Tag Archive for Los Angeles City Planning Commission

Morning Links: Mealy-mouthed Mobility Plan goes to Planning Comm; pope raffles bikes to feed homeless

The big news this week is the city’s slightly revised Mobility Plan (pdf), which goes before the Planning Commission on Thursday.

According to LA Streetsblog, the city has apparently given up on eliminating all traffic deaths, since the plan now calls for a Vision Zero for cyclists and pedestrians only, and leaves motorists to their own fate.

Good news for those of us who travel by two wheels or two feet, who would like to feel confident we could go out into the city and return home again in one piece. But a tacit admission that city leaders fear our traffic problems may be too big to solve in the next 20 years, and LA’s overly aggressive drivers too difficult to rein in.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton also complains the plan’s weak-ass, mealy-mouthed, non-committal wording remains intact. Although he puts it far more politely.

Which sounds like more of LA’s traditional can’t do attitude that we hoped was finally over with the arrival of new leadership at LADOT and city hall.

On the bright side, this is the same Planning Commission that threw out the original 2010 bike plan and ordered the city to come back when they had a real plan to connect the city and keep cyclists safe. Which they did.

Maybe the Planning Commission will do that again this time.

And tell the city to come back when they’re finally ready to make a commitment.



Bike Radar asks if a vegan diet can work for cyclists; LA cyclist and dietician Matt Ruscigno is living proof it does.

A writer for the Santa Monica Daily Press misunderstands the basic premise of bike share, suggesting it benefits businesses and their out-of-town employees at the expense of local residents.

Santa Monica Spoke is having a meeting and party this Saturday to celebrate the third anniversary of the city’s Bike Action Plan.



Auto-centric Orange County gets $13 million for bike and pedestrian projects.

Proof that open streets events are good for business, as 83% of participants in San Diego’s recent CicloSDias dined at local restaurants along the route and 85% said they’d come back again to shop or dine in the neighborhood.

A 13-year old bike rider is hit by a car in Wildomar; fortunately, he’s expected to recover.

A Sacramento cyclist is killed in a train collision; sadly, it sounds like it may have been a suicide.

San Francisco has seen three recent cases of road raging drivers attacking cyclists and pedestrians, including one fatal hit-and-run.



The seven health benefits of riding a bike.

The Bike League is out with their latest list (pdf) of Bicycle Friendly Communities; doesn’t seem to be any changes here in SoCal, though.

Too sad. A newlywed Las Vegas bike rider is killed by a heartless hit-and-run driver just two weeks after getting back from his honeymoon. Thanks to Steve Herbert for the heads-up.

New York Daily News says high-end customized bikes are becoming the status symbol of choice for deep pocketed professionals.

New York responds to bike/pedestrian collisions in Central Park by lowering the speed limit for bikes to 20 mph, so scofflaw riders will have a lower limit to ignore.

More evidence of our auto-centric world, as a Florida man is refused service at drive-through Taco Bell, not because he was drunk, but because he was on a bike. Then gets arrested when he refuses to leave.



A writer for the Guardian says it’s time to stop blaming the bike riding victims, and put the focus on the fact that driving can kill.

Great photos from 69 years of the Tour of Britain; Tony the Tiger beats podium girls in my book any day.

Caught on video: UK police don’t seem to care that a driver buzzed a bike rider. Or that he was impersonating a police officer.

The Dutch concept of shared space brings order through chaos to create safer streets. Although it would take a major attitude change before that could work here.

Velonews bikes the hidden gems of the Taiwanese countryside.



Now that’s one drawing I’d like to enter. The pope is raffling off some of the gifts he’s received to raise money to feed the homeless; five of the top six prizes are bicycles. Just what we all need, a bike helmet that can read your mind; it would want to know what I think sometimes.

And he may have won, then lost, the Tour de France seven times, but Lance can’t get past the first lap of a Beer Mile. But can we please stop adding “disgraced former cyclist” to every mention of his name before he has to put it on his drivers license?


Cyclist killed in La Quinta, bike plan passes Planning, Vail hit-and-run driver walks, and goodbye Aurisha.

A cyclist was killed in a hit-and-run in LaQuinta, near Palm Desert, on Tuesday afternoon.

