Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition
BIKE FRIENDLYPage last updated 16 June 05    
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The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has received funding to increase the impact of our Bike Friendly Los Angeles County Initiative - Plan for a Bikeable Future activities. This campaign is actively working with local, county and regional governments and the cycling community to transform bicycling into a mainstream component of Southern California's transportation system. With the funding from this grant, the LACBC has hired Becca Louisell as our planning Coordinator!

Becca's job is to ensure that regional and county transportation plans include language calling for increased funding and policies that require all road and transit projects to provide safe accommodations for cyclists; ensure the new Metropolitan Transportation Agency Bicycle Master Plan contains visionary language requiring that at least 1% of MTA funds go to bike-related projects, and that all road and transit projects provide safe accommodations for cyclists; and organize in 10 cities countywide to begin the process of creating their respective bicycle master plans.

Becca can't do this work alone! She's counting on you to take action and get involved in making your city, county, and/or region a more bike friendly place. Contact her at becca@labikecoalition.org to learn more about how you can get involved.

More information about making your city more bike friendly is below.

YES, I want to make my city BIKE FRIENDLY!
Letter from Becca to LACBC Members
What is Bike Planning?
What is a Bicycle Master Plan (BMP)?
What are the benefits of a BMP, and why is it important that my city have one?
What are the steps to get a BMP in my city?
Pasadena's BMP Success Story!
Long Beach Just Took a Big Step Forward for Bikes!
The following links refer to the LACBC Calendar page.
Cycle Santa Monica! Group Meeting
Westside Group Meeting
Glendale Area Cyclists Meeting
East/NE/Central Meeting
Santa Clarita Cyclists Meeting
South L.A. Cyclists Meeting!

YES, I want to make my city BIKE FRIENDLY!

Please copy and paste the following questionaire into an e-mail, provide the information requested, and send it to Becca at becca@labikecoalition.org

Street Address
Day Phone
Eve Phone
Level of Involvement:
__ I want to be very involved in making my city or
   neighborhood bike friendly
__ I want to be fairly involved.
__ I can help out occasionally here and there.
I want to help by (please check all that apply):
__ Leading meetings for cyclists in my city to
   strategize how to get our bike needs met
__ Participating in meetings for cyclists in my city
__ Attending public hearings
__ Meeting with city government officials or staff to
   give input on bicyclists' needs
__ Helping spread the word about local bike planning related
   activities (phone calling, emailing, designing flyers)
__ Writing letters to city officials and others
   expressing support for bicycle improvements
__ Other (please specify):
answer the next few questions by checking the most
appropriate answer):
Overall, bicycling in my city is:
__ Pleasant
__ OK, but could use some improvement
__ Uncomfortable and feels dangerous
My local government is:
__ Supportive of bicycling needs
__ Ignorant of bicycling needs
__ Hostile to bicycle needs
__ I don't know
My city has:
__ Great bicycling facilities (facilities meaning bike
   lanes, paths, a bike station, bike parking, access on
   transit, etc.)
__ Some bicycling facilities
__ Almost no bicycling facilities


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Letter from Becca to LACBC Members

Dear Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition Member:

Hello! I want to take a moment to introduce myself, and tell you about the Bike Coalition's newest efforts to make Los Angeles County bike friendly. My name is Becca Louisell, and I began last month as the LACBC's Planning Coordinator. Bicycle and livable city issues are my passion, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be here.

My main role at the LACBC is to assist you, other cyclists and community members to advocate at the city level to improve bicycling conditions. For me to do my job, I'm counting on folks like you to take a lead in making your city bike friendly. Whether it be writing a letter, attending a meeting, giving suggestions on what needs to be done to make your city bike friendly, strategizing how you'll accomplish this, getting others involved, etc., there are a number of places where you can plug in.

There are two specific things I need from you. First off, I need to know your individual areas and cycling needs. Invite me down to ride your city streets! Let me know what's your vision for your neighborhood! Bend my ear and show me your road surface quality (or lack thereof)! In turn, I will help you rally others to advocate in your area for your local bicycling needs. But you need to get to me fast, because I only have the time to work with 10 cities (or City of Los Angeles neighborhoods) during the next year.

