Morning Links: NY Times fumbles LA’s Mobility Plan, anti-Rowena road diet petition, and a CicLAvia sneak peek

Elitist my ass.

In a piece of journalism unbefitting a great newspaper, the New York Times looks at the new LA Mobility Plan.

But instead of focusing on the city’s efforts to reduce reliance on cars and build a 21st Century mobility network, it directs its gaze on the largely unfounded fears of gridlock expressed by a handful of opponents.

Starting with Fix the City, the unofficial voice of LA NIMBYs everywhere.

The group, which has threatened to sue to stop the plan, has also tried to stop the new Academy of Motion Pictures museum next to LACMA. And they are one of the groups that successfully sued to halt the construction of a half-finished shopping center at Sunset and Western — blocking much needed jobs in a largely impoverished area, while increasing blight in an already blighted neighborhood. Something that the center would have helped to alleviate by bringing life to a long neglected corner of Hollywood.

But evidently, the NYT doesn’t have access to Google, which would have allowed them to research the background of the group in less than five minutes.

Instead, they simply took them at face value, quoting one of the group’s founders.

“What they’re trying to do is make congestion so bad, you’ll have to get out of your car,” said James O’Sullivan, a founder of Fix the City, a group that is planning a lawsuit to stop the plan. “But what are you going to do, take two hours on a bus? They haven’t given us other options.”

Never mind that the purpose of the plan is to cut transit times and provide Angelenos with viable transportation options other than the city’s unsustainable, and no longer desired, reliance on the automobile.

The paper also repeats, without examination, the fallacy that the plan would double the number of congested intersections in the city.

Yes, that’s in the plan. But if they’d bothered to do their due diligence, they would have discovered that it’s a worst case projection, based on the assumption that no one will choose to walk, bike or take transit, despite the alternatives presented by the plan.

Which is highly unlikely.

The paper only has to look outside their own windows to see that if you build it, they do, in fact, come. New York has seen a substantial growth in ridership in recent years, as the city has more than doubled the space devoted to bike lanes.

Never mind the dramatic growth shown in other cities around the country, as they install protected bike lanes like the ones called for in the plan. Or even Santa Monica’s 356% jump in ridership over the last 12 years, as the city has become one of the most bike-friendly towns in Southern California.

And it ignores the probability that more people will choose to use transit as train lines expand and offer greater connectivity, and bus only lanes offer more direct routes with shorter trip times. Or that people are more likely to walk as the streets become safer and more inviting.

Even the city’s planned bikeshare system could offer some relief from traffic, as a new study shows DC’s bikeshare system reduced traffic congestion 2% – 3% in neighborhoods surrounding the bikeshare hubs.

Then there’s everyone’s favorite LA councilmember, “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo, who states his preference for maintaining the current hegemony of the motor vehicle, and goes unchallenged as he calls bike lanes elitist, in a turn of Doublespeak that would make Orwell proud.

“The reality is that Southern California is built around the automobile,” said Gil Cedillo, one of two Council members to vote against the plan. “We’re going to make more traffic and create even greater congestion. I don’t know how anybody votes for that.”

He said few of the constituents in his lower-income district would use the bike lanes, while everyone would suffer as traffic worsened.

“It’s a very elitist policy,” he said.

Evidently, Cedillo has never met anyone who rides a bike. Or noticed the many low income and immigrant riders in his own district as he drives to the office — many of whom can’t afford a car, any car, and rely on bicycles as their only form of transportation.

How he would describe them elitist is beyond comprehension. Let alone how the NY Times would let him get away with it.

There is an important story to be written about LA’s shift to a multi-modal future.

But this isn’t it.

………

A petition has been started to undo the Rowena road diet, even though it has reduced injury collisions over 50%; it currently stands at 200 supporters. If we can’t manage keep a successful road diet in place, it doesn’t bode well for Vision Zero or the Mobility Plan.

Thanks to Northeast L.A. Bikes for the heads-up.

………

Make you plans now for next year’s CicLAvias.

Dennis Hindman sends word that the LA City Council Transportation Committee will discuss plans for three of the popular open streets events scheduled for the next fiscal year at Wednesday’s meeting.

You already know about next month’s CicLAvia in DTLA; others are planned for Van Nuys and Pacoima in March, and Southeast Cities, including Huntington Park and Watts, in May.

There will likely be at least one other LA event later next year, as well as some CicLAvias wholly outside the City of LA.

………

A 60-year old Memphis cyclist was shot by someone in a car Saturday night following an argument after the rider was almost hit by their car. Fortunately, the victim survived in what is described as “non-critical” condition.

Let that be a reminder to all hot tempered riders — myself included — that you never know who or what is in that car that nearly ran you off the road.

It’s usually better to just let it go.

Thanks to Bob Young for the link.

………

With all the bad news out there these days, it’s nice to see some real kindness directed towards bike riders.

Boulder CO police convince Walmart to donate a bike to replace one stolen from a local kid, and dig into their own pockets to buy him a helmet and lock.

Meanwhile, a North Dakota man buys a new bike for a neighbor boy when his was stolen. And friends of a visually impaired Marine vet pitch in to replace his $1,800 motorized bike after it was stolen.