Fifty-six year old Joseph Patrick Szymanski was killed while riding on Avenue 54 in La Quinta about 3 pm Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters pronounced him dead at the scene; his body was found lying in the bike lane, though authorities note that they don’t know where he was when he was hit.

Tracey Salter of Merriam, Kansas woman was arrested an hour later about three miles away on suspicion of felony hit-and-run.

The article notes that a police spokesman didn’t know if Szymanski was wearing a helmet. But unless he died of a head injury, whether or not he was wearing a helmet is irrelevant. And even if he did, there’s no reason to believe it would have helped unless he was struck at slow speed.


After years of contentious debate, the draft bike plan passed the city Planning Commission with near-unanimous support from the cycling community. The only serious disagreement came from equestrians opposed to allowing bikes on off-road trails, updating a conflict that goes back to the earliest days of cycling.

According to the LACBC, the plan will now go to Mayor Villaraigosa’s office for review before heading to the City Council in February for final approval.


Time to add Vail to your biking boycott list, after the schmuck driver who ran down a cycling transplant surgeon and left him lying critically injured on the side of the road — claiming it was a result of that new car smell — walks with a year’s probation and a suspended jail term.

That’s after the local DA declined to press felony charges because it could affect the driver’s high income career; by that standard, every rich sociopath and over-privileged jerk who commits a crime should get off the hook.

And from the looks of it, it’s possible that one just did.


Damien Newton talks to the Beverly Hills cop who seemed to suggest a correlation between cyclists and criminal activity; turns out he’s one of us. And didn’t mean it that way.


In non-wheeled human powered transportation news, Bikeside reports on the impatient hit and run driver who critically injured a Santa Monica pedestrian. And while we’re on the subject, Dj Wheels notes that Moran Bitan, the 18-year old driver who killed a 16-year old Notre Damn High School cross country runner Conor Lynch, faces a pretrial hearing on the 27th at the Van Nuys courthouse.

And still no charges against Stephanie Segal in the alleged drunken hit-and-run death of cyclist James Laing in Agoura Hills this past October.


Nice KCET interview with L.A Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowery about riding the L.A. River; thanks to Bicycle Fixation and Flying Pigeon for the heads-up. Speaking of Flying Pigeon, they’re getting four new Velorbis bikes just in time for Christmas. Or maybe you’d prefer a very cool and unique looking chainless STRiDA folding bike. Another street falls victim to the stupidest and most dangerous law in California.

Employees of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System buy a new bike and helmet for every first grade student at a local elementary school. CalTrans pushes for a bike lane to nowhere in Bakersfield. Berkley is the most dangerous California city of its size for cyclists, pedestrians and conservatives. Evidently, you can have a good ride in Sacramento, even without Lycra. Ross Del Duca continues his thoughts — started here — on divisions, divides and cultures that divide cyclists, or not. California releases the new standards for complete streets. The SF Gate discusses why and how to register your bike; in addition to the National Bike Registry and Stolen Bike Registry mentioned in the article, I like the free international bike registration program from Bike Revolution.

Something tells me this app intended for motorists will prove very popular with cyclists. A women’s bike team can be run for just 5% of what it costs to run a men’s pro team. Bike before breakfast to maximize weight loss and other health benefits. If you think you’re tough, try racing 150 miles through the Alaskan wilderness in the dead of winter. The New York Times points out that there are laws against bad bike behavior. Philadelphia drivers love the city’s new parking contraflow bike lanes. Just in time for Christmas, get an official crown of thorns helmet so you, too, can suffer like Jesus while you ride.

Finally, if you’re going to ride your bike on the sidewalk in Santa Monica, leave your meth and crack pipe at home (scroll down to Monday). And a new study discovers the cause of San Francisco’s traffic problems: cars.

Go figure, huh?


Photo stolen from LACBC Facebook page


On a personal note, best wishes to LACBC’s Aurisha Smolarski, who’s moving on to pursue other career goals. In the 2-1/2 years she’s been working with the bike coalition, I’ve watched Aurisha grow to become one of the city’s most effective advocates for cycling, and a friend. She has arguably done as much as anyone to improve the state of bicycling in Los Angeles, often working quietly behind the scenes to fight for the rights of cyclists and set the stage for our budding biking renaissance.

