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HHPNC Proposes Alternate Route to Bike Lanes on Figueroa

The Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council votes not to support the city's plan to convert auto lanes into bike lanes on Figueroa.

The Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council decided Thursday at its monthly board meeting not to officially support the Department of Transportation's plan to install bike lanes along N. Figueroa Street, and voted instead to support an alternative bike route that would run on less-trafficked streets roughly parallel to Figueroa.

The HHPNC voted, 4-4, with two abstentions, against a motion to approve and submit a letter that it had drafted supporting the proposed bike lanes. It was the first time ever that the HHPNC has effectively opposed the DOT plan, as outlined and heard in several community meetings and public hearings, the most recent of which occurred at Occidental College in March.

The HHPNC's decision came toward the end of a prolonged board meeting held at the Highland Park Senior Citizen Center and attended by a packed audience of about 100 people. Scores of them—or at least 62 who signed an informal list being circulated at the event—were opponents of the DOT's plan to create bike lanes by removing auto traffic lanes on Figueroa.

Immediately after the failed motion to support the DOT's plan, however, the neighborhood council voted, 6-3, in support of an alternative bike route that the HHPNC formulated amid community concerns that auto traffic lanes ought not to be shut down on a street as busy as Figueroa. The HHPNC will now submit the alternative route to the DOT for its consideration. 

Before the two sets of votes on bike lanes, Council District 1 Field Deputy Daniel Andalon told the gathering that Councilman Ed Reyes has asked the DOT to put on hold its plans to install bike lanes on Figueroa as part of the first year of the five-year implementation of the City of Los Angeles 2010 Bicycle Plan.

Andalon told Highland Park-Mt. Washington Patch that Reyes' communication to the DOT about a week and a half ago was verbal and that it was based on what appeared to be growing opposition from the community, via telephone calls and e-mail, to the proposed bike lanes. The CD 1 office would be studying the community feedback closely before making any further decisions on the issue of bilk lanes, Andalon said.

On a related note, a Council District 14 representative told the neighborhood council meeting that Councilman Josè Huizar has asked the DOT not to proceed with its bike lanes plan on Figueroa until the department finishes installing bike lanes along the Eagle Rock stretch of Colorado Boulevard.

Huizar's suggestion to the DOT is based on the fact that the two streets are very different—a large part of Colorado has three lanes in either direction, while Figueroa has two—the CD 1 rep said. Huizar is also not satisfied with the level of community outreach by the DOT on the issue of bike lanes, the rep said. A February public hearing called at the L.A. River Center, for example, was held at a considerable distance from both Highland Park and Eagle Rock.

Tom Topping, publisher and editor of the monthly Boulevard Sentinel newspaper, told the neighborhood council meeting that he has collected more than 290 mailed-in responses from community members on the issue of bike lanes so far. Only six of the responses favor installing bike lanes at the expense of auto traffic lanes, Topping said.

