Morning Links: LA’s absent mayor leads to failing Vision Zero, and anti-Vision Zero widening of Magnolia Blvd

The Guardian’s Laura Laker questions whether Vision Zero has lost its way, describing the program as a success in New York.

And a failure in Los Angeles.

In January last year the city’s mayor, Eric Garcetti, announced its first Vision Zero strategy, with a goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2025. Work would focus on 40 High Injury Network streets, particularly those near schools. Interventions included pedestrian scrambles, painted kerb extensions protected by bollards, and left turn safety improvements.

However, things started to unravel. On Temple Street, where 34 people were killed or severely injured within 2.3 miles in eight years, a “road diet” expected to reduce crashes by up to 47%met backlash from residents and drivers. Local city leaders downgradedlane removals to things that wouldn’t interfere with motor traffic: sidewalk repairs, new traffic signals and crosswalks.

She quotes Jon Orcutt, the former NYDOT director of policy who developed New York’s Vision Zero plan, as he points the finger exactly where it belongs by saying LA councilmembers who supported Vision Zero were left isolated and “hung out to dry” in the face of opposition.

The former policy director also explained who was responsible  for problems with New York’s plan after its initial success.

Orcutt also expresses his frustration at a lack of ongoing improvement in New York after those initial improvements.

“We need leaders to say, ‘This is what we are doing in the city, and you don’t get to say no, and you don’t get to come back on what our technical experts say,’” he says. “That is the power of the mayor – that’s the point of the megaphone you have.”

That’s exactly the problem in Los Angeles, with a mayor who’s too busy exploring a run for president to do the job he was elected to do. And who has repeatedly failed to support his own Vision Zero and Great Streets programs, let alone fight for them.

It was also Mayor Garcetti who pulled the rug out from under Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin, caving in the face of a backlash from angry drivers after Bonin took bold action to improve safety in Playa del Rey.

And yes, hanging him out to dry.

If Garcetti really wants to be president, maybe its time he stepped down as mayor to focus full-time on his run for the White House.

Then maybe someone will step in to take his place, and actually fight to stop the deaths on out streets, instead of just talking about it.

If not, it’s long past time to come back home and roll up his sleeves, put up his dukes, and start fighting for the safety plans he put in motion.

Because right now, his traffic safety legacy is just so many words.

Ghost bike photo by Matt Tinoco

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More evidence that Vision Zero is failing in the mayor’s virtual absence.

CiclaValley reports on plans to widen Magnolia Blvd between Cahuenga Boulevard and Vineland Avenue, as the city claims to be improving safety by adding a traffic lane.

Never mind that reducing congestion and improving traffic flow will allow more drivers to speed through what once was a quiet two-lane street.

Which is the exact opposite of Vision Zero.

He urges you to send a version of the following email before the comment period ends at 5 pm next Monday.

And so do I.

To: [email protected]

CC: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Subject: Magnolia Boulevard Widening (N) Comments

I am writing because I am opposed to the widening of the north side of Magnolia Boulevard between Vineland and Cahuenga. This project does not improve safety conditions for those that use the roadway and puts vulnerable populations at increased risk of injury.

This is a growing and vibrant area that needs to serve everyone’s needs safely. Please prioritize projects that saves lives over seconds.

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Local

Jonathan Weiss, whose son’s bike was recently stolen from the Westwood Rancho Park Expo Line station, calls for e-lockers to improve the security problems that can keep people from biking to the train. Or riding back home if they do.

Pasadena police will be conducting a bicycle and pedestrian enforcement program on Friday. Which means ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports on Sunday’s Pride of the Valley open streets event in Irwindale and Baldwin Park.

Santa Monica’s 16-month dockless bikeshare and e-scooter pilot program officially kicked off on Monday, including the introduction of Uber’s Jump dockless ebikes.

 

State

Former Elektra Records president Jeff Castelaz is preparing to embark on his tenth Pablove Across America Ride, traveling from San Raphael to Los Angeles. The annual ride, which is named after his late son Pablo, has raised over $3 million dollars for pediatric cancer research.

