Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bike Lane$ Mean Buck$

 Laguna Beach relied on a transportation system spawned from roots in 1913 New York City, that system is dominated by the private car as a single mode of mobility and worked well till now. Today our transport infrastructure is fixed by space and cost of building new roads, yet the demand for parking and single occupancy vehicles (SOV) increases with no relief. The solution is a balanced mobility plan that removes SOV's and increases mode-share of alternative transport.

Laguna Beach needs to set new goals for its streets if we are to meet the needs of flexible demand in mobility  and address the danger of vehicle collisions, traffic congestion, non-existent bike networks, and environments that are inhospitable for pedestrians. New York City and Portland have transformed their  streets by balancing their transportation plan  with an economic benefit for businesses located along new transportation routes, see the summary by

From a DOT NY study: "Built in 2007, it was controversial at the time (like everything else bike-related in the city). But a study by the Department of Transportation  finds that it’s paid dividends economically. Local stores between 23rd and 31st streets have seen a 49% increase in sales, compared to an average of 3% for Manhattan as a whole."

From a Portland Oregon study: "People drove to a convenience store an average of 9.9 times per month and spent $7.98 per visit for a total monthly expenditure of $79.73 while people who biked made 14.5 convenience store visits, spending $7.30 per trip for a total of $105.66 per month. A study by Kelly J. Clifton, Portland State University here"

Want to make some money? Build your business on a bike-lane, see the summary article by FastCoExist here. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Model for Successful Laguna Business

A Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is a legal instrument cities use to allocate resources to businesses, like the number of parking spaces a business is allocated for patron and employee parking. Most Laguna businesses view adequate parking as the Holy-grail of business success: too little parking and a business expects to flop.

In 1992 Laguna Coffee Company (LCC) was allocated 4 parking spaces, the business operated with 3 spaces and was short one. In contrast Mozambique has 1-3-6 on and off-site parking spaces! Today in a move to satisfy customer requests, improve ambience, and improve walk-in traffic the Laguna Coffee Company has petitioned the city of Laguna Beach to R-E-M-O-V-E 3 PARKING SPACES.

Why would any Laguna Beach business take such a risk? What does LCC know that others don't? LCC knows that business success means serving PATRONS  not their CARS. The point: city planning departments through years of unbroken tradition operate with a bias for serving cars not walk-in traffic. The Laguna Beach City Council will grant or oppose the new CUP for LCC tonight (AB-15). Laguna Coffee Company on FaceBook

UPDATE: The city may grant a business a conditional use permit to allow the reduction in parking where the proposed use is an outdoor cafe' for public seating or cafe patrons use that contributes positively to the pedestrian environment. See the staff report for the agenda bill here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

"City of Bikes", by American Pete Jordan

LA Times, AFP/Getty Images
Most of the nearly 400 pages in fact, concern themselves with a breezy, highly detailed account of the origins and history of Dutch bicycle culture. Once upon a time, Americans actually biked more than the Dutch. But then the automobile was invented. Cars chased most bicycles off U.S. streets. The Dutch, living in a small country with little free space, never quite allowed that to happen.  

The bicycle mode-share in the Netherlands is over 35% in the US 1%. Why did the bicycle regain popularity in Holland, what's the benefit? Video: How the Dutch got their cycle-paths.

In Jordan's account of the recent history of the Amsterdam biking scene, there are lessons for Angelenos and residents of other bike-unfriendly cities. If you want a cycling paradise, you're going to have to fight for it. The Dutch did, especially in the counterculture 1970s, in protests and policy fights with cycling's universal enemy, the automobile. Book Review by Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times/Living/Books.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The OCTA Partnership to Ease Laguna Traffic

CBSP (2000 Census Data)
Here is a graphic reminder of why we encounter car traffic. The graph shows the mode share from 5 modes of mobility in Orange County where the total contribution from cars is saturated at 90%, the contribution from bicycles is only 1%. In Laguna Beach the mode share from bicycles is 1.3%. Nationally PeopleForBikes estimates that 50% of car trips are 3 miles in length or less, 40% are 2 miles, 24% are 1 mile, all these trips are easily reached by bicycle. Since Laguna Beach is 7 miles in length, potentially half of all car trips could be replaced by bike-trips for middle-city dwellers.

CBSP Laguna Bikeways (trick question)
Fortunately the Orange County Transit Authority is aware of the congested mode share from automobiles, so they offer a partnership with 35 OC cities (Laguna included) to participate in their Bicycle Corridor Improvement Program to build cycling infrastructure around Orange County. The  Commuter Bikeways Strategic Plan (CBSP) was developed to encourage the enhancement of Orange County’s regional bikeways network in order to make bicycle commuting a more viable and attractive travel option. The bikeways network is expansive covering all of Orange County, the routes planned are catalogued by city in the CBSP. OCTA established roles and responsibilities to implement the CBSP in their OCTA Bikeways Action Plan used to provide funding and promote bikeways in city's planning documents. 

OCTA has made it attractive for cities to acquire funding for their bikeways improvement project. The Bicycle Corridor Improvement (BCI) Program 2012 Call for Projects is a $9 million bicycle program available to local Orange County agencies. The BCI funding is allocated from federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds. See the management overview in a Worshop Presentation here. For a quick overview of the BCI consult their FAQ sheet here. Guidelines for the application process are available here.

To reach OCTA contact Wes Parsel,  Marketing Coordinator,  (714) 560 5329. -LS

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ka-Ching goes the Bike Lane

While the Laguna Beach Planning Commission considers improvements to the Downtown Specific Plan, here is a study worthy of consideration.

"The Oregon study, by Dean Runyan Associates, measures the impact of bike tourism. Based on a survey of about 5,000 people, it finds that vacationing bikers spent $400 million last year, or $1.2 million a day. Of that, $175 million went on accommodation and food, $54 million on groceries, and $28 million on bike repairs, clothing, and gear. Bike tourism also secured 4,600 jobs, the report says, and $18 million in tax receipts."  Credit: "Want to Make Money? Build a Business on a Bike Lane",

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pledge Bike-To-Work and Win

 The Orange County Transit Authority (OCTA bus) reminds us it's Bike-to-Work Month, a couple of events mark the season. May 16 is Bike-to-Work Day and rides on Metrolink are FREE to anyone riding a bike, see details here.

Pledge to ride your bike to work this month and win a FREE bike or commuter bags and bike gear. OCTA is planning bike-routes throughout Orange County and they want to learn more about you. Entering your pledge to ride helps OCTA understand how to plan for more bike-routes and connections. Take the 3 minute pledge here.

OCTA reminds us the Metroliner and the bus can accommodate small folding bikes, simply roll your folding bike to your seat and stow it there.
OCTA supports bicycle transportation as a viable commute alternative to driving as well as an enjoyable recreational activity.
For this reason, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) adopted a Commuter Bikeways Strategic Plan (CBSP) which includes Laguna Beach. The CBSP shows the mode share of cycling in Laugna Beach is 1.3% while single occupancy private OC automobiles is 77%. Laguna's traffic solution should be obvious. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Take the Canyon Road Poll

Laguna Canyon Road ca. 1920
Some folks propose to expand Laguna Canyon Road to a 4-lane highway from the 405 to Broadway for traffic relief. Think about the 'improvements' made since the 20's to bring this road to it's present level of congestion today. Think about the proposed change to bring a 4-lane freeway to the Village Entrance. Now take the Poll, if you want the 4-lane freeway vote YES, if you want a better alternative vote NO. Need more education on better alternatives? Read Flying Pigeon LA here.