Street by street, cyclists and motorists are seeing changes, the most dramatic of which took place last summer when lanes of green paint appeared on one of the city's busiest stretches, providing an early test of how the city will balance car traffic with cyclists' rights to safe routes.
The green strip created a "sharrow" -- a 6-foot-wide space in the middle of the right lane of traffic on both sides of 2nd Street in Belmont Shore. It was intended to be a stark reminder that drivers must share the road with cyclists.
Perhaps DC should try this in the northbound lane on 15th St NW.
Not everyone loved the green stripe at first, but people are adjusting.
"There was a lot of confusion from cyclists and motorists because there was green paint all over the place," said Dominic Dougherty, manager of the Bikestation, a business that provides bike rentals, parking and repair in downtown Long Beach. "And confusion breeds anger."
Gandy said the green strip "better articulates the existing law," which allows bikes to travel with vehicular traffic.
"We haven't given cyclists any more privileges than before the green stripe, we've just made it more obvious," he said.
But others say the green lanes have emboldened cyclists too much, with many weaving in and out of traffic, riding four-deep and making the already clogged street impassable.
"We just don't understand" the purpose, said driver Anne Long, an insurance agent who lives blocks from 2nd Street. "Are we supposed to pull over and go around them? I just stay behind them and go really slow until there's an opening in the other lane."
And that is what you should do, just like with a slow moving car.
But others say that slowly, behavior is changing; cyclists are being more consistent about where they ride and drivers are being more attentive.
"When it first got put in we thought, 'Oh, my God, everyone is going to get murdered,' " said Jean-Marie Garcia, a hair stylist who rides her baby-blue beach cruiser to work on 2nd Street every day.
"But gradually, over time, drivers have adjusted. They're slowing down."
The green lane is only part of the plan
At a time when cities are cutting expenses across the board, Long Beach has raised $17 million in state and federal grants to improve its bike system through traffic improvements, education and bike share programs. In the next six months, the city will be resurfacing 20 miles of streets to include new bike lanes, part of a plan that includes painting and paving more than 100 miles of bike infrastructure.
In spring, the city hopes to install traffic circles on less-traveled streets parallel to thoroughfares and designate them "bike boulevards" -- preferred routes for cyclists.
Also in the works are plans to replace entire lanes of traffic with protected bikeways. And in what's bound to be a controversial move, the city is looking at taking away prime parallel parking spots -- the ones most convenient to shops and restaurants -- and putting "bike corrals" in their place.
When Chris Woodyard, who writes USAToday's Drive On blog and who loves to put the word rights in quotes when referring to cyclists in the road, heard about it, he naturally lost his mind in a post entitled "City Puts Bicycles Directly in the Path of Motorists" (Notice they put things in the way of people).
bicyclists are kings of the road in an experiment that turns frustrated motorists into serfs.
Even though cars were whizzing by at 30 miles an hour yesterday, bikes were free to ride right in their path.
The speed limit on the road is 25mph. And he continues to point to the Leymeister fatality as evidence that cyclists don't belong in the road - when the real lesson should be that drivers should make sure their windshield is clear and then keep their eyes on the road.
But it in Maryland recently, center-of-the-road biking led to a death, a bicyclist killed by the car of a driver on the way to work one morning.
Now, it's a person who was killed by a thing. The driver was just the owner of the car that did the killing. [Fact check: the driver was going to school].
Bikers on beach cruisers are meandering along in the center of the lane, disregarding honking horns of the drivers being held up for blocks behind them, he says. One of them "just gave us 'the bird.'" For the bikers, "there should be signs saying 'Keep up with traffic.'"
If they're in the road, bikers are traffic.
To see it, check out this photo by redwagonteam