Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

More Work Scheduled for Sullivan Canyon in June

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Since 1960, Southern California Gas Company (“SoCaIGas”) has owned much of the land that comprises Sullivan Canyon (more than 4 miles in length).  This property is used as a corridor for two transmission pipelines that provide Los Angeles residents with a safe and reliable supply of natural gas.  Periodically, SoCalGas must perform maintenance on these pipelines. The purpose of this letter is to provide information on pipeline maintenance and repair work that will occur in the coming weeks.

SoCalGas will conduct a hydrostatic pressure test on a segment of one of our natural gas transmission pipelines in Sullivan Canyon.  Hydrostatic pressure testing is a process that uses water to exert pressure on a pipeline at levels greater than its usual operating pressure to assess its soundness, often referred to as its integrity.

This test involves digging around the underground pipeline and safely venting natural gas from the pipeline. We will then fill the pipeline with water, and increase the pressure to a level that is higher than the pipeline’s normal operating pressure.  If the pipe holds the pressure without any leaks, it will be put back in service. If the pipeline leaks during the test, SoCalGas will repair the pipeline and retest it, or replace it with new, pre-tested pipeline.

What to expect

The construction work will take place at several locations starting west of the Sullivan Canyon trailhead at the end of Queensferry Road and about a quarter-mile northwest of the trailhead.  Work will begin in June 2014, and last about four to six weeks, although weather and other factors affecting safe working conditions could change the schedule. Normal work days will be Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., however, some activities may extend the hours.

Test Start Location:

At Sullivan Canyon Trailhead at Queensferry Road, a test-start location will be staged just west of the trail with an excavation site, water tanks, and other equipment. This area will be closed to the public.

Test End Location:

About a quarter-mile northwest of the trailhead, a test-end location with excavation site and support equipment will be staged alongside the trail.  This area will also be closed to the public.

Hikers, bikers, and others traversing the trail should use caution while passing by both test site locations. For safety reasons, Sullivan Canyon Trail will not be accessible by the public on the actual test day for the duration of the test. Check local signage with updates on construction activity.

The local community may notice truck traffic bringing test equipment and water tanks to the test sites and then removing them. Nearby residents may hear some work-related noise.

Your gas service should continue without interruption. If that changes, a SoCalGas representative will contact you.

The odor of natural gas

At times, you may smell the odor of natural gas and hear a loud, steady noise as we vent natural gas from the pipeline using safe and common techniques. Although this is normal when crews are working, we encourage anyone who has concerns about the smell of gas to call us from a safe location at 1-800-427-2200. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We apologize for any inconvenience while we’re performing this test and appreciate your patience and cooperation.

Mike Harriel

Public Affairs Manager – Southern California Gas Company

Tel: (213) 244-4633 

Sullivan Canyon Officially Re-opens

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

image001By Mike Harriel, Southern California Gas Company

So Cal Gas has completed mandated maintenance work on the pipelines in Sullivan Canyon. The canyon is now open for use.

As I have mentioned before. There is another maintenance project occurring in the canyon in early May 2014. I will inform you about the impact to the canyon as well as timeline once I have all the information.

Please be aware; at the end of the Sullivan Fire Road north of Mulholland Drive, Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas®) will soon be working in the area to perform a pressure test on one of our natural gas pipelines. You will see SoCalGas and its Contractor’s trucks, water tanks, and heavy equipment.

I know a lot of you use this road for hiking and biking. My understanding is the road will not be completely blocked so you will be able to pass through. Work will begin late March 2014, and last until approximately early in May 2014, although weather and other factors affecting safe working conditions could change the schedule.

Thank you for your patience regarding Sullivan Canyon closures. Please understand Sullivan Canyon is private property, owned solely by the southern California gas company. Its primary function is a corridor for two high pressure gas lines. Because of its natural beauty, we make it available for public use. Periodically, we must complete state and federally mandated maintenance on this pipeline to insure its integrity and public safety. This maintenance may require partial or complete shutdown of the canyon, depending on the nature of the work. We try to keep the public informed of this work, scheduling and user impact.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Happy hiking and biking!

 

Palos Verdes Volunteer Trail Patrol Needs Mountain Bikers

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

bike_group_delcerro2Rancho Palos Verdes will soon create a Volunteer Trail Patrol program. CORBA PV has recommended the formation of a trail patrol for many years. It will be similar to volunteer patrols from other open space agencies including the Santa Monica Mountains based Mountain Bike Unit. The MBU was founded by CORBA in 1988 and now works under the National Park Service, the California State Parks, and the Santa Monica Mountains MRCA (Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority).

