Dear Councilmember Ryu and Honorable Councilmembers,
As a resident of the 4th Council District, and someone who walks, bikes, drives and uses transit throughout the City of Los Angeles, I strongly urge you to support passage of the Mobility Plan 2035 to increase safety on our streets, while encouraging alternative transportation, increasing livability and creating a more sustainable future for our city.
It is vital that we have a well-connected bicycle network, including protected bike lanes, bike friendly streets and other safety enhancements, in all parts of the city to encourage people to leave their cars at home and embrace alternative transportation methods to improve the health of both our city and its residents. Bike lanes have been repeatedly shown to reduce injury collisions for all road users by as much as 50% — protected bike lanes by up to 90% — while improving the livability and health of neighborhoods and commercial corridors, resulting in increased property values, commercial occupancy and business receipts.
Our city’s current reliance on automotive transportation is clearly unsustainable. Our streets are already at or near capacity, with little or no room to expand; even where expansion is possible, increasing capacity will only increase demand. We have no choice but to provide safe, viable and inviting alternatives to help remove some of those cars from the roads. It only takes a small reduction in traffic volume to create a significant reduction in traffic congestion.
There are currently no safe bike routes in or out of my neighborhood in Hollywood west of La Brea, with few bike lanes and only sharrows on a handful of streets, most of which are too heavily travelled by motor vehicles to accommodate the overwhelming majority of people on bicycles, not to mention the 65% of people who say they would like to bike more if they had safer alternatives. We desperately need both the east/west and north/south bike lanes contained in the plan to encourage people to commute to work and school, as well as ride to shopping or family recreation. And I need them for my own personal safety; even as an experienced bicyclist, I must ride in fear anytime I leave my home on my bicycle, and take extraordinary steps to ensure I’m seen by motorists, even in broad daylight.
I am also concerned by the unprecedented recommendation to remove bike lanes on Westwood Blvd from the Mobility Plan — after they were unanimously approved by a vote of the city council as part of the 2010 Bike Plan, which has been subsumed into the Mobility Plan, and which was part of a long public process leading to its approval. Westwood is one of the city’s most dangerous streets for people riding bikes, with over eight times as many bike-involved collisions as on similar streets in Los Angeles. Westwood is already heavily used as a commuter route by UCLA students, faculty and employees, as well as people who work along the boulevard and on the Wilshire corridor; this will only increase, perhaps dramatically, once the Westwood Expo Line station opens early next year. In addition, bike lanes could help revive the long declining commercial corridor along Westwood Blvd and bring more life to commercially failing Westwood Village.
I urge you to vote to adopt the Mobility Plan 2035 as written to ensure greater safety and livability for everyone who uses our streets.
Thank you for your consideration,