LA to audit failed Vision Zero, memorial for Prynsess Brazzle, and guilty plea in drunken Solana Beach hit-and-run

No irony here.

Outgoing CD5 City Councilmember and city attorney candidate Paul Koretz called on Los Angeles to audit the city’s Vision Zero plan, in an effort to determine why traffic deaths continue to rise seven years after it was adopted.

And just three years before traffic deaths were supposed to be a thing of the past.

Yes, that’s the same self-proclaimed environmentalist who has blocked bike lanes and Complete Streets projects in his district, including on Westwood Blvd and Melrose Avenue, since taking office 13 years ago.

Which certainly couldn’t have anything to do with it, right?

According to the story by LAist, the city saw 186 people killed in crashes in 2015, when the plan was adopted, with a jump to 294 last year. And it’s on a pace for over 330 traffic deaths this year.

Los Angeles Walks Executive Director John Li pointed out one glaring problem with the program.

“Structurally, we have a political system that has not had a unified vision of Vision Zero — it’s 15 different approaches to Vision Zero,” Yi told LAist. “How do we give political elected officials the confidence, or the political courage… to get more bike lanes, more bus lanes, flatter sidewalks, [and] slower streets? Because right now, it’s just too politically risky for elected officials and they’re not willing to be a leader on this.”

But honestly, how do you audit something that was never more than the political equivalent of vaporware?

LA’s Vision Zero has never received more than a fraction of the funding required to implement it, let alone the support from the mayor’s office necessary to even make a dent in traffic deaths.

There was no multi-agency task force dedicated to implementing it. No dedicated staff at LADOT, or any other public agency. No one with the power to cut through the red tape and NIMBY objections to reimagine our mean streets.

And no one with the ability to overrule LA’s 15 little kings and queens, who each rule their own fiefdom from their offices at city hall. Each of whom has the power to unilaterally water down or halt any changes to the streets in their districts, just as Koretz has proudly done.

Never mind “Roadkill” Gil Cedillo in CD1, Mitch O’Farrell in CD13, or Paul Krekorian in CD2, each of whom halted major shovel-ready lane reductions and other badly needed traffic safety programs.

Or any of the other councilmembers who, with very few notable exceptions, cowardly hid behind claims of public opinion and the demands of the almighty automobile to avoid making any of the tough choices necessary to make even a modest reduction in traffic deaths.

Let alone put an end to them.

The simple fact is, LA’s Vision Zero has never been more than smoke and mirrors, with a little modest nibbling at the edges so minor no one could complain.

But that was exactly what we warned about when the plan was first adopted, questioning whether Los Angeles elected leaders had the political will and courage necessary for the plan to succeed.

In retrospect, the clear answer is no.

And 300 Angelenos, and all of their friends and loved ones, are now paying the price every year.

Mayor Garcetti signs the Vision Zero order behind his comically huge outdoor desk; photo from Streetsblog LA.

………

Speaking of Vision Zero, we live in a city where officials are willing to honor the victims of traffic violence.

But won’t lift a finger to keep them alive.

………

A 22-year old San Diego man faces 15 years behind bars for the drunken hit-and-run death of 75-year old Allen Hunter II as he rode his bike on South Coast Highway 101 in Solana Beach last year.

Beau Morgan pled guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run causing death and driving under the influence; he was over twice the legal limit when he turned himself in 45 minutes after the crash.

Once again destroying two lives with one careless act.

Thanks to Phillip Young for the heads-up.

………

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

No bias here. San Jose drivers call a proposal to make them change lanes to pass bike riders insane and evil. Then again, so is hiding the story behind a paywall. 

No bias here, either. A Berkeley writer complains that the city’s policies are turning bicycles into a “weapon of civic destruction…damaging neighborhoods, endangering bicyclists and undermining the legitimacy of governance while squandering millions of dollars.” Okay, so some articles would be better hidden behind a paywall. Or under a rock.

Police in Britain are looking for a road-raging driver who head-butted a bike rider after a dispute.

………

Local

The LA Times endorses Katy Young Yaroslavsky — longtime LA politician Zev’s daughter-in-law — to replace Paul Koretz in CD5, although they also like Scott Epstein, who has a much better bike safety pedigree.

Plans are in the works for new bus only lanes on Florence Ave in South LA, which would also allow bike riders to use them; however, like other LA bus lanes, they would only be in effect during peak traffic hours.

A South Pasadena website looks back fondly on Sunday’s 626 Golden Streets.

Palmdale will conduct a Complete Streets overhaul of Avenue R, including walkable sidewalks and painted bike lanes.

 

State 

Social media users are understandably up in arms after video of San Diego workers destroying bicycles during a homeless sweep went viral.

A homeless man already on probation for another crime is back behind bars after shoplifting merchandise and stealing a bicycle from an El Cajon Target, then forcibly taking another bicycle in a strong arm robbery.

The Los Osos woman who got out of prison after just two years of her seven-year sentence for the drunken death of a bike-riding San Luis Obispo college student was released early thanks to pre-sentencing credits and a re-entry program; she’s now back behind bars after crashing into several parked cars with a BAC four times the legal limit.

A new bill in the state Assembly would mandate secure bike parking in new residential buildings; AB 2863 would also require the California Building Standards Commission to update its bike parking standards for commercial buildings. Although they should also require building owners to allow tenants and workers to take their bikes inside to their homes and offices.

Calbike is once again asking for your support for the Bicycle Safety Stop Bill, aka Stop As Yield, aka the stop sign portion of the Idaho Stop Law, somehow assuming Gavin Newsom will sign the bill after vetoing it last year.

Streetsblog talks with a San Francisco ER doctor, who says preventable injuries dropped when JFK Drive was closed to drivers, and pleaded with city officials to keep it that way.

 

National

America Walks takes a deeper look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s call for public comments on how to make motor vehicles safer for pedestrians — and for people on bicycles. You have until Monday to get your comments in.

A writer for Popsugar replaces her car and reduces her carbon footprint with an ebike from women-owned Bluejay.

Seriously? A Utah paper asks if it’s time to get serious about road safety after three pedestrians were killed in a single hour, with four bike riders killed in the state in recent weeks — wait, make that five. The time to get serious was before anyone got killed.

More proof that NIMBYs are the same everywhere, as Houston residents decry plans for a 1.5-mile lane reduction and bike lanes, calling it a disaster that will cause traffic congestion and force drivers into neighborhoods.

Surprisingly, Minnesota has the nation’s longest paved bike trail, running 800 miles along the Mississippi River, as well as a 315-mile path through two national parks and nine state parks.

 

International

A Welsh police official is “hugely supportive” of bike cams, saying police can’t be everywhere but the public can.

That’s more like it. British drivers complain that they could be fined the equivalent of $6,250 for distracted eating behind the wheel, calling it nonsense and daylight robbery. Although everyone else on the road likely likes the idea.

A Melbourne, Australia city councilor says a proposal to remove bike lanes would be economic vandalism.

A Perth, Australia e-scooter rider was killed in a collision with a bike rider when the two crashed on a blind bend; the bike rider was treated for minor injuries.

An Aussie op-ed complains that Sydney’s new bike plan completely ignores half the city.

 

Competitive Cycling

Mark Cavendish insists there’s no rivalry between him and Fabio Jakobsen for a spot on the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team in this year’s Tour de France.

Women’s cycling continues to grow, with plans for a women’s Milan-San Remo next year.

  

Finally…

Your next bike could be the two-wheeled offspring of Formula 1. We may have to put up with angry LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to deal with road-hogging grizzlies.

And that feeling when a bike path is named after a creepy clown, or maybe the other way around.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

One comment

  1. Ralph says:

    The problem with having people’s bikes in office buildings is where to put them. The easiest but least secure is a dedicated storage room that locks. These days with cardkey access. Problem is that gives thieves a chance to grab more than one bike if there is no other security. You have to make people aware that careless behavior could result in a lot of loss.
    If kept elsewhere, where. Per the fire code storage under stairs is not allowed. Plus the way out of buildings must be kept free and clear at all times. A bike is quite wide at the bars and can greatly reduce the flow of people in an emergency.
    Another issue is earthquakes. You don’t want stuff, which could include bikes all over the means of egress. When I was at Stanford we could allow bikes in your own office. Some halls if wide enough for the number of people needing to exit and they were tethered to a wall to keep them in place.

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