Tag Archive for Paul Krekorian

Morning Links: Group plans Vision Zero ambush today, and Tour de Palm Springs killer had suspended license

Apparently, we’re about to be ambushed.

According to an alert from anti-safety, pro-traffic group Keep LA Moving, a seemingly innocuous motion being considered at today’s LA City Council Transportation Committee meeting is really a motion to redefine the city’s Vision Zero program.

Or more precisely, gut it.

The motion from CD2 Councilmember Paul Kerkorian and CD4’s David Ryu talks about refining the Vision Zero model “in order to serve the objective of more effectively increasing the safety of our streets.”

However, according to Keep LA Moving, it’s really about reducing the emphasis on bike and pedestrian deaths, since they only amount to 15% of the total collisions in the City of Los Angeles.

Tomorrow’s motion states that going forward, Vision Zero should “incorporate a data validation process to ensure that the High Injury Network supporting data was appropriate and reliable.”  Currently, data is heavily weighted in favor of pedestrians and cyclists, all but disregarding the safety of motorists. According to LADOT’s Vision Zero website: “We also give more weight to counts of Killed or Serious Injuries among people walking or biking, so deaths or serious injuries at all intersections are multiplied by three, while vehicle-vehicle deaths or serious injuries do not receive a multiplying factor. For example, if an intersection contains one fatal pedestrian collision, two severe bicycle injuries, and one fatal vehicle-vehicle, the score would be 10 (3 for the pedestrian, 6 for the two bicycles, and 1 for the vehicle-vehicle).”

In the Vision Zero Action Plan, released in 2017, the LADOT states that “people walking & biking account for roughly 15% of all collisions”. It’s not surprising then that  Vision Zero hasn’t reduced accidents and injuries since its inauguration in 2015 because the LADOT is only focusing on 15% of the problem! What’s more, the LADOT says “Vision Zero is an injury reduction strategy, not a collision reduction strategy.” And of course, collisions aren’t being reduced either. Vision Zero needs to concentrate on both reducing the severity of accidents and on the number of accidents that happen!

Never mind that Vision Zero has barely even been implemented up to this point.

Or that while bicyclists and pedestrians are only involved in 15% of LA collisions, they result in nearly half of all deaths and serious injuries.

Let that sink in.

Keep LA Moving says LADOT is focusing on just 15% of crashes. But Vision Zero isn’t about reducing crashes, it’s about eliminating deaths and serious injuries.

And drivers, surrounded by two tons of glass and steel, and protected by air bags, seat belts and crumple zones, face considerably less risk in a collision than people walking and riding bikes.

Which is the entire reasoning behind the multiplication factor, because bike riders and pedestrians are several times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a collision.

But Keep LA Moving thinks that doesn’t matter.

Or rather, that you don’t matter. Because the people in the other 85% of the crashes, who are less likely to be injured or killed, apparently matter more to them.

Then there’s their other major lie.

To date the LADOT has focused on “pet projects” in select districts that appease a vocal minority of residents — roads that were never flagged as needing such treatment.  Special interests and personal agendas have been allowed to drive decisions rather than actual concerns for public safety.

The road diet on Venice Blvd, in Mar Vista is a prime example. In the 11 years leading up to the Venice road diet, there was one fatality and seven severe injuries to people walking or biking along that 0.8 mile stretch. None of the contributing factors to these tragic accidents have been addressed by the road diet. Rather than analyze these accidents and implement real safety improvements fixing the problems, the LADOT chose instead to implement a road diet. They installed a road diet on a road with 45,000+ cars per day, in violation of their own standards. (The LA Complete Streets Design Guide states that road diets should only be used on streets with excess capacity and volume less than 20,000 cars.) The disastrous and wildly unpopular Playa del Rey road diets, defeated last Fall, had the same issues. In fact, in both PdR and Mar Vista, accidents and injuries increased after the implementation of road diets. Not only on the roads dieted, but on the residential side streets as well, as drivers searched for alternatives to the gridlocked boulevards.

But as they well know, the Venice Blvd project was never intended as part of Vision Zero.

Instead, it was developed by local residents as part of the mayor’s Great Streets project.

And rather than something sprung without warning on unsuspecting locals and businesses, it grew out of workshops sponsored by the Mar Vista Chamber of Commerce dating back to 2014. With several public pop-up demonstrations, including a demonstration of the parking-protected bike lanes at the 2015 Venice CicLAvia.

I know, because I was there.

Let’s also bear in mind that the reference to a maximum 20,000 vehicle traffic volume for road diets refers to reducing four lane streets to three lanes, with two through lanes and a center turn lane. Not massive six lane thoroughfares like Venice Blvd, which never should have been built that wide to begin with.

But that doesn’t matter to them, since their real goal is to halt road diets anywhere in the city, willing to trade human lives — yours and mine — to avoid inconveniencing drivers.

They deny the proven efficacy of road diets, just as climate change deniers claim global warming is a myth.

All of which helps explain why the Mid City West Neighborhood Council has written to oppose the motion.

Let’s hope that Transportation Committee members Paul Kortez, Nury Martinez and Chair Mike Bonin can resist the pressure from this very vocal and well-financed driver activist group.

If you can make it on such short notice on Valentines Day — I can’t, unfortunately — you need to make your voice heard.

If not, take a few moments to urge them to reject this motion, and keep LA’s Vision Zero program intact.

And maybe tell Ryu and Krekorian what you think while you’re at it.

Credit Peter Flax with the heads-up.

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Ronnie Huerta Jr., the driver who killed Mark Kristofferson during Saturday’s Tour de Palm Springs, was driving on a suspended license.

And suspended for good reason.

Huerta had been pulled over four times for speeding in the last two years, along with a host of other traffic violations.

Yet another example of keeping a dangerous driver on the road until he kills someone.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the tip.

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Local

The Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council could try to stop plans for desperately needed bus and bike lanes in Hollywood, and have already drafted a letter demanding that they be removed from the proposed Hollywood community plan. You can let them know what you think at their regular meeting on the 21st. And yes, I plan to be there.

 

State

Marin’s bike-unfriendly columnist says bicycle-riding tourists should just take the ferry and skip the town entirely. Maybe he should just stand outside the city and yell “Hey, you kids get off our lawn!”

 

National

Yet another study confirms the benefits of bike lanes, showing painted bike lanes reduce the risk of crashes by a minimum of 40%.

The Trump administration’s new proposed budget would be a disaster for bicycle infrastructure projects, while NACTO doesn’t think much of his infrastructure plan, either.

A Seattle writer tries the city’s new LimeBike dockless bikeshare ebikes, climbing a moderate hill with little effort, and living to tell the tale.

Utah moves forward with a bill that would allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as yields, but still have to wait for red lights. Or maybe notA similar bill died in the California legislature earlier this year.

Seriously? The Houston Chronicle predicts an autonomous car nirvana, where the world will be free from traffic jams, parking tickets and auto mechanics, and no one will want to ride buses or bikes anymore because they’ll be so happy with their driverless cars.

Life is cheap in Minnesota, where a 16-year old distracted driver won’t spend a day behind bars for killing a bike-riding man while she was using her cellphone, after the DA pleads her case down to a misdemeanor.

An Ohio ultra-endurance rider prepares to take part in this year’s Race Across America, aka RAAM, as he rides to relieve PTSD from several combat tours in Afghanistan.

The Boston Globe talks with a local bike lawyer who went from a planned position as a prosecutor to getting justice for bicyclists.

Researchers at Virginia Tech University are doing comparison testing of bicycle helmets, with plans to release their results in April.

 

International

A Vancouver writer makes the case for diversity in the urbanist world, suggesting that if everyone you see on a bike or in a planning session looks like you, there’s a problem.

Just in time for Valentines Day, a bike-riding English couple have been married for 64 years, after meeting at their local bike club in 1953.

London officials call for tightly regulating and licensing dockless bikeshare systems.

A new survey from a British tire company claims bus drivers are the safest drivers on the road, and bicyclists and van drivers the most infuriating. Something tells me I’d like to see their methodology.

Nice piece from Patrick Brady, as he searches for serenity on a bike tour of Buddhist temples in Japan.

 

Competitive Cycling

You haven’t made it until you’ve had the honor of being blocked on Twitter by Chris Froome.

Once again, mountain bikers race through the hills, alleys and yes, stairways of Italy’s Valparaiso Cerro Abajo.

 

Finally…

What to ride when you need to carry craft beer kegs and a dog or two on your cargo bike. Be on the lookout for Sasquatch if you ride around Lake Arrowhead.

And if you really want to be safe, mount this turn-signal equipped seat bag sideways so the arrow points up at your butt.

Maybe then drivers will actually see you.

 

Morning Links: A profile in political cowardice on Lankershim Blvd, and biking while your spouse shops

Call it a profile without courage.

The Daily News looks at CD2 Councilmember Paul Krekorian’s last-minute decision to pull the plug on the long-discussed Lankershim Blvd bike lanes in North Hollywood, as he hides under the political fig leaf of claiming more outreach needed to be done.

Because evidently, five years worth of Lankershim meetings, workshops and pop-up bike lanes just isn’t enough. Maybe what he really wants is to keep talking until he’s termed out in 2024, so it can be someone else’s problem.

Meanwhile, CiclaValley questions Krekorian’s leadership on the issue, and sounds pretty damned pissed off about it. And justifiably so.

Krekorian’s rejection of the project may be at least partially related to the defeat of bike advocate Joe Bray-Ali in last month’s CD1 council race, which may have sent a mistaken signal that LA’s politicians have nothing to fear from bike riders.

That’s the wrong lesson to take away from that election, however.

Bray-Ali appeared to be on the verge of an upset victory over incumbent Gil Cedillo when he lost many of his supporters as his comments on a racist website came to light.

It should be seen instead as a sign of what the bicycling community can do when they’re truly motivated, when a sitting councilmember was forced to fight dirty just to hold onto his seat in a city where incumbent members of the city council virtually never lose.

And that’s something Krekorian may want to remember as 2020 approaches.

Krekorian cited fears of lost business along the Lankershim corridor, even though numerous studies have shown that bike lanes are good for business, and creating a more walkable, bikeable corridor could more than make up for the loss of any parking spaces. Which LADOT must have undoubtedly pointed out in discussing the project with him.

And fears of unending traffic jams are usually unfounded, as well, as road diets have been shown to actually improve traffic flow in some cases.

The simple fact is that Krekorian’s decision to keep Lankershim solely dependent on dangerous and unhealthy automotive traffic is far more likely to hinder the success of the district than to benefit it, or the people and businesses in it, in any way.

What it really comes down to is what former New York DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan discussed in her book Street Fight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution.

…An important observation that I share from my years as commissioner is that when you push the status quo, the status quo pushes back — hard. Six years after we rolled the first barrels into place, closing Broadway to cars, the plazas at Times Square became the new status quo…

The Times Square saga is a reminder that in New York and other cities, changing the streets is a blood sport at all levels. Projects that alter streetscapes upset people who naturally cling to stability, even if that stability is unsafe or inefficient. The flip side is that once change is in place, it becomes the new norm and frames expectations of citizens.

The most important lesson is that safer streets work, and that they can be executed quickly and cheaply… Sustainable streets make sense for safety, traffic, and long-term planning, and they make sense for the economy.

Maybe we should buy him the book.

Or maybe we should all send him copies of Profiles in Courage and Do the Right Thing, because he seems to have missed the point of both.