She will be very missed.

Breaking news: Planning Commission approves L.A. bike plan

The Los Angeles Planning Commission just approved the draft bike plan, moving it forward to the City Council for consideration.

Villaraigosa endorses the new bike plan; snowball in Hell stocks skyrocket

I’m not saying hell has frozen over, but I swear I saw the devil shopping for overcoats at Macy’s yesterday. Because L.A.’s mayor has officially, sort of, tweeted his endorsement of the draft bike plan.

I support bike lanes, improvements – do you? Planning Commission hearing on Bike Plan Thurs in Van Nuys. Info at http://bit.ly/ax9Je

Looks like I have to support it now, too. But even scarier is when Mayor Villaraigosa and Alex Thompson appear to agree on the subject. Or any subject, for that matter.

Maybe the devil should be looking for gloves and a nice heavy muffler, too.

In case, like me, you can’t make the Planning Commission meeting Thursday, LACBC will be live tweeting from Van Nuys City Hall, and LADOT Bike Blog will be live blogging, both of which are so much more enjoyable than the dead kind (and congrats on surviving finals, Chris).

And Villaraigosa fulfills his promise of pushing for a three-foot passing law on the state level, made after his Road to Damascus — or in this case, Venice — conversion to bike advocate.


As a follow-up to Wednesday’s story about the Santa Monica Bike Action Plan, here’s your chance to voice your opinion without the inconvenience of actually having to set foot in the city; second link courtesy of Stanley E. Goldich.

Not everyone seems to be impressed, though.


And as long as we’re on the subject of cities on the verge of bike friendliness — or at least, bike friendlierness — comes a trio of stories from one SoCal city that actually is, most of the time.

Long Beach officially unveils the new Vista Bike Boulevard, once again beating L.A. to every conceivable cycling innovation. An interview with Long Beach Mobility Coordinator and recovering politician Charlie Gandy. And the city considers eliminating its licensing requirement after it was recently used to bludgeon the city’s first official Critical Mass.


Flying Pigeon issues a BOLO alert for a stolen Batavus step-through; it’s not like there are many of those around here, so it should be easy to spot. Metro releases bicycle data for 88 cities for web and app designers. Help kickstart CycLAvia into 2011 and expand it into long neglected South L.A. Is it just me, or did this Victorville writer just tell drivers not to merge into a bike lane before making a right turn — as the law requires — dramatically increasing the risk of a right hook? Drivers aren’t the only ones who can tunnel their way from point A to point B. Here’s your chance to ride a stage of the Amgen Tour of California, from Claremont to Mount Baldy, without having to pee in a cup afterwards to prove you’re dope free. If cyclists are a privileged class, why do all the roads seem to be designed with cars in mind?

Tips for begging free gear and sponsors for your next big ride. Meet the Bicycle Accident Victims Fund. A reporter for the Wall Street Journal starts riding around town since NYC belongs to bike people now — especially if we’re going to ride in weather like this — while the paper offers advice on fashionable attire for your bike commute; studded tires might come in handy, too. A successful winter bike to work day in my old hometown — if you can call getting coffee and eggs from New Belgium Brewing instead of beer successful. Courtesy of Carolina cyclist and recent guest writer Zeke comes word of a call for better biker behavior in DC.

An American living in Germany notes a remarkable lack of spandex; I was starting to think I was the only blogger who doesn’t call it Lycra these days. Evidently, London truck drivers are tired of killing cyclists. Eight months in jail for a banned driver who left a cyclist lying unconscious in the road. A study by a Brit doctor shows that a carbon bike won’t get you to work any faster than a traditional steel framed bike. Requiring cyclists to be licensed and insured would be unnecessary, harmful and pointless; agreed. UCI slams back against Floyd “I swear I was lying then but I’m telling the truth now” Landis’ charges of protecting doping bike stars. The dying wish of bike coach Aldo Sassi is for Ivan Basso to win the Tour de France and place the winner’s yellow jersey on his tomb; no pressure or anything, Ivan.

Finally, it wasn’t a lack of compassion or human decency that made a driver leave a cycling transplant surgeon seriously injured in the road, it was that damn new car smell. Then again, if he’d just bungeed himself to his riding partner, that cyclist might not have gotten hit in the first place.

