THIS IS A CRISIS! THE BIKES ARE TAKING OVER AND WE ARE DROWNING IN CONGESTION!!! The DEIR goes on to elucidate the immediate drop in traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities in other cities doing similar treatments. This isn't just a bike lane project, it is "right sizing" the road to meet the traffic that exists on it. The road is currently designed for 30,000 to 50,000 total car trips a day. It is only at Avenue 26 and Avenue 52 that traffic volumes get between 22,000 and 28,000 trips a day - the rest of the road is handling less than 12,000 cars a day. That isn't an opinion or a "concern" - that is data from over 10 years of LADOT intersection traffic count data. In a recent survey of shoppers on York Blvd., over 70% DID NON DRIVE to get to the shops. The primary way people who actually bought something in local shops get to the local shops is by WALKING, followed by transit, with a small slice using a bike. Less that 1/4 of shoppers drive - yet the majority of the public right of way, the majority of community concern, and the majority of comments online are about cars. Cars are, literally, the least important economic concern in our transportation system in NELA. All hail local interests.
Hooper Humperdink January 28, 2013 at 06:56 PM
N. Figueroa has a speed limit of 35 mph. From the top of North Figueroa to its intersection with San Fernando Road down by the LA River the street has a length of 5.1 miles. How long does it take to drive 5.1 miles at 35 miles per hour? It should take a little under 9 minutes. How long does Google Maps say it takes? 17 minutes right now, in the late morning with zero traffic - with an average speed of 18 mph. This is one of the chief signals that something is wrong with the way this street is designed. N. Figueroa is a street with hundreds of intersections, tens of thousands living along its length, with hundreds of small businesses and driveways. It is an urban commercial and residential street - not a freeway. The freeway is located close by - and if one wants to leave the area expeditiously, one is advised to take the bloody freeway! If we were to time the signals in the morning to get cars moving at 20 mph, the trip through NELA would take the same amount of time with less death, injury, noise, and pollution - bike lane or no bike lane.
Hooper Humperdink January 28, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Yes, that is the point of the project - to make things better. It is very hard to commute by bike in the community without proper bike lanes. If more kids could safely ride or walk to school, the a.m. traffic on local streets would be drastically reduced. If more people working in Downtown, South Pasadena, or Pasadena could ride a bike out of the area or to a local train station there would be less traffic. As the DEIR document points out, ridership in LA has increased at a rate much higher than is typically found in cities where the government installs bike lanes. There is a pent up demand to ride a bike in LA and it is high time local government got behind it and helped do something about the miserable slogs so many of us go through just to get our work, education, and errands done. The more bike lanes, the safer the road, the less the congestion from too many motorists, the easier it is to hold a conversation with neighbors, shop in local businesses, and get to school safely. This is all about making life measurably better for people - the core purpose of local government.
jayres January 28, 2013 at 08:43 PM
There is pent up demand to ride a bike in LA? Is that a joke? I am a casual cyclist and have no problem riding my bike around Eagle Rock or into Highland Prk, Pasadena, or Glendale. The only noise on this issue(please NoNoise don't respond about Divine Savior) is being made by a tiny sliver of the population, less than 1%, that uses their bikes via the city streets as their primary means of transportation. Very few Angelenos see this as a realistic way of commuting around this sprawling city. Also, unlike mass transit and carpooling, which can ease traffic and move large amounts of people from one side of town to another with greater speeds, bike lanes create more congestion for both cars and buses and allow for only one person to commute. In the end, large numbers of people are inconvenienced for the benefit of a minute subset of the cycling subculture. And as far as local businesses go, I drive my car when I need to be quick and ride my bike when I have the time, either way, the current street design hasn't hindered me one iota, nor would bike lanes incentivize my patronage of an adjacent business.
Kathy January 28, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Bike riding on busy city streets is crazy.
