DIY Bike Planning

Bike Backbone Network mapWhen City of Los Angeles adopted a bike plan fifteen years ago and then set about ignoring it, cyclist advocates started to make some noise.  After all, when the responsible agencies don’t plan for cyclist convenience or safety, what are cyclists to do? Step up and sharpen pencils and get down to work on a plan of their own. We could create a ‘backbone’ regional network to encourage Los Angeles and surrounding localities across the region to get on the same transportation planning page. We could ensure “100% public participation” by convening locals for input and then putting minds together to decide what improvements should be implemented in order to provide safe roads for all road users. We could simply do it ourselves. And some did.

Los Angeles Department of DIY is Born

That’s what advocates did when the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, the lead agency for developing a successor bike plan, published a draft bike plan in 2009 that reflected few best practices and engaged no member of the bike community.

Los Angeles Bike Plan update process site vs. DIY version in screenshotsNext, when the city’s policymakers demurred from implementing bike accommodations already on the books, allowing DOT engineers to continue to take care of motorists instead of pedestrians and cyclists, bike activists took matters into their own hands. They created a ‘Department of DIY’ to hang signage and lay down pavement markings (seen below right) where road width clearly allowed but where official intransigence stood in the way of safety infrastructure for cyclists. (Image courtesy of seanbonner/Flickr). (Read the writeup.)

Dept. of DIY sign posted on Los Angeles River bridgeDIY bike lane on Los Angeles River Bridge