Today, Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa signs a comprehensive new bike plan for the city. We asked local experts what it means for cyclists.
Despite Los Angeles' near-perfect weather, mostly-flat terrain, and an enthusiastic biking community, cyclists in L.A. still remain second-class citizens behind those piloting automobiles through the city. After yesterday's City Council ruling, that all could change. The 2010 Bike Plan, to be signed this morning, is perhaps the most ambitious pro-cyclist action in L.A. history, designating a 1,680-mile bikeway system and sweeping new bike-friendly policies.
The plan promises several changes for L.A. bikers: the Citywide Bikeway System [PDF] will introduce three new interconnected bike path networks—Backbone (long crosstown routes on busy streets), Neighborhood (short connectors through small streets) and Green (along recreation areas)—throughout the city, a new pledge for Bicycle Friendly Streets will make streets more pleasant for riders and walkers, and a series of education programs and safety policies will help cars and cyclists co-exist (you can download the entire plan here). Of course, this is just a plan, and one that's long overdue—for more on that, read last week's cover story in the LA Weekly. The real challenges may prove to be finding the proper funding to drive the plan towards implementation. That will take some massive commitment on behalf of the city.