The real problem, with Krekorian and the rest of LA’s city government, is that they live in constant fear of angering the electorate in their districts — never mind that they probably hold some of the most secure council seats in the country. And so they’re afraid to do anything that might upset anyone, which makes doing nothing seem to be the safer choice.

Which is why the city’s streets are crumbling underneath us, and why they will likely remain dangerous long after our current leaders are gone.

There are exceptions, of course. Mike Bonin in CD11, CD14’s Jose Huizar, and Joe Buscaino in CD15, in particular, have shown genuine leadership and courage in transforming the streets of their districts.

But let’s be honest.

However he chooses to frame it, Krekorian’s decision to pull the plug on Lankershim was less an example of leadership than plain, old fashioned cover-your-ass cowardice.

And the people of Los Angeles deserve better.

If you’re as angry about this as I am, you can let Paul Krekorian know how you feel at an ice cream social today at noon in North Hollywood.

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Mike Wilkinson forwards this photo captured by his wife Argelia in a Walmart parking lot yesterday.

Photo by Argelia Wilkinson

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Another young bike racer has been killed on a training ride, as promising junior time trial specialist Joe Guy died when he was struck by a van in the UK.

A European website suggests Giro winner Tom Dumoulin’s bowels may have saved the 100th edition of the race from an epic flop.

The 2019 edition of the Tour de France will honor the legendary Eddy Merckx in the five-time winner’s homeland by departing from Brussels.

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Local

Unlike NoHo, road diets and bike lanes will be coming to a number of Playa del Rey streets in an attempt to slow traffic, improve safety and reduce cut-through driving. Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents the area, gets it right, pointing out the need for improvements while overcoming the usual kneejerk NIMBY objections by suggesting that the changes aren’t necessarily permanent.

Barrio.LA takes a field trip to Atwater Village in advance of the Glendale – Atwater Village CicLAvia on the 11th.

 

State

The Orange County Register says the county is the mecca of the ebike craze.

The New York Times looks at Berkeley-based Monkeylectric and nearby Revolights wheel lights, noting the former is nearly required at Burning Man.

Sad news from Yuba County, where a 50 year-old Marysville woman was killed from behind as she rode her bike without lights at 1 am. Seriously, if you’re going to ride at night, put some damn lights on your bike. And carry a spare set with you during the day in case you get caught out after dark.

 

National

Streetsblog says blaming dangerous streets on people wearing black, as the Seattle Times did on Sunday, wins the prize for anti-pedestrian — and anti-bike — idiocy.

Former New Mexico governor and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is training to ride the 2,800-mile Tour Divide.

The father of a killer hit-and-run driver brought gasps to a Colorado courtroom when he blamed the victim for simply riding his bicycle on the street — even though his daughter had a BAC nearly twice the legal limit three hours after the crash, as well as trace amounts of cocaine and THC.

A Tennessee woman who took up ebike riding in her 40s says ride big in every way. Thanks to Karen Karabell for the link.

This is who we share the roads with. After tearing up a ball field by cutting doughnuts on the grass, a Connecticut pickup driver apparently targeted a bike rider, forcing him to dive off his bicycle to avoid getting hit.

Syracuse NY offers a $2.25 million settlement to a bike rider injured when he was struck by an off-duty police officer driving a city police car; the officer played the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, saying he was blinded by glare on his windshield.

It took the NYPD just four days to piece together security camera footage to catch the hit-and-run driver who killed a bicyclist, even though it took them four months to make an arrest in the case.

 

International

The BBC looks at how the privately funded ciclovías in Santiago, Chile are transforming the streets.

A Canadian paper says your epic fundraising bike journey across the Great White North probably won’t actually make any money, and isn’t really a great idea.

In a change from just two years ago, all three major British political parties support bicycling in their manifestos, the equivalent of American political platforms; Brit cycling great Chis Boardman says that represents progress.

A London bike project fixes old bikes to give to refugees, providing around 90 bikes a month to people in need.

