Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

1st St., between Alamitos/LB Blvd

This street is TERRIBLE.

Potholes, uneven pavement, ridges, trenches... it's one of the worst streets in the downtown area.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

LB Towers

Location: In front of LB Towers apartment building, 600 E. Ocean Blvd.
District: 2nd District

Problem: On this fast-moving street, a cyclist takes his life into his own hands. The asphalt at this location has a variance of 5 inches for roughly 16 feet. The asphalt appears to have sunk while the cement has held its ground.

Drainage Grate at 3rd/Alamitos

Location: NW Corner of Intersection 3rd St. / Alamitos
District: 2nd District

Problem: Drainage Bars are placed in the gutter area for water to flow into them during rainstorms and flow eventually into rivers, etc. Until circa 1970, these were aligned with the road, enabling a bicycle wheel to fall through. If the front wheel falls through, it means a sudden flip-over of the bicyclist and a good chance of head injury. If the rear wheel falls through, it destroys the rear wheel. (This happened to me on Sepulveda Blvd. under the LAX runway). Most have since been changed to bars perpendicular to the road or in both directions, except on freeways where bicycles are banned.

California Streets and Highways Code section 161 provides: "On construction projects, the department shall install on the surface of state highways upon which the operation of bicycles is permitted only those types of grates which are not hazardous to bicycle riders."

This only applies to Department of Transportation, and therefore local agencies are not held to the standard; however, many local agencies have adopted the Highway Design Manual (the design standard followed by Caltrans) as their own design standard.

Street and Highways Code section 891: "All city, county, regional, and other local agencies responsible for the development or operation of bikeways or roadways where bicycle travel is permitted shall utilize all minimum safety design criteria and uniform specifications and symbols for signs, markers, and traffic control devices established pursuant to Sections 890.6 and 890.8."

HDM Index 1003.6(3):
"Drainage inlet grates on bikeways shall have openings narrow enough and short enough to assure bicycle tires will not drop into the grates (e.g., reticuline type), regardless of the direction of bicycle travel. Where it is not immediately feasible to replace existing grates with standard grates designed for bicycles, 25 mm x 6 mm steel cross straps should be welded to the grates at a spacing of 150 mm to 200 mm on centers to reduce the size of the openings adequately."

"Corrective actions described above are recommended on all highways where bicycle travel is permitted, whether or not bikeways are designated."

HDM Index 837.2(2): "If grate inlets must be located in roadway areas where cyclists may be expected to travel, bicycle proof grates are to be specified. Bicycle proof grates are shown on Standard Plan D77-B."

Special thanks to Alan Wachtel for this information.

3169 Los Coyotes Diagonal

Location: Residential service road, Los Coyotes Diagonal
District: 5th District

Problem: Along this quiet residential street, there is a very large section of road that is raised, divoted, bumped and cracked. Some parts raise as high as 6 inches, while other spots dip to sub-3 inches. The area is 9 feet wide and about 20 feet long. I know of at least one person that has had an accident on her bike here.

100 Block of Linden

Location: Linden Ave. between 1st Street and Ocean Blvd.
District: 2nd District

Problem: Running almost the entire length of this street is a 2-inch wide crack, deep enough to get a bicycle tire wedged into. This street is traversed by many bicycles daily, due to its proximity to the Arts District and the many coffee shops and cafes along it.

San Gabriel River Trail / Coyote Creek Bridge

Location: Bridge over San Gabriel River Trail
District: 4th District

Problem: I hate to bring any negative attention to the beautiful San Gabriel River Trail, but something needs to be done about the western side of the bridge spanning the river. For many years there has been a large gap where the bridge meets the pavement.

It is a tricky corner to maneuver, as the trail narrows at this point - then you are forced to cross a gap similar to a railroad track, while trying not to catch your handlebars in the chainlink fencing. When I arrived at this location today, there was a gentleman just finishing his flat repair after getting a pinch-flat from this exact problem.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Falcon / Broadway - Malfunctioning and Short Traffic Light

Location:: Intersection of Falcon/Broadway
District:2nd District

Traffic sensing loops on Falcon crossing Broadway are inconsistent and the time given to cross the street is too short.

Loops may or may not detect a cyclist, forcing cyclists to dismount, cross traffic and activate ped. button, which may or may not trigger crossing signal.

When the loop does detect a cyclist, the signal is TOO SHORT. By too short, I mean 4 SECONDS to get on your pedals, negotiate the hump and potholes on the road, cross the street and negotiate the cracks and potholes on the other side.

Dangerous Potholes - Appleton between Falcon and Gaviota

Location: Appleton St. between Falcon and Gaviota
District:2nd District

Hard to see potholes during the day and night litter Appleton in this section. The holes are as deep as 4 inches in some places and measure about 2.5 feet.

This is more than enough to severely injure someone who is not paying attention or is aware of the road hazards. At moderate speeds the bumps are large enough to jolt a cyclist off their bike.

1st / Alamitos - Malfunctioning Traffic Light

Location: 1st and Alamitos
District: 2nd District

Traffic sensing loops on 1st Street, a street used by many cyclists as a thoroughfare from downtown to Belmont Shore, does not detect cyclists.

A cyclist following the rules of the road and riding as a vehicle is forced to dismount and cross traffic lanes to actuate pedestrian button.

For all practical purposes this light is malfunctioning for cyclists and many ignore the sign and run the light because it does not operate properly for them.

Ironically, once on Alamitos, there immediately is a Bike Symbol, however a bicyclist on 1st would never know that since they would be waiting for the light ad infinitum.


My mom likes her bike. In fact, my mom LOVES her bike; she rides it almost everyday. She doesn't go grocery shopping. She doesn't ride it to work. She doesn't even really ride it to any place at all. She just rides it. I don't know where she goes, or what she sees… just that she goes and she comes back huffing and puffing.

Her bicycle is not a fancy bicycle. I bought it 30 years used for $40. It has 3 speeds, 2 of which she neglects. It was made in England, and it's a wonderful forest green. She has a little bell, and a water bottle holder with a Daisy Duck water bottle crammed into it.

When I got home from work today, I saw a little note tagged on the kitchen counter, "Went for a bike ride. Dominic will be home for dinner"; clearly for my dad to read.I took the note and went through the house searching for my mom to ask her about her ride. I found her lying on the couch with an ice pack on her knee. I asked about her ride."I went down today - hard.," she said, as she raised her pant leg. There I saw a bruise the size of a grapefruit, a 4-inch long scrape, and a terrible lump.

She proceeded to tell me about her ride, and the route she took, and how she followed all the laws that I am so adamant about. She told me that everything was going fine; she was enjoying the breeze and the shade provided by some out-of-control oleanders, when suddenly her front wheel whipped sideways and she was thrown to the ground.

The asphalt along the side of the road has large bumps and deep divots in it from several root systems wrecking havoc. Inspiration! I have decided to list and report road hazards such as this to my local councilperson. I don't know what good it will do, but at least they can't say that they didn't know. Bumps, cracks and holes may not be much of a hazard for a car, but they can be hell on a bicycle.