Monday, January 28, 2013


This is a highway traffic yield sign identical to that found at the corner of Forest Avenue and Broadway in Laguna Beach. From the DMV handbook it says: "A three-sided red YIELD sign indicates that you must slow down and be ready to stop, if necessary, to let any vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian pass before you proceed." Notice the wording be ready to stop. It also says S T O P and refers to passing BICYCLIST OR PEDESTRIAN cross traffic in your path.

Unfortunately this intersection is utilized like a freeway on-ramp rather than a multi-modal merge lane because CALtrans treats it so. Most motorists accelerate merging left instead of looking right to heed the yield sign. Whether or not CALtrans meets it's mandates for Complete Streets (DD-64) by accommodating all road users safely, we road users remain responsible for one-another by complying with well intended but misplaced signs and impotent rules. -LS

Friday, January 25, 2013

Balanced Mobility, 24 Steps in 65 Pages

In his book "The Car and the City" Alan Thein During examines the conditions leading to urban sprawl, and takes issue with the car/city mixture when the "sheer proliferation of cars is damaging the viability of cities." In 65 condensed pages During gives residents, planners and officials 24 steps to a balanced mobility plan, quick enough to grasp on a single bus-ride.  Step 13) Calm Traffic. In 1994 Portland Oregon residents put a fleet of 450 brightly painted bicycles on city streets quickly inspiring imitators in Salem and Victoria B.C. to do the same. Step 18) Sell Insurance by the Slice. Sell insurance by the mile to encourage auto drivers to consider alternative wheels. Step 20) Use parking meter proceeds for neighbourhood funds. Re-direct parking meter money from city hall to the neighbourhood that keeps the parking meter. Spend the money on neighbourhood improvements not city expenses.  "The Car and the City" by Alan Thein During at Amazon Books.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ten Year Old Founder of Re-Cycler Start-up

Vanis Buckholz riding his CdM Recycler route
As founder and president and head picker of the Re “Cycle” er recyling business, 10 year old Vanis stops at the OASIS center several times each week, picking up plastic water bottles and loading them into a bicycle trailer he recently received as a birthday gift.  Vanis, a Harbor View fourth-grader, was invited to speak to the Council about his Re “Cycle” er business that he founded at age 7 after learning about Earth Day at school. “I was really surprised at how much stuff we threw away,” Vanis told the Council. Vanis was recognized by Mayor Cliff Curry in a presentation before the Newport Beach City Council “I love my job and my customers,” he said. “If you see me around town doing my job, feel free to toss a water bottle in my trailer.” Mayor Curry presented Vanis with a special Newport Beach pin before his presentation. Read the full story at Corona Del Mar Today and leave Vanis and family your comment.

Show the Governor You Support Alternative Transportation

Governor Brown is proposing big changes in how bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is funded in California. The folks at Transform California offer a petition for voters to show their support. There is funding to maintain minimum guarantees for Safe Routes to School, Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation, and Recreational Trails within the new program structure. California is taking bold steps to lead the nation in alternative transportation. Show support for this allocation of funding by signing the petition at Transform California, it takes 60 seconds to click and send.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Bikes of San Francisco

 "Any veteran San Franciscan can take one look at person's ride and use every scrap of information it reveals to judge them unmercifully. However, while checking out this bike, someone else will be looking at your bike and judging you in turn. It's the circle of life and it moves us all."

What do the bikes of Laguna look like, what do they tell about us? It's too soon to tell.

Care of graphic designer Tor Weeks and the Huffington Post

Thursday, January 17, 2013

For Ladies: Cycling with Grace and Style


1. J’ai choisi d’être élégant à vélo ; aussi, je privilégierai toujours le style à la vitesse.

2. Je suis un cycliste responsable qui contribue visuellement à un paysage urbain plus agréable esthétiquement.

3. Sans être particulièrement étiqueté comme un « activiste du vélo », je suis conscient que ma simple présence dans le paysage urbain inspirera d'autres personnes à pratiquer le vélo.

4. Je pédalerais avec grâce, élégance et dignité.

5. Je choisirai un vélo qui reflète parfaitement ma personnalité et mon style.

6. Je considérerai mon vélo à la fois comme un simple moyen de transport, et aussi comme partie intégrante de mon propre style. Imaginer que le vélo puisse me conférer une image dévalorisante est proprement impensable.