An Irish judge rules an ebike rider was highly negligent in riding without lights after dark, denying him any damages from the driver who hit him.

The Telegraph asks if Italy’s Alta Badia is the world’s greatest cycling destination. Actually, the best cycling destination is wherever you happen to be going today.

A new Spanish study shows the amount of bikeways boosts the number of bike riders, while improved safety depends on connecting them into an actual network.

Caught on video: An Aussie bicyclist was lucky to survive when a rope attached to a truck got caught in his spokes, dragging him for 70 feet.

 

Finally…

This is what it looks like when a stray dog steals a GoPro and accidently films a Russian bike ride, along with the inside of its mouth. When you’re named after a bird, you can probably expect to be attacked by one.

And if you miss your brother, just dig him up and take him for a bike ride.

Literally.

 

Morning Links: Driver busted in fatal Winnetka hit-and-run, and Krekorian kills Lankershim Great Street

As we noted last week, an arrest has been made in the hit-and-run death of a bike rider in Winnetka.

Forty-seven year old Victor Mainwal Jr. was arrested Friday on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, and is being held on $50,000 bail, with his utility truck impounded as evidence.

Police have not confirmed whether the crash was intentional, as a witness alleged.

The name of the victim has still not been released, pending notification of next of kin; the surviving victim has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home.

News of the arrest was first announced right here on Friday, and on the BikinginLA Twitter account.

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Following in the footsteps of former Councilmember Tom LaBonge, Councilmember Paul Krekorian snatched defeat from the jaws of victory last week.

Announcing his decision on the Friday before a three-day weekend — a longstanding public relations ploy to ensure whatever you do doesn’t make the next news cycle — Krekorian pulled his support from the nearly shovel-ready plan to remake dangerous Lankershim Blvd into a safer Complete Street that would meet the needs of all road users.

The LACBC reports that he blocked the plan, like LaBonge before him, saying it had to go back to the drawing board because of inadequate public outreach.

Apparently, the countless well-attended public meetings, workshops and pop-up bike lanes held over the past year don’t count. Never mind all the previous meetings going back nearly a decade.

Instead, Krekorian inexplicably threw his hat in with street safety opponents Gil Cedillo, Paul Koretz and Curren Price, all of whom blocked much-needed safety projects supported by large segments of the community.

And never mind that this was exactly the sort of lifesaving project he claims to support, judging by this quote from Yo! Venice.

“Reducing pedestrian and traffic fatalities is something we urgently need to work toward,” said Krekorian, who serves as the Chair of the Council’s Budget and Finance Committee.

Evidently, like Cedillo, Koretz and Price, he’s all for projects designed to save lives. As long as they’re in someone else’s district.

Which means businesses on Lankershim will continue to suffer, and people will continue to risk their lives, however they chose to travel.

And they’ll have their councilmember to blame.

The LACBC offered this call to action in response to Krekorian’s misguided decision:

We firmly believe that this is not an approach that is consistent with Vision Zero’s goal of saving lives.  Want to help? Join us in calling Councilmember Krekorian (818-755-7676) and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (213-972-8470) today to tell them you don’t think this project needs to go back to the drawing board.

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In today’s edition of how to lose your job as a pro cyclist, Daniel Summerhill, a rider on the United Healthcare Pro Cycling team, is charged with firing his gun at a Colorado hillside near occupied homes on a February training ride; he says he did it because he was having a bad day.

Never mind why he had a gun in his jersey pocket to begin with.

Needless to say, once word got out, he immediately resigned from the team.

Which is PR speak for they fired his ass.

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Bid on a bike tour with cyclist and KPCC political and infrastructure reporter Sharon McNary — one of LA’s most insightful and knowledgeable members of the media — while you help support Southern California Public Radio.

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The war on bikes continues, as a tire bounds across a roadway to attack a helpless bike before leaping into the arms of a man inside an office. Thanks to David Wolfberg for the heads-up.

