Cyclists storm Planning Commission to demand bike plan changes — and the Commission listens

Just a few of the heroes who deserve our thanks; photo courtesy of LACBC.

It’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way over the last couple of years.

As much as I’d like to be involved in everything that affects cycling in Los Angeles and attend every important meeting, I can’t. Especially weeks like this, when something important took place every day of the week.

While quantum physics suggests that I can, in fact, be in two places at once, I’ve yet to find a way to apply that real life.

And for some odd reason, my wife still expects me to earn a living; maybe if she rode a bike she’d realize that unpaid advocacy work is far more important than something as trivial as paying the bills and keeping a roof over our heads.

So yesterday I looked at a calendar crowded with the Planning Commission’s consideration of the bike plan, a meeting of Beverly Hills new Bicycle Ad Hoc Committee and a biking presentation in Long Beach, as well as a couple of court hearings. And realized that I wasn’t going to be able to attend any of them.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of people who give a damn about bicycling in this megalopolis we call home. Case in point, the previously mentioned meeting of the Planning Commission.

Despite the early hour, the room reportedly was crowded with cyclists; Joe Linton reported that 25 – 30 were still there 3.5 hours later when the item finally came up on the agenda. And there were still a number of riders in the room when the meeting finally ended around 5 pm.

I won’t offer a recap of a meeting I didn’t attend. You can read a full report on Streetsblog today. And you can get a flavor for the meeting from a great Twitter feed put together by Bicycling Nate, which allowed me to follow the progress of the meeting in real time when I should have been working.

However, reports are that a number of cyclists spoke eloquently and forcefully. And the Commission heard them, forming a subcommittee to consider the complaints from cyclists and report back on December 16th.

And yes, I’ve already marked my calendar. Even if I already have two other can’t-miss meetings scheduled for that same 24-hour period.

This was probably the best possible outcome. The Commission didn’t kill a plan that has a lot of good elements in it, but also didn’t blindly forward a plan that still has a number of obvious flaws.

It will be interesting to see what they come back with next month. Just like it would be to see the original work from Alta Planning, which reportedly never made it into the plan the public saw — and risked their hard-earned reputation as one of the nation’s leading bicycle planning firms.

But one thing we don’t have to wonder about is the hard work done by representatives from the LACBC, Bikeside and the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, as well as a number of individual cyclists.

They deserve all the credit for what looks right now like a huge win. And they deserve our thanks.

They have mine.

.………

More on the bike plan that was considered by the Planning Commission on Thursday. Council candidate Stephen Box called on the commission to reject the plan. Gary encouraged riders to show up en masse at the hearing. Alex Thompson writes that everyone agreed that the bike plan needs fixing. LACBC offered talking points for the meeting. Herbie offered an insightful look at what the plan is and isn’t, and offers the questions she wanted answered. LAist reports that cyclists were united against the plan; of course, there’s a big difference between wanting to fix something and being against it.

.………

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton writes that the City Hall rumor mill has either John Fisher or Amir Sedadi being promoted to take over LADOT. The question is, how can you change the culture of a notoriously dysfunctional and auto-centric agency by promoting from within?

.………

Long Beach cyclists reclaim bikes seized by police during Friday’s failed Critical Mass ride, and prepare to bring their complaints to the City Council on Tuesday. Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious reports that there seems to be no legal basis for the seizure, while Gary says it’s the dark side of bicycle registration. A online publication reminds the LBPD that repression breeds resistance. And BikeBiz clearly demonstrates that they have no idea that Long Beach and Los Angeles are two different places.

.………

Mihai Peteu continues his excellent coverage of the Shawn Fields case, the driver accused of killing teenage cyclist Danny Marin in a drunken, late-night hit-and-run on October 2nd.

He reports that Fields entered a not guilty plea yesterday, and that a preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 7th. According to Mihai, the defense complained about a “mean-spirited internet posting” about Shawn; a reminder to all of us — myself included — to let the legal system take its course and not let our anger interfere with the case.

Even if the comments left by his friends break your heart.

.………

In today’s daily doping news, Alejandro Valverde loses his appeal of his drug ban, while Vuelta runner-up Ezequiel Mosquera denies rumors that his case has been dismissed. The French anti-doping agency wants back into the Tour de France, while 2008 TdF winner Carlos Sastre films a Spanish anti-doping spot. Here’s your chance to ride the full route of next year’s Giro. Next year’s inaugural Quiznos Pro Challenge will roll over some serious mountain territory, even if it’s stuck with a name only a sandwich marketer could love.

.………

Stephen Box says the City Council is about to pass the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights and a Complete Streets Policy; unfortunately, it’s the Baltimore City Council. UCLA offers a new guide to getting around Los Angeles without a car; maybe they could work with the L.A. Convention and Visitors Bureau to make a version for tourists, too. A Caltrain study shows that cyclists are bumped from their trains just .02% of the time, while riders report a much higher rate. The next time you feel like you’re burning up the road, maybe you really will be. An unnamed woman is killed by a big rig while riding on Alpine Road near Portola Valley.

Bicycling offers readers’ tips on how to survive anything, along with advice on how to fly up hills. Orange gear to ride safe in hunting season; here in L.A., cyclists are always in season. The newly empowered far-right backlash begins as the Weekly Standard says the road to hell is paved with bike paths. A new iPhone app guides you through what to do if you’re in a bike wreck. The bike community loses its best friend in Congress, as Minnesota’s Jim Oberstar goes down to defeat. A Tempe AZ driver intentionally hits a pedestrian he accused of stealing his bike, leaving the man with life-threatening injuries; at this point, a stolen bike would seem to be the least of his problems. Police are unable to locate an Iowa driver charged in the July death of a cyclist. In a perfect example of schadenfreude, Minnesota man steals a bike and rides it off a 75-foot embankment when police give chase. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is accepting public comments on proposed rule changes that will affect children’s bikes, fixies and recumbents.

Oxford police stop an average of one rider without lights every 90 seconds. A Brit cyclist gets away with a warning after hitting a 4-year old girl while riding illegally on the sidewalk. A British rider offers his perspective on road rage. Dublin needs 4,000 more bike parking spaces thanks to a one-third increase in ridership.

Finally, after a very un-Dutch call for children to wear helmets in the province of Zeeland, Amsterdamize notes that an Amsterdam cyclist will die of bike-related in injuries an average of once every 63,368 years.

6 comments

  1. “there’s a big difference between wanting to fix something and being against it”

    Um, this.

  2. […] (Update: There’s also excellent coverage of the meeting by Joe Linton on Streetsblog and by Ted Rogers at Biking in LA) […]

  3. Cut Bike Biz a break, man — they’re in the UKoGBaI. My dad grew up in Norwalk and I was well into adulthood before realizing Long Beach and L.A. are separate entities.

  4. Hi Ted-

    To clarify, we’re actually putting together a workshop in conjunction with some very awesome student groups, including USAC’s Facilities Commissioner’s office and the UCLA Bicycle Coalition, called “Getting Around LA Without a Car”. It is open to the public (though targeted at incoming students) next Wednesday, between 5 and 7pm, in room 2232 at the School of Public Affairs building.

    There is also a brochure called “U-See-LA Without a Car” that we put out a few years ago, with a focus primarily on cultural tourism. Admittedly, it is outdated. It certainly is pretty, though: http://www.transportation.ucla.edu/portal/pdf/U-See-LA-0308.pdf

  5. Opus the Poet says:

    This is the second bike thief killed in the last 2 weeks while riding the stolen bike in MN. There’s something going on there, but I can’t say it’s something more than a statistical blip until another bike thief gets killed.

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