Volunteer Trail Patrol members will assist the MRCA rangers by regularly patrolling the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve on foot, by horse or by bicycle. The goal is to educate and assist trail users, report safety hazards, maintenance needs, and regulation infractions. Volunteer Trail Patrol members will not be able to issue citations or make arrests.

It is important to have members from all three user groups on the patrol. Peer to peer communication is the most effective way to education trail users and minimize user conflicts concerns. For years CORBA PV has called on the city to collect factual on-trail information instead of relying on anecdotal comments at public meetings. Your participation will help collect accurate information and lead to impartial decisions by the city council.

The program is yet to be finalized but volunteers will undergo training and commit to four hours per month. Those who are interested can contact Barb Ailor at info@PVPLC.org. For more information go to mtbpv.org/

Safer Streets for Cyclists – take action!

Friday, June 17th, 2011

We are mountain bikers but we too sometimes ride our bikes on the streets. Please help us to support California Bicycle Coalition 3-foot passing legislation.

Senate Bill 910, cosponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition and the City of Los Angeles, would require motorists to give bicyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing from behind under most circumstances.

The California Senate approved SB 910 on June 1. On Monday, June 27, the bill will be up for a vote by the Assembly Transportation Committee. We need bicyclists like you to contact Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, the chair of the committee, by phone, email or fax to let her know why this bill is so important to the safety of all bicyclists on the road!  A file documenting all messages of support for SB 910 accompanies the bill as it moves through the legislative process. This information is read by legislators and their staff and helps make the case for the bill. Your voice definitely counts! The deadline for calling or sending a message is 5 PM Tuesday, June 21.

You can express your support for SB 910 by phone or by email or fax. Click here for more information.

 

 

 

Voice Your Support of Trails TODAY!

Thursday, May 12th, 2011
FROM THE CALIFORNIA BICYCLE COALITION:

Our partners at America Bikes just found out late last night that the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee is deciding what goes into the next federal transportation bill today and tomorrow.

We need every advocate in California to take action TODAY!

If we don’t act now, dedicated funding for biking and walking programs may be written out of our transportation system for the next six years.

Senator Barbara Boxer is the chair of this committee and we need you to get word to her in every way and medium possible TODAY that we’re counting on her continued support for dedicated funding for biking and walking.

In every media interview related to Bike to Work Week, please be sure to thank the Senator for her continued support for dedicated funding for biking and walking, specifically Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails Program.

In addition, we ask that you alert all your members and supporters as soon as possible, urging them to call the Senator’s office today. Please use the message below.

Our apologies for hitting you on a day when you’re already very busy, but we just learned of this after 10 p.m. last night and with all the media being generated about Bike to Work Week this is a great opportunity for maximum impact. Again, we can’t stress the urgency enough: To preserve dedicated funding for biking and walking in next transportation bill we need California to get Sen. Boxer to take action today.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at (916) 446-7558 or dave@calbike.org.

Dave Snyder

Relaunch Director/CEO

_________________________________________________________________________

Senator Barbara Boxer needs to hear from you RIGHT NOW.

The committee she leads in the US Senate, the Environment and Public Works Committee, is deciding what goes into the very important federal transportation bill today and tomorrow. She needs to know that we want her to fight for bicycling and walking programs like Transportation Enhancements (the federal funding sources that helps pay for bicycling and walking facilities and programs throughout California), Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails program.

If we don’t act now, bicycling and walking programs may be written out of our transportation system for the next six years.

At this very moment, she is negotiating with other senators who don’t think bicycling and walking are an important part of the transportation bill. She needs to know that we have her back on this issue and she shouldn’t give up on these crucial programs.

Call Senator Boxer right now and tell her:

“I am one of your constituents and I think bicycling and walking need to be a part of the transportation bill. Please ensure that Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails program continue with strong and dedicated funding as they are today.”

Calls to DC are best. Her Washington, DC office number: (202) 224-3553. If it’s busy and you’re short for time, here’s her LA office number: (213) 894-5000.

Franklin Canyon Fundraiser

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Reposted from an email sent to CORBA by Ellen Scott. For more information email epaulascott@gmail.com. For additional details click here for a previous article on this blog.

Okay Friends and Preservers of the Hastain Trail in Franklin Canyon!

