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Old 08-23-12, 12:28 PM   #1
facial
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Torrance Road - Cyclists 'Not Permitted'?

I'm reading this article on a puny, 0.7-mile stretch of road which looks spacious and wide open on the shoulder, yet it cyclists are 'not permitted'.

Even if the city took a legal exception to exclude cyclists from this road for safety reasons or some other BS reason I am discontent over the prohibition for two reasons:

1. What does this open the door to? People, especially the more intolerant and reckless motorists, will petition city officials to ban cyclists from all roads.

2. Less cyclists distributed over the roads worsens the safety, as studied countless times over the decades.

By California law, bicyclists are considered non-motorized vehicles and should be permitted to travel on all local streets and roads. This ban should not be tolerated, for any reason, even if it is a puny 0.7-mile stretch.
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Old 08-23-12, 01:15 PM   #2
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Holy S**T!

32 million for a 0.7 mile stretch of road, and it took 200 people 2 years to build that thing? Did they pave it with platinum or something?

W...T....F.

Totally agree with your thoughts on banning cyclists. What an ill considered reason too.
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Old 08-23-12, 01:34 PM   #3
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Google Maps satellite view has "before" shots. It looks like they had to move over half a mile of railroad spur. No bike lanes that I could see from satellite shots anywhere on Del Amo in that vicinity. Torrance to the south at least has bike lanes.
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Old 08-23-12, 01:40 PM   #4
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I don't want to sound all A+S but sometimes I wonder if bike lanes don't hurt us more than they help us... just give me room over there. it just gives car drivers ammo to think we don't belong on "their" roads. Half the roads I bike on have sketchy bike lanes anyway.. .they appear and disappear regularly so what are you supposed to do? Get on the sidewalk for a block? With all the light poles, trees & power converters?
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Old 08-23-12, 01:41 PM   #5
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Torrance Blvd does have some bike lanes; but the stretch between Maple (where Del Amo ended going east) and Vermont (where you pick it up again) is a bit sketchy and the road sucks. Was looking forward to using the completed section to cut some time off going from Manhattan Beach over to Long Beach and beyond. Wonder if TPD will be out at 7AM this Saturday?

The reasoning for banning cyclists from this stretch "due to heavy industial use" could apply to a lot of roads in Torrance. Stupid.
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Old 08-23-12, 02:42 PM   #6
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Wondering if they passed some sort of ordinance that prohibits bicycles on that section of roadway or if they just decided bikes don't belong. There would seem to be a need for some sort of law/ordinance if they plan to cite cyclists.
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Old 08-23-12, 06:30 PM   #7
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It seems that the refinery next to that stretch of road is a major source of air pollution, it gets citations from time to time. And there's a chemical plant across the street. Even if you were legally allowed to ride there, you probably wouldn't want to do that without a respirator.
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Old 08-23-12, 10:04 PM   #8
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I'm curious how the city thinks it can ban bicycle and pedestrian traffic from the road. In CA, there is a law that says they cannot. This is not a freeway, so unless there is some super secret MUP that parallels the road, bicycles are perfectly legal. Using the excuse of "heavy traffic" will not hold up in court.
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Old 08-24-12, 12:14 AM   #9
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Stupid trees are more important than making room for peds/cyclists. 32 million and the tax payers who cycle/walk are left out. Tax payers have to fund the care of those trees, cutting, when one falls on some one then tax payers have to even pay more. Great.
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Old 08-24-12, 03:03 AM   #10
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Wondering if they passed some sort of ordinance that prohibits bicycles on that section of roadway or if they just decided bikes don't belong. There would seem to be a need for some sort of law/ordinance if they plan to cite cyclists.
Under the California Vehicle Code 'local authorities' (i.e. cities, counties, etc.) are restricted in what traffic rules they can legally enact. In particular, Section 21 calls for uniform traffic rules in the state and therefore no local rules should conflict with the CVC, and Section 21100 has an inclusive list of all the types of regulations that may be imposed by local authorities and there's nothing in there about banning bicycle access to public roadways. The CVC itself restricts bicycle access to limited access highways where properly posted and alternatives exist and to toll bridge crossings unless otherwise indicated by proper signage - but all other public roadways should be accessible to bicyclists.

