Getting the mythical war on cars all wrong, road rage rising on LA streets, and LA Streets chief Greg Spotts heads to Seattle

No bias here.

An economics professor and former deputy assistant secretary for research and technology at the US Department of Transportation gets it exactly wrong, saying the US shouldn’t follow Europe’s lead in the mythical war on cars.

Cities are being hollowed out by pedestrian precincts, with commerce for residents moving outside the centers of town, leaving the quaint city streets for tourists. Locals need not visit.

American transportation policy is mistakenly copying Europe, and it’s not only the higher gas prices and smaller planned electric vehicles. Bike lanes are proliferating and parking spaces vanishing. One example: the District Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C., is planning to reconfigure Connecticut Avenue, one of the major arteries into the city, by removing two major lanes of traffic and replacing them with bike lanes. The plan doesn’t account for fire engines pulling out of their stations or existing right-turn lanes. Other bike lanes in Washington see minimal commuter traffic.

With regard to parking spaces, the motto among U.S. transportation planners seems to be “if you don’t build them, they won’t come.” A planned reconfiguration of Union Station in Washington, D.C., will result in the loss of hundreds of parking spaces. Restaurants are taking over valuable curbside spaces for dining.

She goes on to decry city centers filled with pedestrians and thriving merchants, as well as areas where driving is actively discouraged in favor of more beneficial forms of transportation.

Which is a good thing, actually.

And which makes it kind of frightening that someone like her was helping to form transportation policy in the Trump administration.

Then again, that explains a lot.

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No, it’s not just your imagination.

There really is more anger out there on the streets. And more people willing to act on it.

Too often, with guns.

Crosstown LA reports Los Angeles set a record in June with 90 reported incidents of road rage, topping the previous record set just one month earlier.

From Jan. 1–June 30 there were 459 reports of road rage in the city, according to publicly available Los Angeles Police Department data. That is a 32.7% increase over the same period last year, and almost 140 more incidents than were tallied in the first half of 2019.

Never mind that most road rage incidents never get reported to the police, making those record figures just the tip of the iceberg.

So be careful out there. Drivers don’t need a weapon when they’re already in one.

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In a surprise announcement, Seattle’s Department of Transportation reveled LA Street Services head Greg Spotts is taking over their new leader.

Damien gets it right.

Spotts is, or was, one of the few Los Angeles department heads who really seemed to get it, and will be sorely missed.

Besides, he’s one of us. And it made sense to have a bike rider in charge of LA streets for a change.

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The LAPD’s official Twitter account shares a great story, as their officers pitched in with other organizations for LA’s first Bike Safety Camp Day, including a new bike for 30 lucky kids.

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The popular Eastside Mural Ride returns a week from Saturday.

I’m told from people who’ve done it in previous years that this is one ride you don’t want to miss.

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The California Office of Traffic Safety presents the winner in the completion for a DIY traffic safety ad.

Maybe you’ll like it more than I do.

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

No bias here, either. After a Jersey City city councilwoman flees the scene after crashing her car into someone on a bicycle, a writer for a New Jersey website insists the real problem is irresponsible bike riders who blow through stop signs and red lights.

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

Police in Cleveland are looking for a bike-riding man who got into an argument a street vendor, then pulled out a gun and shot the victim several times when the argument got physical.

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Local

Road closures keep coming on the new 6th Street Viaduct as police struggle to halt bad driver behavior, with speed bumps likely coming to the new bridge. Which couldn’t be better proof of a bad road design.

The LA Times says just forget the whole thing, and close the 6th Street Bridge to cars and let the people on foot and two wheels take it over.

An artist in South LA was struck by a hit-and-run driver while he was riding his ebike to finish a mural; the woman got out of her car to help him, but took off without identifying herself. A crowdfunding account to help pay his medical bills and replace the ebike he relied on for transportation has raised over $6,000 of the modest $10,000 goal.

This is who we share the road with. A woman driving with a bunny crashed into a Lyft driver, a utility box and a fire hydrant, knocking out power in DTLA.

This is who we share the road with, part two. A pickup driver injured 11 people in Pacoima when he struck three vehicles in a gas station, and knocked over one of the pumps. Oops.

 

State 

Police arrested a 39-year old suspect in the stabbing death of 26-year old Marcos Guzman Reyes, who was killed as he stood next to his bike on a Ventura bike path.

The director of Strategic Initiatives for COAST+SBBIKE writes to clear up misconceptions about a planned Santa Barbara bike path that’s been under attack, over fears it would lead to the removal of trees in a protected sanctuary.

 

National

CNN recommends accessories for your next bike trip.

Streetsblog examines why US cities are so bad at counting bike riders, and why it matters.

Great piece from The Radavist, about the bicycle nomad who rode 1,900 miles to retrace the route of the famed Buffalo Soldiers on the 125th anniversary of their bike ride from Missoula, Montana to St. Louis.

Sadly, it’s not even surprising anymore when the NYPD blames the bike-riding victim, insisting a woman was riding salmon when video of the fatal crash shows just the opposite.

New York bizarrely turns its speed cams off at night and on weekends when speeding is the worst, even though speeding is a leading cause of fatal crashes.

DC advocates rallied to protest the city’s 22 traffic deaths this year, including three cyclists and a pedestrian killed just this month.

 

International

After a London thief stole a kid’s dirt bike-style bicycle, he returned it the next day with a note of apology, explaining he was drunk and stupid.

British bicyclists can be fined the equivalent of up to $3,000 for riding dangerously, as well as other infractions.

 

Competitive Cycling

European time trial champ Marlen Reuser soloed to victory in Wednesday’s stage four of the Tour de France Femmes, winning by nearly a minute and a half.

Dutch great Marianne Vos held on to the yellow jersey after stage four, leading Silvia Persico  and Kasia Niewiadoma by 16 seconds.

SBS Sport captures five moments of chaos on the gravel of Wednesday’s stage, questioning whether including gravel sections in the race was a good idea.

Spanish champ Mavi García was taken out by her own team car as she tried to catch up to the peloton after a pair of flats.

F1 star Valtteri Bottas is taking some time off from the car racing circuit to assist his girlfriend, Australian cyclist Tiffany Cromwell, as she competes in the TdFF.

Paracyclist and Air Force vet Dustin Baker’s hopes of competing in next month’s Para-cycling Road World Championships were dashed when a driver read-ended his bike on a North Carolina training ride, leaving him with broken ribs, a damaged rotator cuff, a concussion and road rash. Not to mention a shattered bike.

Danish fans seemed kind of happy to see Tour de France champ Jonas Vingegaard in his first post-race appearance back home.

 

Finally…

That feeling when a visibly drunk hit-and-run driver is captured by a chef — and an emu. Your next ebike could look like a 1920s motorcycle, and do up to 40 mph, which is kind of illegal in most states.

And we’ll leave you with this today, marking the intersection of bicycling, feminism and motherhood a hundred years ago.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

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