Morning Links: Carfree Griffith Park could be sacrificed for well-healed homeowners; LA beats New York

It’s your park.

But that could change, as Streetsblog explains more about the plan to open Griffith Park’s previously car-free, and carefree, Mt. Hollywood Drive to cars.

In fact, the street has already been partially opened in an experiment to provide additional parking near the Griffith Observatory.

As many surmised, it appears to be a plan to divert tourists wanting a close-up view of the Hollywood sign from the pricy Beechwood Canyon neighborhood, in effect trading their privacy for the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.

Although I wonder how many of those homeowners knew the sign was there when they moved there.

While I understand the problems caused by the sudden influx of internet-driven tourists, it’s kind of like Parisians in the last century demanding the streets be closed because they had no idea passenger jets would bring so many tourists to see the Eiffel Tower.

We need to find a solution that works for everyone, not just the those wanting to protect their streets; shuttle buses along a mutually acceptable route is just one possibility.

The park is one of the few places in this city that belongs to people, not cars.

CiclaVally asks you to invest 45 seconds to send an email to help keep it that way.

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The BetterDoctor website ranks the most bike-friendly cities, with four of the top 10 — Portland, Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco — on the Left Coast.

Needless to say, LA checks in at a relatively modest number 23. Yet somehow, we’re still two notches above New York, Bicycle magazine’s number one city for bike friendliness.

Which suggests that these sort of clickbait lists should be taken with a grain — or maybe a 10-pound bag — of salt.

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Local

Just five years ago, LA cyclists had to fight to preserve bike lanes that were promised for Reseda Blvd. Now the street is scheduled to get the city’s first parking-protected bike lane as part of the Great Streets program.

Speaking of parking-protected bike lanes, I haven’t given up the fight to put one on the uphill side of Temescal Canyon, where Australian tourist James Rapley was killed by an allegedly intoxicated and possibly distracted driver just before Christmas 2013. There may not have been enough cars there to save his life on that Sunday morning, but it might keep it from happening again.

New County Supervisor Hilda Solis tells Downtown News she supports bikeshare and its automotive equivalent, suggesting there may not even be a need for private cars in DTLA.

 

State

A new Oso Creek trail gets unanimous approval; the three-quarter-mile pathway will have a 12-foot asphalt bike path along with a 10-foot wide decomposed granite horse and pedestrian trail. Which means pedestrians will choose to use the paved path, of course.

The battle for bike lanes in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood sound a lot like the fight for bike lanes on Westwood Blvd — intense opposition that ignores the benefits and insists the lanes go somewhere else, but fails to come up with any viable alternatives. No bias in the San Diego media, either, as a local TV station says the plan would take streets away from drivers and give them to bicyclists.

San Francisco gets three more visible bike counters, bringing their total to four visible bike counters and 24 hidden counters buried in the pavement along popular riding routes. That compares favorably to LA, which has exactly zero that I’m aware of.

 

National

AAA says drivers continue to take needless risks even though crashes affect one out of three motorists. And too often, it’s the people who aren’t encased in two tons of glass and steel that pay the price.

Why the bike bell everyone remembers is nearing extinction on American streets.

The OC Register says riding the Oregon coast is a slice of heaven, except for 11 miles of hell.

A Portland station looks at bike chop shops in homeless camps, where stolen bikes are dismantled and sold for parts.

Washington moves forward with a proposed dead red law, which would allow cyclists to ride through red lights that don’t change for them.

Chicago alderman candidates raise the question of licensing cyclists, which refuses to die no matter how many times it’s refuted.

An Ithaca NY bike cop says officers on bikes are less threatening, stealthier and can go where cars can’t.

 

International

City Lab says Woonerfs are wonderful, citing six places where everyone successfully shares the streets without traffic controls.

Saskatoon approves a long debated protected bike lane through downtown, including funds to clear winter snow from the lane.

A road raging Brit driver punches a cyclist, knocking him into the path of an oncoming car; needless to say, the jerk didn’t stick around to take responsibility for his actions.

The leader of Britain’s Near Miss Project, which collects anecdotal accounts of close calls and road rage incidents involving bike riders, says the country’s roads call for constant vigilance.

Stockholm improves safety and livability by virtually eliminating motor vehicle traffic through certain neighborhoods. Here in the US, we take the opposite approach, virtually eliminating safety and livability by routing countless cars and trucks through ours.

Evidently, life is cheap in Hong Kong, where a cargo van driver gets off with a $5,400 fine for killing a British bike rider last year.

 

Finally…

Would you use an edible water bottle made from an algae-based gel? No, really, you first. An Arlington VA bikeshare bike rider is doored by an Uber passenger when the car stops next to a bike lane, which is only news because it involves Uber, unlike the countless other bike riders who get doored every day.

And writer and cultural critic Fran Leibowitz says seeing men in shorts is disgusting, questions why people need special costumes to ride bikes, and asks why you need a helmet if you’re not an astronaut.

I’m may not be an astronaut, but I have been a space cadet at times.

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Thanks to Tai Wan Kim for a generous contribution to help support this site

2 comments

  1. Umm, Ted? It’s “well heeled” not “healed”. The former is rich, the latter is healthy.

  2. James says:

    A scene mixed use trail has been converted into a long curvilinear parking lot. The worst possible design for a parking lot I can think of. I imagine it would induce demand for parking to Griffith Park in general and lead to less carpooling, transit use etc. This may be a far more significant impact than diversion of sign chaser parking from the neary “private” road.

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