Healthy Streets LA ballot measure qualifies for ballot, moves to city council; and Paris moves to be 100% bikeable

Correction: I got a couple things wrong in the following piece.

First off, the Healthy Streets LA initiative has qualified for the 2024 ballot, not this fall as I originally wrote.

Second, my sloppy wording implied that the city council had the option of changing the wording on the initiative, but they don’t. They have the option of adopting the initiative as written, or adopting their own ordinance based on the initiative. 

I’ve made both corrections below. 

It’s on.

The Healthy Streets LA ballot measure has been approved for the 2024 election.

According to Streetsblog, the LA City Clerk’s office ruled that the coalition behind the proposal, headed by transportation PAC Streets For All, has collected enough qualified signatures to go to a vote of the people.

Or as an alternative, the city council could skip the whole hassle of campaigning for the next two years, and adopt the measure outright, which is what Streets For All is pushing for.

The measure would simply require that the city implement the already approved mobility plan whenever streets in the plan get resurfaced, whether repaved or coated with a slurry seal.

The council can adopt the plan outright, adopt their own alternative version based on the plan, or vote to place it on the ballot.

Some people, including longtime leading pedestrian advocate Jessica Meaney, have called for the city to adopt the alternative version including a plan for implementation with a focus on equity.

The problem with that is that it could be amended or revoked by a simple vote of the city council at any time, for any reason. So if the next Gil Cedillo or Paul Koretz decided they didn’t want bike lanes in their district, they could easily have them removed.

Adopting the proposal outright would give it the force of law, and would require a vote of the people in order to modify it. And nothing prevents the city council from approving both the Healthy Streets LA proposal, as well as the council’s version, with a focus on equity in the resurfacing schedule, to govern how it will be rolled out.

Which would be the best of all possible worlds, and what Streets For All is recommending.

Meanwhile, the LA Times looked at the ballot measure, and the willingness of city officials and the public to make real changes to the streets to increase safety and livability.

In the city where the car is king, activists are pushing to claim strips of the biggest boulevards for bicyclists and walkers.

Their fight has played out at Griffith Park, where streets were recently closed after a cyclist was killed. It spilled out along the steps of City Hall where advocates staged a die-in. And now, it could make its way to the ballot box in a vote that will test traffic-weary Angelenos’ willingness to put themselves on a so-called road diet to make streets safer and the air cleaner.

But what jumps out from the story is a comment from a board member from NIMBY advocacy group Fix The City.

“If you take away vehicle lanes, you are creating congestion,” said Mike Eveloff, a board member of the nonprofit Fix The City. The group successfully sued Los Angeles over its mobility plan, mandating that an extensive outreach plan accompany new projects for 10 years. “This will result in even more lawsuits against the city. There are no costs disclosed. This represents a ‘hidden’ tax.”

Eveloff said he once loved to cycle but not anymore. “The infrastructure is incompatible with cars, bikes and pedestrians sharing the same space.”

He clearly doesn’t recognize the irony of that statement.

Because that same lack of safe infrastructure keeps many people from riding their bikes or walking to the market. And the fixes the Fix The City group opposes are exactly what would allow him to ride a bike once again.

Who knows, he might even like it.

………

This is what Los Angeles could be doing.

Paris has invested the equivalent of 154 million dollars to transform itself from a typically auto-centric, car-choked city to one where both residents and visitors can choose to get anywhere in the city on two wheels.

Now Paris is planning to drill down to the neighborhood level over the next five years, to make 100 percent of city safe and convenient to travel by bicycle.

The city is increasing its investment to $258 million to build 621 miles of bike lanes and 186 miles of cycle tracks, along with 30,000 bike racks, with 1,000 spaces reserved for cargo bikes, and 40,000 new secure bicycle parking spaces.

They’re also planning for 8,400 ebike charging stations.

This is the sort of wholesale transportation changes we were promised with the adoption of LA’s mobility plan, before we were all told it was merely “aspirational.”

And forgettable, evidently.

………

Robert Downey Jr. is one of us, as he makes a sepia toned call for more bike lanes.

………

A Vancouver visual effects artist created short videos placing local bicyclists in the Upside Down and the middle of a Star Wars battle.

………

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

The widow of a man murdered by a bike-riding man while their family was on vacation in Myrtle Beach SC is demanding the death penalty or life in prison for his killer; the victim was shot eight times after agreeing to give the down-and-out stranger a ride

………

Local

AAA calls on people to drive safely and avoid distraction as kids return to school. Never mind that they should drive that way all the time, whether or not school is in session.

The LAPD reports things are finally quieting down on LA’s new $577 million 6th Street Viaduct, while the city public works committee considers a proposal to periodically close the bridge to cars to allow greater bike and pedestrian access.

Santa Clarita residents are invited to a public meeting on Wednesday, August 24th to learn more about the Bouquet Canyon Bike Trail project.

 

State 

Streetsblog calls on California to ban parking minimums, noting that AB 2097 would prohibit parking mandates in areas near public transit.

Assembly Bill 371 could threaten bikeshare systems throughout the state by requiring providers to obtain insurance to cover the cost of injuries or deaths caused by negligent users.

Steve Martin is one of us, riding his ebike into town when he spends summers in Santa Barbara with his wife.

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a bike-riding man was killed in a collision just after midnight Wednesday.

Gizmodo calls Silicon Valley’s push into transportation a miserable failure, marked by a lot of disruption but not much innovation, while a Canadian technology writer accuses tech firms of planning for transportation that benefits the few, not the many.

San Francisco has received a $23 million federal grant to improve the plastic-protected bike lanes on a seven-block section of Howard Street, including concrete buffers, curb-protected intersections and new bike traffic signals.

No surprise here, as the parents of a 19-year old UC Davis student killed by a university garbage truck driver as she rode her bike to class have filed a wrongful death suit against the university.

A New Jersey website offers tips on how to keep your bike from getting stolen.

A new study suggests the Richmond-San Rafael bridge is dramatically underused, with an average of just 136 weekday crossings.

Call it a different kind of tall bike, as Road Bike Action examines 6’7″ former NBA great Reggie Miller’s new Moots gravel bike.

People For Bikes examines plans for the Lost Sierra Route, a new 600-mile bike trail connecting 15 mountain towns in Northern California.

 

National

Treehugger asks if we’re seeing the beginning of an e-bikelash.

Speaking of Silicon Valley tech firms, Ralph Nader urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aka NHTSA, to recall Tesla’s full self-driving technology, calling it “one of the most dangerous and irresponsible actions by a car company in decades.”

CityLab calls for installing speed governors on all cars to keep drivers from dangerously exceeding the speed limit; modern versions use geolocation to match the posted speed limit on a given roadway.

A Seattle website suggests riding your bike around the scenic islands of Puget Sound.

Utah has seen a spike in fatal bike crashes, already topping any other year for the past decade.

A Durango, Colorado letter writer reminds readers that without an ebike, he wouldn’t be able to ride at all.

A Massachusetts city councilor is calling for the removal of a bike lane, even though it has reduced crashes a whopping 77%.

 

International

Toronto’s mayor met with the city’s largest bike advocacy group protesting a crackdown on bike riders in the city’s High Park; an Ontario website calls the crackdown a colossal waste of time and money, since only 15 pedestrians were hit by bike riders over an eight-year period, with no fatalities, while drivers killed 212 pedestrians over the same time.

A London bike company is offering commuters free bikes to use when tube workers are on strike.

Five British bicyclists completed a 1,100-mile trip across the country, raising the equivalent of nearly $100,000 to install “life-changing” gardens at every spinal injury center in the UK.

Horrible story from India’s Uttar Pradesh state, where a woman and her son beat a young man on a bicycle to death, using a bat to knock him and his bike into an open sewer.

A New Zealand website recommends the world’s best and most beautiful bike routes.

 

Competitive Cycling

Veteran World Cup mountain biker Lea Davison has walked away from the Life Time Grand Prix gravel racing series, concluding she loves mountain biking, gravel not so much; she also cited a lack of safety and fairness.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can sculpt a giant pink cow for a Florida bike path. Or hold your own in a drag race pitting a DIY ebike against a Ford Mustang.

And if you’re going to get drunk and fall off your bike, try not to do it in front of someone’s doorbell cam.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

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