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Bikes On Sidewalk Ordinance

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  • Roger H. Gray
    There is a perceived problem with bikes riding on the sidewalks in the South Lake area, and the TAC has been asked to review the Bike ordinance citywide in
    Message 1 of 10 , Apr 5, 2001
      There is a perceived problem with bikes riding on the sidewalks in the South
      Lake area, and the TAC has been asked to review the Bike ordinance citywide
      in this regard. As you may know, Pasadena does not, in fact, prohibit bikes
      on sidewalks, and has avoided it for many reasons. Aside from finding some
      way to convince riders on South Lake to use the street rather than the
      sidewalks voluntarily, or to walk bikes on the sidewalk in a commercial
      district, I wonder if there are any ideas here? It occurred to me that one
      possible solution would be to allow a certain commercial areas with high
      pedestrian traffic to post signs or include sidewalk markings prohibiting
      bikes from being ridden on the sidewalks, but ONLY if there were adjacent
      painted bike lanes, and usable bike racks every 100 feet or so. Any thoughts
      on that idea? This was on the TAC agenda for tonight, but will be removed
      and heard next meeting, so no need to come out for it . . . but I would be
      interested in input from the list . . . .

      Roger

      Roger H. Gray , Chair Transportation Advisory Commission
      Pasadena, California, USA
      www.graymediation.com


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Kevin Pfeiffer
      ... There s a perceived problem with motorists exceeding the speed limits, stopping in crosswalks, etc. on most streets in Pasadena, but that doesn t mean we
      Message 2 of 10 , Apr 5, 2001
        "Roger H. Gray" wrote:

        > There is a perceived problem with bikes riding on
        > the sidewalks in the South Lake area,

        There's a 'perceived problem' with motorists exceeding the speed limits,
        stopping in crosswalks, etc. on most streets in Pasadena, but that
        doesn't mean we do anything about it. ;-)

        > possible solution would be to allow a certain commercial areas with high
        > pedestrian traffic to post signs or include sidewalk markings prohibiting
        > bikes from being ridden on the sidewalks, but ONLY if there were adjacent
        > painted bike lanes, and usable bike racks every 100 feet or so.

        This sounds good, though I don't see the bike racks as being so
        important - if a vendor doesn't have a bike rack near the front door,
        then my bike gets leaned up against his shiny plate glass window or
        locked to someone's parking meter. ;-)

        Do you have the space for bike lanes on south Lake St?

        Where would you put the signs? Ideally a cyclist should be informed
        before he gets to the sidewalk that's closed, which means somehow
        posting at corners/crosswalks.

        -Kevin Pfeiffer

        --
        Kevin Pfeiffer <pfeiffer@...> - Pasadena, California, USA
        The ESL Parlor - now serving English by the cup!
        http://forums.about.com/eslparlor/start/
      • Jacobsen,Peter
        Roger, The concern about bikes on sidewalks is an old one. Here s a memo I wrote for the former Pasadena Bicycle Advisory Committee. It was never finalized, as
        Message 3 of 10 , Apr 5, 2001
          Roger,

          The concern about bikes on sidewalks is an old one. Here's a memo I wrote
          for the former Pasadena Bicycle Advisory Committee. It was never finalized,
          as soon after the City disbanded the BAC.

          One error - Portland uses 17 mph, not 14 mph.

          Peter Jacobsen


          M E M O R A N D U M (DRAFT)



          TO: Pasadena Bicycle Advisory Committee

          FROM: Peter Jacobsen

          DATE: May 10, 1995

          SUBJECT: Bicycle Riding on Sidewalks



          At the April 12 Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting, I was asked to prepare a
          memorandum discussing concerns surrounding the use of bicycles on sidewalks.
          These concerns were raised recently by Charles Chernis in his column in the
          Star-News.

          From an historical perspective, bicyclists have traditionally ridden on the
          streets. Bicyclists were the first to lobby for improved roads and
          photographs from the turn-of-the-century show bicyclists on the streets.
          Only with the advent of the widespread use of motor vehicles did bicyclists
          begin using the sidewalks. With the rapid expansion of motor vehicle use in
          the last 20 years, more bicyclists have been discouraged from riding on the
          streets.

          Mr. Chernis' concerns about bicyclists riding on sidewalks focused on the
          dangers they pose to pedestrians. These dangers, both real and perceived,
          are especially relevant to the elderly and the young. Although collisions
          between pedestrians and bicyclists rarely result in severe injuries or
          deaths, they injure. And in the elderly, any injury can cause additional
          complications that can be more serious than the initial injury.

          In addition to the danger posed to pedestrians, bicyclists riding on the
          sidewalk also impose additional danger upon themselves. A study in the
          September 1994 ITE Journal showed that sidewalk riding was more likely to
          result in a car collision than riding on the street and recommended that
          bicycles be ridden with traffic. (They noted that sidewalk riding among
          young children is accepted in residential areas.)

