Category Archives: Press

A Call to Roll Back Street Safety Improvements on 17th Street?

A request by council members Brock and de la Torre to “enhance vehicular movements while not compromising bicycle and pedestrian safety” on the new – not yet completed – 17th Street Protected Bikeway. ie. let cars go faster at intersections where the data shows conflicts leading to crashes and injuries happen. If that sounds strange to you we’d have to agree.

There is no need to “study” this, the documentation on how protected bike lanes and intersections improve safety is widely disseminated and accepted worldwide – this YouTube video on the topic was posted over 12 years ago. The “gold” standard implementations on 17th were years in the planning and follow national and international design standards for safety and were designed by experts in the field. Repeated studies consistently show that adding protected bike lanes increases the safety of all road users – people driving cars, walking, and biking. Research shows that adding protected bike lanes reduces all collisions and injuries by 30-50%. The simple fact is research and experience shows again and again and again the same thing: protected bike lanes are good for everyone. The 2018 CalBike report notes that – among other benefits – protected bike lanes “improve safety for bicyclists, car drivers, and pedestrians” and “Get more people to ride bikes by providing the safety, comfort, and separation most people want and need to consider bicycling.” The 17th Street Protected Bikeway configuration fulfills an international “gold” standard for safety referred to as a “Dutch crossing.” 

There is no argument that useful information is a good thing. However it is important to note – this important safety project – after years of planning and outreach – is not yet even complete having suffered many unavoidable delays during construction due to an exceptional rainy season that no doubt led to confusion. Until recently when the work was nearing completion there was legitimate confusion and concerns that arose in the community from both motorists and cyclists. We all know change is hard. It is a given that – although the changes are an improvement – there will be a certain amount of discomfort and confusion when implementing new and unfamiliar road design standards. It is also understandable that concerns are often generated during construction when new street safety projects are partially implemented. However, now that the project is near-finished it has clearly become evident – supported by the overwhelming feedback received – that the configuration fulfills the world class safety standards that were envisioned by the community. So, do we now switch back to choosing speed over safety to “enhance vehicular movements” at intersections? Is this just the beginning? Where will the vehicle prioritizing corrosive changes end?

These sorts of Council member requests are almost routinely passed. We have no doubt an Information Item on the 17th Street protected bikeway improvements will detail the project’s resounding successes and include Staff’s attentiveness throughout the project and into the final stages of completion. Just recently, as the project nears the finish line, City Mobility staff have made adjustments in response to community feedback and regular onsite inspections to accommodate disability parking, signage and potential conflicts with concrete lips. We ask the Council to remove the counterproductive second half of the 16-D request from any motion being considered. Council needs to choose to prioritize safety over speed modifications that “enhance vehicular movements.” Choosing safety and equity for all road users over “enhanc[ing] vehicular movements.”  We know vehicle speed is a key factor in traffic violence that results in serious injuries and traffic fatalities.  We urge Council to stop prioritizing vehicles over people and to affirm prior commitments to protect our most vulnerable road users, people walking and biking.  Prioritize people, kids to seniors, and our collective future for a livable climate.

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More Press on Santa Monica Next and StreetsBlogLA

Why 17th Street?

17th Street connects local neighborhoods to transit facilities, bikeways, schools, employment opportunities, and entertainment. 17th Street was identified in the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE), Bicycle Action Plan (BAP), and Pedestrian Action Plan to include safety improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists. With the opening of the Metro Expo light rail station — by 2018 there had already been an 1160% increase in pedestrian traffic and an 82% increase in bicycle traffic.

Protected Bike Lane Amendment Adopted by SM City Council

On Tuesday, October 13th, Santa Monica City Council unanimously adopted the Bike Action Plan Amendment adding protected bike lanes to the Current 2011 Bike Action Plan. We were humbled and grateful for the youth that spoke so passionately and articulately at the online meeting — despite the late hour — in support of expanding protected bike lanes and safety for our community, workers, students and visitors.

Broadway Protected Bike Lanes

We’d like to thank City Staff for their meticulous work preparing the Draft Plan and the Santa Monica City Council for their continued direction and support to expand healthy active transportation options in Santa Monica along with necessary infrastructure and safety improvements for people walking, biking, scooting or driving cars. Together – with commitments like this – we can and must continue to prioritize improving safety for all, particularly our most vulnerable road users.

