Morning Links: Koretz prevaricates on Westwood Blvd, possible 15 years in SD hit-and-run, and sing the joys of hi-viz

The UCLA Daily Bruin reports on last week’s City Planning Commission meeting, where commissioners voted to keep the Westwood Blvd bike lanes in the plan.

And they cite CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz as saying transportation policy for Westwood was developed without “consulting him or the community.”

Funny, that’s not the way I remember it.

I attended a number of meetings where the 2010 Bike Plan, and specifically Westwood Blvd, were discussed, dating back to when the initial plan was first unveiled in 2009.

All of which were attended by Koretz’s staff members, and at least some by Koretz himself. Including one highly contentious meeting that focused solely on Westwood, where supporters argued with angry residents and business owners protesting the possible removal of bike lanes and/or a traffic lane to in order to accommodate bike lanes.

Those complaints were heard loud and clear. The result was a revised plan creating a floating bike lane that would have retained all traffic lanes, and kept parking by flipping it from one side of the street to the other between the morning and evening rush.

However, business owners refused to consider it because it meant their customers would have to cross the street to get to their shops. Meanwhile neighboring homeowners, who were addressed directly, simply didn’t want bike lanes on “their” street.

Koretz responded to their complaints by halting a nearly-completed engineering study of bike lanes on the boulevard, followed by putting a permanent hold on installation of the bike lanes themselves at the behest of local residents. Even though I’m told the study would have showed the bike lanes would improve safety with no significant impact on traffic flow.

In response, traffic planner Ryan Snyder developed a plan that would have added bike lanes along most of Westwood, with sharrows in a small section where there was too narrow for bike lanes, while keeping all parking on both sides of the street and retaining existing traffic lanes.

Yet even the “Remove Nothing Plan” was rejected out of hand, this time out of supposed fear for the safety of cyclists on the busy street. Which never seemed to be a concern for opponents in any discussions prior to that point, making it seem that they were simply fishing for any argument to stop the plan.

And never mind countless outreach efforts by the LACBC and their bike ambassadors, and multiple presentations to neighborhood councils and homeowner groups.

So it wasn’t that there wasn’t any outreach, or effort to address the concerns of Koretz and local community members. It’s just that they insisted on sticking their fingers in their ears and stomping their feet like petulant two-year olds while shouting “No! No! No!”

To say neither he nor the community was consulted is disingenuous at best, if not an outright lie.

We deserve better from our elected officials.

………

Brace yourself, this one gets complicated.

San Diego’s NBC-7 reports that Jonathan Domingo Garcia, the 23-year old hit-and-run driver who killed adult tricycle-riding community leader Maruta Gardner as she was cleaning off graffiti in Mission Beach last week —

  • Was drinking 40-ounce beers with a friend just hours prior to the wreck
  • Spent the afternoon slashing tires and otherwise vandalizing cars with said friend
  • Got behind the wheel with alcohol, marijuana and another unnamed depressant in his system
  • Drove away after rear-ending another car
  • Later passed the same car on the right as the driver tried to stop him
  • Drove on the shoulder at twice the posted speed limit
  • Didn’t stop after hitting Gardner, but pulled over later in a parking lot to examine the damage to his car
  • Drove back to the crime scene, refusing to stop when a cop tried to flag him down
  • Hit another car trying to get away
  • Apparently couldn’t have cared less when told his victim was going to die, asking only if his car was damaged and when he could get it back

The station says he could get 15 years hard time if he’s convicted.

Somehow, that barely seems like enough.

………

Never mind getting drivers to pay attention. The key to safety is obsessive hi-viz, according to this 1978 bike safety vid dug up by British bike historian Carlton Reid.

………

Local

The LA Times is hosting a half-day conversation on the future of transportation in Southern California, including talks with Mayor Eric Garcetti and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, as well as discussions on self-driving cars, hyperloops and the next steps for LA. It appears to be free, but you have to apply for an invitation, which may or may not be granted.