          Possible Solutions

          Three possible approaches are available to the City of Pasadena Bicycle
          Advisory Committee: bicyclist-focused, environment-focused, or
          motorist-focused.

          The first and perhaps most obvious approach is to address the bicyclist with
          education, legislation, and enforcement. An education campaign would have
          some value, but it may be difficult to deliver the message to the cyclists
          that are most likely to ride on the sidewalks-the adolescents and recent
          immigrants. Such a ride-on-the-street campaign would also provide some
          benefit by reminding motorists that bicyclists ride on the streets.

          Pasadena could also ban bicyclists from the sidewalks in commercial
          districts and enforce the ban. However, this technique contradicts
          Pasadena's stated goal of encouraging bicycling. In addition, this approach
          has been tried in many jurisdictions without success. It should also be
          noted that enforcement of bicycle laws frequently has been a mechanism for
          harassment of some segments of society, such as the homeless.

          The second approach Pasadena could use would be to improve the bicycle
          environment so as to encourage bicyclists to ride on the streets. Evidence
          from other jurisdictions shows that this approach works. An article in the
          January 1995 Bicycle USA noted that in Corvallis, Oregon, which has bicycle
          lanes on 95 percent of their major streets, sidewalk riding amounts to only
          seven percent of all trips, compared to a state-wide average of thirty
          percent. Traffic engineers attribute that improvement to the well-designed
          facilities for bicycling.

          The third approach Pasadena could use would be to address motorist behavior.
          Excessive motor vehicle speeds and high traffic volumes create stress for
          bicyclists riding on the street and encourage them to ride on the sidewalks.
          More rigorous and visible enforcement of speed laws would be desirable.
          Another possible technique would be to synchronize traffic signals at speeds
          more compatible with bicycle traffic. For example, traffic signals in
          downtown Portland, Oregon are set for a speed of 14 mph, whereas signals in
          downtown Pasadena are set for 25 mph. Lowering traffic volumes with the
          current program of de-emphasizing traffic on selected streets in Pasadena
          should be continued and extended.

          Bicyclists frequently report dangerous motorists behavior such as passing
          too close and high-speed turns in front of the bicyclist. Boulder, Colorado
          prohibits a motorist from sharing a lane with a bicyclist on a multi-lane
          road. This is the rule in France also. In Germany, a motorist is required to
          provide a meter of clearance at speeds below 40 kph and a meter and half at
          greater speeds. These legislative changes should be investigated.

          Motorists turning speeds are a function of the intersection geometry.
          Pasadena standard geometry should be examined to assure that intersections
          are constructed or reconstructed with small curb radii. Free right turns
          should be prohibited in future construction and removed where they currently
          exist.

          Summary

          Bicycling on the sidewalk appears to be inappropriate for cyclists other
          than young children. This memorandum presents three possible approaches for
          addressing sidewalk bicycling. To encourage bicyclists to ride on the
          street, Pasadena should improve the bicycling environment and enforce
          traffic laws to eliminate dangerous motorist behavior.
        • Kevin Pfeiffer
          ... Excellent idea! What about trying this on Colorado? Since the street is slated to get bike lanes anyway, let bikes take the outside lane (which is
          Message 4 of 10 , Apr 5, 2001
            "Jacobsen,Peter" wrote:
            > prohibits a motorist from sharing a lane with a bicyclist on a multi-lane
            > road.

            Excellent idea! What about trying this on Colorado? Since the street is
            slated to get bike lanes anyway, let bikes take the outside lane (which
            is frequently too narrow in spots) and if a car passes, let him change
            lanes. This is actually how I already ride our one-way streets - esp. if
            I'm with my wife. Why should two cyclists squeeze to the right on a
            three-lane street so that one motorist can drive straight through?

            > Motorists turning speeds are a function of the intersection geometry.
            > Pasadena standard geometry should be examined to assure that intersections
            > are constructed or reconstructed with small curb radii. Free right turns
            > should be prohibited in future construction and removed where they currently
            > exist.

            THIS IS A BIG PROBLEM (pardon the shouting)

            Case in point: Allen & Mountain

            Large curb radius and right-turn-on-red permitted at a corner that
            adjoins TWO schools with high pedestrian traffic! It's a very dangerous intersection.

            Another problem of geometry: curving streets where high-speeds are permitted

            Case: Orange Grove near Craig - street curves and motorists at high
            speed tend to wander in lane (fortunately there's usually little parking
            at this spot).

            Case: Orange Grove southbound before 110 on-ramp - on this downhill
            stretch (posted at 30 mph but never enforced?) automobiles are moving
            40mph+ and are all over this curve.