I'd expect any restriction of bicyclists on this roadway extension to be challenged in court.
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Old 08-24-12, 03:18 AM   #11
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Under the California Vehicle Code 'local authorities' (i.e. cities, counties, etc.) are restricted in what traffic rules they can legally enact. In particular, Section 21 calls for uniform traffic rules in the state and therefore no local rules should conflict with the CVC, and Section 21100 has an inclusive list of all the types of regulations that may be imposed by local authorities and there's nothing in there about banning bicycle access to public roadways. The CVC itself restricts bicycle access to limited access highways where properly posted and alternatives exist and to toll bridge crossings unless otherwise indicated by proper signage - but all other public roadways should be accessible to bicyclists.
CVC 21960 authorizes local authorities to ban bicycles and pedestrians from freeways and expressways. Even if it has a 35 mph speed limit, it may technically be considered a freeway ("a highway in respect to which the owners of abutting lands have no right or easement of access to or from their abutting lands") or at least an expressway ("highway having partial or complete control of access").
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Old 08-27-12, 09:51 PM   #12
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I'm curious how the city thinks it can ban bicycle and pedestrian traffic from the road. In CA, there is a law that says they cannot. This is not a freeway, so unless there is some super secret MUP that parallels the road, bicycles are perfectly legal. Using the excuse of "heavy traffic" will not hold up in court.
+1
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Old 08-28-12, 07:53 PM   #13
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Up here in Pasadena a construction company posted "bicycles prohibited" signs on the bridge by the devils gate dam while they were doing some construction. I think it only took one letter quoting the CVC to get it removed. A city up in the bay area did the same thing a few years ago, and again it was fixed with a letter or two to the city attorney pointing out the law and some suggestions that it would be cheaper to just remove the signs and striping than to lose in court first and still have to remove the signs and striping. I think I still have a copy of the letter lying around somewhere.
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Old 08-28-12, 09:21 PM   #14
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I drove on that portion of Del Amo Blvd yesterday and sure enough, there's a sign banning pedestrians and bicycles. It's funny how to the west on Del Amo Blvd by Madrona before the new section, bicycles are permitted and after the new section bicycles are permitted too. It's just over that section that bicycles are banned. Doesn't make any sence
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Old 08-28-12, 09:26 PM   #15
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Has anyone contacted the local government (Department of Safety or Transportation) to find out exactly why? Just get their answers, perhaps asking for clarification, without making arguments about it. Then it's time to start phone calls and letters to the contrary
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Old 08-29-12, 09:28 AM   #16
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I think "how" is more important than "why". If they just did it arbitrarily without complying with state law, then it should be easy to get the signs removed. If there's some hidden clause in the CVC somewhere, or a special dispensation from the state, then it might be harder.

edit: I just wrote to LACBC to see if they know anything or if they have contacts who can explain it (or want to send a formal letter to Torrance). I included a copy of the letter that the silicon valley bike coalition used to get Los Altos to remove their bike ban on a road.

another edit: LACBC and South Bay Bike Coalition are looking into it. It sounds like SBBC was already looking into it.
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Last edited by bitingduck; 08-29-12 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 08-29-12, 12:09 PM   #17
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Curious where this stands now.
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Old 08-29-12, 12:15 PM   #18
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Hard to believe that a single .7 mile stretch of an otherwise non-freeway road could be classified as a freeway.
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Old 08-29-12, 12:22 PM   #19
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Maybe they forgot the bike lane in the planning stage and now there's not enough room to put one in.
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Old 08-29-12, 02:03 PM   #20
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I think "how" is more important than "why". If they just did it arbitrarily without complying with state law, then it should be easy to get the signs removed. If there's some hidden clause in the CVC somewhere, or a special dispensation from the state, then it might be harder.

edit: I just wrote to LACBC to see if they know anything or if they have contacts who can explain it (or want to send a formal letter to Torrance). I included a copy of the letter that the silicon valley bike coalition used to get Los Altos to remove their bike ban on a road.

another edit: LACBC and South Bay Bike Coalition are looking into it. It sounds like SBBC was already looking into it.
I sent off an e-mail to the city attorney and received this in reply:
The prohibition of pedestrians and bicyclists on the Del Amo extension between Crenshaw and Maple was a condition placed on the project due to a risk assessment that analyzed the flares located on the southern edge of ExxonMobil's property that are adjacent to the Del Amo extension that was conducted as part of the Environmental Impact Report. The Environmental Impact Report can be found on the City's website at http://www.torranceca.gov/9980.htm The EIR can be found at the bottom of the page under Agency Contact. The flaring is discussed on pages 156 - 157 (EIR page numbers 3.8-7 to 3.8-8) and page 160 (EIR page number 3.8-12). A flaring event creates serious thermal hazards to any pedestrians and bicyclists that would be present on the Del Amo extension during the flaring event. Based upon these risks to pedestrians and bicyclists and in order to protect their safety, the project was conditioned to have no pedestrians or bicycles on the Del Amo extension between Crenshaw and Maple.
If you review that document, you'll see that they recommended prohibiting bike traffic on only one side of the road, not both. And there is no indication that it is an expressway.

