LA Council rejects adopting Healthy Streets, protest street racing in Angelino Heights, and Santa Ana gets it all wrong

Why do I get the feeling the city council is Lucy.

And we’re Charlie Brown.

And they really think we’re going to fall for that damn football trick one more time.

Yesterday, the city council had the chance to adopt the Healthy Streets LA ballot proposal.

Instead, they pulled the football away one more time, voting to develop their own plan, which will be based on the Healthy Streets LA plan, but with a greater focus on equity.

And voted to place Healthy Streets LA on the 2024 ballot.

In other words, they’re kicking the can down the road once again. Which seems to be the city’s favorite sport.

It really was typical Los Angeles.

A number of council members spoke, seemingly with their hair on fire, about how dangerous LA streets are, how little the city has done, and how they need to be forced to keep their commitments.

Then they voted unanimously not to.

Shamefully, they also chose to ignore the large turnout in support of the measure, with Council President Nury Martinez cutting off comments while over 30 supporters were still waiting to speak.

Although they somehow had time to listen to those opposed to the measure, for some reason.

If you’re wondering why I sound angry, it’s because we’ve been here before.

In 2010, then-Councilmember Bill Rosendahl famously declared “Car culture ends today!” 

In a powerful statement before the full council, Rosendahl said “The culture of the car is going to end now!” He reminded his fellow council members about the harassment cyclists face on the road, as well as the lack of support riders have received from the LAPD in the past. “We’re going to give cyclists the support they should have been getting.”

“This is my pledge to the cycling community.”

That pledge lasted until Rosendahl left the council to battle a recurrence of the cancer that took his life.

Under Rosendahl’s guidance, the city preliminarily adopted the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights, written a group of bike bloggers known as the Bike Writer’s Collective, sending it to the City Council for review and inclusion in the 2010 bike plan.

Except it never made it into the plan. In fact, it was never heard from again.

Rosendahl also shepherded approval of the innovative 2010 bike plan, with its three levels of bikeways forming a unified network designed to channel bike riders through their neighborhood, and throughout the city.

That was subsumed into 2015’s Mobility Plan 2035. And once again, never heard from again.

In fact, we were soon told the plan was merely “aspirational,” which probably explains why only 3% of the plan has been built out in the seven years since.

Charlie Brown, meet football.

Then there’s the city’s Vision Zero plan, also adopted in 2015, which pledged to eliminate traffic deaths in the City of Angels by 2025.

Hint: we ain’t gonna make it.

In fact, traffic deaths have continued to climb virtually every year since, jumping 19% in 2019, and 21% in 2020.

There goes that football again.

That was followed by the mayor’s Green New Deal, which promised to phase out gas-driven cars while providing safe and efficient alternatives to driving.

You can probably guess what comes next.

Now the city council expects us to trust them while they tee-up the ball yet again, pledging that the new ordinance they’re going to write will be even bigger and better than Healthy Streets LA.

Except (soto voce, crossed fingers hidden behind their backs) any ordinance they write they can also change at any time, for any reason. Unlike the Healthy Streets LA proposal, which could only be changed by a vote of the people had they adopted it yesterday.

So if a councilmember doesn’t want a particular project in his or her district, or LA’s notorious NIMBYs rise up in opposition, they can reject it in part, or in toto.

Or when a new council comes in, they can overturn it, again in whole or in part.

So much for forcing them to keep their commitments.

I’ve worked hard for 14 years now to kick over SoCal rocks, and shine a light on all the ugliness underneath, at serious harm to my own mental, physical, emotional and financial health.

But days like this, combined with the ongoing carnage on our streets, make me wonder if it’s all worthwhile.

And I know I’m not alone in feeling that way. Especially now.

But let’s give credit to Michael Schneider and Streets For All for all their hard work in getting us this far. And to everyone who turned out yesterday to speak to the council, whether or not they bothered to listen, and everyone who emailed and called their councilmembers fighting for a better result than the one we got.

You deserve better. We all do.

Instead we have to wait another two years for an expensive, uncertain electoral battle against the full force of LA’s NIMBYs.

Meanwhile, we need to hold the council’s feet to the fire to ensure they keep their promises, and come up with a workable alternative.

And stick to the damn thing this time.

Because I can’t speak for you. But I’m done falling for the same damn trick again.

Peanuts drawing from ClipArtMax

………

It looks like Hollywood has worn out its welcome in LA’s Victorian Angelino Heights neighborhood — especially the seemingly endless series of Fast & Furious sequels.

A protest is planned for tomorrow to halt filming, in an effort to reduce the number of boneheaded copycats attempting to duplicate the stunts there.

Thanks to Dr. Michael Cahn for the heads-up.

………

Santa Ana cops are on the lookout for a bike rider who kicked a motorist after crashing into his car, then possibly threatened the driver with a knife.

Although there’s so much wrong here, I don’t even know where to start.

Reading between the lines, the driver apparently right hooked the bike rider, while illegally turning across the bike lane instead of safely merging in to make his turn, as required by California law.

And while the bike rider was clearly in the wrong to kick and threaten the driver, LAPD officers have made it clear to me in the past that a driver commits assault simply by getting out of his vehicle.

In other words, the bike rider was the victim of the crash, and could have been acting in self-defense when he threatened the driver, since leaving the car could have been seen as a threatening act.

A good lawyer could have a field day with this one if they find the guy.

………

The LAPD is looking for a hit-and-run driver who left a Vespa-style moped rider with severe injuries at 3rd and Flower in DTLA earlier this month.

Los Angeles has a standing reward of $25,000 for any hit-and-run resulting in serious injuries.

………

Yeah, I’d probably use it.

Although as someone noted, the weak spot is still the cable.

Thanks to Megan Lynch and Jon for forwarding the tweet.

………

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

There’s a special place in hell for the British man who appeared to come to the aid of an injured mountain biker who fell off his bike, only to steal his nearly $2,800 bicycle while he was laid out on the ground.

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

A Connecticut man faces charges for groping two women while riding his BMX bike.

………

Local

LA Progressive endorses a slate of candidates throughout the LA area, including Alex Fisch and Freddy Puza in Culver City, who it says face a well-funded NIMBY backlash from “homeowners who want to keep apartments, bike lanes and non-rich people out of their neighborhoods.”

The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council is pushing for safety improvements at the extremely complicated disjunction junction of Glendale Blvd, Fletcher Drive and Silver Ridge Ave, citing a lack of bike lanes and sidewalks, as well as potholes and frequent gridlock.

Tony Palos Verdes Estates is pulling the plug on plans for a roundabout at Palos Verdes Drive West and Via Corta in Malaga Cove, after local residents got out the torches and pitchforks because they fear what they don’t understand.

 

State 

California is banning the sale of gas-powered vehicles starting in 2035.

Newport Beach considers what to do about speeding ebike riders, from restricting ebikes from certain trails to a blatantly illegal scheme to license ebikes, while limiting the licenses to local residents, the banning unlicensed bikes from the streets.

A 68-year old San Diego man was lucky to escape serious injury when he was right-hooked by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike near Sunset Cliffs in the Point Loma neighborhood.

Pismo Beach has received $14.7 million for new curb cuts, bike lanes and wider road shoulders to comply with Complete Streets requirements and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

National

Streetsblog considers three common bike laws that are overdue for a change, including requiring safety equipment instead of safe streets.

Good question. GearJunkie asks whether the great pandemic bicycle shortage is ending, or if it’s really just getting started.

Writing for Bicycling, a woman says she fell in love with bicycling — lower case — by delivering weed on two wheels. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

Bicycling also highlights the best early Labor Day sales on bike gear, in an article that doesn’t appear to be paywalled.

Autoevolution reviews Jeep’s new ped-assist ebike, calling it $7,600 of awesomeness. For that price, it damn well better be.

New nonprofit City Thread worked with five American cities — Austin, Denver, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Providence — to build out 335 miles of bike lanes in just two years, a full 25 years earlier than otherwise expected. Someone please give LADOT their phone number. Pretty please. 

A Eugene, Oregon paper says ebikes and high gas prices are making this bicycling’s golden hour in the city.

Tacoma, Washington takes advantage of an eroding bluff to ban cars from a 2.5-mile loop in the city’s Point Defiance Park, opening up the roadway to walkers, bike riders and skateboarders.

The Austin, Texas judge in the homicide case against Kaitlin Armstrong for the death of pro gravel cyclist Moriah “Mo” Wilson says the case will likely be delayed to give her time to consider motions.

Texas-based Volcon just quietly rolled out the company’s first moped-style, ped-assist ebike, which is designed to look like a motorcycle.

Tragic news from Indiana, where a 67-year old South Bend parish priest was killed by a hit-and-run driver as he was riding his bike.

The Bike League’s policy director helps the New York Post pick the best bike helmets for different types of riders.

A New York bike rider was the victim of a hit-and-run salmon bicyclist who plowed into him head-on while riding in a bike lane; a photographer just happened to be there to immortalize the aftermath.

 

International

Bicycling Retailer says the late Lotus Bike designer Mike Burrows was much more than just a legendary bike designer; Burrows succumbed to lung cancer last week at 79.

Canadian Cycling Magazine calls a Toronto parking cop the greatest of all time for ticketing drivers parked in bike lanes.

Scottish mountain bike champ Rab Wardell apparently died of a heart attack in his sleep, as his girlfriend, Olympic track cyclist Katie Archibald, fought to save his life.

A British writer says the proposal to require numbered license plates on bicycles is so bad it could result in the dissolution of the United Kingdom.

More proof that drivers aren’t the only threat we face. A pair of French bicyclists are in critical condition after they were each stung nearly 50 times by European hornets, while a third rider was stung 15 times.

F1 star Valtteri Bottas is one of us, as Cycling Weekly goes gravel biking with the Finnish race car driver, while falling in love with the country’s trails. Thanks to Pops for the link.

Add this one to your bike bucket list, as The Guardian takes a bike ride through the “vast panoramas and the gleaming Adriatic” of west Slovenia.

A 23-year-old New Zealand woman pled guilty to careless driving for dooring a 19-year old bike rider, who was killed when he was knocked into the path of another car; she’ll be sentenced in November.

 

Competitive Cycling

Talk about a good problem to have. Danish cyclist Jonas Vingegaard is reportedly having a very hard time adjusting to life after winning the Tour de France.

American Lawson Craddock gambled on a breakaway on the next-to-last climb during Wednesday’s fifth stage of the Vuelta, but had to settle for fifth when he was reeled in by stage winner Marc Soler.

Slovenia’s Primož Roglič had to peel off his newly won red leader’s jersey, giving it up to Frenchman Rudy Molard after stage five.

Britain’s Fred Wright stands 2nd in the Vuelta GC, while Craddock moved up to 4th; previous leaders Roglič and American Sepp Kuss slipped to 5th and 6th, respectively.

 

Finally…

If you’re carrying crystal meth on your bike and riding erratically, put a damn light on it, already. That feeling when your new bike lanes look like they were striped by a drunk.

And this is one of the best bike ads I’ve seen recently. Maybe we can get them to do an American version.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

3 comments

  1. James says:

    In Orange County right hooks are always framed as a bicycle rider hitting a car.

  2. Lionel mares says:

    I am disappointed that the Los Angeles City Council voted not to adopt the Healthy Streets LA ordinance outright. It is a shame that the City Council continues to ignore our concerns and safety. They are worthless!

  3. Mitchell Guzik says:

    The city council only cares about getting reelected and won’t do the tough things that will bring about necessary change. Nithya Raman is my council person and I did not vote for her. However, I find her approachable and she certainly does what she says she will do. She has attended our neighborhood council meetings and often will consider what she doesnt agree with. Her staff is also responsive. Elections have consequences. It’s time to vote for those who perform and reject sticking with party lines.

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