            -Kevin

            --
            Kevin Pfeiffer <pfeiffer@...> - Pasadena, California, USA
            The ESL Parlor - now serving English by the cup!
            http://forums.about.com/eslparlor/start/
          • Dennis Crowley
            ... Lake area, This perception comes up repeatedly. It is actually a speed problem, especially on the downhill on Lake. I m a frequent walker in this area and
            Message 5 of 10 , Apr 5, 2001
              Roger Gray wrote:

              >There is a perceived problem with bikes riding on the sidewalks in the South
              Lake area,


              This perception comes up repeatedly. It is actually a speed problem,
              especially on the downhill on Lake. I'm a frequent walker in this
              area and have little problem with a bike going an appropriate,
              respectful walking pace on the sidewalk if there's plenty of room;
              but it is very un-nerving and maddening when a fast bike suddenly,
              unexpectedly whizzes by your elbow. It's un-necessarily dangerous,
              obnoxious and definitely not appropriate bicycle operation.

              It must be very tempting for in-experienced cyclists to ride on the
              sidewalks, when so many sidewalks in Southern California have been
              abandoned by pedestrians; but sidewalk-riding just doesn't work as
              well and experienced cyclists know this. The temptation is
              unfortunately exacerbated by drivers that self-righteously demand
              every square inch of roadway as their divine-right.


              >It occurred to me that one
              >possible solution would be to allow a certain commercial areas with high
              >pedestrian traffic to post signs or include sidewalk markings prohibiting
              >bikes from being ridden on the sidewalks, but ONLY if there were adjacent
              painted bike lanes, and usable bike racks every 100 feet or so.


              Good, I prefer the carrot to the stick; but if we had the bike lanes,
              the prohibition would probably just be redundant and un-necessary.
              Besides, our cops already have their hands full just trying to get
              some attention and civility out of the motor vehicle-operators, (I
              mean telephone-operators,).

              The problem is how can this be done on Lake? Physically easy, but
              perhaps a PR challenge.

              Remove a traffic lane? It happens at California anyway and there are
              adjacent one-way couplets on Mentor and Hudson accessing the parking
              lots.

              Remove street parking? All the stores along South Lake have huge
              parking lots behind, so much so that it is now often assumed that the
              back door is the front door while their Lake Ave entrances atrophy.
              Long range plans include more parking structures. Are those few
              street-parking spaces on so crucial anymore?

              Pasadena's Bike Plan "Century of Bikes" shows bike lanes on South
              Lake as a priority project. City council recently, unanimously
              instructed city staff to proceed with those priority projects,
              including bike lanes on South Lake at the urging of that district's
              councilman. What's happening with that?



              dc
            • Jacobsen,Peter
              Responding to an old message about South Lake... The Bicycle Plan says this about Lake Avenue (page III-6) The General Plan designates this boulevard as a
              Message 6 of 10 , Apr 17, 2001
                Responding to an old message about South Lake...


                The Bicycle Plan says this about Lake Avenue (page III-6)
                "The General Plan designates this boulevard as a principal mobility
                corridor. This avenue serves mostly commercial areas. North of the freeway,
                it is characterized by automobile-oriented businesses; and south of the
                freeway, it is pedestrian-oriented.
                "It serves a Blue Line station that will have no automobile parking. It is
                anticipated that passengers will walk, bike or be driven (kiss and ride) to
                the station. Accordingly, it is important that access to the station be made
                pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.
                "The North Lake Specific Plan calls for a "move away from
                automobile-oriented uses." There are proposed street tables and street
                plazas, as well as a pedestrian and food garden district. The South Lake
                Specific Plan includes bike and pedestrian features and recommends serving
                the area with bicycle lanes."

                It also lists Lake as a First Priority (page IV-1) for bike lanes.


                As Dennis Crowley mentioned, on South Lake, removing on-street parking would
                be one possibility for installing bike lanes.

                Other possibilities would be reducing travel lane widths and removing
                traffic lanes.

                Reducing Travel Lane Widths
                Many travel lanes in Pasadena are striped wide (12 feet or greater). The
                Bike Plan discusses flexibility in lane widths in detail, starting on page
                II-16. In general, the present South Lake configuration would require
                parking (7 feet), plus a bike lane (5 feet), plus two travel lanes (20
                feet); or a total of 32 feet to install a bike lane. If some brave soul
                (Dennis?) could measure the curb-to-curb width, we could decide whether this
                option is even feasible.

                Remove Travel Lane
                South Lake is striped for two lanes, plus parallel parking, in each
                direction, with a raised center median. It could be re-configured for one
                lane in each direction, keeping the parking and turn lanes at intersections.
                Dan Burden is a big supporter of this "de-emphasis" reporting that such
                streets can convey traffic volumes as great as 20,000 ADT (see his report on
                "road diets" on his web site at www.walkable.org). Such a configuration
                would enhance the pedestrian (read shopping and sales tax revenue)
                environment along South Lake by reducing speeding and simplifying pedestrian
                crossings.