I pointed this out to the attorney who sent the response, but they're out of the office until later next week. I'll let you know the scoop.
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Old 08-29-12, 02:16 PM   #21
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Seems like if there is a flaring event, they should close the whole road at that time. Hopefully the City reconsiders - it would be nice to use Del Amo to get to Long Beach from the South Bay.
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Old 08-29-12, 02:39 PM   #22
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The poster beat me to this. I actually biked across the road (missed the sign, d'oh!). As I was riding across, I thought, "Shoulder so nice and wide, they'll probably paint in a bike lane." Then in the middle of the bridge I saw another sign, and I high-tailed it before I got caught.
As a motorist, I'm not real comforted that flame-outs are possible here. I'll keep the windows closed.
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Old 08-29-12, 05:10 PM   #23
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I sent off an e-mail to the city attorney and received this in reply:
The prohibition of pedestrians and bicyclists on the Del Amo extension between Crenshaw and Maple was a condition placed on the project due to a risk assessment that analyzed the flares located on the southern edge of ExxonMobil's property that are adjacent to the Del Amo extension that was conducted as part of the Environmental Impact Report. The Environmental Impact Report can be found on the City's website at http://www.torranceca.gov/9980.htm The EIR can be found at the bottom of the page under Agency Contact. The flaring is discussed on pages 156 - 157 (EIR page numbers 3.8-7 to 3.8-8) and page 160 (EIR page number 3.8-12). A flaring event creates serious thermal hazards to any pedestrians and bicyclists that would be present on the Del Amo extension during the flaring event. Based upon these risks to pedestrians and bicyclists and in order to protect their safety, the project was conditioned to have no pedestrians or bicycles on the Del Amo extension between Crenshaw and Maple.
If you review that document, you'll see that they recommended prohibiting bike traffic on only one side of the road, not both. And there is no indication that it is an expressway.

I pointed this out to the attorney who sent the response, but they're out of the office until later next week. I'll let you know the scoop.
If it's a "serious thermal hazard" to cyclists and pedestrians, then it is likely also a serious thermal hazard to motorcyclists and possibly also motorists. Given what they spent on engineering the road, they likely could have mitigated it with appropriate barriers.

And the condition (imposed by who?) may have put them in violation of the CVC.

edit: I took a quick look at the EIR, and it didn't say "bicycles shall be prohbited, and signage posted", it said "sidewalks and bicycle paths shall not be permitted". The "worst case" flare is about 2 kW/m^2, or about twice the noonday sun on a clear day in socal. It would be hot, but the EPA allows up to 5 kW/m^2 (according to the report, and with no conditions stated). FWIW, I had my house baked for termites and you could walk in when the air temp was ~150 F and it wasn't too unpleasant.
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Old 08-29-12, 06:12 PM   #24
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If it's a "serious thermal hazard" to cyclists and pedestrians, then it is likely also a serious thermal hazard to motorcyclists and possibly also motorists.
Motorists have steel cages around them, motorcyclists are typically well-insulated too (typically in thick pants and a long-sleeve jacket), but cyclists have a lot of exposed skin.

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The "worst case" flare is about 2 kW/m^2, or about twice the noonday sun on a clear day in socal. It would be hot, but the EPA allows up to 5 kW/m^2 (according to the report, and with no conditions stated).
I wouldn't underestimate this. 2 kW/m2 will cause severe pain in any exposed skin after a couple of minutes. In the EU, there's a recommended exposure limit of 100 seconds at 2 kW/m2.
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Old 08-29-12, 07:33 PM   #25
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Motorists have steel cages around them, motorcyclists are typically well-insulated too (typically in thick pants and a long-sleeve jacket), but cyclists have a lot of exposed skin.
Motorists can also get stuck in traffic (and it sounds like they were supposed to re-time the lights to reduce the risk of that). And there are certainly motorcyclists and scooter drivers who aren't covered in leather.


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I wouldn't underestimate this. 2 kW/m2 will cause severe pain in any exposed skin after a couple of minutes. In the EU, there's a recommended exposure limit of 100 seconds at 2 kW/m2.
It would certainly be unpleasant, but a cyclist will likely only be exposed for a few seconds, and that's the predicted worst case. The radiated load could also be mitigated pretty effectively with reflectors mounted between the flare and the road. For a road cyclist in the road at 15-18 mph, it's a pretty brief exposure.

And as mentioned already-- the EIR only recommended limiting access on one side of the street and not limiting it on the other (because the radiated load drops rapidly with distance).
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