Hooper Humperdink January 29, 2013 at 01:57 AM
jayres, Yes, "pent up demand" for cycling exists. The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition surveys of 17 intersections in LA in 2009 and repeated in 2001 showed an average of 37% increase in cyclists. This was before the DOT started rapidly installing easy bike lane and parking projects (i.e. cheap and no environmental reviews required). You can whip out however may personal anecdotes you want but the fact remains that in a recently conducted survey of customers on York Blvd, over 75% of those surveyed did not drive to the shops on York. Can N. Figueroa and Colorado be that different? The study is "York Blvd, The Economics of a Road Diet" by Cullen McCormick.
Hooper Humperdink January 29, 2013 at 01:58 AM
Sorry - typing got ahead of proof reading. LACBC surveys were done in 2009 and 2011 (not 2001).
Gil January 29, 2013 at 02:36 AM
Josef every time u post about survey you should include a Link. I like to know when this survery happen , Where was it conducted exactly? Where all business included in this surveyed? I hope your not talking about a survery that was only conducted on only one or two blocks of York bl. Your numbers seem to change every time you post over time.
Michael Turmon January 29, 2013 at 03:58 AM
@Jayres -- There is a lot of extra width along Colorado that people have been trying to figure out what to do with. There's no way the angled parking concept will fly in our lifetime. Not enough width and too much interference with other traffic including buses. The bike lane idea strikes me as a good experiment that won't hinder driving much at all, and would allow people all over ER to use a bike more safely to do local errands or go to local workplaces. I'm personally OK with cycling in the street, without a dedicated lane, but it's clearly less safe and more stressful. It also tends to make conflicts with aggressive drivers more likely. I got done with my "power to the bike" phase years ago, but there really are drivers out there who like to teach lessons of their own devising, and like the man said, good fences (lane stripes anyway) make good neighbors.
Michael Turmon January 29, 2013 at 04:08 AM
If you're in good shape, and stay focused on traffic and potential obstacles ahead, it's not crazy. You have to try to anticipate bad or unaware moves by other drivers. Cycling to work and for all errands for a few years here made me a better driver as well, because the habit of anticipating moves translates into auto driving as well. The book that I think best captures a safe and effective urban cycling style is "Effective Cycling" by Forester, although he has issues with the design of some bike lanes.
Hooper Humperdink January 29, 2013 at 05:01 AM
Yeah dude, that would be awesome if I could manage that every time I comment. I am usually typing extemporaneously based on reading and research I've done of publicly available documents. The N. Figueroa traffic data is available on the LADOT's web-site - I downloaded it and spent hours making it easy to search through and use. The study regarding York is cited by name above - you can google that title, download the report, and skip ahead to the pages with the graphs of customer and merchant surveys. The DEIR documents are available by googling "Bike Plan Implementation My Figueroa" and downloading the project summary and the transportation (delay) segment. My figures I've presented are probably a little off when it comes to timed delays because I'm doing the addition and division by 60 in my head - but they are still small numbers. There was a report available online years ago called (I think) "North Figueroa Corridor Report" that was a big study for me. I guess it would be valuable to make this material available online, and present a digest version of these studies - but I am making these comments inbetween work, a kid nagging me to play with her, chores, and trying to live a full life.
Eric Creaux January 29, 2013 at 10:07 AM
The article says that 'people-friendly cycling enthusiasts' will participate. That label sadly misinforms the public and insults the cycling community at the same time. Cyclists are inherently friendly. Are our streets riddled with the opposite? Do we have a lot of 'people-unfriendly' bicycle enthusiasts rolling around? It is inherently wrong to label cyclists as 'people-friendly' or 'people-unfriendly'. If you want to label something, then label 'people-friendly motorists' and 'people-unfriendly motorists' instead. The unfriendly motorists are the ones killing us.
nonoise January 30, 2013 at 05:43 AM
Jayes, thanks for the plug. I don't have a problem with bike lanes. They are on the side of cars and out of traffic which is better than being stuck behind these slow moving bicycles. York only has one lane in each direction so there is no problem with bikes on the sides except it is not safe for bicyclist which ride next to moving cars that are very close to them and parked cars where people can open their doors into bicyclist path.

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