Punk Attitude May 04, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Helmet helmets helmets should be the law!
Marino May 04, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Very punk attitude of you.
Marino May 04, 2013 at 09:52 PM
What I get from most of the anti bike lane people is that they really hope this bike thing will go away. Kinda like like not giving driving licenses to undocumented immigrants would make them leave. Wishful thinking. Bike lanes or no bike lanes, bikes are here to stay. It's happening around the world and around LA county. Your thinking has turned downtown Highland Park to a ghost town. Boarded up stores and swap meet quality businesses. Want to preserve this a few more years? Fine. But pretty soon you will die. Because you are old and your thinking is old. Arguing with you is like arguing with flat-earthers. Your time has expired. Go ahead fight your last fight. Nobody cares. You are irrelevant.
frank van neutra lautner May 05, 2013 at 03:22 AM
@ Josef Bray-Ali: Well stated!
frank van neutra lautner May 05, 2013 at 03:26 AM
@ Ajay Singh: It's misleading reporting that fails to even so much as mention a popular apposing viewpoint withing the community.
frank van neutra lautner May 05, 2013 at 03:32 AM
"North Figueroa is too danagerous for bicyclists. Putting in a bike lane anywhere is fine IF car lanes are NOT taken away." Utter nonsense. What you're therefore proposing is essentially no bike lanes anywhere in LA because we all damn well know is practically impossible to widen LA city streets to add bike lanes without taking motor vehicle lanes.
frank van neutra lautner May 05, 2013 at 03:35 AM
All lanes are bike lanes and no yelling "hit me, hit me", if that story even really happened, isn't illegal.
Marino May 05, 2013 at 03:44 AM
As for "old" it's not an number, it's an attitude. Here is 103 year old man in Long Beach who still rides his bike. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TQgF9ZwxsM#! And a 90 year old woman doing tennis, tango, yoga, trapeze. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxVOxN_Lrsk
Reverend Dak May 05, 2013 at 04:14 PM
The only people that read Tom Topping's ER Sentinel are haters. I read FOUR anti-bicycle or bicycle critical articles in the May 2013 issue. While nothing in support, so of course he's going to get an overwhelming response in support of his hate, and those folks showed up in force. He's an outsider (his choice of words) when it comes to Highland Park.
Reverend Dak May 05, 2013 at 04:17 PM
Everyone should be wearing helmets, especially pedestrians and motorists. Because there are more motorists and pedestrians getting injured on public right-of-ways than anyone else. Helmets for ALL!
Reverend Dak May 05, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Right-of-way design should be forward thinking, not to proliferate what we already have and what a majority of us don't want. It's already been proven that more people will ride bicycles if there is infrastructure to support it. You want to increase foot traffic, not increase car traffic. One parking space is enough room for 20 bicycles, while one parking space is enough for 1 car or an average of 1 person? One lane can fit 10 times more bicycles in an hour than cars. That is MORE PEOPLE, more people equals more customers. Anyway, motorist on motorist aggression is way higher than motorist on cyclist or motorist on pedestrian. And pedestrians and cyclists are the most vulnerable. Let's talk about safety: A cyclist yelling at a motorist is nothing, nothing. Buy a 2 ton vehicle forcing a cyclist off the road is DEADLY, deadly. If a motorists does something that endangers my life, such as honking at me while I'm riding, and if I'm not aware of you and you startle me, I might crash. I'm in a position of vulnerbility, and your stupid action totally warrants someone like me yelling at you. Don't be a dick, and everything will be fine.
S.M. May 05, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Exactly, In the past 3 issues of the Boulevard Sentinel there have probably been about 5 or 6 anti bike lane articles– none of which mention that bike lanes will improve safety. He only mentions safety once and it is to brush off statistics that demonstrate Colorado Boulevard is dangerous. However, even using his twisted logic of not counting the deaths from the infamous 2008 crash Eagle Rock's bit of Colorado Boulevard is still incredibly dangerous from a statistical viewpoint. He never published the LADOT's projected impacts and instead published that bike lanes would add an hour to commutes which simply is not true.
nonoise May 05, 2013 at 07:11 PM
There are several issues, bike lanes, taking away car lanes, saving small businesses and safety for bicyclist and motorist. Take away car lanes means taking away business for businesses. Putting in a bike lane means less safety for bicyclist due to more traffic by motorist backed up in one lane.
kelly thompson May 05, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Simply not true.
