Fours years after the 2010 bike plan passed, the media seems to have finally discovered it when the Mobility Plan wins approval from the city council.
As predicted, the LA City Council passed the Mobility Plan, but not by the usual unanimous vote; in an unexpected move, Council President Herb Wesson allowed both debate and public comment before calling a vote.
That turned out to be 12 in favor and two against. Just enough to secure passage on the first reading, though several contentious amendments were deferred for later consideration.
Which means we may have won the day, but the key battles remain to be fought.
According to Streetsblog, still to be considered are motions to remove various bikeways, including:
- Notoriously anti-bike Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s motion to remove virtually every bike lane in his district from the plan;
- Councilmember Curren Price’s request to remove a protected bike lane planned for Central Avenue, apparently because he thinks it doesn’t solve the 8 to 80 problem, even though it does;
- And newly elected Councilmember David Ryu’s call for removal of the long-promised 4th Street bike friendly street — even though such bikeways have been shown to increase property values, reduce speeding and cut-through traffic, cut crime and improve safety and livability.
Yeah, who would want that?
Meanwhile, Westside Councilmember Paul Koretz may have shot himself in the foot by pressing for a vote on his motion to remove Westwood Blvd from the plan, which promptly lost with just three votes in favor.
And you can probably guess which three votes those were.
In an interview with KABC-7 — which includes a highly truncated interview with yours truly — Koretz explains his opposition by saying there’s too much traffic, bus and otherwise, on Westwood for bicyclists to ride safely.
So instead of doing something to improve it, he opts to keep the street dangerous for everyone. Smart.
Most disappointing was Ryu’s support for removing Westwood and 4th Street from the plan.
While most bicyclists supported his opponent in the recent election, many had high hopes that he would turn out to be good second choice, and earn the support of the bicycling community. But if his actions Tuesday are any indication, it could be a very long four years for bike riders in his district.
And needless to say in overly litigious LA, opponents to the plan are already planning a legal challenge based on the worst-case projections that it might lead to increased congestion.
Never mind that it could actually relieve congestion by giving people an alternative to driving. Or that a key component of the plan is a Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic deaths by 2035, in part by slowing traffic.
Evidently, those opponents are willing to accept a little collateral damage if they can get to their jobs just a few seconds sooner.
And let’s not forget that even LADOT describes the plan as “aspirational,” meaning there’s no actual commitment to build any of it.
Meanwhile, Cedillo once again trotted out his argument that he has to represent his entire district, not just the 1% that ride bikes.
Even though that 1% figure only counts those who commute to work, and fails to consider anyone who rides to school, for errands or any other reason. As well as a number of immigrants for whom a bike is their only form of transportation — many of whom live in Cedillo’s district.
And it fails to consider the overwhelming proportion of people who say they would like to ride a bike if they had a safe place to do it.
BAC President Jeff Jacoberger put that 1% figure in perspective — and I’m told, brought tears to some who heard his comments — when he said that as a gay man, he used to be considered one of the 2%, but see how far we’ve come in such a short time.
Hopefully, this plan will overcome the challenges that still lie ahead, and in 20 years, we’ll all be able to look back and say the same thing.
See how far we’ve come.
The Times gets it, saying “the old vision of widening streets and accelerating car traffic isn’t possible or practical anymore.”
LA Curbed gets it, too, calling it a “big-time plan to make it easier for everyone to get around the city.”
Writing for HuffPo, Joel Epstein says it’s the opponents, not supporters of the plan, “who are putting up roadblocks to a Los Angeles that recognizes that every bike rider, pedestrian and transit rider is one less car on the road.”
And the LABC thanks everyone who wrote, called and attended council sessions in support of the Mobility Plan.
Sad news from Orange County, as a man from Bell isn’t expected to survive after he was struck by an SUV while riding his bike in Anaheim.
And a 14-year old girl was hit by a Mercedes while riding her bike in Newport Beach Tuesday night. The car may have been accompanied by two motorcycles, suggesting it might have been part of a motorcade, or the bikes could have been chasing the driver as he fled the scene.
Update: The girl, who was riding a beach cruiser with a group of friends, was apparently hit head-on by the driver of a silver or white Mercedes. The victim is in critical condition with life-threatening injuries; she was not wearing a helmet, though it’s unclear from the description whether that could have made a difference.
Thanks to Amy Senk for the heads-up.
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Anyone can win the Tour de France; a new book looks at the riders who finished dead last.
SaMo police bust a homeless man for bike theft after tracking a bait bike by GPS.
Pacific Beach planners are plenty peeved to find San Diego’s bikeshare on the boardwalk. Might as well leave it there; they’ll need something to do on Sundays after their football team moves to LA.
Mountain View bicyclists get their first protected bike lane.
Eating your probiotics will lead to better gut bacteria diversity and make you a better bike rider.
Fodor’s ranks the nation’s top 10 urban bike paths. None of which are within 300 miles of Los Angeles.
Fortune says bikeshare is reshaping American cities, even if it’s not making any money.
Honolulu cyclists won’t have to hold their noses anymore as they ride past an illegal dump site.
A New York cyclist has a magical two-hour ride around the city after just setting out to get air in his tires. Things like that simply don’t happen when you drive.
Canadian bicyclists take to Facebook to fight bike theft.
Once again, a wire has been strung across Brit bike trail. And once again, a deliberate attempt to maim bike riders is inexplicably written off as a prank.
The BBC looks at how Paris allows cyclists to ride through red lights, but only where there is no crossroad.
Good news from the UK, as a 16-year old bike rider is miraculously brought back to life 30 minutes after suffering cardiac arrest during a cycling competition.
Bicycling asks if anyone really needs that Japanese Breathalyzer bike lock. That would be, no.
And the Chicago Tribune is frightened by bicycles, and worried sick about where everyone will park.