Morning Links: Manhattan Beach declares war over LA roadwork; Better Bike celebrates SaMo Blvd bike lanes

Manhattan Beach has declared war on Los Angeles.

According to a Facebook post from the group fighting to reverse the changes on Vista del Mar, the Manhattan Beach city council voted to go to the mattresses in a battle with the City of Angels.

Remarkably, the comments to that post blame the free parking on the roadway — which has always existed — with an apparent increase in trash, which has always been there. But which they apparently never noticed before because it was hidden by parked cars.

Thanks to Peter Flax for the screen grab

Meanwhile, the Argonaut reports on the road rage over the road reconstruction on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista, and four streets in Playa del Rey, including Vista del Mar. And illustrates it with a photo showing, not just no traffic backup on Venice, but virtually no motor vehicle traffic at all.

Rather than give these projects a chance, the motor maniacal NIMBYs want to rip them out right away. And if that’s not possible, they want to rip popular Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin out of the seat he was just overwhelmingly re-elected to.

On June 13 more than 100 residents of Mar Vista, Playa del Rey and Westchester lambasted the changes during a boisterous Mar Vista Community Council meeting, many of them peppering Bonin mobility deputy Jesse Holzer and Great Streets senior project manager Carter Rubin with a mix of questions and insults.

“Will a recall petition affect the pilot project? How quickly can we get rid of this dumb idea?” asked Edwin Ortega.

Morgan Pietz, a civil litigator who lives in Ladera Heights and works in Century City, said he’s creating a political action committee to fundraise for a campaign not only to restore traffic lanes on Venice Boulevard, but also to oppose any future lane reductions elsewhere.

So rather than just reverse the beachside street projects he objects to, Pietz wants to halt all road diets and Complete Streets projects anywhere in the city, whether local residents want them or not.

And Vision Zero be damned.

But as the Manhattan Beach council vote illustrates, most of the people fighting these projects, particularly in Playa del Rey, live outside the City of Los Angeles, many in homes far beyond the reach of average Angelenos. And commute to their jobs miles away in Santa Monica or Century City, demanding the right to continue their unsustainable lifestyle, and expecting LA to pay the price — financially and environmentally, as well as in human lives.

Maybe instead of a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to fight the road projects, they could pitch in to pay the next massive legal judgment against the city the next time someone gets killed. And buy a little compassion while they’re at it.

It cost Los Angeles $9.5 million to settle the most recent lawsuit over the death of a 16-year old girl killed crossing Vista del Mar, in part because of the complete lack of crosswalks along the deadly street.

And it will cost the city many times that to settle the next one if nothing is done to improve safety, since the city clearly knows about the dangers on the street. Hence the urgency in making the changes.

Never mind that it’s the right thing to do to place the safety of human lives over the inconvenience of drivers, which will pass as people adjust to the changes.

Speaking of adjusting, any guesses how many of the people complaining about the horrendous traffic backups actually carpool to reduce congestion and their carbon footprint? You can probably count them on one finger. And yes, I’d suggest using that one.

Bonin explained his actions in a thoughtful, detailed and moving email yesterday, which should be required reading for anyone on either side of this debate. One demonstrating the political courage and decency that’s long been missing from most of LA’s elected leaders.

He promises to hold a community meeting in a month to discuss the changes, and to be there in person — in a city where officials usually hide from angry constituents.

By that time, LADOT should have actual statistics to show if the projects have been successful in reducing injury collisions, rather than the apocalyptic anecdotes thrown out by opponents.

And traffic congestion should have begun to dissipate as people adjust to the changes.

So hopefully, by then cooler heads will prevail and they’ll be able to discuss this like rational adults, instead of petulant children whose favorite toys have just been taken away.

Yeah, I know. As if.

Meanwhile, the LACBC’s next Sunday Funday ride on July 2nd invites you to explore the new street reconfigurations in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey that South Bay drivers seem to consider a sign of the end times.

………

This year’s Tour of California champ George Bennett is just the latest cyclist to be hit by a car while training; fortunately, he only suffered minor injuries.

A women’s cyclist discusses the things she doesn’t miss now that she’s retired from competition, along with a few things she does.

No, poop doping isn’t likely to be a thing anytime soon; a professor at UC Davis calls the story ridiculously irresponsible. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

When banned dopers Lance Armstrong and former US Postal manager Johan Bruyneel oppose the re-election of UCI chief Brian Cookson, it seems almost like an endorsement.

………

Local

Better Bike’s Mark Elliot takes a well deserved victory lap, reporting on the Beverly Hills City Council’s surprising unanimous vote to install bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd. And the even more surprising vote to paint them a hi-visibility color, to the undoubted chagrin of the film industry.

Streetsblog reports the Santa Monica Blvd bike lanes should be installed next year, while crediting a handful of advocates for keeping up the ultimately successful fight.

You can let Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse know just how happy you are with the council’s decision when she hosts a public bike ride on August 20th.

Long Beach improves the complicated five-way intersection of Walnut Avenue, East 20th Street and Alamitos Avenue to benefit pedestrian and bicycle safety, and pave the way for a planned bike network.

 

State

Del Mar is rolling out preliminary designs for a facelift of the downtown area, including new bike lanes on Camino del Mar and some side streets.

