Archive for Advocacy & Politics

Another open letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council of Los Angeles #CrashCityHall

There wasn’t time to get all the #CrashCityHall letters online last week.

So we’re going to post the remaining letters over the next few days — starting with this powerful post from registered dietician and endurance cyclist Matt Ruscigno, founder of LA’s iconic Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hillclimb. 

………

Dear Mayor Garcetti and City Council of Los Angeles,

I’m writing to you today as a long-time resident of our wonderful city, a public health expert, and a recent victim of an inattentive automobile driver. That collision left me with 16 broken bones requiring 6 nights in the hospital, a chest tube, and a surgery to install metal plates in my shoulder and collarbone. If I weren’t a skilled cyclist, I would probably be dead.

It’s easy to dismiss this as an ‘accident,’ but the statistics on the number of people injured and killed by automobile drivers in Los Angeles paint a different picture. This is a public health crisis. Yet we know how to fix it:

  • Reduce automobile speed limits
  • Invest in infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians
  • Reimagine public space to focus on people, not automobiles

Los Angeles and California are leading the way in reducing automobile emissions but are falling behind (see London, Bogota, New York, Copenhagen for examples) when it comes to the public health issue of people dying in the streets because automobile speed and convenience is prioritized over human safety.

Los Angeles is a beautiful city with near perfect weather for cycling and walking year round. And we are simply running out of space to store and transport personal automobiles. The benefits of building infrastructure that makes human-powered transportation more accessible are well established:

  • Improved air quality and lower rates of asthma, especially among children
  • Increased physical activity that lowers risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other chronic diseases
  • Fewer automobile collisions that result in injury or death of our most vulnerable road users

The potential to transform our city is awesome, in the true sense of the word, but it won’t be easy. Copenhagen didn’t become a place where 24% of city trips are taken by bike overnight. It took strong leadership and knowledge to re-imagine how city space is used. This isn’t about cyclists versus drivers; it’s about making it easier for more people to walk and bike more often.

The statistics are there: something needs to be done, and soon. We can build on what other cities have done and apply it uniquely in our wonderful city. There are thousands of us here to help, but we need leadership from our elected leaders. There simply isn’t enough space in the city to keep prioritizing automobiles, so the question is, how many more people have to be injured or killed before we start taking concrete steps? I hope we can do this soon as I’d hate to see a single person go through the pain I’ve experienced over the last 5 weeks.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Matt Ruscigno, MPH, RD

 

An open letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council of Los Angeles #CrashCityHall

No Morning Links today, as we get ready to #CrashCityHall Friday morning. Hopefully we’ll see you there; if not, I’ll see you back here on Monday.

What follows is my letter the mayor and city council. And we’ll feature some of the late arriving letters next week.

………

May 18, 2018

Dear Mayor Garcetti and the City Councilmembers of the City of Los Angeles,

Howard Beale may have been a fictional character, but he might as well be a citizen of Los Angeles trying to survive on our deadly streets.

Because like many other residents of this great city, I’m tired of living in fear for my own life and the safety of others on the streets and sidewalks of L.A.

And like Beale, we’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore.

We live in a city where for too long, the movement of motor vehicles has been prioritized over the safety and movement of human beings. To the point that too many people who drive feel they own the streets, and everyone else has an obligation to get out of their way.

Unfortunately, too many members of our city council seem to agree. If not in their words, then by their actions.

The elected leaders of this city have voted to adopt Vision Zero, but failed to adequately fund it. You’ve adopted the 2010 Bike Plan and Mobility Plan 2035, but failed to build it. You’ve adopted Complete Streets policies, but failed to support them when it came time to put paint on the street.

And you hired one of the leading traffic planners in the United States, but you listen instead to the complaining voices of untrained motorists who don’t want to be delayed for a few moments on their commute. Even if it means saving the life of another human being. Or their own, for that matter.

As Stevie Wonder put it, “If you really want to hear our views, you haven’t done nothing.”

So let’s be perfectly clear.

Many, if not most, of the people you were elected to represent may drive cars. But we are all human beings, some of whom bike, some of whom take transit, and all of whom walk.

And none of whom want to bury a loved one or feel threatened on the streets. Yet too many of us do, every day.

As a human being, I don’t want to see one more needless death or injury on the streets of Los Angeles. As a taxpayer, I don’t want my city to waste one more penny on the needless lawsuits that result.

And as an Angeleno, I want safer and more livable streets for all of us.

When you side with the traffic safety deniers, who like climate change deniers, reject the proven science of traffic safety and urban planning, and insist on their right to drive with the pedal to the metal, you are choosing their convenience over the safety of literally everyone else.

And failing the people who voted you into office, and who you were elected to serve.

