Colorado Blvd now has bike lanes to improve the safety and comfort of people bicycling
Colorado Boulevard has long held a reputation as an unfriendly street with a notorious traffic safety record. Fortunately, thanks to local leadership from Councilmember Huizar, Take Back The Boulevard, and Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council, changes have been made to the street within the past few months to improve safety and make the street more pleasant for walking and bicycling.
A crash on Colorado Blvd by the Eagle Rock Plaza
In recent years Colorado Boulevard has been the most widely discussed street when it comes to talk of traffic safety in Northeast LA. The attention dedicated to Colorado Boulevard is well warranted, however it is not the only dangerous street in the neighborhood. There are many streets in Northeast LA that enable the kind of reckless driving we regularly experience and cause the crashes that scar the community. Ten years of collision data (2002 through 2011) accessible through UC Berkeley’s Transportation Injury Mapping System, or TIMS, reinforces the need to take traffic safety more seriously on all our streets.
More and more, people are riding bikes throughout the neighborhood and the surest sign of this is the growing number of families seen cycling for local trips. Haven’t noticed? See the below collection of photos…
(Screenshot from Figueroa For All’s website– the Cypress Park Neighborhood Council meeting for Tuesday has been cancelled.)
Readers of this blog are probably familiar with Take Back The Boulevard (TBTB) – Eagle Rock’s community initiative to revitalize Colorado Boulevard through transforming the street to create a more pedestrian friendly environment. However, readers may be unaware there is a similar grassroots movement afoot to do the same for North Figueroa Street– Figueroa For All (or fig4all as it is known on twitter).
Figueroa For All, as its recently launched website states, seeks to make North Figueroa a more livable street– this includes advocating for bike lanes on the street between Colorado Boulevard and San Fernando Road. Figueroa For All’s website will be the go-to place for anyone wishing to keep up with or support the initiative’s efforts.
Are you interested in helping Figueroa For All and bringing bike lanes to North Figueroa? Here are four things you can do:
(“Creating bike lanes by reducing the number of lanes available to motorists will hurt businesses,” one of the many arguments presented against bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard. See “Bike Lane Concern #4″ below to find out if bike lanes are really likely to hurt local business)
Bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard, as planned in the Los Angeles Bike Plan, are coming closer to being a reality– a meeting on March 27th hosted by council member Huizar’s office will be held to determine based on community input how to move forward, if at all, with bike lanes on Eagle Rock’s main street.
During on-going opportunities for community input throughout phases of the Bike Plan formation, the Bike Plan’s environmental impact review, and most recently at a public hearing regarding the results of the environmental impact review comments have been mostly positive. However, now concerns about the potential impact bike lanes may are popping up in growing numbers. There is nothing wrong with this, concerns are well warranted for any proposed changes in town and a change to Colorado Boulevard’s public right-of-way will affect daily travel for many.
To gain a clearer perspective of what the current circumstances are and what may possibly change as a result of bike lanes being implemented, it may be beneficial to have the recurring concerns and questions people have regarding bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard actually be addressed. That’s what this blog post will attempt to do– address concerns that have been raised in conversations about bike lanes in the community.
(This is part 2 of a response to John Nese’s article “Safety on York Boulevard”. See an introduction and Part 1 here)
The article continues:
“I think bicyclists can be good for businesses like mine. In fact, I would love to see how creative cyclists can be with carrying their purchases. I know in some countries, it’s quite a feat to carry large packages, boxes, etc. atop a bike.
But my overall issue with bikes is about safety.”
(Less than a day after Walk Eagle Rock published an article titled “Galco’s and Bike Lanes“, John Nese of Galco’s published – what appears to be a response – on his business’ website, an article titled “Safety on York Boulevard“. We at here at Walk Eagle Rock feel safety is paramount and we would like to address Nese’s article, which actually extends beyond safety and discusses Nese’s opinion on bicycling in Highland Park more broadly. The following is part 1 of 2 a response addressing claims made in Nese’s article)
Nese opens his article stating:
“The new bike lanes on York Boulevard scare me. Not just as a business owner, but a resident of the area and a grandfather.
I see cars, as many as 1,200 an hour I’m told, rushing down the street and, with the introduction of these bike lanes, I am fearful that when they meet up with a two-wheeled biker, things won’t be pretty and with the bicyclist getting the short end of the stick.”
Take Back The Boulevard – the initiative that has sparked my interest in studying the conditions along Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock – is an opportunity for us to improve our main street. One of the main components involves improving traffic safety, and some supporters of the initiative make the case for improving safety by comparing crash statistics on Colorado in Eagle Rock with neighboring Glendale and Pasadena.
However, Take Back The Boulevard really is an opportunity for us to improve traffic safety in Eagle Rock regardless of findings in neighboring cities. Though, if one really wants a quick comparison one can look to a map that shows every road fatality between 2001 and 2009 in the entire United States. This map includes road fatalities along Colorado as the street runs through Glendale, Eagle Rock and Pasadena. Not the most solid of data to draw conclusions but it indicates what many suspect– Eagle Rock’s portion of Colorado Boulevard has been deadlier than it is in our neighboring cities where the street is only two lanes in each direction according to nearly a decade of records. Eagle Rock’s bit of Colorado Boulevard saw more deaths than Pasadena’s portion despite spanning a short distance and at about the same distance as Glendale’s portion of the street yet with more deaths. While one cannot speculate too much, it would not seem far fetched if the increased number of deaths in Eagle Rock are partially the result of conditions which allow for greater speeds (higher speeds, not surprisingly, are more likely to result in death in the event of a crash).
Note: In my part one post for how to make Yosemite safer I suggested some kind of barrier for private auto use yet still allowing buses and emergency vehicles to pass. If that is wanting too much, I still think there is much which can be done to improve the safety of the many pedestrians that use this street. Simply lowering the speed limit is about the cheapest way LADOT can promote safety for all. Here in part two I would mainly like to address speeds along Yosemite Drive.
What comes to mind when you think of Yosemite Drive?
Eagle Rock High School? Yosemite Park? Bilo’s Liquor Store? The Teen Rock Center? Fraternal Order of Eagles Center? 181 bus route? Rockdale Elementary? Connects North Figueroa Street to Eagle Rock Boulevard? Adjacent to Eagle Rock Elementary? a predominately residential street?
I personally have memories of cross country and track practice, running along Yosemite before navigating other streets to get to ideal streets for running, like Hill Drive or La Loma. I also think of walking or biking to and from a friend’s house.
Do you think of the street as one suitable for a 35mph street limit?