Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Double Arrow

LOS ANGELES, CA - The Santa Monica Boulevard Transit Parkway has frontage roads along both sides of the Parkway that are separated by landscaped islands. Motorists exiting the Parkway veer to the right of the island and motorists entering the Parkway veer to the left of the island, in both cases crossing the bike lanes.

The LADOT elected to place Double Arrow (W12-1) signs on the stationary landscaped islands to warn motorists that they may go to the left, they may go to the right, but they may NOT drive down the center of the island over the bushes and the little trees.

It would seem that the LADOT knows something about the motoring habits of those that drive the Parkway!

The use of the Double Arrow sign is optional according to the guidance of the MUTCD, which states:

“The DOUBLE ARROW (W12-1) sign may be used to advise road users that traffic is permitted to pass on either side of an island, obstruction, or gore in the roadway.”

SoapBoxLA has requested the placement of other warning signs that would draw a motorists attention to the presence of cyclists and bike lanes, especially as the motorist prepares to cross the bike lane at twice the speed of the cyclist. These signs are also optional according to the guidance of the MUTCD.

“Where motor vehicles entering an exclusive right-turn lane must weave across bicycle traffic in bicycle lanes, the BEGIN RIGHT TURN LANE YIELD TO BIKES (R4-4) sign may be used to inform both the motorist and the bicyclist of this weaving maneuver.”

“The Bicycle Warning (W11-1) alerts the road user to unexpected entries into the roadway by bicyclists, and other crossing activities that might cause conflicts.”

All three signs are positioned as optional in the MUTCD and yet the LADOT elected to place warning signs on the island but has decided to pass on the opportunity to clarify any “engineered conflict” that occurs at the egress/ingress conflict points as well as the right-turn lane weave that takes a vehicle across the bike lane at major intersections.

In spite of the fact that the Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee asked LADOT Bikeways Engineering to add signage, LADOT has refused.

Does the Los Angeles Island Landscaping Advisory Committee have more heat than the Bicycle Advisory Committee?

An island is fixed in position and is not going anywhere. It will be in the same place tomorrow. The shrubs will fill out a bit, the trees will grow a little taller, the debris will collect, and through it all, the LADOT will continue to warn people not to drive down the island.

Is the Bush & Tree Coalition doing a better job of protecting their constituency than the Bicycle Coalition?

Apparently! At this egress point, the LADOT is going to really, really warn the motorists. There are TWO Double Arrow signs on the island, one for a Mini and one for an Escalade.

In addition, frontage road traffic has TWO stop signs supported by surface text and a limit line. Whew! This area is tight!

But that’s not enough. There’s also a MERGE (W4-1) sign to warn the veering motorist that, having just blown across the bike lane, it might be time to start looking for other vehicles stopped to the right.

The LADOT is not demonstrating a strong sense of faith in the “cooperative transportation” concept and yet…

The LADOT contends that there is no need for signs warning motorists of the presence of cyclists on the bike lanes.

The LADOT contends that there is no need for signs clarifying any right-of-way issues between the bike lanes and the veering motorists.

The LADOT’s position is indefensible, it is auto-centric, it is arrogant and it is absolutely unsafe.

SoapBoXLA asks you to support the cyclists of Los Angeles by calling the Mayor and asking him if a $95 million multi-modal Parkway should be safe for cyclists. Ask him to:

Finish the Bikeway

Provide consistent striping

Place Warning signs at the conflict points

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