The people who have written the letters in this packet, and those who will speak before the council today, are not activists. We are the citizens of Los Angeles, who are sick to death of being treated like second class ones at the expense of motor vehicles.

We know that failure to take action now to build Complete Streets and provide safe, viable alternatives to driving that allow Angelenos to choose to leave their cars at home will inevitably lead to a dystopian, smog-choked and gridlocked future.

Because right now, traffic in Los Angeles is as good as it will ever be, as more and more cars are added to an already built-out traffic grid.

Only you can prevent the inevitable failure of a once-great city by taking action right now to ensure the safe, livable and prosperous Los Angeles we all want.

We understand that takes courage to do the right thing in the face of public opposition. But you weren’t elected to blindly follow the voices of those who scream loudest.

Anyone could do that.

You were elected to lead this city. To carefully examine the issues and make the tough decisions that will benefit your district, and all of L.A.. And make this the city that it can and should be, for all of us.

We are your constituents. We don’t want to be the victims of your inaction.

And we’re not willing to wait one more day for safer streets for our children, parents, families and friends.

So we ask you, today and every day, to have the courage to do the right thing.

We’ll have your back when you do.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers

BikinginLA.com

Council District 4

………

One more brief note.

This may be the best letter we received for #CrashCityHall, even if it is the shortest.

Dear Los Angeles,

Please be so kind as to stop killing cyclists and pedestrians.

NOW.

Sincerely,
Marvin D
San Diego, CA

Guest Post: The fourth open letter to the Los Angeles City Council #CrashCityHall

Dear Mayor Garcetti and City Council of LA,

In an effort to “be the change you want to see in the world,” I sold my car ten years ago and have since used my own feet, a bicycle, or the transit system to get around.  While the results of this have brought the most rewarding experiences of my life, it has also been a struggle to live without a car in a car’s world.

Drivers are becoming increasingly more distracted, careless, unsympathetic and enraged.  These behaviors cause not only car accidents but the deaths of cyclists and pedestrians, who travel without the protection of metal armor.  Why do drivers feel so entitled to the roads?  Why is this set of traits common in the majority of car owners?  It’s easy to see the answer on the streets – they’re designed specifically for cars.  With lanes designated for driving, turning and parking, there’s often no space left for a bicycle to squeeze through.  And pedestrians must be defensive even when walking through a crosswalk with a walk signal.  Drivers are impatient to share the road when they believe it belongs to them.

Every time you see a cyclist in the streets of LA, please understand the fear we’ve overcome to be there.  Please know that we have been spit at, screamed at, sworn at, had objects thrown at us, been told to “get off the road,”  have had way too many “close calls,” or have lost a fellow cyclist to careless driving or road rage.  And yet we’re still out there.  As pedestrians and cyclists we’ll continue to defend our space on the streets, but we would truly appreciate some help from our representatives.  Please take some steps to create streets that belong to everyone.   A city’s priorities are evident in it’s infrastructure and use of public space.  If you, dear City Council Members, were to add more bike lanes, create some road diets, invest in green spaces instead of parking lots – think of the message you’d send.

Sincerely,

Amanda Gohl

Pico-Union, Los Angeles, CA 90015

………

Join us tomorrow as we #CrashCityHall to demand safer streets, and urge city leaders to have the courage to do the right thing. 

  • Los Angeles City Council
  • Los Angeles City Hall
  • 200 N. Spring Street
  • 10 am

Guest Post: The third open letter to the Los Angeles City Council #CrashCityHall

We’re less than two days away from CrashCityHall on Friday to demand safer streets for people on bikes, on foot, and everyone else.

If you’re as mad as I am about the needless risks bike riders and pedestrians face on our streets — and the lack of action from city leaders — I hope you’ll join us as we crash the 10 am city council meeting. And urge the mayor and city council to have courage the courage to do the right thing. 

Since many people can’t be there in person, I’m accepting letters from people who want to have their opinions passed on to the council members at the meeting. 

Here’s the third of those #CrashCityHall letters, from Sean Meredith.

……….

From: Sean Meredith
Los Angeles, CA 90027

To Mayor Garcetti and all Los Angeles City Council members:

Ten years ago, for a combination of reasons, I began commuting by bicycle. This harrowing and freeing experience changed me even more than fatherhood. I began to open up to the inequities in our transportation system. For myself, I was willing to risk my life riding and being a second class citizen. But when I imagined myself in the shoes of people who had no option to drive a car. I thought that these folk should be able to get to school, work, or wherever they’re going without dying or feeling constantly threatened. I have since dedicated most of my free time to making biking and walking safe for people of all abilities and ages.

Our car culture is dangerous. And the safety deniers who will trample over anyone’s life to keep the status quo of car dominance are a threat to the future of our city and our world.

