Invitation-only Taylor Yard Bridge opening excludes public, and killer distracted driver walks for running down bike-riding family

My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail.

After a previous false start, Los Angeles officially opened the new Taylor Yard bike and pedestrian bridge over the LA River, in an invitation-only event.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton reports the bridge has been under discussion for a full 30 years, before work finally started in 2019.

When Metro re-industrialized the downstream end of Taylor Yard, siting a Metrolink yard there, community groups sued Metro for not following environmental law. In a 1992 settlement Metro agreed to pay for several community benefits, including a pedestrian bridge. For decades, the promised bridge project suffered from false starts. Ultimately Metro paid for the $25 million dollar bridge, which was built by L.A. City’s Public Works Department’s Bureau of Engineering.

Never mind that three decades of delays meant it ended up costing over five times the original $5.3 million estimate.

And no, Linton didn’t get an invitation, either, despite reporting on the bridge even longer that we have. But he ended up crashing it on a bicycle, ignoring both the lack of invitation and the admonition to arrive by car.

No, really. The city wanted everyone to drive to the opening of a bike bridge.

The good news is, the bridge is open at last, providing safer and more convenient access between Frogtown and Elysian Valley to the south, and Glassell Park and Cypress Park to the north.

A previous public opening was cancelled at the last minute, with the city doing such a crappy job of getting the word out that would-be attendees who showed up anyway were left wondering where everyone else was. No explanation was ever given for the cancellation.

Maybe they were afraid people from the bike community might actually show up.

Because this is how Linton ended his piece.

Cedillo and O’Farrell have histories of being hostile to bicyclists. O’Farrell’s bike antipathy has been more subtle, other than his notoriously snide anti-bike safety tweet in 2018. Cedillo’s anti-bike stance has been more overt. Both have canceled approved bike safety projects in their districts: Cedillo on North Figueroa Street and on the North Spring Street Bridge, and both colluded on the cancelling of a Temple Street road diet. Both are Democrat incumbents facing elections this year, with challengers to their ideological left. It is a sad state of affairs that it now appears that they fear allowing the public – including the press and those pesky cyclists – to celebrate the opening of a really great thing they have done for bicycling in L.A.

And yes, I was the one on the receiving end of that snide O’Farrell tweet.

Today’s photo is the invitation you didn’t get to the bridge opening, even though you — and the rest of us — paid for it. 

………

Evidently, life is cheap in Massachusetts.

In the conclusion to story we’ve been following for the last two years, a 45-year old Massachusetts woman walked without a single day behind bars for the distracted driving death of a father as he was riding bikes with his family.

Ryane Linehan pled guilty to negligent homicide, admitting she was texting when she killed the man and seriously injured his wife and adult son.

Yet she still got just an 18-month suspended jail sentence, along with six months of home confinement, three years of probation and 100 hours of community service.

Maybe it’s just me, but a lousy six months sitting at home watching TV and eating bonbons seems more like a staycation than punishment.

The only good news is she won’t be allowed to drive for the next 15 years. Which isn’t nearly long enough.

………

Good question.

………

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

No bias here. An Iowa appeals court affirmed the right of a town to block a short street connecting two multi-use trails, forcing bike riders and runners moving between them to use a dangerous highway — because local residents didn’t want a trail through their community in the first place.

An English pub owner complained that a new bike lane was an accident waiting to happen, warning it would result in collisions between bike riders and pedestrians. Then blocked half of it with advertising barriers to help ensure he was right.

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

English police are looking for a bike-riding man who yelled racist abuse at a driver before kicking her car, after she challenged him for using a cellphone while riding.

………

Local

Los Angeles received a $5 million grant to beautify Boyle Heights’ Hollenbeck Park. Except the only thing that would really beautify it is to move the damn 5 Freeway, which cuts directly through it. Except that would probably cost a hell of a lot more.

A woman in her 30s was found dead next to the beach bike path in Long Beach Sunday morning, with no apparent cause of death.

 

State 

A San Diego bike rider suffered a fractured skull when he was run down by a hit-and-run driver in Balboa Park Sunday night; fortunately, his injuries were not considered life-threatening.

San Luis Obispo is opening a new bike and pedestrian bridge connecting a new section of trail through the town.

East Bay bike advocates are pushing for the first protected bike lane through the San Francisco suburb of San Leandro.

Sad news from Modesto, where a 38-year old woman riding a bicycle was killed by a suspected drunk driver on Sunday.

 

National

Oklahoma has approved a 400 mile section of the US Bike Route 66 though the state.

That’s more like it. A 19-year old Florida man got 15 years behind bars for the hit-and-run death of a seven-year old boy riding his bicycle. Although anyone so heartless they could leave a little kid to die alone in the street deserves a lot more than that.

 

International

He gets it. Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter says governments should subsidize ebikes instead of gas prices — including Gavin Newsom’s proposal to rebate gas taxes paid by California drivers.

No irony here. Toronto NIMBYs are demanding the removal of a protected bike lane by claiming it makes it too hard for ambulances to respond to injured bike riders, because all the cars get in the way.

Canada’s Prince Edward Island announced a $100 rebate on bicycle purchases, with a $500 rebate on ebikes.

A Welsh bike advocate explains how taking political candidates for a bike ride can help them seem the local community from a new perspective. Not to mention give them a better understanding of the dangers we face.

Life is cheap in Wales, where a 71-year old man walked with probation and a 15-month driving ban for yelling racist comments at a group of bike riders and telling them to go back to England, before backing his car up and crashing into them; fortunately, no one was seriously injured.

A new British poll shows broad support of using ebikes to reduce carbon emissions, even among people who aren’t currently thinking about buying one.

UK advocates are petitioning the government to stop using the word “accident” in official documents, and to use “collision” instead; if they get 100,000 signatures, Parliament will be required to take it up.

It took the 1973 OPEC oil embargo to put Copenhagen on the path to a bike-friendly future.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Weekly offers five takeaways from last week’s Paris-Nice.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could look like folded paper, and be made by Yamaha. Rocking Rod Stewart, pothole repairman.

And meet a four-year old bike riding superhero.

https://twitter.com/biker_tiny/status/1503075842896932874?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1503075842896932874%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2Fcycling-live-blog-14-march-2022-291043

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

One comment

  1. Alan Coovert says:

    Russia has already won this war. The Ukrainians need to capitulate, call for a ceasefire and concede to Russia’s demands that Ukraine will not join NATO, renounce ownership of Crimea and recognized that the people of the Donbas are ethnic Russians with special privileges under Ukraine law. This will stop the killing. But I doubt that America wants to stop the killing because there is to much money to be made supplying arms to Ukraine.