Marino May 05, 2013 at 09:14 PM
Who is opposing bike lanes in Eagle Rock? The Eagle Rock Mall. Do I need to elaborate on the effects of shopping malls on small businesses and main streets? What businesses are left on Figueroa in Highland Park? Is this a vibrant retail environment anyone is proud of? Frank's camera closed. Mr T's closed. Swap meet stores and signs made with spray cans. Is this what you are trying to preserve? The only purpose of a fast Figueroa is to get the hell out to shop somewhere else.
Reverend Dak May 05, 2013 at 10:24 PM
Exactly why we NEED bike lanes, so your life isn't in danger. And exactly, Fig is a speedway that needs to slow down and promote foot traffic and community engagement, not as an alternative to the 110 fwy.
Reverend Dak May 05, 2013 at 10:29 PM
yeah, except it's proven to be totally untrue. Taking away car lanes increases safety, increases foot traffic, and increases customers. Facts, proven with statistics and visible evidence. JUST LOOK AT YORK, they have 1 lane each direction, they're booming.
Frank Mackey May 05, 2013 at 11:00 PM
What can I say, you got me. The extent of my community involvement revolves around opposing bicycle lanes and the defending the institution of rape on the internet. Welp, off to make the rounds!
S. Diana Roth May 06, 2013 at 12:33 AM
Seems to me that more bike riders should try combining bike riding with using public transportation. The Gold Line goes the length up much of the section of Figueroa for which the alternative bike lane is suggested. Buses go from downtown straight up Figueroa. Riders can take their bikes on the Gold Line and on the buses. And no transportation form is safer than the Gold Line and buses. The alternative route is excellent. The streets are not heavily traveled. Beginning at about Avenue 50 and going North to York, there are at least two stop lights that I can think of. There is a light at the street just South of the Avenue 57 Gold Line stop and also one on Avenue 52. Instead of spending money striping lanes on Figueroa, why not get another stoplight installed. It would make the Gold Line crossings safer for everyone anyway. While I think bikes are a good idea, the fact is that at this time, there are too few bike riders to justify dedicated lanes. Even with bike lanes, a critical mass of bike riders is needed to insure visibility for drivers and safety for bike riders. Both public transportation and the alternative routes are much better than Figueroa.
Dennis Hindman May 06, 2013 at 01:33 AM
On a horizontal surface its almost always faster to ride a bicycle from origin to destination--if its a distance of a mile--than it would be to ride a train in a subway, light-rail, or a bus. Bicycling is a door-to-door form of transportation and transit is not. Using transit, you have to get to the station, wait for the bus or train, and then find a way to your final destination from the transit stop. There is a limit to how many bicycles will fit on a bus or in a train. There were 9 bicycles crowded together in the door area on the red line train that I took last night. At some point Metro will ban bicycles on trains at peak hour when they start clogging up the movement in the aisle and around the doorway. At the rate of increase in bicycling in this city, that will probably happen in a few short years. Most mass transit lines are not a 24-hour service. Using a bicycle gives a lot more flexibility and choice than depending on transit service. There are much more bicycles on Figueroa than on the nearby parallel streets. The reason for this is simple. Figueroa is the most direct and convenient way to get where they need to go. These are the same reasons you do not see as many cars on the alternate streets. Bicycling should be given the amount of motor vehicle lanes on arterial streets for the installation of bicycle lanes in proportion to its modal share. The city has given over a much smaller fraction of motor vehicle lanes than the rate of bicycling deserves.
Billy Biker May 06, 2013 at 06:40 AM
Kelly, might I suggest that you also pay to register your bike, just like every car driver, who also pays the same taxes, and more fule taxes than you do, to help pay for the portion of road being dedicated to your choice of vehicle? It is illegal for drivers to ride in the bike lanes, except to park and make turns. Isnt is only fair that if a portion of the road is dedicated soley to bikes, then bikers should have to register their bikes, like in the past, for their exclusive use of their section of the road. Only seems fair doesnt it?
Billy Biker May 06, 2013 at 06:50 AM