A writer for the Pasadena Weekly says you are not a driving instructor, so keep your horn to yourself; it’s not intended to tell others how to drive, give them the audible equivalent of the bird, or tell slower traffic, including cyclists, to get the hell out of your way. Amen, sister.

CiclaValley offers some breathtaking bike photography from around the world.

 

State

A Fallbrook website offers photos of the recent 12 and 6 Hours of Temecula endurance mountain bike races.

Business owners on a Santa Barbara street complain that plans for a bike lane would violate California environmental laws by removing 100 parking spaces along the street; they swear they support bike lanes, just somewhere else where it would cost a lot more. No, seriously, they say removing parking spaces and giving people an alternative to driving would be worse for the environment.

Salinas bike lockers are going unused. If no one is using bike lockers, chances are they’re either in the wrong place, unsecure or people don’t feel safe riding there.

San Jose police arrest the driver who fled the scene and abandoned his car after running down a cyclist last week.

 

National

Once again, a new study upends your training diet by announcing fried foods are now good for you. Although a greasy meal before your next century could prove a little problematic.

A bike lawyer describes the risks of riding in the door zone, calling it a dangerous game of Russian roulette for cyclists.

In a long and wonky piece, People for Bikes says it looks like major changes are coming to the national street design committee that will make it friendlier to bicycling and walking.

Another example of women earning a fraction of what men do. After a Las Vegas gambler bets a woman gambler $10,000 she can’t ride her bike from Vegas to LA in 72 hours, he bets another guy $600,000 he can’t ride from LA to Vegas in 48.

Houston plans to make the notoriously auto-centric city more bike friendly, including a long-term proposal for 861 miles of “high-comfort” bikeways. Does that mean you have to ride them on a plush bike?

A Michigan cop told a cyclist to tell it to the judge when he was ticketed for impeding traffic by riding in the roadway, even though the rider insisted he was within his rights. So he did, and he won.

Big name, bike riding NASCAR and IndyCar racers team up with former pro cyclists on a 60-mile ride to the Daytona Speedway to promote bike safety.

 

International

Now that pro cycling is allegedly cleaning up its act, amateur cyclists represent the next frontier in doping. Meanwhile, Lance’s lawyers say cycling was a cesspool back in his day, and only a fool would have believed it when he insisted he wasn’t doping. I guess that means there were a lot of fools back then, myself included, who truly wanted to believe.

Cycling Weekly says leave your bike at home when you travel, and rent one at your destination instead.

Evidently, the British press has run out of fresh scandals, and is resorting to replaying the greatest hits of recent bad bike behavior.

Yale looks at Germany’s new 62-mile bike superhighway.

An Indian cyclist hopes to win gold at the Rio Paralympics despite being born without hands.

If you see downed power lines, don’t ride over them; an Aussie rider learned that the hard way.

As bicycling gains in popularity, Singapore advocates hope to convince more people to commute by bike.

A travel website suggests bicycling is the best way to visit Bagan, Myanmar, which it describes as a temple-filled, real-life Narnia where bikes rent for $1 a day. You just have to walk through the right wardrobe to get there.

 

Finally…

It’s one thing to reject a bike lane to preserve parking, but voting to preserve illegal double-parking may set some sort of NIMBY record. Now you can wash your clothes while you pedal; if they can figure out how to put that on an actual bike so you’ll have clean clothes to wear at the end of your ride, I’m in.

And you know we’re making progress when even burglars are going multimodal. Thanks to Margaret for the heads-up.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at February 18, 2016 5.31.50

3 comments

  1. So it wasn’t that there wasn’t any outreach, or effort to address the concerns of Koretz and local community members. It’s just that they insisted on sticking their fingers in their ears and stomping their feet like petulant two-year olds while shouting “No! No! No!”

    Good stuff, Ted. Keep it up!

  2. Connor says:

    Great article. I would love to see this bike lane get built. Anyone know of anyone who is organizing to get this done?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: