Morning Links: Second lawsuit filed over Playa del Rey road diets, and bizarre racist traffic manifesto mailed

You knew it was coming.

In news that should surprise no one, a second lawsuit has been filed over the lane reductions on Vista del Mar and other streets in Playa del Rey.

This time, by the un-ironically named driver-activist group Keep LA Moving.

Which is fighting efforts to do just that in Playa del Rey and Mar Vista, by demanding a continuation of the failed auto-centric planning that has harmed so many parts of our city, at the expense of everyone who isn’t currently in a car.

What is only a little surprising is the paranoid, tinfoil-hat wearing extremes to which they’ve taken their case.

According to a story in the Daily Breeze,

City officials have “engaged in a campaign of misinformation, name calling and race baiting, claiming that the aforementioned changes were made for ‘safety’ reasons, while the changes have made the affected roadways exponentially unsafe,” the lawsuit states.

Race baiting? Seriously?

In response to backlash, the lawsuit says, Bonin misleadingly used the stories of victims who were killed on the streets, failing to mention details that show lane reductions wouldn’t have prevented their deaths.

“In none of these cases was the unfortunate death caused by too many lanes on the road, or the lack of dedicated bicycle lanes,” the suit states.

Never mind that the victims might have survived the crashes if the traffic had been moving at a less deadly pace. Which was the expressed purpose of removing those lanes.

But here’s the best one.

It also accuses the city of failing to conduct adequate public outreach for the Safe Streets for Playa del Rey Initiative, saying only 150 of Playa del Rey’s 12,000 residents were engaged in the process.

“LADOT thereafter populated neighborhood forums with outside, paid supporters to make it appear that local residents were overwhelmingly supporting the projects,” the suit states.

If you didn’t get your check, contact LADOT and demand payment. Because evidently, everyone else who supported the projects did.

And never mind that many, if not most, of those opposing the projects don’t even live in Los Angeles, let alone in Playa del Rey.

Keep L.A. Moving also alleges Bonin’s office has suppressed free speech by allegedly deleting critical comments and blocking users from his Facebook page.

Maybe they should give the 1st Amendment another read. Because I don’t think it means what they think it means.

Then finally, there’s this.

Keep L.A. Moving director Karla Mendelson said her group isn’t against safety, but wants to make elected officials think twice before implementing road diets.

No, they’re all for safety. As long as it doesn’t inconvenience them.

You can download a full copy of the lawsuit here.

………

Traffic safety advocates and neighborhood council members around Los Angeles have been receiving a very strange and offensive screed purporting to discuss traffic safety.

This bizarrely auto-centric piece, which is filled with bike hate and 180 degrees wrong on most traffic safety efforts, reads like the Unibomber’s manifesto, but without the intelligence.

Take this section on wide bike lanes. Please.

Even more frightening than the writer’s obvious glee at the fantasy of watching another human being die in the street, is the fact that these fliers have been mailed to people’s home addresses — an implied threat clearly saying “we know where you live.”

I’m told that at least one neighborhood council member has resigned as a result.

It’s horrifying to think that working to make this a more bikeable, walkable and livable city could put you in the crosshairs of people willing to threaten others to maintain their philosophy of autos über alles on the streets.

But that seems to be the world we live in.

……….

The self-proclaimed “LA’s #1 walking and biking advocacy group” we mentioned yesterday —which calls Vision Zero “population control,” and falsely claimed to be part of the non-existent group behind this website — says it will hold a public meeting at Intelligencia Coffee in Venice on Saturday.

If you live in the area, maybe you should drop in and see if they really exist.

And if they’re really there, give them a nice, big WTF for me.

And maybe a restraining order.

………

The Colorado Classic aims to reimagine bike racing; the Denver Post gives the details on all four stages.

Here’s your spoiler-free result of the first stage.

A Denver TV station says the presence of the Rwandan cycling team at the Colorado Classic sends a message of inspiration and hope, even if they’re not expected to win any stages.

Ex-Tour de France winner Floyd Landis says banning Lance’s podcast is just being petty, as he prepares to return to mountain bike racing at the Leadville 100 with his Floyd’s of Leadville medicinal dope partner Dave Zabriskie.

Cycling great Andre Greipel says he’s lost all his instincts on the bike.

The Guardian offers a beautiful photo essay examining the 2,400-mile Transcontinental bike race across Europe.

……….

Local

Maybe one day your summer bike rides could be a bit cooler, as Los Angeles experiments with changing the surface color of streets to reduce roadway temperatures.

Great profile of 16-year old Los Angeles public transit enthusiast Kenny Uong.

CiclaValley discovers the San Fernando Valley’s secret climb.

Helen’s Cycles is sponsoring a trio of rides throughout the LA area tomorrow.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson offers his own inimitable advice on commuting to work.

The South Bay’s Easy Reader News credits the removal of the Herondo wall on the Hermosa border and widening the bike path with opening the entrance to Redondo Beach, leading to a boom in business along Harbor Drive. So much for bike lanes killing business, as the above lawsuit asserts, as well as the “fat bike lanes” in the manifesto.

 

State

Residents insist that traffic congestion is a nightmare in Lytle Creek, even without any road diets or bike lanes. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Caught on video: A San Francisco bike rider is sent flying when he apparently hits a curb after swerving to avoid an SUV that left-crossed him.

A San Francisco website says there ain’t no party like an East Bay Bike Party.

A 74-year old Healdsburg man will face a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge for an unsafe pass that apparently caused a women to fall off her bike during a charity ride.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a specialized bicycle from a Navy vet who was using it to recover from paralysis, after he was shot in the head while serving in Afghanistan.

Violent crime is increasing on a Sacramento bike path with one of the region’s highest concentrations of chronically homeless people; one rider reported getting punched in the jaw just for being there.

 

National

Streetsblog asks why cities shouldn’t fund student bikeshare passes like they do transit passes.

No surprise here. A new study showed that adult-supervised bike trains to and from school increased physical activity for kids, providing 35% of their daily recommended exercise.

Seattle discovers the most effective way to cut solo car commutes is charging for parking by the day, rather than by the month. Just imagine if they combined that with safer streets to encourage more walking and biking at the same time.

Speaking of Seattle, the city’s limited experiment with dockless bikeshare doubled to a total of 2,000 bikes this week, and could double again when two more suppliers hit the streets. My apologies to whoever sent this; unfortunately, I’ve lost track of where I got this story. But thank you anyway.

Caught on video too: A safety conscious Spokane burglar straps on a helmet before riding off with a homeowner’s bike, while ghost riding another.

Good idea. A Kalamazoo MI bike club printed and distributed 100 lawn signs to promote the city’s five-foot passing law.

The Pennsylvania bicyclist on trial for obstructing traffic testified that he was simply riding in the center of the lane to avoid debris on the right and prevent unsafe passing.

A tone-deaf Atlantic City editorial says bicyclists have to ride responsibly to protect themselves from distracted drivers. Which is probably true. But wearing a bike helmet isn’t likely to prevent a collision. And even the brightest hi-viz and lights won’t help if someone is looking at his or her lap instead of the road.

Emmy nominee Keri Russell is one of us, as a fellow bike rider strikes up a conversation about her show The Americans as she waited at a Brooklyn stop light. A) Conversations like that never happen when you’re in a car, and B) it’s proof that bicyclists really do stop for red lights.

Leonardo DiCaprio is still one of us, and still riding bikeshare bikes across New York. No word on whether he stopped for stop lights or paused to speak with any other bike riders, however.

A New York lawyer goes looking for video of the hit-and-run that put a bike rider in the hospital, and finds a city-owned truck with damage matching the one that hit her.

 

International

A 16-year old Calgary boy has raised $8,000 to fight cancer as part of a 124-mile charity ride, four years after an eye exam lead to the discovery of a baseball-sized tumor in his brain.

