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07/23/2010: "Morning Musings...."
Here's a pair of ideas that I'll cast wriggling into the sea like salmon fry and hope they survive....

One comes from my friend Bill, a lifelong cyclist and staunch old-school conservative (not one of those neander-cons we're afflicted with nowadays); a few days he ago emailed this to me:
Here's an idea for "instant bike lanes" all over Los Angeles. Eliminate on-street parking; and dedicate that lane for bicycles. Suddenly, new parking structures and parking lots will pop up all over the city in places where vacant buildings, etc. etc. now stand as landlords are always wanting to make a buck.
Not bad, huh? Costs the city little--a publication and some paint and signs--and at the same time would help rationlize parking by removing the hidden subsidy it presently enjoys. (Even parking meters don't charge nearly what it costs to provide and maintain public parking spots and structures; the shortfall is made up, as with roads, out of general taxes.)

Then there's an idea that came to my mind when I mused to local council candidate Stephen Box that it would be wonderful to implement the idaho stop law in LA. (That's the law that allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs.)

He pointed out that that would be a state, not a city, matter.

But then I began to wonder: perhaps the city could just make current four-way stops into four-way yield intersections. The degree of uncertainty that would intorduce might just get all users--cyclists and drivers alike to approach the intersections more cautiously. Both groups almost universally roll stop signs anyway, especially four-ways, under the assumption that cross traffic will stop, leaving it clear for them. Of course the cross traffic is thinking exactly the same thing.

There is one very short stretch of 4th Street here in LA where I have come across three crashes at four-way stops--twice involving pairs of SUVs driven by well-dressed, obviously wealthy (and quite indignant) women, and once where two thirtysomething male cyclists had tangled and were standing in the middle of the street by their tumbled bikes, swearing at each other.

Four-way yield might make everyone slow down a little more and look around a little more thoroughly. Takes away any comfortable assumptions about what the other guy will do.

My two cents' worth for this morning....

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