April 7, 2020

LA County’s Bicycle Master Plan

 

While you, dear car driver, have been zooming along Topanga’s highways and byways complaining about those darn bicycles hogging the road, bicycle advocates have been pushing and prodding the County, especially over the last 18 months, to do something about making Los Angeles a bike-friendly place despite its entrenched car-culture.

To see how that might happen, a handful of bicycle enthusiasts showed up at Topanga Elementary auditorium on Monday, March 28, to meet with County officials and consultants for an overview of the plan and how it would affect Topanga.

The meeting was the first in this third and last series of public meetings before the plan goes to County Planning and the Board of Supervisors for approval and integration into the General Plan. Implementation would begin in 2012 with the projected cost of $284.8 million spread out over 20 years to 2032.

LA County’s Bicycle Master Plan



The Master Plan seeks to expand and connect 695 miles of new bikeways in unincorporated territory, improve existing County bicycle facilities, develop and prioritize a list of proposed bikeways, including 20 miles of rider-friendly Class IV “bike boulevards,” bicycle projects and promote bicycle usage.

There are four classes of bikeways, each adapting to different environments. Class I covers offset dedicated bikeways that aren’t shared with cars, such as the Temescal to Venice Bikeway along the beach. Class II is the familiar bike lanes more appropriate for suburban and urban areas. Class III Bike Routes (Topanga’s classification) often have a centerline stripe only and no designated shoulders to create a dedicated bike lane and are shared with motor vehicles. Likewise, Class IV Bike Boulevards are a right-of-way shared use with signage, called a “Sharrow.”

For drivers, little will change in Topanga except for extra signage admonishing them to share the road with cyclists. The plan will add more than 380 miles of Class III Bicycle Routes mostly in the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys, but also through the Santa Monica Mountains. Topanga’s route begins at the coast and turns onto Old Topanga Canyon Road to Mulholland and beyond.

In 1975, the County was being visionary when it adopted its first Bicycle Master Plan. Thirty-six years later, on March 1, 2011, activists celebrated LA City’s approval of a new bicycle plan that will add 1,680 miles of new bikeways.

In contrast, the County oversees 2,657 square miles of unincorporated area where the plan calls for integrating bicycles into streets dominated by automobiles. The obstacles can be daunting but the plan lays out ways to meet those challenges, the first priority being safer streets for cyclists so people will want to bicycle more.

For those who missed this meeting, there is another on Monday, April 11 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Las Virgenes Water District, 4232 Las Virgenes Road, Calabasas. Seven more, not as convenient to Topanga, are listed at lacountybikeplan.com where you can also find detailed information.

For questions, contact County Bicycle Coordinator, Abu Yusuf, at (626) 458-3940 or ayusuf@dpw.lacounty.gov.