Edmonton, Canada is testing side guards on trucks to protect cyclists and pedestrians.

Toronto developers are starting to build carfree, bike-only condos.

The sister of a fallen teenage bike rider lashes out at young Brit riders who put their lives at risk by pulling stunts in front of cars. Although you’d think she’d blame the stoned driver who killed him, instead.

Caught on video three: A Dublin bike mechanic tackles a bike thief who tried to make off with his bike after he leaned it against a wall for a few moments.

The mayor of Melbourne, Australia threatens to deal with the problem of abandoned dockless bikeshare bikes by banning them entirely.

 

Finally…

Why bother biking to work or slogging through traffic when you can just swim. You could do worse than the Sneaky Cyclist Robber, as far as bank robber epithets go.

And a mountain biker tries to take a $149 Walmart bike down some steep singletrack, with predictable results.

25 comments

  1. William Wickwire says:

    Your comments this morning about the lane reductions lawsuit in Playa del Rey are dishonest.

    It’s very easy to confuse the deaths and injuries of pedestrians vs. bicyclists and this is a bicycle site.

    However, the deaths were pedestrians and their deaths would NOT have been prevented by the lane reductions, because they happened late at night and the car speeds are not lower late at night. In fact, the car speeds aren’t even lower early in the morning, and I know this because I have changed my car commute time to between 6 AM and 7 AM. to avoid the biggest bottle that time, and some people continue to drive like maniacs when they can.

    The purpose of the lawsuit is to force those who have a goal of lowering speeds during the times when the deaths actually occurred to do something that addresses that issue, and they still have not. Instead, they are punishing & scapegoating commuters to make themselves look like they are doing something, and that is not only dishonest of Bonin, but it is dishonest of you not to present the real facts.

    It is also “baiting” of you to twist the facts to make it sound as though commuters are not concerned about safety when just by common sense the vast majority are extremely concerned.

    And that “race baiting” part, I suspect, has to do with assertions that people from the South Bay don’t want people from the inner-city to go and enjoy the beach. Actually, they just want others, who may or not be of a different race, to pick up their trash and to not run across the road in front of their cars; but, yes, it’s real easy to throw out the race card, and that has most definitely been done.

    • Joe Linton says:

      Except that (as the article states above) lane reduction slow cars down, which does prevent deaths – and likely could have prevented some of these deaths. It’s a truism that the lawsuit and others repeat, but on what basis do you assert that the road diets would “NOT” have prevented deaths?

      • Tyler says:

        Making everybody walk instead of drive would prevent deaths too. But we don’t do that, because that would be stupid. Just like jamming traffic is stupid. Quit trying to hide your agenda behind this “if it save even one life!” crap. Everybody sees right through it.

    • bikinginla says:

      Bullshit. One of the pedestrians was killed in a crosswalk during the evening rush hour. And lane reductions have been proven to reduce average speeds around the clock.

      The purpose of the lawsuit is not to improve safety; if it was, they would let these modifications take their course and see if they work. The real purpose behind this, as the director said, is to make officials think twice before they do it again.

      This is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate city officials to halt any further progress on Vision Zero.

      If you have a grand plan to lower speeds at off hours without changing the nature of the roadway, by all means, tell us about it. I’m sure the people behind this ridiculous lawsuit, which contains more errors and outright lies — paying people to attend meetings, anyone? — than I can count, know far more about traffic safety and engineering than all the experts in the field combined.

      And I’ll stop “baiting” about safety when the people trying their best to keep the road dangerous actually show that they give a damn.

      • bikinginla says:

        And can someone please tell me why people shouldn’t be able to safely cross a damn street at midnight, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 in the morning?

        Blaming pedestrians for their own deaths attempting to cross the street late at night, as so many people have done in the extremely offensive debate, is flat out disgusting.

    • Erik Griswold says:

      Can we all agree that the trash issue is likely nothing new. What happened is that the buffers at the head of the parking spaces that were installed created a space that the traditional street sweeping trucks can not get into. So the trash before the re-striping was easily collected, while now it can’t be. There are mini-sweepers available and I know Long Beach has one that they use on their Protected Bike Lanes.

