Morning Links: Insights on the Venice Great Streets debate, and Complete Streets discussions in the South Bay

Streetsblog reports on Tuesday’s Mar Vista Community Council debate over the Venice Blvd Great Streets project.

The quasi-governmental body defeated a motion to reject the Venice Great Streets project and return the street to its previous six-lane configuration, before voting 10-1 to support Vision Zero and a six-month reassessment of the project.

Two hours of public comment were roughly evenly divided, with nearly 60 speakers on each side.

Project proponents emphasized the need for safety in response to personal histories of collisions, injuries, and relatives’ traffic deaths. Speakers also brought up climate change, noise pollution, excessive space still dedicated to cars, and improved conditions for seniors and disabled. Proponents emphasized giving the recently opened project a chance to prove itself.

Project opponents raised issues of impacted commute times, emergency response delays, tsunami evacuation routes, disabled access, scofflaw cyclists, excessive Westside development, worsened air quality, and untrustworthy city data – questioning whether the project actually makes the street safer. Ironically, supporters held up orange paper signs stating “stop the unsafe streets project.” Opponent statements included “we want our lane back now,” “L.A. runs on four tires and an internal combustion engine” and “this is not Amsterdam, this is Mar Vista.”

After the meeting, one supporter offered these thoughts after finding himself surrounded by opponents of the Great Streets project, which provide some valuable insights going forward.

(I’m withholding his name due to the vitriol and anger displayed by some of the opponents, and have edited his comments slightly).

The anti crowd was for the most part older, and extremely entrenched in their viewpoints. Their perceptions, accurate or not, will supersede anything put forward by any of us, but especially those of Councilmember Bonin and the LADOT. It doesn’t matter that these perceptions were most likely forged while the project was under construction and therefore the most disruptive. I believe that the way forward is not through this crowd. They will not be moved regardless of how well the project proceeds. At best they’ll quietly subside over time.

Even before the meeting began I heard repeatedly that bicyclists are lawless, always running stop signs and red lights, have no regard for the rules of the road, and “if I hit one I’ll be to blame.” This sentiment was expressed in varying forms every time a professed bicyclist spoke to the council. Being a bicyclist in their minds somehow qualifies one as an activist and therefore not entitled to voicing an opinion. Never mind that pretty much everyone in attendance was an activist simply by attending.

Simply put, I believe the anti crowd feels they are the victims through all this. They see themselves as being overrun by an “elite” bent on making war with their entitled right of dominance of access. It’s almost impossible for them to fathom that a grown person would use a bicycle as anything other than recreation.

However, aside from a few disparaging remarks about victims of traffic, it was clear that the pedestrian safety component of the project transcends the divisions on the other issues. While I have my personal opinions about their concerns over safety, it was heartening to feel even a tiny bit of consensus.

Then again, those opposed to the Great Streets project might want to consider the results of this road diet in Orlando FL before making any rash decisions.

Because of this project, College Park’s main street has become a thriving corridor. Safety greatly improved after the project: total collisions dropped by 40 percent, injury rates declined 71 percent, and traffic counts briefly dropped 12 percent before returning to original levels. Pedestrian counts increased by 23 percent, bicycling activity by 30 percent, and on-street parking—which buffers the sidewalks from automobile traffic—by 41 percent.

In addition, the corridor has gained 77 new businesses and an additional 560 jobs since 2008.

The value of property adjacent to Edgewater and within a half mile of the corridor rose 80 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

That’s what Mar Vista residents have to look forward to, if they just have the patience to let it happen.

………

Hermosa Beach will discuss the city’s Bicycle Transportation Network at a special city council meeting next Monday, as part of the PLAN Hermosa (scroll to bottom).

The same night, there will be a public workshop in Manhattan Beach to discuss Living Streets and Complete Streets in the South Bay.

Although you might ask them why complete, livable streets are okay for the South Bay, but not Playa del Rey.

………

CNN takes a look at bicycling travel destinations around the world, starting with ten bicycling international routes that will take your breath away, including the Great Divide trail and a rail-to-trail conversion in Montana and Idaho. As well as the five best bike paths in Sydney, Australia.

And follow up by offering their own listing of the most bike friendly cities in the US.

None of which are named Los Angeles.