                However, the General Plan calls for South Lake to be a mobility corridor and
                reducing the number of traffic lanes might be in conflict. This designation
                seems wrong to me, since it really is a shopping street, and it doesn't go
                anywhere of regional significance.

                Peter Jacobsen
              • Kevin Pfeiffer
                ... Currently scheduled for Year 2025?? :-) -- Kevin Pfeiffer - Pasadena, California, USA
                Message 7 of 10 , Apr 17, 2001
                  "Jacobsen,Peter" wrote:
                  > It also lists Lake as a First Priority (page IV-1) for bike lanes.

                  Currently scheduled for Year 2025?? :-)

                  --
                  Kevin Pfeiffer <pfeiffer@...> - Pasadena, California, USA
                • Charles Witham
                  ... Actually, Pasadena submitted a request for funding for bike lanes on Lake, as well as other first priority lanes, to the MTA in the recent Call for
                  Message 8 of 10 , Apr 18, 2001
                    >> It also lists Lake as a First Priority (page IV-1) for bike lanes.


                    >Currently scheduled for Year 2025?? :-)

                    Actually, Pasadena submitted a request for funding for bike lanes on Lake,
                    as well as other first priority lanes, to the MTA in the recent Call for
                    Projects. And judging from the responses of the various council people and
                    Sid Tyler (Lake's in his district), there is public and government support
                    for the bike plan and bike lanes in Pasadena. With this kind of support,
                    it will not be hard to convince the city to find funding if the MTA does
                    not choose to give Pasadena funding.

                    We've talked about this before on the list, we told people about Pasadena's
                    proposal, and the city council response.

                    In short Kevin, there's no reason for you to be so cynical ;)

                    chuck
                  • Kevin Pfeiffer
                    ... (other than the outcome of the propositions in the last election?) I know - but thank you for reminding me! Perhaps I m a little too close to the picture,
                    Message 9 of 10 , Apr 18, 2001
                      Charles Witham wrote:
                      > In short Kevin, there's no reason for you to be so cynical ;)

                      (other than the outcome of the propositions in the last election?)

                      I know - but thank you for reminding me!

                      Perhaps I'm a little too close to the picture, seeing the existing
                      bikelanes here that go unmaintained, seeing the signs on the
                      Maple/Corson side roads (which still direct riders onto the sidewalk)
                      still standing, seeing bikelanes which are used for parking, seeing
                      everything else Pasadena is doing to ignore its own goal of being a
                      non-motorized community; including blocking off sidewalks in significant
                      pedestrian areas for construction, allowing high traffic speeds and
                      right-turns on red in park and school areas, allowing more big-box
                      buildings which turn their backs on the street and allow major entrances
                      from the parking lots, the ugly 'Berlin Wall' at the south side of the
                      PCC campus, narrow sidewalks which barely offer access to pedestrians
                      yet alone wheelchairs, etc.

                      Anyhow this all goes a bit far afield of the Bike Plan, but it does have
                      a cumulative effect on me.

                      -Kevin (the cynic - who's at least optimistic about the Blue Line
                      getting finished, even if few in Pasadena seem yet to be aware of it.)

                      --
                      Kevin Pfeiffer <pfeiffer@...> - Pasadena, California, USA
                    • Dennis Crowley
                      ... (etc.) I feel your frustration Kevin, it does seem to be painfully slow, especially considering the broad support voiced for the Bike Plan; but have you
                      Message 10 of 10 , Apr 18, 2001
                        Kevin wrote:
                        >
                        >bikelanes here that go unmaintained,

                        (etc.)

                        I feel your frustration Kevin, it does seem to be painfully slow,
                        especially considering the broad support voiced for the Bike Plan;
                        but have you noticed the brand new surfacing and striping on South
                        Sierra Madre Blvd.? It looks pretty good, the stripes are a little
                        wider and it's smooooth. (Now if they can just quickly finish those
                        manhole-covers before somebody bends a rim...)

                        The arrival of the Blue Line will force many of these bicycle and
                        pedestrian issues to the front burner, as Pasadena tries desperately
                        to cope with the biggest change since the freeway came roaring
                        through town. Bikes and peds are critical to assist morphing into
                        this new trolley-Pasadena and making it work. Yes, we do need to keep
                        the heat on to assure that it's implemented as quickly as possible,
                        to minimize the pain of transition. Yeah, it seems that most
                        Pasadenans are oblivious, but it is coming really soon and the
                        developers are rapidly buying property within range of the stations.
                        Expect a lot more of that in the next year.
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