The Fight to Make North Figueroa Street Bike Friendly, pt. 2

Bike riders fill up a lane on N. Figueroa St. during our September 2009 Get Sum Dime Sum Ride.

Bike riders fill up a lane on N. Figueroa St. during our September 2009 Get Sum Dime Sum Ride.

I thought that this quote would sum up what we’re up against when it comes to making North Figueroa Street in North East Los Angeles more bike friendly:

Asking for bike lanes is radical enough, and they cost relatively little. “It’s not about money,” says [Michelle] Mowery [, bicycle program coordinator for the City of Los Angeles]. “It’s about ten feet, and that’s the bottom line.” We’re in a conference room that borders a sweeping plain of gray cubicles at the LADOT headquarters downtown. Mowery moves to the white board and sketches a streetscape to illustrate how lanes must be a minimum of ten feet wide. There’s often not enough room to accommodate the existing lanes, street parking, and a bike lane. To remove street parking, let alone a traffic lane, would be beyond Mowery’s reach. “At that point it’s a political decision,” she says, “because the business community is going to lose their mind and congestion is just going to pile up if we take a travel lane unless we can show it’s a street that has a very low volume of traffic.”
-“Bike Culture: Spokes People” by Matthew Segal, Los Angeles Magazine, January 2009

As I demonstrated in my last post on this topic, “The Fight to Make North Figueroa Bike Friendly” on November 30, 2009, N. Figueroa St. is actually about 6,000 to 8,000 car trips below its minimum level of planned use. The local business community, for the most part, would welcome slower car speeds – as this would directly benefit their sales. Local residents are interested in safer crossing points for pedestrians – and traffic calming, or lane removal on North Figueroa Street would achieve this as well.

Still, this street was rejected by the LADOT when considering it for bicycle projects included in the Draft Bike Plan! Politics indeed.

What will it take for the LADOT to place the “road diet” their consultant recommended back into the Bike Plan?

Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

One Comment

  1. Posted December 10, 2009 at 8:19 pm | Permalink


    What do we have to do to get Fig. in the plan while it is still being revised? This is a no-brainer and you’ve done the work to make it clear. This absolutely SHOULD be in the plan. I think its good strategy for us cyclists, along with our allies (like the business owners you’ve talked to) to seek clear concessions during this draft period. This should be one of them. I’m imagining there should be a few key changes in each council district. If we don’t see these clear concessions we should lobby for the plan to be rejected. Over at UCLA, we are going to demand certain things – i.e. SOME improvements to the Wilshire gauntlet, revising certain access routes, like Beverly Glen and Sepulveda, from “potential” to “proposed,” etc. If we don’t see these things added we will not support passing the Bike Plan and we should go hard to Koretz with that view. At least that’s my take on it right now.

    Good work Josef. Bike Plan, are you hearing us?

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] ones, this time. Wilshire Boulevard is 75 years old; Flying Pigeon keeps up the fight to make Figueroa bike friendly. The Pigeons are also featured on the VOA’s Persian TV. Bikerowave claims success with their […]

  2. […] course, the excuse reason we’re given is that Los Angeles is too built out and there’s not enough room to add more lanes. Especially not compared to a spacious, low-density and bike friendly community […]

  • What's Up?

    We're closed!
    But the blog posts keep on comin'