We are officially ready to fund raise and the kick off for this event is Saturday, April 9th from 8 A.M. to 1 P.M. It’s a picnic breakfast, brunch, lunch fund raiser in the meadow by the ranch house in Franklin Canyon.  Bring your own food and/or bring food to share, whatever you like.  Picnic and then hike or hike and then picnic. Come early if it looks like it will be a hot day, come late if it’s cool. Bring your happy selves and your guitar or your harpsichord and your checkbook.  If you can’t make it, send your check with someone who can.  Make it out to Stephen Jones.  His credentials and information follow.
Land Use Attorney Stephen Jones has consulted with us pro bono to this point and is ready to proceed as we have a strong case for ‘Implied Dedication to Public Use.’  (Thank you to those who have come forward with information regarding use of the Hastain Trail from the mid 1960′s to 1972.)  Stephen Jones will continue to work for us at half his normal rate and comes highly recommended.
Mr. Jones’s current information is as follows;
Stephen L. Jones (St. Bar No. 71383)
Overton, Lyman & Prince, LLP
500 South Grand Ave., 19th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Background:    Presently involved in major easement dispute in Malibu
1999-2000  Represented Benedict Canyon Homeowners in defeating
an oversized project.
1976-1983  Atty. with Latham and Watkins  (Land Use and Real Estate
Litigation)
1976 JD from University of Michigan
1967-1969  Member of the Institute of Advanced Studies
1967 PHD in Mathematics from University of Wisconsin
Fun Information:  Stephen Jones has been a U.S. Chess Master since 1962.  He was
the U.S. Senior Chess Champion in 2002 and has held
miscellaneous titles in between.
Pertinent quote: Don Loze of the Benedict Canyon Homeowners Association referred to
Mr. Jones as, “…the best Land Use Attorney in the city… an expert
litigator.”

LA Bike Plan Passes Unanimously

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Today the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed the Los Angeles Bike Plan. It is no longer a draft document.

Everyone’s goal at the March 1, 2011 Council session was to do whatever necessary to get the plan passed today. Councilman LaBonge needed to give his equestrian constituents something they could live with so that the plan could move forward. The result was an amendment (underlined) to policy 3.3.5:

Continue the existing off-road bicycle trail and analyze and explore opportunities for additional off-road bicycle facilities and continue to abide by LAMC section 63.44 B16. Any proposal to consider the use of mountain bikes on City park trails must first be thoroughly reviewed and analyzed by the Board of Recreation & Parks and its staff.

This simply puts in writing what will have to happen anyway before any changes to bike access to City Parks could be made. It was enough to placate the equestrian community, and did not really change anything. It was enough of a deal to get the Plan passed.

(more…)

LA Bike Plan to go before Planning Commission

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

The 2010 Bicycle Plan staff report and related documents for the City Planning Commission (CPC) meeting are now available on the LA Bike Plan project website (http://www.labikeplan.org).

The Staff Report which accompanies the plan states specifically that the anti-mountain bike lobby were  more vocal in their opposition, and nothing in the plan changes the status quo regarding mountain biking being off limits in Los Angeles City parks. The only change to the plan in Chapter 3, section 3.3 (Bicycling in City Parks) is the removal of the word “Unfortunately.”  That pretty much sums it up. It isn’t even considered unfortunate that kids, adults, families, disadvantaged youths, and those seeking alternatives to riding bicycles on the street within the City of Los Angeles, all lose out in this Plan.

Here is the pertinent excerpt from the staff recommendation letter to the planning commission:

4. Mountain Bikes/Off Road

The appropriateness of including policies about mountain or off-road bicycling within the Bicycle Plan, which is a chapter of the Transportation Element, has been long disputed by some constituents. The concerns stem back to the adoption of the existing Bicycle Plan in 1996 which included specific policies to study the feasibility of developing mountain bicycle trails elsewhere within the City park system.

Despite mediated meetings with stakeholders (mountain bicyclists, hikers, and equestrians) during the development of this Plan, to discuss options and potential solutions, no consensus was reached. Mountain bicyclists continue to advocate for increased access to off-road park facilities, and hikers, environmentalists, and the equestrian community continue to articulate concerns about risk of accidents on shared use facilities and the potential for environmental damage to ecosystems.

In testimony and written materials submitted at the public hearings, several persons expressed concern about the impact of allowing bicycles on equestrian trails. Additionally, some commenters took exception to the “tone” of the text and the policies relating to off-road bicycling and multi-use trails. The language and policies as originally written gave some members of the public the impression that mountain bicycling would be allowed in City parks and that the Plan was undermining the Department of Recreation and Parks’ authority over bicycles in City parks.