A Redlands minister discusses the cross-country bike ride he took last year to raise funds for a new playground at his church.

A Santa Cruz cyclist is suing just about everyone who had anything to do with developing a traffic circle where she fell and broke her hip, alleging there were no warning signs about the train tracks where she apparently caught a wheel.

It was a tragic day for bike riders in Central and Northern California yesterday, as three riders lost their lives in separate collisions.

Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious reports that Chinese bikeshare company Bluegogo has suspended their planned invasion of the Bay Area, and will be withdrawing from American shores.

 

National

A new research paper suggests there’s a one-to-one relationship between new highway lane capacity and traffic increases, yet planners fail to take induced demand into account when designing new projects. Hopefully there’s a one-to-one relationship with removing lane capacity, as well.

It’s been too long since we’ve heard from Elly Blue, who’s started a Kickstarter campaign to fund Bikequity, described as a feminist bicycle zine about class and social justice.

People for Bikes wants your help to choose a new name for Bike Boulevards. Los Angeles calls them Bicycle Friendly Streets in the city’s mobility plan. But doesn’t seem to want to build any.

Instead of building a traditional street, Portland has built a 130-foot long street just for bicycles to connect three new buildings in the downtown area.

Don’t plan on going to Interbike in Las Vegas without a pass this year; the bicycle trade show has stopped allowing the public in on the final day of the show, as they have the past few years.

A New Zealand man is on his way back home after being seriously injured when he was hit by the driver of an SUV atop a Colorado pass while riding across the US; he’s now stuck with a $150,000 bill for medical expenses until a settlement can be reached.

An Iowa city has officially opened a new bike path segment, part of a 3,000 mile trail along the Mississippi River.

Relatives of a Chicago bike rider insist he was the victim of a hit-and-run driver, even though police say he just fell off his bike.

A new Minneapolis study shows there’s safety in numbers for pedestrians, as well. Unless this jackass happens to be around.

After being diagnosed with a terminal illness, a Massachusetts man is devoting whatever time he has left to fixing up bicycles to give to local kids.

It really shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that riding a bike is at least as fast, if not faster, than taking a cab in New York City; researchers used data from cabs and the city’s Citi Bike bikeshare to reach that conclusion.

A bighearted Virginia sheriff’s deputy buys a new bike for a four-year old girl after hers was stolen.

A New Orleans cyclist was stabbed in the arm and accused of stealing the bike he was riding, by a man who then stole the bike he was riding.

Awhile back, we mentioned the man who was riding his bicycle across the US to visit every major league baseball stadium; sadly, his journey ended when he was hit by a car in Alabama, suffering serious injuries. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the link.

 

International

London’s mayor plans to make the entire city emissions-free by 2050, through a mix of zero-emission vehicles and increasing the mode share for bicycling, walking and transit to a whopping 80%, while cutting motor vehicle traffic by 3 million miles a day.

A London cyclist says hell is a city full of non-cyclists on bikeshare bikes.

There’s now a £2,000 reward — the equivalent of over $2,500 — to capture the British bike rider who was caught on video recently nearly getting smashed by a train when he climbed over the crossing barricades, after the near miss left the engineer with psychological trauma. Maybe it was the man shaking his fist at the train that nearly hit him that pushed the engineer over the edge.

So much for your GPS and Strava. A Dutch company has developed a new bike lock that blocks the cellular network for your mobile phone while you ride, releasing it once you lock your bike using the related app. Now if we can just require every driver to use one.

 

Finally…

How to achieve udder comfort on your bike. Now you, too, can own your very own old media publishing empire.

And if you’re going to fire a toy gun at a group of cyclists, make sure none of them are the king of a foreign country first.

 

7 comments

  1. Megan Lyncht says:

    I have friends who drive BART trains and the trauma that comes from near misses as well as hits from people too impatient to wait until the train passes and from “suicide by train” is quite real.

  2. David Drexler says:

    All cyclists should come out to ride with the Beverly Hills mayor in August. If not for here impetus, the bike lane proposal would not have even been reconsidered.

  3. David Drexler says:

    Too many residents of Manhattan Beach are just a bunch of Jockheads. (I used to live there.) The stretch between imperial highway and Rosecrans is the only road where drivers consistently have tried to cut me off, throw things at me, and yell out the window.

    We are seeing why in the protest comments they are making about the road changes. Their attitude is clearly displayed.

  4. David Drexler says:

    And I am disappointed that they did away with consumer day at Interbike. That day was very different than the other days bc it was relaxed, fun, and explore, discuss, and post about new bike technology.

    I found that most of the folks were very receptive and liked showing off their stuff and answering questions.

    I think Interbike is missing the boat. If you invite non trade non paid consumers to see your equipment, they will write about it on social media and that credibility is much better marketing than ads or professional reviews.

  5. Chris says:

    What legals grounds does Manhattan Beach have to protest a change on a minor arterial road in a neighboring city? A road of that class isn’t intended to be a thoroughfare, so what is their legal argument?

  6. The motorcycle rider and the cop arresting him are both smiling in 2 of the 6 pictures. You know he didn’t get treated like the members of the protest he disrupted.

  7. Ralph says:

    Well if the product lock out Strava I won’t us it. I know enough to pull over to answer any call I get even if it kills my Strava time. I don’t use a bike computer any more because of the Strava program.

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