The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works is updating its Bikeway Master Plan, which seeks to expand and connect the county network of bikeways, expand existing county-maintained bicycle facilities, and develop a prioritized list of projects.

The master plan will cover areas of the City of Los Angeles as well as unincorporated county areas, including Marina del Rey. The first round of community meetings included a workshop at the Lloyd Taber-Marina del Rey Library on Wednesday, March 10th.

The workshop was conducted by Matt Benjamin of Alta Planning + Design who said that the county Small Craft Harbor Commission had voted earlier that day to request that a bike path be developed within Marina del Rey, providing access to the jetty and back without having to use Washington Boulevard because of heavy traffic on that road.

Benjamin said regional connectivity is a key issue to be considered under the bike plan.

The county is trying to create a network of bikeways between municipalities and unincorporated areas so that people can ride their bikes and have bike paths that continue across the city and county borders, he said.

The plan’s coverage area would include the rivers, creeks, arroyos, washes and drains that make up the flood control system of Los Angeles County. The plan will look at improving existing bikeways along the Los Angeles River and Ballona Creek in addition to developing new ones, he said.

The general goal of the project is to increase bicycling in Los Angeles through infrastructure, education and policy change, Benjamin said.

One of the objectives is proposing new bicycle facilities within the unincorporated areas. There is a larger menu of options in those areas regarding bicycle parking, routes, lanes, and paths, and there are many opportunities for different bike facilities because the county has jurisdiction, he noted.

Among other plan objectives are developing educational encouragement and enforcement programs, and providing a clear path for implementation.

The first round of workshops will go through the end of this month. While there are currently no formal plans, the county hopes to collect initial input on the issues that need to be addressed, said Benjamin.

A second round of public workshops will take place in spring or summer, followed by a draft plan.

The third round of public workshops would provide comments on the draft plan. Adoption of the final plan could happen anywhere between January and September 2011, depending on the environmental documentation, he said.

All upcoming meetings of the bicycle advisory committee or upcoming public workshops are posted on the county Public Works Web site. Meeting notes and comments can be posted online.

Benjamin said that in the earlier part of the public input process comment cards were sent to bicycle shops, public libraries and county facilities throughout the county.

The workshop at the library offered a plan orientation with maps of the city and county and boards showing geographic areas.

For questions regarding the project, Matt Benjamin, project lead at (213) 489-7443, or mattbenjamin@altaplanning.com/.

For general questions regarding the county’s bikeway program, Abu Yusuf at (626) 458-3940, or ayusuf@dpw.lacounty.gov/.

Information, www.lacountybikeplan.org/.

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