Cyclists storm Planning Commission to demand bike plan changes — and the Commission listens

Just a few of the heroes who deserve our thanks; photo courtesy of LACBC.

It’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way over the last couple of years.

As much as I’d like to be involved in everything that affects cycling in Los Angeles and attend every important meeting, I can’t. Especially weeks like this, when something important took place every day of the week.

While quantum physics suggests that I can, in fact, be in two places at once, I’ve yet to find a way to apply that real life.

And for some odd reason, my wife still expects me to earn a living; maybe if she rode a bike she’d realize that unpaid advocacy work is far more important than something as trivial as paying the bills and keeping a roof over our heads.

So yesterday I looked at a calendar crowded with the Planning Commission’s consideration of the bike plan, a meeting of Beverly Hills new Bicycle Ad Hoc Committee and a biking presentation in Long Beach, as well as a couple of court hearings. And realized that I wasn’t going to be able to attend any of them.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of people who give a damn about bicycling in this megalopolis we call home. Case in point, the previously mentioned meeting of the Planning Commission.

Despite the early hour, the room reportedly was crowded with cyclists; Joe Linton reported that 25 – 30 were still there 3.5 hours later when the item finally came up on the agenda. And there were still a number of riders in the room when the meeting finally ended around 5 pm.

I won’t offer a recap of a meeting I didn’t attend. You can read a full report on Streetsblog today. And you can get a flavor for the meeting from a great Twitter feed put together by Bicycling Nate, which allowed me to follow the progress of the meeting in real time when I should have been working.

However, reports are that a number of cyclists spoke eloquently and forcefully. And the Commission heard them, forming a subcommittee to consider the complaints from cyclists and report back on December 16th.

And yes, I’ve already marked my calendar. Even if I already have two other can’t-miss meetings scheduled for that same 24-hour period.

This was probably the best possible outcome. The Commission didn’t kill a plan that has a lot of good elements in it, but also didn’t blindly forward a plan that still has a number of obvious flaws.

It will be interesting to see what they come back with next month. Just like it would be to see the original work from Alta Planning, which reportedly never made it into the plan the public saw — and risked their hard-earned reputation as one of the nation’s leading bicycle planning firms.

But one thing we don’t have to wonder about is the hard work done by representatives from the LACBC, Bikeside and the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, as well as a number of individual cyclists.

They deserve all the credit for what looks right now like a huge win. And they deserve our thanks.

They have mine.


More on the bike plan that was considered by the Planning Commission on Thursday. Council candidate Stephen Box called on the commission to reject the plan. Gary encouraged riders to show up en masse at the hearing. Alex Thompson writes that everyone agreed that the bike plan needs fixing. LACBC offered talking points for the meeting. Herbie offered an insightful look at what the plan is and isn’t, and offers the questions she wanted answered. LAist reports that cyclists were united against the plan; of course, there’s a big difference between wanting to fix something and being against it.


Streetsblog’s Damien Newton writes that the City Hall rumor mill has either John Fisher or Amir Sedadi being promoted to take over LADOT. The question is, how can you change the culture of a notoriously dysfunctional and auto-centric agency by promoting from within?


Long Beach cyclists reclaim bikes seized by police during Friday’s failed Critical Mass ride, and prepare to bring their complaints to the City Council on Tuesday. Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious reports that there seems to be no legal basis for the seizure, while Gary says it’s the dark side of bicycle registration. A online publication reminds the LBPD that repression breeds resistance. And BikeBiz clearly demonstrates that they have no idea that Long Beach and Los Angeles are two different places.


Mihai Peteu continues his excellent coverage of the Shawn Fields case, the driver accused of killing teenage cyclist Danny Marin in a drunken, late-night hit-and-run on October 2nd.

He reports that Fields entered a not guilty plea yesterday, and that a preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 7th. According to Mihai, the defense complained about a “mean-spirited internet posting” about Shawn; a reminder to all of us — myself included — to let the legal system take its course and not let our anger interfere with the case.

Even if the comments left by his friends break your heart.


