Council committee delays adoption of uninspired LADOT Strategic Plan, and Insta users want carfree Hollywood Blvd

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Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels.

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Maybe we’re lucky they pulled the plug yesterday.

At almost the last minute, Streets For All sent out a notification that the city council’s Transportation Committee would consider LADOT’s new Strategic Plan for the next four years at yesterday’s virtual meeting.

That’s the weak-kneed plan we mentioned last month, which sets the bar so low agency staffers have to be careful not to trip over it on the way to work every morning.

Here’s how Streetsblog’s Joe Linton summed it up.

In his introductory statement, Mayor Garcetti calls the plan “an honest, assertive strategy that reflects my priorities for LADOT as your mayor.” While there are laudable goals in the plan, it is anything but “assertive,” except perhaps assertively reiterating that there will be little change to L.A. streets’ status quo. Overall the plan does feel very Garcetti: proclaim lots of great high-minded much-needed goals (Vision Zero, more bikes, more CicLAvias), set some far-off benchmarks, then deliver very little, and avoid courting even minimal confrontation – especially with drivers.

It’s sad just how accurate that is. Garcetti’s tenure has been marked by bold, visionary plans that never seem to manifest on the streets.

Or anywhere else.

Apparently, LADOT has figured out his management style, and now takes care to underpromise, knowing they’ll probably live down to it.

Again, this is how Linton saw it yesterday.

The most dismal portion of the document is in the Health and Safety section, which includes active transportation – walking and bicycling. LADOT states that its goal is to “increase the share of people walking and biking to support healthy communities.” This is the action with which LADOT plans to accomplish this:

“Complete one major active transportation project (such as a protected bike lane on a major street) per year to support the build out of a comprehensive network of active transportation corridors in the city.”

Really. One major project each year. That’s by a department with a $500+million budget, in a city with four million people, more than 6,000 miles of streets, and an approved plan for hundreds of miles of new bikeways by 2035. One major project per year, which might be a protected bike lane… who knows for what distance.

That was exactly my take on it, too.

Garcetti recruited one of the county’s most respected transportation planners in Seleta Reynolds, and brought her in, supposedly, to transform our streets and reduce the city’s ever-growing reliance on motor vehicles.

You can see how well that worked out.

Unless you happen to live Downtown, where a PeopleForBikes-funded initiative spurred some change, chances are you haven’t seen a single infrastructure improvement where you actually live and ride.

Evidently, they plan to keep it that way. And keep LA deadly in the process.

More worthwhile goals paired with minimum implementation show up in this section on Vision Zero:

“Continue to deliver high impact safety treatments on the High Injury Network (HIN), including an annual multimillion dollar signal program and significant roadway improvements to priority corridors”

The disappointing key word here is, arguably, “continue.” The city never actually got around to funding and implementing those “high impact safety treatments” and “significant roadway improvements,” largely due to resistance from city council and backlash from drivers. The plan appears to signal that the city’s weak steps toward Vision Zero will continue to be weak.

The one bit of good news comes in regards to CicLAvia, with a dramatic increase in open streets events.

Although as Linton points out, we’ve heard all that before.

The new plan calls for more CicLAvia events:

“Increase the frequency of open streets events to monthly by 2022 and to weekly by 2023.”

This sounds depressingly familiar. Garcetti’s Sustainability pLAn called for more CicLAvias back in 2015. LADOT’s 2014 Strategic Plan had monthly CicLAvias in 2017.  In 2020 Garcetti pledged to make CicLAvia weekly by 2022. Why keep pushing back the goalposts for what is probably the most popular event in the history of Los Angeles? What’s the hold-up?

Linton’s piece spells out a pattern of repeated downsizing of the agency’s goals, followed by a repeated failure to live up to them.

If that sounds depressing, it is.

Along with a waste of Reynold’s talents.

But that’s what the Transportation Committee was being asked to agree to yesterday, before the meeting was cancelled just before the 3 pm start time.

Maybe we’ll get a little more notice before it comes up before the committee again, so we can call in and demand better.

And in the meantime, we can all contact our councilmembers — especially the ones on the Transportation Committee — and tell them to reject this shameful effort to avoid making any meaningful commitment to change.

Other cities around the world have shown it can be done, and done quickly.

It’s long past time we expected that, too.

Correction — Call it a false alarm. According to a comment from Streetsblog’s Joe Linton, LADOT’s pitiful strategic plan has already been carved it stone, and the council was just going to talk about it after the fact.

How sad is that?

fwiw – the Strategic Plan is already published/adopted – it’s just an executive thing from LADOT – doesn’t need to be approved by City Council. The T-Committee meeting yesterday was set to discuss it – but not to adopt it.

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According to a nonscientific poll of Instagram users, Hollywood Blvd in Los Angeles is one of eight city streets around the world people want to see go carfree, along with Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Then again, it’s not just people outside of LA who are begging for that.