Ensuring that public spaces truly serve the people is vital to our daily lives and the future of our planet. This requires our society to confront its expensive commitment to modes of transportation that strangle our communities and warm our climate: cars. Making our roads safe for all users immediately improves mental and physical health outcomes for people of all ages, lessens cancer causing pollutants, and reduces carbon emissions. A world class city where walking is pleasurable, biking is viable, and public transportation is reliable will lower automobile dependency and contribute in the Oight against climate change.

In Los Angeles, pedestrians and cyclists are involved in 14% of trafOic collisions but account for 51% of the fatalities. Hundreds of lives are lost every year and hundreds more families are shattered by these tragic outcomes. Livable streets create community, support local businesses, and are a welcoming environment for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities. As transit consultant Jarrett Walker describes it, a modern city does not have the “geometry” to solve car congestion. Our best option is to develop safe, environmentally friendly alternatives.

Families who want safe streets for all are demanding courage and leadership from our city. Now is always the time to act.

Kindly,
Sean Meredith

………

There’s still time to submit a letter demanding safer streets for bicyclists, pedestrians and everyone else if you can’t #CrashCityHall in person this Friday.

Just email it today to ted at bikinginla dot com.

I’ll print it out and include it with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips:

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all

And let me know if it’s okay to share your letter on here. I’ll be happy to put it online as a guest post leading up to Friday’s council meeting.

Guest Post: Another open letter to the Los Angeles City Council #CrashCityHall

Recently, I announced my intention to #CrashCityHall this Friday to demand safer streets.

And invited anyone who’s just as mad as I am about the needless risks bike riders and pedestrians face on our streets — and the lack of action from city leaders — to join me. And tell the mayor and city council to show have courage the courage to do the right thing. 

Since many people can’t attend a 10 am city council meeting, I’m accepting letters from people who can’t make it, but still want to have their opinions passed on to the council members at the meeting. 

Here’s the second of those #CrashCityHall letters, from Doug Moore.

………

May 18th, 2018

To Mayor Garcetti and all Los Angeles City Council members,

I write you today in an effort to get you to start thinking about how dangerous our car culture has become in Los Angeles. And to urge you, our city leaders, to implement ways to make our streets more safe for all that use them.

In so doing, these changes will bring other qualities such as reduced car noise, nicer public spaces, better air quality and stress free walking, cycling, jogging and dog walking –and yes, driving.

Being a cyclist, I am very aware of how badly our streets and boulevards have suffered because of the amount and speed of traffic.

I live in Tujunga, CD7, Council Member Monica Rodriquez district. Each morning, I bike a short way on Foothill Blvd to board LADOT Express Bus 409 to DTLA.

I de-bus at the Glendale Park & Ride, prep my bike then cycle 13 miles to my office at USC.

I travel through Glendale, to Eagle Rock Blvd/Cypress Ave (Council District 14, Jose Huizar) to the Broadway Bridge into Chinatown (Council district 1, Gil Cedillo) to Hill street, then to Olympic Blvd then Figueroa (Council District 9, Curren Price) and finally to campus. In the afternoon I reverse this trip – with a slightly different route. On Fridays I drive.

I would like to provide the following undisputable facts, that come from years of this type of cycling, this type of intimacy with traffic, this type of exposure to our roadways:

  • Our streets are more dangerous than they have ever been – mostly because of excess speed.
  • Drivers are more distracted than ever before in our city’s history.
  • Motorists are driving while smoking weed. Alot!
  • Many drivers are attentive and share the road. But there is a disturbing trendwhere higher numbers of drivers are doing just the opposite.
  • Painted cycling infrastructure such as “Sharrows”, striped lanes, colored lanes,pedestrian crosswalk demarcation & similar are often seen as ‘optional’ for motorists.We all know about the latest trend of motorist hit-and-run tragedies. These have left other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists severely injured or dead.Here in Tujunga, in April, a DOUBLE FATIL hit and run occurred on Foothill Blvd. The driver, as of this writing, has yet to be apprehended. An innocent couple, engage to be married have perished from our community.

Where has this selfish, narcissistic attitude from drivers come from?

We all know about the speed of traffic on major roads and boulevards is dangerous even at legal limits, but when most drivers are 10, 15, or even 20 mph above and beyond, the danger level is unacceptable.

Where does this need-to-speed attitude come from?

We all know about the horrible traffic congestion in our city and how it continually downgrades the quality of life here. We skip get-togethers. We forgo dinners and kids sports and other social engagements across town – because “the traffic getting to the Westside from Eagle Rock is a nightmare”.

It’s not funny anymore. It’s a serious soul-sucking way of life in our city. Why have we surrendered our social connections and quality of life?

