Tell Chief Beck to Protect Bicyclists and Preserve the 1st Street Buffered Bike Lane
It's more than a rumor: Just as LAPD officers seem to have finally learned to not park in the bike lane, LAPD has asked LADOT to remove the buffer on the 1st Street bike lane in front of LAPD's downtown headquarters so that their officers can park in front of the building.
Are these buffered bike lanes too good to last? LACBC doesn't think so. We think police officers can walk less than one block from their parking garage to LAPD HQ. Chief Charlie Beck has otherwise led the way on bike safety, including ensuring that every LAPD officer is trained in bicycle awareness. We want to know whether Chief Beck's words that that "bicyclists are particularly vulnerable and need our protection" and "protecting bicyclists is the law and the right thing to do" extend to providing a safe place to ride in front of LAPD HQ.
Please email or tweet Chief Beck (@LAPDChiefBeck) to ask him to keep the buffer on the 1st Street bike lane in front of LAPD HQ:
To: Chief Beck <firstname.lastname@example.org>
CC: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa <email@example.com>
LAPD Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger <firstname.lastname@example.org>
LADOT General Manager Jaime de la Vega <email@example.com>
LAPD Bike Liaison Officer Jeff Kievit <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject Line: Protect Bicyclists and Preserve the 1st Street Buffered Bike Lane
Dear Chief Beck,
During Bike Week in May 2010, you said that "bicyclists are particularly vulnerable and need our protection." Since then, LADOT has installed a network of buffered bike lanes downtown to protect bicyclists from moving vehicles and opening doors from parked cars. Your spokesman erroneously stated that buffered bike lanes are only installed in unusual cases. Actually, they are one of the most advanced tools LADOT has deployed to make our streets safer for bicyclists and are one of the main reasons the City of Los Angeles was recognized as a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community. Buffered bike lanes are preferred by all bicyclists, but are particularly important for inviting risk-averse people to also ride on our streets. LACBC bike counts showed that the proportion of women riding on Spring Street almost doubled after installing the buffered bike lane because it feels so much safer due to the separation from moving traffic.
I respectfully request that you honor your commitment to protecting bicyclists by withdrawing your request to remove the buffer from the 1st Street bike lane in front of LAPD headquarters. There is plenty of parking less than one block away in the LAPD garage, yet too few miles of buffered bike lanes downtown. Please keep the 1st street buffered bike lane so that people of all ages and abilities will feel comfortable riding downtown.