Although the organizations and members of the public who have spoken and written against allowing bicycle on trails have been more vocal in their oppositions, a fair number of comments supported expanding the use of mountain bicycles on trails.

Proposed Changes:

The Department has reviewed the text relating to mountain bicycling and has made adjustments to clarify the intent of Objective 3.3 (see Appendix A). The City will continue to gather data on the issue and will not look to repeal the Department of Recreation and Parks’ authority over bicycles within City parks. Furthermore, none of the policies or programs within Objective 3.3 call for the expansion of bicycle mountain access beyond where it permitted today (Mandeville Canyon Park). Additionally, the policies contained in the 1996 Bicycle Plan explicitly state that the City will embark on allowing access in certain City parks have not been carried over into this Plan.

CORBA, in our official comments on the current revision of the plan, presented arguments refuting almost every aspect of this portion of the recommendation letter. The one thing that remains irrefutable is that the anti-mountain biking lobby were more vocal in their opposition. Nearly one thousand supporters of off-road cycling wrote to the City after the initial draft of the Plan was released in 2009. Clearly this wasn’t enough, though it represents but a small minority of off-road cycling enthusiasts in the City of Los Angeles.

The City Planning Commission Meeting on the 2010 Bicycle Plan (Case No. CPC-2009-871-GPA and ENV-2009-2650-MND) will take place on Thursday, November 4, 2010, after 8:30 AM at City Hall, Room 1010, 200 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. The CPC agenda will be available after Thursday, October 28 on the Department of City Planning website (http://cityplanning.lacity.org).

The Planning Commission will be making their recommendations regarding the plan to the various planning committees in late November. Sometime in December the City Council is scheduled vote to adopt or reject the plan.

It continues to be in our best interest as off-road cyclists to remain engaged and to attend any and all public meetings and hearings. This is, after all,  just a planning document. The City’s past record with following their plans has been abysmal, and though nothing was gained for us in this plan, nothing has really been taken away. We didn’t have  trail access in City Parks before it. We need to remain engaged with the City Council, the Mayor’s office and the Department of Recreation and Parks as the decisions that affect us, irrespective of the plan, come from them. Encouragingly, the Mayor himself has expressed his support of allowing bicycles on City Park trails.

Other aspects of the Plan for on-street cycling have been well-received by the bicycling community. Again, the City’s ability to execute is what counts. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

CORBA at the So Cal High School MTB League Leader’s Summit

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

“The greatest recent innovation in mountain biking isn’t twenty-nine inch wheels, ten speed rear shifting, adjustable travel or carbon fiber. It’s high school mountain bike racing. This is shaping the future of our sport,”  said CORBA board member Steve Messer at the recent High School Mountain Bike League Leader’s Summit. The Summit is required training for all High School Mountain Bike League coaches.

Messer spoke to the new coaches about the importance of advocacy for mountain bike access. His presentation followed a talk by Matt Gunnell, director of the So Cal league, on how coaches need to train their teams to be good representatives of the mountain bike community. Part of being a good representative is giving back to the trails in the form of at least one day of trail work for each team, each season, he said. The League strongly encourages this, and many did not know their league insurance covers their team for trailwork during the season.

Banner Moffat, coach of the Glendale team and trail crew leader for the Friends of El Prieto then talked about the basics of trail maintenance. “Anyone can make a difference to a trail with time, commitment, and just a few basic tools. It isn’t rocket science.” Moffat said. He distributed handouts explaining some of the basics of trail maintenance including tools, brush clearing, drainage and rock armoring.

At least one high school team, St. Francis, will be participating in CORBA’s upcoming El Prieto trailwork day on November 7th. We expect team members from other teams as well.

“As high school coaches your voices carry a lot of weight with community leaders and land managers,” noted Messer.  “They’ll realize that X-games derived images of mountain biking don’t represent the reality of who is using trails on mountain bikes.”

Along with league director Matt Gunnell, Messer encouraged all the team managers and coaches to join their local advocacy groups, get up to date on any issues pertaining to the trails on which they ride, race and train. Most importantly, they need to let their voices be heard when it comes to public comments on proposed actions that may affect their trails.

Of special note is the fact that as the So Cal League enters it’s third year with several new teams confirmed and more in the works, not a single team is based out of any L.A.U.S.D. school, the largest school district in California. This is perhaps a reflection of the City of Los Angeles’ prohibition of off-road cycling in City parks. Almost all of L.A.’s neighboring cities have teams in the League.

The League carries a memorandum of understanding with IMBA, each supporting the other’s efforts. CORBA is also a supporter of the So Cal High School Mountain Bike League, and we look forward to working with the league as they help shape a new generation of not just mountain bikers, but upstanding representatives of the sport and stewards of the lands and trails on which they ride.

2010 LA Bike Plan Comments

Friday, October 8th, 2010

The following is CORBA’s official response to the off-road cycling components of the most recent draft of the L.A. Bike Plan.

——————————————————————————–

Jordann Turner
Los Angeles Department of City Planning
200 N. Spring Street, Rm 721
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Re: Draft L.A. Bike Plan,

Dear Mr. Turner,

Thanks for the opportunity to comment on the current draft of the L.A. Bike Plan. We’d like to address specific aspects of the plan, namely, the components related to off-road cycling.

We find it ironic that the summary outline of the plan (Chapter 4, Page 61) states under Objectives: “Environment: Bicycles in City Parks 3.3 – Provide a safe and comfortable experience for all users.” Clearly, this plan does not meet this objective as “all users” must include mountain bikers. There is nothing in this draft plan that provides any expanded access for off-road cyclists to any City of Los Angeles property. This plan only serves to divert off-road cyclists outside the City of Los Angeles, and to do further “study.”

Instead, the plan once again acknowledges the “growing need” for off-road cycling facilities identified in the 1996 plan. It also (page 55/56) gives a history of the attempt to find “consensus” among park users regarding mountain bike access. It does not however, give the complete picture of that process. It states no consensus was reached, but does not mention that no consensus was possible. For example, a representative of the Sierra Club who was part of that process made it clear that he was staunchly opposed to any bicycle access to City parks, in direct contradiction to the Sierra Club’s stated policy that “mountain bikes are legitimate trail users.” Should not those invited to represent a particular organization represent the organization’s stated public policies rather than their own personal views? Since the representatives from the non-mountain biking user groups at those hearings appear to have been hand-picked for their stated opposition to bicycles in parks, no consensus was possible.

The fact that no consensus was possible or was reached in those mediation hearings is presented in this plan as a finding that “the use of bicycles on city trails was not found feasible.” This is a misinterpretation of the outcome of those proceedings. The outcome was only that no consensus was reached among those at the hearings. No consensus was possible when those invited into the process entered the hearings with the intent of preventing bicycles from gaining access to city parks, not with the intent of finding any consensus.

We believe the specific recommendations for 8 new trails to be opened to mountain bikers must be carried over from the 1996 plan. Since the process of finding a “consensus” was tainted from the start, a better policy would be to implement the 8 new trails as a pilot project, and study the outcome.

Policy 3.3.2,B states “Pursue opportunities for mountain bicycle access that may exist on land within and adjacent to the City of Los Angeles, under the jurisdiction of other agencies such as the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Los Angeles County, State of California, etc.” This is a complete avoidance of the issue of off-road access for cyclists in Los Angeles. The communities surrounding the City Parks of Los Angeles are being denied bicycle access to those nearby parks for their children, for lower income families that do not drive or own vehicles. Middle to upper income off-road cyclists will seek higher-quality trail experiences in surrounding areas. Local youth, families, and those who would like to simply ride a bicycle from home to a park and enjoy the park’s facilities by bicycle, are left behind and completely ignored in this plan.

Policies 3.3.2 D, and E, are given five years to develop a database of existing trails and unimproved access roads. We support this process, however the five-year timeline is unacceptable. This should be completed in one year or less. CORBA has in the past assisted other land managers in developing trail databases using GPS technology and bicycles, at no cost to those agencies. However, since we cannot access the trails by bicycle we cannot help with this data-gathering service.

Policies 3.3.3 A and B “examine other jurisdictions…” should not take five years to complete. The data is already out there from other jurisdictions and studies. Strategies exist and appear to be working in cities around the country and the world. Numerous national, state, and county public lands are multi-use friendly, yet the reported incidence of conflicts is minimal. Five years to gather data that already exists is unacceptable. We find it puzzling that this plan acknowledges the successful implementation of multi-use policies that include hikers, equestrians and bicyclists in surrounding areas, yet expresses the need to study whether such multi-use principles are “feasible.”