The answer to all these is the same: Our run-away, out-of-control car culture. We’ve reached “peak-car” in our city.

I know that you, leaders of this city, who are smart and insightful and understanding, know this too. You can see it as we all do.

We must start to make changes. I don’t have all the answers, but there are ideas out there that organically reduce traffic speeds. That help separate cars from people walking. Jogging. Cycling. Walking the dog. That make our public roadways safer for everyone who uses them, including motorists.

Widen the sidewalks, not freeways. Add separated bike lanes, not car lanes. Make streets and boulevards pleasant. Green with more trees and shade. More quiet to provide a nice place to shop. To hang-out with neighbors. To read on a bench.

As far as safety, traffic cops at critical intersections help so much! Intersections are where many of the dangers lie for cars vs walkers and bikers. I love seeing these guys when approaching an intersection, whether by car or on bike. Everyone is instantly on best behavior and courteous.

Getting buy-in and approval on these changes is the hard part, of course. Motorists tend to seethe at reduced speeds and “perceived” increase in commute times. Reduced lanes. Less parking. But this is the right direction for Los Angles. The right thing to do in your district.

We’ve tried over and over to increase the car infrastructure thinking that these projects would help. Did widening the 405 Fwy really help? What a huge, expensive, time consuming project.

It’s time to swing the other way on transportation projects. Less “car-centric”, more “people-centric”. Motorists are people too, and they’ll appreciate these changes.

When faced with options in difficult circumstances such as this, an upside is this: it’s always easy to pick out the correct option. It’s the one that tends to be avoided. It’s the one we put at the bottom of the list. It’s the one that’s the hardest.

Why? Because the right thing to do is always the hardest thing to do. That’s a fact of human nature.

I know you are thinking: “Change the car-culture, yeah, right.” But it can be done. In bits and pieces. You will gain converts. It can build momentum and you must try, as lives of our residents are depending on safe passage to work, school and the market.

In the book “Profiles of Courage”, check out the examples of other great leaders, who have acted bravely. Acted with integrity. Gone against the opinions of their constituents to do the right thing.

As a cyclist (yes and a motorist too) I am growing weary of seeing yet more Ghost Bike installations that signify the death of a fellow rider.

As a motorist, I’m continually saddened and outraged to see yet another makeshift memorial of candles, Crosses and flowers where a Mom or Dad or son or daughter or young couple was killed in a crosswalk.

We can do better and am counting on you all to have the courage to do so.

Thank you for your time today. Be brave. Do the right thing. And finally, a reminder that it’s Bike Month. Get out and ride. You’ll be glad you did.

Sincerely,

Doug Moore, cyclist, motorist, pedestrian, resident

………

If you can’t #CrashCityHall on Friday, email a letter demanding safer streets for bicyclists, pedestrians and everyone else to ted at bikinginla dot com by this Wednesday.

I’ll print them out and include them with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips:

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all

And let me know if it’s okay to share your letter on here. I’ll be happy to put it online as a guest post leading up to Friday’s council meeting.

Guest Post: An open letter to the Los Angeles City Council #CrashCityHall

I’m fed up. And apparently, I’m not the only one. 

Recently, I announced that I intend to #CrashCityHall next Friday to demand safer streets.

And invited anyone who’s just as mad as I am about the needless risks bike riders and pedestrians face on our streets — and the lack of action from city leaders — to join me. And tell the mayor and city council to show have courage the courage to do the right thing. 

Since many people can’t attend a 10 am city council meeting, I’m accepting letters from people who can’t make it, but still want to have their opinions passed on to the council members at the meeting. 

Here’s the first of those #CrashCityHall letters, from Raquel Jorge. 

………

To the City Council of Los Angeles and To whom it may concern:

My name is Raquel, I’m 44 years old and have been using a bike as a mean of transportation for the past 30 years. I have cycled in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, and had the opportunity to learn about urban transportation from Mumbai to Copenhagen, from Hanoi to Marrakesh, from New York to Sao Paulo.

While on the road I have faced harassment, had 3 bikes stolen, saw my life flashing in front of me more times than I could count and lost a few friends to traffic animosity.

But I’m not writing to talk about me. We are at a point where we must understand the importance of empathy. We need to be able to look beyond our little own problems and needs and see the bigger picture. It is no longer a question of what I think or you think. It is a question of what we know, with plenty of data to corroborate this knowledge.

Gridlocks and excess of cars in urban areas aren’t a local issue, but one that every big city in the world is facing. The problem goes behyond safety; it encompasses environmental destruction, increased air pollution, the use of limited natural resources, and health damage to all.

