Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Same Rules, Same Rights!


Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his bike for his friends.
Stephen 15:13

HOLLYWOOD, CA - The “Same rules, Same rights!” battle cry of the Integrated Cyclist is reduced to a whimper as the SoapBoxLA cycling team pedals out of the compound only to hit the demand actuated traffic signal at Hollywood Boulevard.

The signal is triggered by induction loops that are visible in the surface of the asphalt but often set at such a dull sensitivity level that only large amounts of Hummer flavored metal will trip the demand mechanism.

Grrrrr! The Team can now choose to wait for an automobile to come down the empty residential side street (could be a while) or to ride down the sidewalk and cross at a larger intersection or to simply roll through a circular red, violating CVC 21453. All bad choices!

(Watch for an upcoming blog on how SoapBoxLA beat a “rolling the red” ticket issued by a confused CHP officer)

The final choice is to try and trip the signal. Tactics include riding the coil cuts and even laying down the bicycle in the center of the coil to create a large “area” of metal.


The strategy that works the best requires the use of a cell phone. While standing in the left turn pocket, watching the traffic go by, dial 213-485-4184 and report the signal.

The LADOT traffic engineers tend to err in favor of a less sensitive setting to avoid having right-turning adjacent traffic (more common here than left-turning traffic) trip the signal. With no feedback from the cycling community there is an LADOT assumption that all is well in Paradise.

Changing the cycling environment of Los Angeles will come in small steps, intersection by intersection, traffic engineer by traffic engineer, motorist by motorist, and even cyclist by cyclist.

Take the road, ride cooperatively and remember that one of the most powerful tools you travel with is your cell phone.

Load it with these numbers, make some noise and change your world!

LADOT Communications 213-485-4184 x 2

Gloria Jeff – LADOT General Manager 213-972-8480

Michelle Mowery – LADOT Bikeways Coordinator 213-972-4962

Michael Mays – LADOT Bikeways Engineer 213-972-4959

City of Los Angeles Information 311 or 213-485-2121

LAPD Dispatch 213-485-2681 or 877-275-5273
(911 cell phone calls sometimes go to CHP)

Potholes - Bureau of Street Services 800-996-2489

Street Lights - Bureau of Street Lighting – 311
(Exec offices - 213-847-1482)

MTA or Metro – 213-922-6235

Lynne Goldsmith – Metro Bikeways 213-922-3068

Metro Sheriff’s Department 323-563-5000

For transportation issues specific to your neighborhood,
contact your local Transportation Engineer:


Hollywood/Wilshire DOT Office 323-845-9835

Central DOT Office 213-972-4990

Southern DOT Office 310-732-4599

East Valley DOT Office 818-374-4688

West Valley DOT Office 818-756-8784

Western District DOT Office 310-575-8138

1 comment:

Survive LA said...

Check out the Center for Land Use Interpretation's exhibit on those detection loops:

http://www.clui.org/clui_4_1/ondisplay/loop/exhibit/index.html

The loops and signal timing are operated by Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control, part of LA DOT. The ATSAC web site can be found at:

http://trafficinfo.lacity.org/index.html

More on the issue of bikes and loops at:

http://www.bikexprt.com/bicycle/actuator.htm