In today’s daily doping news, Alejandro Valverde loses his appeal of his drug ban, while Vuelta runner-up Ezequiel Mosquera denies rumors that his case has been dismissed. The French anti-doping agency wants back into the Tour de France, while 2008 TdF winner Carlos Sastre films a Spanish anti-doping spot. Here’s your chance to ride the full route of next year’s Giro. Next year’s inaugural Quiznos Pro Challenge will roll over some serious mountain territory, even if it’s stuck with a name only a sandwich marketer could love.


Stephen Box says the City Council is about to pass the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights and a Complete Streets Policy; unfortunately, it’s the Baltimore City Council. UCLA offers a new guide to getting around Los Angeles without a car; maybe they could work with the L.A. Convention and Visitors Bureau to make a version for tourists, too. A Caltrain study shows that cyclists are bumped from their trains just .02% of the time, while riders report a much higher rate. The next time you feel like you’re burning up the road, maybe you really will be. An unnamed woman is killed by a big rig while riding on Alpine Road near Portola Valley.

Bicycling offers readers’ tips on how to survive anything, along with advice on how to fly up hills. Orange gear to ride safe in hunting season; here in L.A., cyclists are always in season. The newly empowered far-right backlash begins as the Weekly Standard says the road to hell is paved with bike paths. A new iPhone app guides you through what to do if you’re in a bike wreck. The bike community loses its best friend in Congress, as Minnesota’s Jim Oberstar goes down to defeat. A Tempe AZ driver intentionally hits a pedestrian he accused of stealing his bike, leaving the man with life-threatening injuries; at this point, a stolen bike would seem to be the least of his problems. Police are unable to locate an Iowa driver charged in the July death of a cyclist. In a perfect example of schadenfreude, Minnesota man steals a bike and rides it off a 75-foot embankment when police give chase. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is accepting public comments on proposed rule changes that will affect children’s bikes, fixies and recumbents.

Oxford police stop an average of one rider without lights every 90 seconds. A Brit cyclist gets away with a warning after hitting a 4-year old girl while riding illegally on the sidewalk. A British rider offers his perspective on road rage. Dublin needs 4,000 more bike parking spaces thanks to a one-third increase in ridership.

Finally, after a very un-Dutch call for children to wear helmets in the province of Zeeland, Amsterdamize notes that an Amsterdam cyclist will die of bike-related in injuries an average of once every 63,368 years.

Last chance to influence the bike plan, Karabian pleads no contest, cyclecross comes to Griffith Park

Your final chance to comment on the latest draft of the 2010 bike plan comes at 8:30 am on Thursday, when the Los Angeles City Planning Commission meets in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

However, you may not want to rush, since it’s item 10 on a very crowded agenda. You may want to pack a lunch.

LADOT Bike Blog says the long process is finally coming to an end, while Joe Linton examines what a long, strange trip its been.

Damien Newton says TranspoComm chair Bill Rosendahl promises that he won’t let the plan leave committee until the cycling community is happy with it, but it’s better to fix it now — and notes there are still problems to fix.

The ultimate local cycling odd couple of CicLAvia meister and LACBC founder Joe Linton and Bikeside President Alex Thompson join with Bikeside’s Rach Stevenson to say cyclists will be worse off if the bike plan is adopted, and offer a detailed evaluation to back it up.

Stephen Box says when it comes to the bike plan, the city Planning staff is guilty of embellishing reality. And Josef Bray-Ali had previously called it the best looking pile of horseshit he’s seen in ages.

The LACBC contends no plan is ever perfect, and this one includes a number of hard-fought recommendations — including giving priority to projects that will benefit low-income riders and provisions for accountability — and deserves our support.

My take is that, as it stands now, the plan provides a decent framework to move forward, but could still stand significant improvement. Whether or not it will make a difference on our streets depends entirely on what kind of support it gets at City Hall, and how it’s interpreted by the next head of LADOT.

If Mayor Villaraigosa can somehow entice New York’s Janet Sadik-Khan or Long Beach’s Charlie Gandy to come to Los Angeles, this plan could make L.A. a cyclist’s paradise. But if the city promotes or hires someone with the same old auto-centric focus that has destroyed the livability of so many parts of our city, it will be a roadmap to failure.

But the real question is, what do you think?

If you can’t make it Downtown on Thursday, you may want to drop into room 280-A of Beverly Hills City Hall to hear an update from that city’s new Bicycle Ad Hoc Committee; the meeting begins at 9 am.