I understand that being able to commute by bike is not everyone’s reality. There are many people who simply cannot do it due to health limitations, distances, nature of work and so on. The way you choose to commute is entirely up to you and it is your right to go wherever you want safely. But it is also mine and that of those who choose to walk, to skate, to rollerblade, to scooter. Understand that owning a car does not give one ownership of the streets. They are there for everyone.

I’m not asking anyone to leave their car at home and ride a bike to work. All I’m asking is to be able to bike without having my life in constant threat. Your right to drive your car on the street is the same as mine to ride my bike.

Changing paradigms is always a hard and long process. Cities like Amsterdam have suffered the same obstacles before it became an example. If we want a better future we need to get out of our comfort zone and start thinking that what benefits the collective will, eventually, benefit the individual.

I’m an experienced rider and I can ride on the streets, no problem. But new riders may not. New riders as well as kids and the elderly won’t consider biking possibility due to fear. That is why a safer infrastructure is vital to ensure a better life in the urban areas. Not today, not tomorrow, but for the next generation. Because let’s face it — if it carries on as it is, it will be unbearable to live in LA and other cities in the very near future.

What world would you like to leave for your kids?

The whole world is desperately searching for solutions, such as investing in public transportation and safer streets for everyone.  Paris, London and New York are great examples of that.  So I find hard to believe that there are people who are against projects such as Vision Zero. Can’t they see beyond themselves?  Go ahead and read about it. See what is happening around the World (or do they really believe that Global Warming is a Chinese invention?). Safer streets are proven to improve the quality of life of communities…Local shops will benefit from more people on the roads…Parking will be less of a problem. Not to mention cyclists are, in general, happier than those stuck in traffic…So let’s keep them alive, shall we?

As far as traffic codes go, there is one that is paramount: “The bigger is responsible for the safety of the smaller.”  A truck is responsible for a car’s safety, a car for a cyclist’s, a cyclist’s for a pedestrian’s and a pedestrian’s for the dog’s. It’s as simple as that.

In the meantime, while we are here fighting for a more sensible infrastructure, there is something that we can start practicing right now — mutual respect. I respect your right to drive your car. Please respect mine to ride my bike. And we should all be able to get home to our families in one piece.

Sincerely,

Raquel Jorge

………

If you can’t #CrashCityHall on Friday, email a letter demanding safer streets for bicyclists, pedestrians and everyone else to ted at bikinginla dot com by this Wednesday.

I’ll print them out and include them with the packages we’re giving each councilmember and the mayor containing copies of Profiles in Courage and Do The Right Thing.

A couple quick tips:

  • If you can, try to work in the theme of our protest by asking them to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Mention what council districts you live, work or ride in.
  • Stress that safer streets benefit everyone, whether on bikes, on foot or in cars.
  • Feel free to (politely) express whatever anger or fear you may be feeling
  • Demand they take immediate action to protect us all

And let me know if it’s okay to share your letter on here. I’ll be happy to put it online as a guest post leading up to Friday’s council meeting.

Guest Post: Open letter opposing Englander motion to halt dockless bikeshare and CSUN LimeBike system

Recently, Mike Kaiser reached out to me to oppose Councilmember Mitch Englander’s motion that would temporarily halt any further expansion of dockless bikeshare in Los Angeles.

And could jeopardize the new LimeBike system at Cal State Northridge.

The president and co-founder of the nonprofit group Bikecar 101, and a board member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, his comments were insightful enough that I asked him to write a guest post on the subject.

And as someone who works at CSUN, he offers a unique perspective we haven’t heard yet.

………

Re: Councilmember Mitch Englander’s Motion on LimeBike Bikshare in Northridge

Hello Everyone,

I am writing you today to discuss the addition of a new transportation mode in the Valley – around the campus of California State University at Northridge.  The program is a dockless bikeshare program offered by the company ‘LimeBike’ and has been a huge success. Obviously there are ‘growing pains’ with any new addition to a community.  Which is why we need your support – as the community to voice your support of a health promoting (stress reducing), traffic congestion reducing, and economy increasing program. Call Councilmember Mitch Englander or email and express your support for the program or sign a petition initiated by CSUN students, which can be found here.

That is my pitch, now let me back my pitch up with statistics and testimonials to show data contrary to the information produced in a motion by the councilmember for an emergency moritorium on bikeshare in the Northridge area.  First and foremost, I must state a disclaimer. I write to you as a RESIDENT of Northridge. I am also an employee at the university – CSUN – but not writing on behalf of the institution. I am a board member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council – but am not writing on their behalf either.  Last but not least, I am the president of Bikecar101 – a non-profit organization with a mission to educate and advocate for greater bicycle use on trains (Metrolink, Metro light rail, and Amtrak) in Southern California. Now that I have covered all of my basis for disclaimers, let me show statistics for the newly emerging and exciting LimeBike dockless bikeshare program.

In the following paragraphs, I would like to briefly state the benefits and a few testimonials regarding the new LimeBike program from my perspective.  As you will see, the statistics are showing positive momentum for active transportation. Incorporating a dockless bikeshare program into a community provides another mode of transportation which enhances the well-being of the community through health and economic gain.

 

LimeBike Statistics and Benefits

With the addition of 400 dockless LimeBikes delivered to the CSUN campus, the program has been a HUGE success among students and surrounding participates in the region.  Here are a few numbers from the use of students already:

  1. 7,000 subscriptions have already been completed.  This subscription makes future use easy by storing the user’s e-mail and credit card information.
  2. In just three and half weeks in use, the riders have travelled by bicycle (LimeBike dockless bikeshare) a total of 13,000 miles – Wow!
  3. LimeBike doubled their workforce to implement ‘sweeps’ at 7am and 7pm – which consists of driving around each day and collecting unused (or abandoned) bicycles while returning them to areas of greatest use (high demand).
  4. Students feel safer while riding a bicycle back to their house/apartment at night.
  5. As of last week, a total of 40,000 rides have been taken on LimeBikes in the Valley.

Now that I have stated the facts, let’s put them into perspective.  First and foremost is student safety. Students have shown up to Northridge East Neighborhood Council recently (a week ago) and gave statements about the positive attributes of LimeBike use — specifically personal safety at night.  Riding a bicycle back home provides a greater sense of safety. Are we as residents of the Valley going to revoke this new emerging (and growing) program? Student safety is on the backs of LimeBike’s opponents.

Next, the numbers of subscriptions and rides are impressive and exceed LimeBike’s expectations.  With 7,000 subscriptions, LimeBike users have traveled a total of 13,000 miles through 40,000 rides – Wow!  To put that number into perspective – 13,000 miles – the total distance traveled by LimeBikes in less than a month, a person could travel a total of 2 round trips from Northridge to New York City.  Another way to visualize 13,000 miles is to use ‘round trips to San Francisco’ as a metric. A person could travel a total of 17 round trips. Yes you read correctly, this means that LimeBike riders have traveled a total of 2 round trips from Northridge to New York City and back or 17 round trips from Northridge to San Francisco and back.  That is amazing in just under a month.

Last but not least, the rides taken on LimeBikes have reduced overall traffic congestion in the Northridge area.  LimeBikes are being used to access the Metrolink Train Station and the Metro Orange Line. This means that LimeBike is solving the ‘first and last mile’ to other transit modes.  This contributes to the growing momentum toward active transportation playing a greater role in the transportation solution in the future. Remember, these students will be the new professionals of tomorrow.  Their decisions around CSUN can positively impact future sustainable transportation decisions. Their experiences will influence their future ‘votes’!! With that in mind, local politicians should be jumping on board to promote diversified transportation options.  Lead rather than resist change. Change will be on the horizon regardless when these young professionals vote in politicians that suit their needs – promote health by reducing stress and traffic congestion.

bikeshare

LimeBikes staged for initial distribution at CSUN. Photo by Steve Spence.

 

Testimonials

The first testimonial is from myself as a resident living across Reseda Blvd from CSUN.  As a resident, one of the first observations I noticed upon launching the LimeBike program, was dockless bikes left in the path of travel on sidewalks.  This was an initial concern. I first noticed this at the bus stop near Reseda and Superior. As I was walking to school, I noticed a LimeBike in the middle of the sidewalk.  I decided to move the bicycle closer to the curb. Yes, as a resident, you too can help solve a problem. I wondered at that moment — when would that bicycle would be used next.  To my surprise, no sooner than I could push the traffic signal ‘walk button,’ did a passenger get off of the Metro Bus and stare at the LimeBike I had just moved. I walked up and tried to assist him in unlocking a bicycle.  He had already begun the process. The only question that I was able to ask in the brief time was: “Are you headed toward CSUN campus?” To which he responded, “No, I am headed a different way.” I walked off to work and stored this memorable memory about the newly launched program to share at a later date in time – the time has come.

The second testimonial which I would like to share is that of CSUN students showing up to the Northridge East Neighborhood Council last week to speak about the emerging LimeBike program.  All were enthusiastic about the release of 400 bicycles around campus. Each were impressed at the time saved while riding coupled to the obvious health benefits (lowers stress level). Additionally, each was especially thankful for the safety aspect that riding a LimeBike home after class.  I was unaware of this aspect provided by LimeBike. On the way home from the meeting, I asked my wife if she agreed with the testimonials given by the students. She did indeed agree that having the ability to escape via bicycle would give her a greater sense of safety. At the very least, she stated, she could envision ‘throwing’ the bicycle at an attacker to provide a ‘barrier’ between herself and them.  This is a strong aspect/benefit of a LimeBike which should not be discounted by opponents.