When a bike and a car collide there is usually alway one winner, and it aint the bike. While bike advocates say that bike lanes are safer, that may be true, but going from totally unsafe, to just a little unsafe, still equals unsafe. Have you ever seen a car driver in the hospital after a collision with a bike? There are cities and streets where bike lanes are proper, provide a safe riding place, and are an asset to thier communities. Fig, Colorado, York, and much of NELA is just not the right place, sorry to say. And I say this because safety is my number one concern, my true opinion is these steets will never be safe for bikerrs, ESPECIALL kids on bikes. Would anyone here let there 11 year olds ride on these major streets, even with bike lanes? Chandler Ave in Burbak, PERFECT for a bike lane, the Busway in the Valley, PERFECT for a bike lane, certain one way streets downtown, PERFECT fo bike lanes. Fig, Colorado, and York, UNSAFE NIGHTMARES for bike lanes. Use that 'set aside' money where it will be useful, and the bike lanes will actually be safe, and be used by LOTS of people. Just my $0.02 (Lifelong Eagl Rock Resident, spent a few years in HP too)
kelly thompson May 06, 2013 at 09:01 AM
BB I pay for plenty of things I don't use with my property taxes and yes added road taxes are also paid . I also pay for two cars so not to worry I pay more than my fair share. That's like saying if you don't have kids your taxes shouldn't go for the local schools. Which I'm sure you've heard people complain about that. Well guess what I don't mind if it betters the community. I think renters should pay and share some of the taxes we pay on property as they use all of those services as well. We could go on and on. Trucks should pay more as they damage the road more. I would say I pay enough in taxes to cover quite a few bike riders.
Dennis Hindman May 06, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Billy Bike, damage to roads that is done by vehicles is in proportion to their weight and speed. Bicycles plus riders cause a insignificant amount of deterioration of the road surface. A much greater proportion of the fire departments calls are for roadway collisions involving motor vehicles than from fires. Motor vehicles cause a large amount of property damage in collisions and this escalates as the speed increases. The rate of pedestrian and bicycling deaths in this country is 3-5 times higher than in Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. Studies show that traffic danger deters walking and cycling, especially by women, children, and the elderly. The lower rates of walking and cycling in the United States may be attributable to greater dangers faced by pedestrians and cyclists. It would actually be fair to reallocate the arterial street lanes to bicycles in proportion to their modal share. There are 1,800 miles of arterial streets in Los Angeles and at least five lanes per mile. Lanes would include parking lanes, turn lanes and through lanes. If bicycling is only one-percent modal share on arterial streets during peak hours, then that would be 100-miles of lanes that should be repurposed to bicycle lanes. So far, less than 15-miles of motor vehicle lanes have been taken away to put in bicycle lanes.
Dennis Hindman May 06, 2013 at 03:39 PM
Billy Biker, bike lanes have been shown to reduce the rate of injury to people riding a bicycle by about 30%. Bicycles and pedestrians should not be discouraged from traveling along a street that should be accessible to everyone in order to give priority to motor vehicles. The much greater rate of injuries and deaths of pedestrians and bicyclists in the U.S. compared to other countries strongly supports increasing the level of safety for these two vulnerable modes of travel. Figueroa, York and Colorado are destinations for pedestrians and bicyclists just as they are for drivers. Excluding these streets from safety improvements for vulnerable pedestrians and people riding bicycles discourages them from using these streets--which were never intended for the exclusive use of motor vehicles. All ages and both sexes should be able to use these streets by bicycling or walking. There should not be preferential treatment for motor vehicles. Leaving the situation as it is would not be a safety improvement, nor does it show a regard for the safety of others.
Dennis May 06, 2013 at 09:02 PM
is there a map of the proposed alternate route?
frank van neutra lautner May 08, 2013 at 01:37 AM
You're entitled to your own opinions but you're not entitled to fabricate your own unsupported facts.
Reverend Dak May 10, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Fact: http://www.americabikes.org/nyc_study_finds_protected_bicycle_lanes_boost_local_business
Marino May 10, 2013 at 06:40 PM
The threading on this board is f'd up/non existent. Posters reply to "nonoise" and it looks like they are replying to someone else. Rev Dak is replying to nonoise and it looks like he's replying to me.
Anthony D Howard May 11, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Dennis your right about the death rate in Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. what your did not say is that if you don't follow the traffic laws you pay the samr fines as a vehicle driver. About $693.00 per ticket.

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