Secondly, please take a moment to fill out the questionnaire, then send it in. Getting cities to plan for bikes and build bike facilities is something that can take a lot of time and plenty of work. But the benefits pay off! For more information on making your city more bicycle friendly, and to see how Bike Coalition members have already made a huge difference in Pasadena and Long Beach check out the information below. Thanks to each of you for being a Coalition member. Let's work together to make L.A. County a model for bike friendliness across the nation! I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Becca Louisell
Planning Coordinator
Los Angeles County
Bicycle Coalition

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What is Bike Planning?
The term bike planning is used to describe the process of improving safety and ridability of cities for bicyclists. This involves keeping bicyclists' needs in mind when building new roads, repaving existing roads, designing bike lanes, paths, & routes, installing bicycle parking and implementing rail, subway & busway transit projects. Bike planning is included as a part of a City's overall General Plan, usually as a subset of the Transportation or Circulation Element. However, many cities aren't aware of the importance of planning for bicycle use in to addition to auto, bus, rail, pedestrian and other modes of transportation, so they simply don't do it. Because we care, it's our job to hold them accountable and make sure they do.

What is a Bicycle Master Plan (BMP)?
A Bicycle Master Plan or BMP is a document created by a consultant who works in conjunction with a city and the public to establish a plan for including bikes in the City's overall plan, or General Plan. Bicycle master plans usually cover the following items: Planning and designing a bicycle route network, bicycle parking, bicycle amenities such as showers and clothing lockers (usually provided by land owners), a plan for maintaining the route network, bicycle safety programs, promotion of bicycling in the city, and a plan for obtaining the funds to implement the above items.

What are the benefits of a BMP, and why is it important that my city have one?

Direct benefits include the following:

  1. It's easier to get funding to pay for bicycle facilities if your city has a BMP. BMP's equip cities in L.A. County (and elsewhere) to successfully compete for state and federal funding, by meeting the requirements of the California Bicycle Transportation Act and the Transportation Efficiency Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). For more information, look at the California Bicycle Transportation Account (CA BTA) website.
  2. BMP's offer direction to city council and staff members who may not know much about bicycling. A BMP gives the city direction and a plan of action.
  3. BMP's also prioritize which bicycle facilities should be built first, which in turn helps establish a timeline for getting funding.
  4. BMP's can ensure that when new roads are built in a city, bicycles will always be provided for in the design.
  5. BMP's improve the quality of life. They are essential in that they ensure the design and implementation of pedestrian and bicycle friendly streets, paths, trails, and activity centers. Businesses and restaurants often find BMP's increase their revenue by attracting more people to spend time in their district. BMP's are a tool to help a city reduce traffic congestion, vehicle exhaust emissions, and energy consumption by encouraging this healthier and more active form of travel for residents and visitors alike.

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What are the steps to get a BMP in my city?
Though the process will vary slightly in every city, normally it will resemble the following:

  1. A city must decide they want a BMP. This often happens only with pressure from bicyclists like you. There are many ways to make your voice heard, from writing a letter to attending a public hearing.
  2. Once a city decides a BMP is important, it puts out a Request for Proposals (RFP) to qualified consultants to find out who is interested and able to do the job. Then, the city negotiates a contract.
  3. The consultant should start by identifying all of the bicycle facilities that already exist in the city, and then begin to figure out what else is needed. The consultants normally will have public meetings, and your input at these can be very important. Find out when these meetings are and plan to have you or someone else who can represent your views attend.
  4. The consultants and the city should also establish either a Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) or a special steering committee to work closely with the consultants on the BMP. Serving on this committee is an ideal way to give your direct input. And in most cities, positions on these BAC's or steering committees are difficult to fill, so you may find you are able to get on board more easily than you thought.
  5. Usually a BMP must be formally approved by a city council, a city planning committee, or both. Local cyclists should also stay on top of this process if they want to make sure that major changes aren't made to the BMP without their knowledge and buy in.
  6. Once the BMP is passed, the work still may not be finished. Local bicyclists very often need to follow-up with their city to make sure the BMP is implemented properly and in a timely fashion.

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The city of Pasadena, CA just recently passed a fantastic new BMP written by Dennis Crowley, an LACBC member, and Peter Jacobsen, an engineer. Check out the plan and the efforts of the Foothill Bicycle Initiative at www.geocities.com/foothillbike/fbi/.

Congratulations to Long Beach Cyclists/LACBC members who worked with the City of Long Beach to develop a Bicycle Master Plan! A special thanks goes to Tim Price, Dan Gutierrez and Chris Quint for tirelessly working on this. This plan, one of the most innovative in the U.S.A. "will create the foundation for bicycle friendly roads and bikeways which will serve commuter and recreational riders." However, this is just the beginning of a bicycle friendly Long Beach! If you'd like to get involved with advocating for the implementation of this plan, contact the Long Beach Cyclists through their webpage at www.LongBeachCyclists.org.

 LOS ANGELES COUNTY BICYCLE COALITION - Improving The Bicycling Environment & The Quality Of Life