 

Community Concerns

Last but not least, I would like to share the overall feeling of a Northridge Vision meeting which I attended at Councilmember Mitch Englander’s office regarding the LimeBike program unveiling.  At the time, the program had been deployed just three weeks and was skyrocketing with success (and still is). The meeting was with various stakeholders (including neighborhood council presidents, and Northridge Beautification headed by Don Larson).  In light of resident’s concerns and the unexpected initial challenges with dockless bikeshare, LimeBike and CSUN representatives discussed potential solutions to bicycles being left on private property and blocking sidewalks. I should make clear that Councilmember Mitch Englander was not present at the meeting.

The LimeBike personnel introduced their product and gave statistics across the nation comparing the way CSUN embraced the dockless bikeshare program with other college towns.  LimeBike personnel answered all our questions. After LimeBike personnel introduced their product, Ken Rosenthal from CSUN gave introductions to other CSUN employees who are instrumental to outreach relations with the community: Austin Erickson, Francesca Vega, and Rafael DeLa Rosa.  CSUN employees were very vocal in their willingness to collect feedback and work with LimeBike to optimize the program.

Of greatest concern were bicycles blocking sidewalks and being abandoned.  Each bicycle is equipped with a GPS unit, therefore unused bicycles are flagged automatically.  Keep in mind, that LimeBike makes two rounds per day to collect these bicycles – one at 7 am and one at 7 pm.  LimeBike made clear to the audience that anyone can call 1-888-LIME-345 (1-888-546-3345) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and a crew will immediately come and collect a misplaced bike.  This phone number is displayed on each bicycle. Additionally, users who abandon bicycles in inappropriate locations can be identified. LimeBike is willing to contact the last user and impose a financial penalty.

The greatest discomfort with the new dockless bikeshare program is embedded in the ‘dockless’ aspect.  Ironically, the greatest discomfort contributes to the success of the program – ride a bicycle to your destination and lock the bicycle up without any further responsibility.  This locked bike is available for another prospective rider. Which means that a person who is looking for a bikeshare bicycle can look on their ‘app’ on their cell phone, instead of traveling to the nearest ‘hub’ where bicycles must be returned to.  The dockless nature of the bikeshare program contributes to the greater freedom of destination. LimeBike suggested that a geographical constraint is an option for the program, called geofencing, but in our view this would be a mistake.

When using Tower Bridge Bike Share in Sacramento over this past winter break, we experienced uncertainty and anxiety associated with riding along the American River.  Although the trail was wonderful and offered miles of protected riding, we realized that we had ventured outside the intended geofence of the program. We were unable to lock the bikes for fear of a $100 penalty and ended up calling the customer service to confirm the exact procedure that would avoid the fine.  The conclusion is that geofencing causes unnecessary fines and diminishes the utility of the bicycles for their intended purpose of enhancing mobility at a low price point ($0.50 per 30 minutes for those with csun.edu email addresses, or $1 per 30 minutes for non-CSUN users).

I left the meeting thinking that these LimeBikes have definitely shown to be a mode of transportation which has benefited the community health and economy.  Of course, any new program has a certain amount of ‘growing pains’ associated with the implementation. This takes time. Which brings me to the last point. Councilmember Mitch Englander has not given the community enough time for the LimeBike program to grow into a beneficial program.

 

Councilmember Englander Aims to Shut Bikeshare Program Down

Recently, Councilmember Mitch Englander proposed a ‘Motion’ to impose an emergency moratorium on LimeBike to stop the program within the community of Northridge.  The councilmember further moves that the city council together with LADOT to write guidelines for substantial permitting process with penalties and revocation of permits if dockless bikeshare companies do not adhere to their guidelines.  The motion is shortsighted in my mind and is extremely premature, given that these regulations are yet to be written and have no timeline for completion — which could drag on indefinitely. Yet the LimeBike program will be immediately halted if Englender is allowed to move forward with this agenda.

The meeting at Councilmember Englander’s office was adjourned with steps which would be taken if LimeBike (and CSUN) could not correct or address neighborhood complaints with the initial implementation of the dockless bikeshare program.  Remember, Councilmember Englander was not present at that meeting. No indication of resident’s complaints were discussed at the Northridge Vision Meeting on Wednesday, February 14th. Only one resident spoke at the Northridge East Neighborhood council meeting on Wednesday, February 21st and he was upset about students running over cats with their cars (not a LimeBike issue specifically).  One resident asked how the LimeBikes would be monitored with respect to theft, which is not an issue since each bicycle is GPS-enabled.