Walter Karabian, the former State Assembly leader who drove his car into a parking lot attendant at a USC game — apparently intentionally, since he hit her several times — pled no contest to a lesser charge on Tuesday. He was sentenced to a paltry 40 hours of community service and three years probation.

So the next time a parking attendant won’t let you into a full lot, feel free to run her/him over; evidently, it’s really not that big a deal.


The Long Beach Post interviews Ronnie Sandler, one of the organizers behind Friday’s failed Long Beach Critical Mass, who details their many attempts to get a permit for the ride — the lack of which was cited as a primary reason for the heavy-handed police crackdown.

The article also states that Long Beach courts have already ruled that fixed-gear bikes don’t need a separate brake, since they are able to comply with the requirement that a bike be able to leave a skid mark on clean, dry pavement — which seems to be one of the key issues here.

It will be interesting to see how the city attempts to rebuild the bike-friendly image that has been shattered virtually overnight, or if they simply ignore it and hope we’ll all forget.

And there were problems with the Los Angeles Critical Mass, too, as bike cops reportedly waived cyclists through red lights while motorcycle cops ticketed the riders for following their instructions.


USA Cycling considers a ban on helmet cams, and carbon bikes for junior riders. UCI president Pat McQuaid says the ban for doping cyclists should be doubled to four years. Disgraced ex-Tour de France winner Floyd Landis and his coach face charges for hacking into the French anti-doping lab. The Los Angeles grand jury not officially investigating Lance Armstrong will hear from long-time teammate Yaroslav Popovych today. The first-ever champions of the new Colorado High School Mountain Bike League.

And clear your schedule for the weekend, as cyclecross racing comes to Griffith Park this Saturday.


LACBC joins with LADOT and other city officials to examine the proposed 4th Street Bike Boulevard, while Stephen Box points out the city’s failure to fix the roads extends even there. LACBC introduces their new and improved bike valet. LA Streetsblog has a new Facebook page. The Daily Bruin says riding to campus just got easier, thanks to UCLA’s new bike library. Will timelapses his ride through the Arroyo Seco, parts of which seem more mojado than seco. Flying Pigeon offers a new online store. A view from Canada at the Wilbur Ave road diet dispute doesn’t bode well for that country’s cyclists. If you’re looking for work, Felt needs a Demo Driver Sales/Tech Rep in Irvine/Ontario. In yet another case in which cyclist discourtesy has nothing to do with Orange County collisions, a Placentia rider is hit by a red light running driver. Momentum offers a look at cycling in San Diego, from one of my favorite writers at Bike San Diego. A new bike advocacy group takes root in El Dorado Hills.

More than $1 billion in federal funding for bike and ped projects this year; don’t count on that next year with the GOP in control of the House. The 50,000 mile interstate bike route may become a reality. How to safely use a bike lane. Daily exercise such as cycling can improve your immune system, cutting the risk and severity of colds. The country’s most bike-friendly city still doesn’t have a single singletrack trail. Mas macho advice on urban commuting.  A Kansas lawyer warns drivers that some cyclists know the law. A Carolina cyclist hit while riding on her birthday dies 10 days later. The hard part of vehicular cycling is feeling guilty because you’re in someone’s way. An American set a new world record by riding a stationary bike 222 hours, 22 minutes and 22 seconds.

Bell’s newest helmets feature built-in headlights, but is that enough to overcome the geek factor? The Guardian looks at the race to improve nighttime visibility. Great Britain’s transportation department wants children to play a game where they get run over if they aren’t wearing bright colored clothes — even if they do everything else right. A 10-year old cerebral palsy victim has a life-changing operation that may allow him to fulfill his dream of riding a bike. An Aussie police chief says cyclists who ride without headlights are just as dangerous as drivers who don’t use them; as the Witch on a Bicycle points out, he could use a refresher course in physics. Cyclelicious looks at Japan’s mamachari blog focusing on that country’s Mama bikes.

Finally, Dan Maes, the tinfoil hat-wearing candidate for Colorado governor who suggested that Denver’s bike share program was a UN plot, may not have been the night’s biggest loser, but with just over 10% of the vote, he was close. And the bike-friendly Denver mayor behind the program was elected as the state’s new leader.

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