As we noted yesterday, San Diego resident Denise Mueller-Korenek is now the fastest person on Earth, setting a new land speed record for human-powered vehicles. The Wall Street Journal offers on-bike video of the record-setting ride, if you can get past their paywall.

El Cajon is struggling to regulate dockless bikeshare, as both Ofo and Limebike set up shop in the city.

The San Francisco department of transportation’s Rapid Response Team is working with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to fix a deadly crosswalk where a bike rider was killed last week. That’s how Vision Zero is supposed to work, unlike Los Angeles, where traffic deaths just result in crickets.

 

National

Reader’s Digest — yes, it’s still around — explains how to use Google Maps to find safer bike routes.

An Iraq war vet is focusing on helping others after riding 4,300 miles across the US, saying she bought her bike to save her own life instead of ending it.

VeloNews considers the difference between long-term bike trends and passing fads.

A New York bus driver faces just 30 days in jail as he goes on trial on misdemeanor charges in the death of the first person killed riding one of New York’s Citi Bike docked bikeshare bikes.

Orlando FL moves towards allowing dockless bikeshare, despite complaints from the city’s docked bikeshare provider.

 

International

Venture capitalists say the future is bright. And comes on two wheels.

Treehugger says if you have trouble riding a bike, maybe you’re just using the wrong kind.

After writing a needlessly offensive column that made a good point — that some bike riders should cool it with aggressive cycling around pedestrians — a Vancouver writer ignores the complaints and pats himself on the back because older people agreed with him.

A Toronto columnist explains why bicycle licensing is a bad idea, saying that city abolished its licensing requirement in the 1950s.

Speaking of Toronto, advocates say political will is needed to solve the city’s bike infrastructure inequity.

Life is cheap in the UK, where a young woman gets off with community service and losing her license for 18 months for killing a bike rider after losing control of her car while speeding.

Dublin bicyclists are attaching cardboard wheel clamps — aka boots — to cars parked in bike lanes to protest the lack of police enforcement.

The Guardian offers a photographic look at Sunday’s carfree day in Paris and Brussels.

A writer sets off on a bike tour of Austria’s Tyrol region in search of the best food, in advance of next week’s road cycling world championships.

After arriving from Lithuania, a woman has created her own position as Malmö, Sweden’s Violinist on a Bike, between rehearsals with the Royal Danish Orchestra in Copenhagen. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

A Bulgarian driver faces a murder charge for killing a bike-riding ballet dancer while high on coke and cannabis; he also faces a charge for his third offense for driving without a license.

Once again, an Australian study has found that drivers are responsible for the overwhelming majority of traffic collisions involving bike riders.

Fourteen percent of Australians have traded their car commutes for walking or bicycling, and 56% are open to leaving their cars at home.

Good question. An Op-Ed in the Guardian asks why bicycling deaths are rising in Australia when cars are significantly safer than they were 25 years ago, concluding that the problem rests with aggressive and entitled drivers.

Heartbreaking story from Japan, where a mother faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter after her umbrella got caught in her bike wheel, and her 18-month old son hit his head on the pavement when he fell to the street.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can ride a slightly used pro racing bike, or buy weed from a slightly used ex-yellow jersey winner.

And what’s the penalty for Scooting Under the Influence, anyway?

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Thanks to Hamid V for his generous donation to help support this site. 

If everyone who visits BikinginLA today donated just $10, it would be more than enough to keep to keep this site going for a full year. 

And G’mar Tov to all our Jewish friends; may your fast be easy.

………

Join the Militant Angeleno and BikinginLA for the first-ever Militant Angeleno’s Epic CicLAvia Tour at the Celebrate LA! LA Phil 100 CicLAvia on September 30th!

Just RSVP to [email protected] We want to guarantee a relatively small group to make sure we can keep the group together, and everyone can hear.

One comment

  1. Ralph says:

    REduce speeding. Take GPS data from cars and match it with speed and speed limits.

    MAny of the rental cars I use here can tell me the speed limit of the road I am driving on. So one extra step should be no problem. Cheap and fast.

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