You can click these links to:
View the Staff Report
Watch the meeting – scroll to item 8A under the video to jump to the item.
Visit Info page Bike Action Plan Update: Protected Bikeway Network – Project Goal
DRAFT Bike Action Plan Amendment



Also Check this out!
Ocean Avenue Project – Protected Bikeway and Expanding Outside Dining

Happy Birthday Breeze Bike Share!

Three yeas ago Santa Monica led by launching Los Angeles County’s 1st public bike share — Breeze, presented by Hulu!

Congratulations Santa Monica and Breeze,
& Happy Birthday #3!

With shared mobility rapidly expanding with new technologies — we congratulate Santa Monica and Breeze bike share for leading the charge by improving the built environment with safer more visible traffic lanes paving the path for expanding new mobility options. Shared mobility that is more environmentally sustainable, help reduce our carbon foot print, traffic congestion and single car trips —and support our growing network of public transportation and shared mobility options. #GoSaMo 

Earlier 2018 Santa Monica, along with 3 other systems led again — rolling out LA’s 1st regionally integrated bike share — with Bike Share Connect! Bike Share Connect combined 4 independent systems into one regionally connected and seamlessly integrated network which spans across over 34 square miles, from Venice Beach to Hollywood and Highland. 

With the ground work laid and the spark of new mobility lit – this past year we have seen even more mobility options launch — motorized scooters and e-assist bikes — with surely more to come. Find out more about Santa Monicas’ Mobility Pilot Program here. 

The milestones are just beginning! Here are a few — 

The Share Mobility Pilot is part of the Santa Monica City Council and our community’s shared strategic goal and commitment to promote a safer, more sustainable multi-modal city of the future. This also pairs with the Council’s adoption to implement innovative Vision Zero approaches to ensure public safety and work to eliminate roadway collisions.

Operation Firefly!

The New Season Begins!

Join us – volunteer today for local distribution Operation Firefly.

Operation Firefly’s season officially begins when the days get shorter and the clock rolls back  and goes until Spring”forward” – we join LACBC’s and their regional partner distributions by giving away bicycle lights and educational information locally for FREE in Santa Monica.

Scheduling is in progress – Sign up today: Volunteer@SMSpoke.org

Action Alert: Safer Streets LA

CallToAction6thStreetSq.jpgSanta Monica Spoke joins LACBC and Los Angeles Safe Streets Advocates to call on Councilmember Ryu to Make 6th Street Safety Improvements

Walking or biking on 6th street between Fairfax and LaBrea feels like walking next to a highway. Cars, encouraged by the design of the roadway, consistently speed, and crashes are a frequent occurrence. Children and families who walk and bike to school, work, museums, and health centers must traverse broken glass and metal detritus left behind by vehicle collisions.

In 2012, a 74-year-old woman was hit by a car and killed while walking near the intersection of 6th and Hauser. Since then, two more of our neighbors’ lives have been taken by dangerous roadway conditions on 6th street between Fairfax and La Brea. The time for redesigning this section of 6th street is now.

If you don’t already know bike and pedestrian initiatives and projects are being opposed by organized groups of influence like https://keeplamoving.com/ and http://fixthecity.org/
We need to show our human power, rally support for improvement that will help our city connections. Some of you may be familiar with the deplorable conditions that the 4th street “Bike Route” in Los Angels is currently in, 6th street has the potential to be a safer alternative. If nothing else we need to show our power in numbers in support for road diets and for councilmembers who support them.

For the past five years, community leaders have been focused on this problem, completing community walks, town halls, and meetings to work out a traffic design solution that would make the street safe for all to use. This ultimately led to the September 2016 unanimous vote by the Mid City West Council’s Board of Directors to implement a reconfiguration of 6th street between Cochran and Fairfax.

Safer6th.jpg

This would slow traffic by reducing the road to one lane in each direction, and allow for bike lanes and enhanced pedestrian crossings. Despite this vote, and the fact that the project is shovel-ready, Councilmember Ryu has consistently delayed taking action.  He has now proposed an alternative plan for 6th street, which would merely install left-turn pockets at certain intersections, leaving other dangerous intersections untouched.  

Please call, tweet or send a letter to David Ryu asking him to take action on safety and infrastructure improvements on 6th Street. On Saturday, October 21, we encourage folks to attend a community meeting about the project to make your voice heard.