………

No surprise who won the sprint finish in Wednesday’s stage of the Tour de France, which Bike Snob says has outlived it’s usefulness.

Bike Radar writes about trained boxer turned cyclist Nacer Bouhanni throwing a punch during Tuesday’s 10th stage, but all they really seem to care about is his new bike.

Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang will continue in the Tour, despite suffering two small fractures in his left arm after colliding with a teammate on Wednesday; the San Francisco Chronicle responds to all the injuries this year by calling the race a full-contact sport.

A ceremony will be held today on the slopes of Mont Ventoux to honor fallen cyclist Tom Simpson, who died on the ascent during the 1967 Tour de France; race leader Chris Froome plans to honor him during Thursday’s stage.

Former pro Danny Summerhill accepted a plea deal that will keep him out of jail for firing his gun into a hill between two Colorado homes because he was having a bad day on a training ride. Of course, the unanswered question is why he had a gun on his bike, and where he kept it.

Now that’s the right kind of podium girl. German cyclist Florenz Knauer got down on one knee on the podium to propose to his girlfriend after winning a British Columbia grand prix.

A writer for the Guardian says Philippa York can be the trailblazer who hauls cycling into the 21st Century, following her transition from Scottish cyclist and journalist Robert Millar.

………

Local

The LA Weekly considers why there are no bike lanes in Skid Row, as residents call on the city to treat them fairly.

The SCV Bicycle Coalition is providing a free bike valet at Saturday’s Concert in the Park by an Earth, Wind and Fire tribute band in Santa Clarita.

A dozen people learned mountain biking skills and etiquette at a free month clinic offered by the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) at Malibu Creek State Park.

CiclaValley has a blast descending Old Topanga Canyon.

 

State

San Clemente has opened a new two-way cycle track along El Camino Real, along with a separate pedestrian walkway.

Former world champ and Olympic cyclist Amber Neben worked with special needs kids in Riverside to learn how to ride an adaptive bicycle.

Ventura County is planning to install three miles of bike lanes along Potrero Road near Thousand Oaks.

Caltrans proposes filling a gap in a Shasta bike trail in hopes of bringing more tourism to the town.

 

National

No surprise here, as a new study shows that people who live in areas with more transportation options have better health.

Strider has formed a non-profit to help distribute their balance bikes to children with mental, physical, or financial challenges.

A Gold Star mother and father stopped in Albuquerque on their four-month bike tour across the US to honor their sons, and all the military men and women killed since 9/11.

Sounds like fun. A Wichita KS bar hosts a show for “freak bikes” or “rat bikes” — aka any funky, weird or unusual bike.

A Wisconsin airman is back to serving as an MP, after two years of training fulltime as a cyclist as part of the Air Force’s World Class Athlete program.

In a sign of just how seriously authorities don’t take traffic crimes, a Wisconsin man was held on a ridiculously low $1,500 bond after he was arrested for attempting to intentionally run over a bicyclist while driving drunk.

A Michigan driver lost control and rolled his car down an embankment. So naturally, the guy on the bike gets the blame.

The Tennessee hit-and-run driver who ran down a bike rider on the Natchez Trace Parkway originally told police a man and a woman on the side of the road threw a bicycle at him.

City Lab looks at the battle over bike lanes in Baltimore, where the mayor had threatened to remove a protected bike lane before being stopped by a court order.

 

International

The crowdfunding campaign we mentioned yesterday for a Calgary cyclist clotheslined by barbed wire strung over a trail has been frozen after the victim closed the account; a police sweep of the trail found no safety issues. And yes, something smells very fishy.

There’s a special place in hell for the men who stole a nine-year old Winnipeg boy’s bicycle, then dragged him behind their pickup when he tried to stop them.

A Halifax randonneur became the first woman to complete a 621-mile Nova Scotia brevet in 74 hours or less, finishing with 10 hours to spare.

Singapore-based Obike becomes the first dockless bikeshare system to open in London, competing with the well-established Boris Bikes.

 

Finally…

Bicycling can make you a better surfer. No need to worry about road debris when you have your own leaf blower bike to blow it away.

And clearly, nothing has changed on LA streets in the past 96 years.

One comment

  1. David Drexler says:

    What? CNN did not put LA on the top of their bicycle friendly cities list? Must be Fake News?!?!

Leave a Reply

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

%d bloggers like this: