Bass elected LA mayor, catch and release in sheriff’s cadet crash, and WeHo considers Fountain bike lanes Monday

Congratulations to Congresswoman Karen Bass on being elected as LA’s new mayor.

The first woman to hold the post, and only the second Black Angeleno, Bass defeated billionaire mall developer Rick Caruso, despite being outspent 11 to 1 as he dropped well over $100 million on his own campaign.

The question for us is whether the new mayor’s professed focus on homelessness, crime and housing authority will preclude desperately needed efforts to transform our streets to improve safety and get Angelenos out of their cars.

Let’s hope Streets For All and BikeLA, formerly the LACBC, are already in contact with her office to set up a meeting.

Because after years of neglect under outgoing Mayor Eric Garcetti, and successful efforts by various councilmembers to block progress in their districts, we don’t have any time to waste.

Meanwhile, Streetblog’s Joe Linton calls the recent election good news for livability and transportation, with the possible exception of CD11’s Tracy Park, who instantly becomes the most conservative member of the city council.

Park has professed support for multimodal transportation, yet drew much of her supporters from Westside NIMBYs who’ve fought bus and bike improvements.

………

He was arrested for attempted murder.

Until he wasn’t.

Just one day after a wrong-way driver slammed into a phalanx of sheriff’s cadets, injuring 25 people, including five critically — and after reportedly turning the investigation over the the CHP — the LA Country Sheriff’s Department announced that Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez had been arrested on a charge of attempted murder on a peace officer.

Then turned around and announced he had been released without charges due to a lack of evidence.

No, really.

The premature arrest indicated the belief of investigators that Gutierrez had intentionally steered into the recruits, accelerating at he plowed through them, as we had surmised yesterday.

The only problem is a lack of evidence confirming intent. Outgoing Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva stressed that the release is provisional, pending collection of more evidence confirming his actions were intentional.

Why they jumped the gun and arrested Gutierrez on a presumption of guilt, rather than basing the arrest on actual evidence, is an open question at this time.

As is why they have apparently reclaimed the investigation from the CHP, after relinquishing it just one day earlier.

But with Villanueva leaving in a couple of weeks, its likely to become incoming sheriff-elect Robert Luna’s problem.

………

West Hollywood is scheduled to consider whether to add protected bike lanes on deadk=ly Fountain Ave at Monday’s council meeting, which would require a reduction to one lane in each direction as well as removing parking spaces; refer to agenda item 4.B.

The lanes would provide a safer east-west alternative to dangerous Santa Monica Blvd, after the existing painted bike lanes on Santa Monica end east of La Cienega.

However, it would also require the removal of at least 150 parking spaces; an alternative plan for painted bike lanes would require removing up to 40 spaces.

Which means opponents are likely to come out in force in an effort to block it.

Meanwhile, WeHo Mayor Lauren Meister is on track for re-election, while former Councilmember John Heilman enjoys a 246 vote lead over Chelsea Wright for the second and third spots; the top three finishers will be seated on the city council.

Former Councilmember John Duran, who made cancelling the bike lanes the centerpiece of his campaign, is currently languishing out of the running in fifth place.

However, with the exception of Meister, who is already on the council, they won’t be seated in time to effect Monday’s decision on Fountain.

………

This puts the problem of LA drivers in perspective.

………

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

Police in Youngstown, Ohio are looking for a bike rider seen on video near the site of three stolen catalytic converters.

Police now believe the fatal shooting of a 21-year old Bronx basketball player by a man riding an ebike was a case of mistaken identity. Which somehow doesn’t seem to make it any better.

………

Local

The newly rebranded BikeLA is hosting a class on the Essentials of Group Riding this evening, and a South LA Pan Dulce Ride on Sunday.

 

State 

A San Diego woman whose husband was killed by a wrong-way driver while riding his bike to the movies calls on the city’s mayor to mark Sunday’s World Day of Remembrance for victims of traffic violence by doubling the budget for the city’s quick-build protected bike lane program, and lowering speed limits on the most dangerous Vision Zero corridors. Sounds reasonable to me.

Oxnard approved a $3 million plan for sidewalks and bike lanes in the city’s El Rio neighborhood.

Berkeley considers a proposal to offer its own instant ebike rebate program, which could be paired with the state’s ebike rebates, if they ever happen.

Bike co-op Rich City Rides is hosting a bike party and ride to celebrate the third anniversary of the protected bike lane on the Richmond San Rafael Bridge.

 

National

Damn good question. An updated edition of Jeff Speck’s book Walkable City asks why we don’t take traffic violence as seriously as terrorism, when you’re 568 times more likely to die in crash than at the hands of a terrorist.

The 22nd annual Cranksgiving bicycle food drive rolls in cities across the US tomorrow, including a return to downtown Los Angeles after a pandemic pause.

Portland bike advocates are suing the city under a 1971 state law that requires improving infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians any time a street is constructed, reconstructed or relocated. Unfortunately, California doesn’t have a similar law, although Los Angeles could if the Healthy Streets LA ballot proposition passes in 2024. 

An abandoned railroad trestle across a Corpus Christy, Texas bay could become a unique rail-to-trail conversion.

Remember this the next time someone tells you handicapped people can’t ride bikes, as a 70-year old Iowa man is using a recumbent bike to continue riding as he recovers from a debilitating stroke.

Jake and Elwood Blues would be thrilled to know Joliet, Illinois could soon be expanding on the city’s two — yes, 2 — existing bike lanes.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tosses her security detail under the bus, blaming them for double-parking in a bike lane to get some donuts.

Curbed says don’t blame ebikes for the recent rash of New York battery fires; blame refurbished batteries and mismatched chargers.

Pennsylvania’s governor vetoed a bill that would have allowed curb and parking protected bike lanes in the state, after the legislature tacked on an unrelated provision to strip power from Philadelphia’s district attorney.

More than 1,300 people will ride to Congress tomorrow to demand safer streets, following the route a US diplomat was taking when she was killed by a truck driver while riding in a Bethesda, Maryland bike lane in August.

Seventy-one year old former astronaut Bill McArthur is one of us, one of 700 riders who recently completed a multi-day bike tour across South Carolina.

 

International

Bike Rumor recommends the best gifts for the wrench in your life.

Speaking of handicapped bike riders, a British Paralympian paralyzed from the waist down will attempt to become the first person to ride an adaptive bike across the Antarctic Plateau.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a 13-year old British boy’s bike from his mother’s car after she rushed with him to the hospital when he fell off and broke his collarbone.

A bike advocacy group is urging Amsterdam officials to set a 12 mph speed limit for ebikes on the city’s bike paths, as faster ebikes continue to gain in popularity.

 

Competitive Cycling

A 25-year old Anchorage woman has parlayed her love of bikepacking into a new role as a champion bikepacking endurance cyclist.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be a modern take on the classic Schwinn Stingray. Or maybe made from sustainable plywood. Everyone looks better on a lowrider bike.

And who needs a cargo bike when you can ride your bike with nine kids hanging on?

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

3 comments

  1. David Erickson says:

    Perhaps some good will come out of the tragedy of the Sheriff’s cadets being hit by a driver. It is possible that governments will start getting serious about protecting vulnerable road users from traffic violence now that so many of their own have become victims of that violence, but I am not going to hold my breath.

    • Arthur William Bauer says:

      I wonder if the fact that we have had one cloudless day after another for about a month, did this have anything to do with the incident? It happened at sun rise didn’t it also, when the sun is low in the sky. It is almost impossible to see clearly on these days.

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