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After yesterday’s discussion of protected bike lanes, let’s remember who they’re really for.

https://twitter.com/JuliaRidesBikes/status/1366240769741266948

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A mobile repair service funded in part by a small state grant has fixed 428 bikes in eight communities on the Navajo Nation to help get kids on their bikes.

The nonprofit service is also teaching kids how to fix their own bikes, since there isn’t a single brick-and-motor bike shop on the 29,500 square mile Hopi and Navajo reservation.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

Seattle’s bike-hating radio jerk, uh, jock is back at it again, calling bike advocates delusional for fighting a bike helmet law that is disproportionately enforced against people of color, with Black bike riders ticketed at four times the rate of white riders.

A Brazilian bike rider discovers even nature is out to get us, after getting bombed by a helmet-cracking jackfruit.

But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

An Idaho man could serve up to five years behind bars after being convicted of riding his bike over an hour to stalk a woman in another town who had a protection order against him. Although he could serve just a year if he successfully completes a diversionary program.

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Local

LA Times columnist Patt Morrison examines why so few people jaywalk in Los Angeles, pointing the finger at a heavy-handed police response not seen in other cities. Although under California law, it’s not illegal unless you cross on a block controlled by traffic signals or police officers on either end.

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against LADOT’s data-sharing requirement for micromobility providers, which was filed by the ACLU on behalf of a group of plaintiffs.

Everyone’s least favorite 007 is one of us, as 81-year old George Lazenby used his ebike to go shopping in Santa Monica.

 

State

Tragic news from San Bernardino, where a 29-year old Cherry Valley man was fatally shot in a driveby while riding his bike.

You can now subscribe to a bicycle in Davis,while the Cycling Tips podcast wants to know if you’d lease a roadie.

American Canyon approves plans for a wine warehouse after the company commits to fill an 800-foot gap in a bike path to meet an obligation to offset vehicular traffic.

 

National

A new proposal in the US Congress would commit states to design and build Complete Streets that are safer for everyone.

Yanko Design considers mostly tech-inspired bicycle accessories designed to make your rides “safe, secure and fun.” Including zip-on bike tire treads and a bike helmet that looks like it was inspired by Devo.

Bicycling says it’s time to move ebikes way up on your to do list. As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

Speaking of which, the New York Times examines the growing confluence of ebikes and bikeshare.

The Manual makes some interesting picks for the nine best fat bikes.

An op-ed for Cycling Tips questions why tech progress is so slow for road bikes, compared to other types of bicycle.

A couple in New Mexico have joined the fight against distracted drivers after the husband was critically injured by one while riding his bike, spending the last year attempting to recover from his injuries.

A North Carolina teenager was shot in a driveby while riding in his own neighborhood; he may have to carry the bullet near his spine for the rest of his life.

 

International

Bike Radar explains how to assemble your internet-bought bike in a box in ten relatively easy steps.

A new ebike promises to let you haul up to 400 pounds, for when you really need to carry a load.

People who bought a futuristic-looking bespoke 3D printed bike on Indiegogo last year aren’t happy, with many still waiting for delivery, and disappointed by the devolving design.

A London investor is understandably livid that police cited a lack of witnesses in refusing to file charges against a truck driver who crashed into his bike — even though the crash was caught on a security cam.

A former soldier from the UK who can no longer walk, talk or swallow after suffering a brain injury in Iraq rode 60 miles on an adaptive stationary bike to raise funds for other wounded veterans.

While Lime rolls out it’s 4th generation ebike, complete with phone and cup holders, they’e giving new life to old ebike batteries by partnering with a British company to make rechargeable portable speakers.

If art school design students have their way, these are the ebikes you’ll be riding through European cities in the not-too-distant future.

Streetsblog considers how the Dutch manage to maintain bike lanes during the winter, when American cities can’t seem to manage it.

 

Competitive Cycling

New pro cyclist Ayesha McGowan is hosting a free virtual summit later this month to celebrate the joy of bike riding for BIPOC — aka Black, indigenous and people of color — bicyclists. Once again, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

 

Finally…

Nothing like stealing a bike to ride to city hall, and stand shirtless in the middle of the road yelling at cars. When bourbon infused cold brew coffee isn’t enough, put a bicycle selfie station inside to draw the crowds.

And who knew that car-choked, bike-unfriendly Los Angeles is an ideal city?

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a damn mask, already. 

2 comments

  1. Joe says:

    fwiw – the Strategic Plan is already published/adopted – it’s just an executive thing from LADOT – doesn’t need to be approved by City Council. The T-Committee meeting yesterday was set to discuss it – but not to adopt it.

  2. Ralph says:

    Here in Munich the city center seems to be largely the cities responsibility to clear snow and grit the sidewalks and bike lanes. In the suburbs it is the responsibility of property owners to clear off street bike lanes and sidewalks. So it can be spotty at times.

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