………

Purito takes the leader’s jersey in the Vuelta after 16 stages, though he may not hold it very long. American Joe Dombrowsky gets the go ahead to go for stage victories, while the motor doping rumors refuse to go away, despite a lack of evidence.

Teejay van Garderen says he’s motivated for the worlds after a bad year on the bike.

Caught on video: A French race fan runs out onto the course to retrieve a bike after a rider falls, preventing a massive crash as the peloton approaches. But who wins if you cross the finish line going the wrong way?

Italian prosecutors conclude the late great Marco Pantini wasn’t murdered, but died of a cocaine overdose, as originally thought.

And sad news from Virginia, as a cyclist competing in the Shenandoah Mountain 100 Backcountry Mountain Bike Race died following a severe crash during the race.

………

Local

The Ballona Creek bike path will be closed for maintenance between Overland Ave and National Blvd from 6 am to 5 pm this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

For once, the cyclist gets the TV celebrity girl, while paparazzi even chase bike riding actresses in Ghana.

Burbank installs electric vehicle charging stations, but the owner of Bicycle John’s bemoans the loss of two parking spaces near his business. Dude, your customers ride bikes; they won’t mind walking a little further to get there.

The planned redevelopment of the Redondo Beach waterfront includes a 30 to 40 foot wide bike and pedestrian pathway along the ocean for the full length of the project.

 

State

The Times says Governor Brown’s compromise proposal is the best bet to fix California’s broken roads; the plan includes investing $500 million in cap-and-trade funds in transit and making streets more bike and pedestrian friendly. Of course, the question is how much of that would trickle down to fund bike and pedestrian projects.

San Diego’s Union-Tribune charts bike theft hotspots in the city. Not surprisingly, it turns out they’re the areas where more people ride bikes.

Evidently, bike theft is a worldwide problem, from California’s Central Coast to the shores of Borneo.

San Francisco police have arrested a man who allegedly was the jerk who bashed a car with his U-lock during last month’s Critical Mass, causing two grand in damages.

Yet another California bike rider has died at the hands of a drunk driver, this time in Brentwood.

A Napa writer repeats the tired and impractical call to require bike riders to be licensed, registered and insured. As if we pose as much risk to the public as the people in the big, dangerous machines that kill 30,000+/- Americans every year.

This is why you should always inspect and maintain your bike. A Folsom-area bike rider was badly injured in what everyone assumed was a hit-and-run, but a witness said he actually fell when his bike snapped in two.

 

National

A new study shows speed cameras save lives, and encourage drivers to slow the f*** down.

Five hundred Nevada bike riders rally to remember a fallen cyclist killed while riding on the Las Vegas Strip, while officials promise to crackdown on drivers who violate riders right-of-way; a similar number honored a fallen rider in Birmingham AL.

If you’re going to steal a bike off an Illinois porch, have the decency to wait until they take it out of the shipping box.

You can now ride a genuine work of art inspired by works in the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Well no, actually, you can’t.

That’s convenient, anyway. After a New Jersey cyclist is hit by an ambulance, they load him in the back and take him to the nearest hospital.

A Virginia bike path jumps from one side of the road to the other at the city limit, with no apparent way to cross to the other side. But an official swears riders won’t be inconvenienced. Uh, right.

A Florida county bans bike riders from a local road in apparent violation of state law. And it can’t be enforced, anyway.

 

International

A 69-year old cyclist will spend his next birthday bicycling from Toronto to Mexico to raise money for a charity founded by his late wife to aid people in San Miguel de Allende and the state of Guanajuato.

Caught on video: A bike-riding hit-and-run Brit jerk claims he doesn’t have a name after plowing into a woman from behind; you can see him reach out to push her away — or maybe push her down — as she walks out in front of him

A bike path-roaming Welsh barista has been put on hold because they can’t find a place to park his three-wheeled cappuccino-brewing bike.

A Finnish advocate says the focus should be on safer roads, not helmets; most bike wrecks in the city are caused by slippery conditions or drunkenness.

Bike riders rally in 100 cities across India to promote bicycling, and encourage daily riding.

Australia’s Cycle Space says it’s not a war between drivers and cyclists, it’s an attack on city dwellers by people in the suburbs.

Despite a favorable sounding headline, a writer for Australia’s Financial Review devotes nearly a thousand words to saying Sydney isn’t Copenhagen, and complaining how bike lanes make her commute worse.

No, it is not a freak accident when a distracted support van driver runs over a member of the Malaysian national cycling team because he was stretching his leg; fortunately, she’s in stable condition and has regained consciousness after surgery.

 

Finally…

Submitted without comment: A six-year old Ukrainian boy was riding his bike when a horse attacked and bit off his penis; the good news is, the horse must have spit it out, and surgeons were able to reattach it. If you’re carrying marijuana on your bike and wanted on two outstanding warrants, don’t ride without reflectors in the middle of the street.

And apparently, not even kite surfers are safe from cars.

………

One last note.

Operating BikinginLA is a more than full-time job that pays less than the minimum wage. But if everyone who visits here today donated just $10, it would fund this site and meet my expenses for a full year.

And please join me in thanking our sponsors Jim Pocrass of Pocrass & De Los Reyes, and Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney Josh Cohen. Without their support, this site wouldn’t be possible.

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