      (May I again remind everyone, Vista Del Mar is not a bicycle lane project).

      With the removal of the angled parking, and the buffers (parking blocks?) the trash issue will go away.

  2. Donald says:

    Boy, the cyclists sure are looking silly these days. I never had a problem this entitled group before, but yes you are certainly in the crosshairs now.

    Los Angeles is a sprawling city where cycling simply is not the answer, and trying to shove it down our throats only creates disdain for your group.

    • Fjl says:

      Kind of you to categorize all of us under one umbrella and call us entitled especially after some of the ridiculous, outrageous things coming from a small fringe portion of people with opposing views.

      Many of us, myself included ride, drive, and walk. Dangerous driving is an issue for all three of these modes of transport. Vision Zero and road dieting or other attempts to address roadway safety help us all. Getting people to slow down and holding them accountable for their actions when they use their vehicle in a way that endangers others is a must.

      Biking as a primary form of transport certainly won’t work for everybody but it has potential for more people than you think, even in a city such as LA.

      • tyler says:

        It has almost no potential as a primary means. Probably less than 1% of people live close enough to work to ride. Less than half of them still have to pick up/drop off kids, go to the store, go to home depot, attend business lunches, and on and on and on. It’s a joke.

        • bikinginla says:

          And you know this how, Tyler? I assume you’ve done, or at least read, traffic studies to confirm that opinion? Or did you just pull it out of thin air to support your beliefs?

          The fact is, the overwhelming majority of car trips taken in the city of Los Angeles are three miles or less, which is easily bikeable, and in many cases, walkable, by most people.

          The benefit of making it safe for people to walk and bike is that people like you, who think they can’t possibly ride a bike, can go on driving just like always. But the 2/3 of Los Angeles residents who say they’d like to ride a bike if they felt safer on the streets can try riding to nearby places where they would otherwise drive, reducing traffic and making your commute easier.

          And yes, that comes from actual research, not wishful thinking.

          • tyler says:

            Common sense. Nothing wishful about it.

          • Fjl says:

            I think with e-bikes and an improved/expanded public transit system people can make longer trips doable too. Hills and sweat won’t be as much of an issue either.

            It’s not for eberybody and we do get that Tyler but again it’s doable for more than you think.

    • Fred Davis says:

      Crosshairs? You imply violence at the mere talk of broadening the usage and access of our roads. Now that’s some pretty hardcore entitlement, Donald.

      Yes, Los Angeles is indeed a sprawling city. But not everyone is traversing the entire span in each their commute. Even if that was the case, they wouldn’t be using Culver, VDR, or Venice to do so. Chances are they’d be traffic on a freeway. (BTW, how’d that extra lane on 405 work out?) Fact is bicycling and walking are real and legitimate forms of transportation. People can, and do, actually go places without a car. The point of all of this is make it safer to do so.

      • Erik Griswold says:

        2 facts:

        1)Most of the Westside of Los Angeles County was built as “Streetcar suburb” and so is actually at quite walk- and bicycle-friendly densities for local trips.

        2)Vista Del Mar (a) and Culver/Pershing/Jefferson (b) were not bicycle projects. They were a) parking space movement and b) speed reduction projects. There are no bicycle lanes on VdM now, and the ones on C/P/J were created using the asphalt left over so as to prevent them being used for vehicle parking.

  3. Tyler says:

    I bike and drive…but what I am reading here is definitely the thoughts of someone who is mentally ill.

  4. Joe Linton says:

    It’s mildly interesting that the Daily News fixed the lawsuit’s misspelling “race bating”. (The lawsuit feels to me like there are a few legitimate concerns – car commuters delayed, some lack of process – and then they spin out into ridiculous stuff: national security threat, more drunk driving because Uber/Lyft can’t get to the beach, paid activists, Measure M, etc.)

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