7. J'essayerai toujours de faire en sorte que la valeur totale de mes vêtements soit supérieure à celle de mon vélo.

8. J’aurai toujours un vélo « tendance », sans toutefois sacrifier à la mode des équipements indispensables à ma sécurité : un carter, un porte-bagages, une sonnette et un panier.

9. Je respecterai le Code de la Route.

10. Sous aucun prétexte je ne porterai ni posséderai de vêtement qui pourraient s’apparenter à un quelconque équipement vélo ; cela à l’exception du port d’un casque vélo, et à condition que ce soit un choix délibéré de ma part.

Le Manifeste en anglais... (English here)

The Cycle Chic Manifesto, Cycle Chic Website, Copenhagen

Biking Uphill is Satisfying, it's the 'Halo' Effect

It’s an established fact that cyclists rate their commute as more “satisfying” than others. Researcher Devon Paige Willis from Montreal’s McGill University surveyed more than 5,600 students about their travel behavior, 268 of them rode bicycles. People who rode out of an environmental conviction or health goal were more satisfied than those looking for just a convenient commute. Willis calls it the “halo effect” – the satisfaction that comes from living your values.

The built environment also had a big effect, with population density having the highest impact on bike mode share. “We hypothesized that land use would impact it,” Willis told me, “that parks and residential areas would end up with people being more satisfied.” But those factors weren’t nearly as significant as population density. Cyclists like an interesting ride, Willis told me, with lots of people around and lots of activity. She said the traffic congestion often associated with high population density didn’t seem to drag down the satisfaction level.

Another surprise is that hillier commutes were more satisfying.
“It’s not intuitive and it’s something we have not entirely explained,” Willis said. “My personal hypothesis is that because cyclists are cycling a lot of the time for exercise and health, the slope is not an inhibitor to them.”Tanya Snider, DC Streets Blog dot org

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Laguna is Left Out

Where to Bike Orange County is a first class biking guide packed with 321 pages of bike rides, for the recreational rider and family for locating bicycle routes through-out Orange County. There are 85 routes and 32 specially selected just for Kids. Published by BA Press, authored and photographed by avid cyclist Peter Dopulous. Peter writes "Think of these rides as a network of interconnected bikeways and paths that would allow any cyclist to navigate the entire county by bike." From the Authors Note Peter writes "From  a cyclists point of view, Orange County is as close to bicycle nirvana as I have experienced. Although not every city is criss-crossed by bike lanes there are literally thousands of miles of bike lanes and paths. The cities of Irvine, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Dana Point and San Clemente have invested considerable resources to developing comprehensive transportation plans that include cycling infrastructure.   Sounds too good to be true right? Despite the promising intro for Orange County, the attention to Laguna Beach is Let's have a look inside what "Where to Bike Orange County" 2012 is a first class biking guide packed with 85 routes, 32 specially selected just for Kids. It is intended as a route guide for the recreational rider, published by BA Press, authored and photographed by avid cyclist Peter Dopulos. In the Authors Note Peter writes "Think of these rides as a network of interconnected bikeways and paths that would allow any cyclist to navigate the entire county by bike." He says "From  a cyclists point of view, Orange County is as close to bicycle nirvana as I have experienced. Although not every city is criss-crossed by bike lanes there are literally thousands of miles of bike lanes and paths. The cities of Irvine, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Dana Point and San Clemente have invested considerable resources to developing comprehensive transportation plans that include cycling infrastructure."
Let's have a look inside the book. Peter spent a year to ride and record all those rides, by his testament the County has invested considerable resources to make bikeways accommodating to recreational and family riders around all of Orange County. Despite the promising introduction for Orange County, in 321 pages there is no mention of Laguna Beach.

 Lets see a close-up view of the map, maybe we missed something.

Nope, no bikeways in Laguna Beach, they didn't even bother to label the city. It is noteworthy that this book is digitized and available as an App for your iPhone from BA Press. Laguna would benefit from the thousands of cyclists who ride here if we accommodate them. As a destination tourist resort Laguna Beach would be smart to get on the map. When asked why Laguna was not included Peter said, "I struggled with leaving Laguna out, but I just couldn't find a safe, fun ride for our audience." -LS

Monday, January 7, 2013

Daily Exercise Improves School Performance

"Now the study doesn't mean every teenager needs to be on a sports team. Exercise in any form, says psychologist Kazdin, is well worth it.
That could be a dance class, jogging or Wii sports. With school budget cuts, though, physical education is often the first thing to go. That's a big mistake, says Kazdin."

(Curiously the article overlooks the transport of students to school as a viable,  consistent, requisite means of daily exercise. -LS)

"This might be the first class you include in any school curriculum rather than the one you get rid of and you would do it even if you didn't like exercise because we know now that exercise enhances school academic performance," he says. "Why Exercise may do a Teenage Mind Good", Patti Neighmond, NPR.

Here is the paper the NPR article refers to, "Possible Mechanisms Explaining the Association Between Physical Activity and Mental Health", The SAGE Journals, Clinical Psychological Science.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

12 Best Happenings for LA Peds. 2012

Sunset Triangle Plaza: Who would have guessed that a half-block of chartreuse polka-dots would get so much attention? An unprecedented collaboration between Streets for People, the L.A. City Planning Commission and the L.A. County Department of Public Health resulted in the city’s first street-to-plaza conversion in Silver Lake for only $25,000. The plaza itself needs some tweaks—the color’s still controversial, neighbors complained about the loss of parking, ugly plastic barricades showed up after a car took out a few planters—but the good news is that the process is documented, and any community can adapt (and improve on) the model for their neighborhood. -Los Angeles Walks

INTERVIEW: Jeff Speck, What Makes a City Walkable

(Sarah Gardner — Marketplace) What makes a city walkable? According to Jeff Speck, the author of “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step At A Time,” a walk has to be useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting if you’re going to get people out of their cars and onto the sidewalks. (See book cover next blog entry)

“The pedestrian has to have a fighting chance against being hit by automobiles,” says Speck, “but also the streets need to be comfortable in the way they’re shaped by buildings, and you can’t have a bunch of blank walls and parking lots to walk by.”

Many cities are doing good things to make their cities more walkable, but Speck says most average American cities still have a long way to go to become truly walkable. Why? The car is still the driving force in city planning.

“A city is being planned not by its mayor,” says Speck, “but by a public works director who is responding to complaints (Waaaaaaaah!) about traffic and parking.” (and the personal entitlement to drive -LS)   -Transportation Nation

What Makes Public Space Successful?

Of course, a walking culture is better than an automotive one, better for our bodies and our souls. And of course, street life has to develop organically, from the proper urban conditions — "a citywide commitment to creating an environment that people want to live in," Speck notes, quoting Adam Baacke, assistant city manager for planning and development in Lowell, Mass. Of course, bikes and mass transit are a key part of the mix, as is a human sense of scale.

"It is often surprising to measure some of America's favorite and most successful public spaces — New York's Rockefeller Center, San Antonio's River Walk, San Francisco's Ghirardelli Square — and discover how small they actually are," Speck tells us. "Few are much broader than sixty yards across. And let's not forget Disney's Main Street, famously built at three-quarters scale."

The message is that a successful city has roots and causes, and among the most important of these is a sense of the street. Speck draws on Jane Jacobs, a favorite theorist, to make the point explicit: "Lowly, unpurposeful, and random as they may appear, sidewalk contacts are the small change from which a city's wealth of public life may grow."

And yet, the strength of "Walkable City" is that it's not a no-brainer, not in a culture in which it often seems we have done everything we can to make street life obsolete. Such a shift was partly a response to the urban decay of the mid-20th century, which led to freeways and other infrastructure projects that eviscerated neighborhoods. -David L. Ulin,  Los Angeles Times

Nobody Walks in LA

You won't see a cop walkin’ on the beat
You only see him drivin’ cars on the street
You won't see a kid walkin’ home from school
Their mothers pick them up in a car pool
“Nobody walks in LA” — refrain and motto? from 80's punk band Missing Persons (story Studio 360).

Los Angeles resident Alissa Walker makes her living writing about urban planning and architecture. She gave up her car six years ago and she walks, bikes, and uses public transit. And she’s not alone: a national study used by city planners estimates that 17% of all trips in Los Angeles County are made on foot.

Alissa adopted a car-free lifestyle in a life-changing moment when visiting Italy. "When I got to Italy, I walked directly off the train and into a gelateria, where a single serving of pistachio and stracciatella con brioche changed my life. The more gelato I ate, the more stories poured out of my fingers and into my laptop. Coincidence? I think not. I returned to LA knowing two things I didn’t know before: I really wanted to be a writer and I really loved gelato."-Alissa Walker, Gilatobaby.