Policy 3.3.3,C states “Conduct user counts and employ other methods to evaluate demand for off-road facilities by user groups.” Conducting user counts on the one section of trails at Mandeville Canyon would not give a true representation of the demand for multi-use trails within the City. These trails are far removed from population centers of Los Angeles. There is no public transport access to this area. Those who have the ability to travel will seek better quality trail experiences outside the city. Those who wish to participate in off-road cycling who do not or cannot drive will not be able to. So any count of users at the one location where off-road cycling is allowed will not give a true representation. Instead a better metric would be the number of off-road capable bicycles owned in the City of Los Angeles. When this number is compared to the number of users who own horses or who participate in hiking or trail-running, we’re confident that the numbers will speak for themselves. In fact, the 1996 plan acknowledged the “growing need” for off-road bicycle facilities. The Outdoor Recreation Association reported that mountain bike use grew by 18% from 2007 to 2008. Clearly the need exists, and it should not take five years to determine a known fact.

Policies 3.3.3 D and E “Obtain information on levels of use by hikers and equestrians before and after the introduction of off-road bicycle access” and “Conduct a spillover analysis to determine the extent to which mountain bicycle use spills over onto mountain trails where bicycling is prohibited” respectively, assumes that the introduction of off-road bicycle access will take place. Yet the introduction of mountain bicycle use is not specified or directed anywhere in this plan. This policy doesn’t specify that this data will be gathered from other jurisdictions, in which case the five year timeline is unacceptable, as the data already exist.

Nothing in this plan provides off-road bicycle access to parks for the bicycle-riding communities who live near LA City parks. While we understand that the serious mountain biking enthusiasts have access to surrounding areas, those of lesser means do not, and their needs are not addressed in this plan.

We would also like to see non-trail off-road alternatives be considered and recommended within the plan. Bike Parks, and specifically, dirt Mountain Bike Parks, can provide a safe, healthy center of activity and exercise for youth and adults alike, while avoiding any potential trail user conflicts. They can be constructed at minimum cost and maintained with a supervised volunteer workforce that helps generate a sense of ownership and community. Precedents exist in the form of skateboard parks in Los Angeles and bike parks in other cities.

While we agree that a trail database and inventory is sorely needed to manage the City’s parks, we would like to see this process expedited from the five years offered in this plan to one year or less. There are many City-owned parks, such as those in the northern San Fernando Valley, where there is no Management Plan in place. For those parks that do not have a management or master plan that specifically prohibits off-road cycling, we would like to see those opened to off-road cycling immediately.

To facilitate this, the plan needs to direct the City to lift the ban on off-road bicycles on trails in City parks. Section 86.04 of the Municipal Code prohibits bicycles on any trails. Section 63.44.16 prohibits bicycles, except on “paths roads or drives designed and provided for such purposes.” Further, MC Section 12.04.05 (Open Space Zone) specifically allows for bicycle trails within open space zones. These seemingly contradictory codes are subject to interpretation. They are currently interpreted as a city-wide ban on bicycles in parks. Having a city-wide ban on bicycles on park trails fails to take into consideration the differing demographics and needs of nearby residents of each individual park or open space. It sends an exclusionary message, disenfranchising the large and growing population of off-road cyclists. This ban effectively reduces opportunities for safe, healthy exercise, especially for non-driving children and adults. It even criminalizes a small child with training wheels learning to ride a bicycle in a park.

CORBA operates a Youth Adventures program, serving at-risk youth from the City of Los Angeles. We give them a truly rounded experience that includes nature interpretation, exercise, camaraderie and introduces them to a sport they can potentially enjoy for the rest of their lives. We are unable to serve as many youth as we’d like as we are not able to use facilities within the City of Los Angeles, where most of these youth are located. Expanded access would allow us to better serve the youth of Los Angeles, would encourage more outdoor exercise among these youth, and would help this generation avoid problems of obesity. Off-road cycling is fun, a good form of exercise and promotes health. It should be encouraged, not discouraged. Opening parks to bicycles would allow and encourage healthy exercise and appreciation of nature among the youth of Los Angeles.

Today’s BMX-riding teen could be tomorrow’s bicycle commuter; a teen who has a place to ride a bike has a place to exercise. Studies by the Outdoor Recreation Association reveal that making exercise fun is the biggest motivating factor we can offer our children. The unstructured play element of off-road cycling entices kids to explore our natural areas. The bike handling skills learned off-road lead to more competent and confident cyclists. Nothing in the current plan provides expanded bicycle access for youth who are unable to drive outside the city.

We have a vision of safe and friendly parks with shared-use trails and facilities that include cyclists. This plan does not share that vision, even though one of its stated objectives is to “Provide a safe and comfortable [City park] experience for all users.” A plan that fails to meet its own stated objectives cannot be considered complete or truly bicycle-friendly.

Sincerely,

Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association