Just as the weatherman predicted, this turned out to be a beautiful day. A perfect day for riding, in fact — warm, mostly sunny and almost no wind.
In fact, when I stepped outside this morning, every fiber of my being urged me to get on the bike, and not look back until I had at least 30 miles under my belt. Every fiber, that is, except the ones that insisted I belonged here, instead.
Maybe it had something to do with putting my money where my mouth is. Maybe it was a genuine desire to make a difference, or hold our elected officials accountable.
Or maybe I just wanted to meet some of those people I read every day. Like the ones you’ll find over there on the right.
So I rearranged my schedule, put off a couple of work calls, and made it out of here about 15 minutes after the meeting was supposed to start. Then there was the hour drive it took to travel 12 miles from West L.A. to downtown. (Note to L.A. traffic planners: if you really need another reason why we need to put more bikes — and fewer cars — on the roads, I’d say that just about sums it up.)
Combine that with the 15 minutes it took to hike from the parking lot and pass through security, and I got to the 3-hour City Council Transportation Committee meeting about the time it was halfway over. So I’ll let someone who was actually there for the whole thing tell you what happened.
What I saw, though, was surprising enough.
From a room full of cyclists of every possible description, to council members — like Bill Rosendahl and Wendy Greuel — who actually seemed to give a damn about making this city a better place for bicyclists, not to mention the other people we share the roads with (or with whom we share the roads, if you prefer).
By the time the meeting was over, I was ready to kiss Rosendahl. Though I don’t think either one of us would have particularly enjoyed that.
The speakers from the L.A. Department of Transportation were a different matter. Sharrows have been used successfully in a number of cities for years now — even right here in Los Angeles, on the campus of UCLA. And yet, to hear them talk, you would assume it was some sort of new technology that must be tested in double blind safety studies to prove they won’t explode or turn us into brain-sucking mutant zombies.
And not only could they not figure what streets to put them on, they weren’t even sure if the paint would be too slick to ride on safely. (Note to LADOT: just call UCLA and ask them what the hell they used, since it hasn’t seemed to have killed anyone yet.)
They also weren’t sure sharrows could, or should, be painted on busy streets. (Note to LADOT: we already ride on those streets. We’d just like it to be a little safer, please.)
In the end, though, it turned out to a pretty positive experience — even if it did cost me a good ride.
And all those cyclists I met?
They turned out to be pretty nice people, too.