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Local

Construction is nearing completion on the Venice Blvd Great Streets protected bike lanes in Mar Vista, which are already being used by bike riders, although local residents worry the loss of a traffic lane will cause more cut-through traffic. Which shows you what can happen when a councilmember — Mike Bonin, in this case — actually has the courage of his convictions.

LA’s Metro Bike will be expanding this summer, with new branches opening in Pasadena on July 14th, and along the LA Waterfront in San Pedro and Wilmington on July 31st.

The presumed death of the 710 Freeway extension means there’s now $600 million available to spend on transportation projects in the area, in addition to $100 million already budgeted for improvements including synchronized traffic lights, sound walls and bike lanes.

This is the cost of traffic violence. The Cal Poly Pomona student newspaper looks at the impact the loss of fallen cyclist and Cal Poly student Ivan Aguilar had on his family and fellow students, four years after his death.

If you lost a red Specialized Allez recently, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station could be looking for you after recovering one they believe was stolen.

 

State

The San Diego Union-Tribune gets it right after a worrisome start, concluding that bike lanes have little or no negative effect on business. And are often good for local businesses, even if that means a loss of parking spaces.

 

National

A new video series explores the allure of tall bikes.

A Colorado woman will spend the next 12 years behind bars for the drunken hit-and-run death of a man on his bicycle.

The national Little Bellas organization helps empower young girls through mountain biking; the Denver Post looks at how a local chapter helps make a difference.

Massachusetts is adding a section on bike safety to their driver’s training manual, as well as posting a video on the Dutch Reach to avoid doorings.

Here’s another reason to ride a real bicycle. A former VP with Peloton was arrested at his Manhattan home for allegedly looting the indoor cycling company of $400,000 to support his lavish lifestyle.

GQ spots actor Justin Theroux riding his fixie through the streets of New York with a $3,000 Tom Ford bag on his back. Note to Theroux: Next time you have an extra three grand lying around, spend it on the bike, not the bag.

The New York Times offers a pretty good beginner’s guide to biking to work.

Evidently having run out of kids to order off his lawn, a columnist with the New York Post takes time out of his busy day to tell cyclists just how much they suck. Mike Wilkinson reminds up this is how it’s really done.

 

International

Toronto has a 10-year plan to build out a complete bicycling network to coax nervous riders onto the roads, though polite Canadian bicyclists want it built sooner, if possible. LA has a 25-year plan to create a safe bicycling network, but we’re told it’s only “aspirational.

A writer for Forbes recommends luxury self-guided European bike tours. Or you could just buy a good guide book, make some reservations, and start riding.

Treehugger goes in search of the lost British bike lanes.

A driver decided to use a new raised, separated bike lane as a convenient and traffic-free way to bypass all those other cars on an Irish highway.

A 73-year old German woman was killed by lightning as she rode her bike. A tragic reminder to find the nearest shelter if you get caught in a thunderstorm while riding; the National Weather Service advises waiting at least 30 minutes after the last thunder before resuming your ride.

A Spanish art project shows the dangers of disappearing bike lanes by placing bicycles that disappear into blank walls, titling one “Cycle Lane 9 ¾ to Hogwarts.”

After a Bollywood actress is criticized for falsely claiming she was so poor she had to ride a bicycle to school, others point out her fellow students were so poor they couldn’t afford one.

A Billings, Montana non-profit collected 260 bicycles to deliver to impoverished villages in Jordan.

There’s something seriously wrong when someone who drives a 233 mph race car for a living is afraid to ride his bike because the streets are too dangerous.

 

Finally…

When you’re pedaling with plans to peddle the crystal meth you’re carrying, just put a light on your bike, already. No, really, if you’re carrying meth, marijuana and drug paraphernalia on your bike, put a damn light on it — and leave the machete at home.

And your next bike could be made like a bamboo wicker basket.

 

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