Two days after that meeting, on Friday, February 23rd Councilmember Englander released his ‘motion’ to regulate transportation sharing programs, including bikes, electric scooters and cars.  Englander’s motion contains extreme measures which were not discussed at the meeting at his office. Councilmember Englander’s motion did not consider that the community would need time to naturally adjust to the infusion of LimeBikes.  Implementation of any new program is going to cause a shift in the limited space available for all road, parking lot and sidewalk users.

Already, in the two weeks since the councilman’s motion was filed, there have been fewer issues with abandoned bicycles and bikes blocking sidewalks.  Although it is unclear what factors have been responsible for this change in LimeBike user behavior, we celebrate that LimeBike users have grown more considerate with practice.  Admittedly, the month of January offered all users 10 free rides. With a decrease in incentives, there may be fewer casual users and more regular users who appreciate the freedom of the LimeBike program and exercise it responsibly.

Councilmember Mitch Englander is rushing to shut down the program at CSUN.  What this shows is that Councilmember Englander is not for active transportation.  Furthermore, Councilmember Englander does not support bicycles as a mode of transportation.  Although, I have heard him brag in the past about having the “highest density of bike lanes in his district.”  These two ideas are at odds with one another. I am disappointed in Councilmember Englander’s position. His motion shows that he is not a ‘forward thinker’ as he claims to be on a frequent basis.  He is stuck in a car culture mindset which is sad – since the rest of the world are starting to wake up and incorporate other modes of transportation into their respective communities.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, we live in a democracy.  As a result, politicians such as Councilmember Englander are elected individuals.  Unfortunately, Councilmember Englander has decided to listen to a ‘few residents’ stuck in the car culture mindset and propose a motion to shut down the LimeBike dockless bikeshare system.  Since we live in a democracy, this affords us the opportunity to express our views through our votes. Furthermore, in between elections, we can express our views via avenues: social media, e-mail, phone calls, and letter mail.  I would ask each member of the region to reach out to Councilmember Mitch Englander’s office and express your concern about shutting down a great addition to the community.  Tell his staff or him (more importantly) that you support LimeBike dockless bikeshare program – Do Not Shut Down the LimeBike Bikeshare program!!!

Remember the safety aspect of the program aside from the economic gain for the community.  Let’s make our region a better place to travel within. Last but not least, CSUN is holding a petition which you can sign if you choose not to contact him yourself – click here.  Below is the contact information for Councilmember Mitch Englander:

Phone: (818) 882-1212

E-mail: [email protected]

Address: 9207 Oakdale Ave., Suite 200, Chatsworth, CA 91311

Thank you for you help.

Sincerely,

Mike

An open letter to the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council about bike lanes in the new community plan

Please excuse the lack of Morning Links today. With tonight’s discussion of removing bike lanes and road diets from the Hollywood Community Plan, I felt it was more important to write and share this open letter. 

We’ll catch up on anything we might have missed tomorrow.

………

To the board members of the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council,

Tonight you’re scheduled to discuss a response to the draft Hollywood Community Plan, including the proposed bike lanes included in the Mobility Plan 2035.

However, the draft response contains references to maintaining the community’s current over-reliance on motor vehicles, as opposed to improving safety and connectivity for transit, walking and bicycling to encourage people to use other forms of transportation whenever practical.

At the same time, the president of this board is on record as opposing plans for road diets, saying proponents need a reality check. And letters are included that call at least one bike lane through the Cahuenga Pass — and perhaps others — “infeasible.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Or do more harm to the Hollywood community in the years to come.

The truth is that road diets, more accurately known as lane reductions, can actually improve traffic flow and reduce congestion while increasing safety for all road users. And bike lanes can improve the livability of the community, while increasing the commercial health of local businesses and property owners.

Other cities have recently seen the benefits of road diets.

But you don’t have to look to other cities to see the benefits of road diets.

  • The road diet on Rowena Avenue in Silver Lake has been a proven success, reducing average speed back down to the posted speed limit with no adverse effect on traffic volume, while significantly improving safety for all road users.
  • And despite the initial complaints of business owners, York Blvd in Highland Park has thrived after a road diet was installed; even just six months after completion, it had no negative effect on local businesses.

Meanwhile, there are additional benefits to bike lanes, with or without a road diet.

The best part is, everyone gets to enjoy these benefits, whether or not they ever ride a bicycle. All that’s required is to make it safer, easier and more convenient for other people to ride their bikes.

In fact, studies have repeatedly shown that roughly 60% of all people would like to ride their bikes more if they felt safer doing it. Even right here in the car capital of the world.

On the other hand, the best way to ensure the failure of our traffic grid is to do nothing to encourage people to leave their cars at home, as more and more people move to the city, bringing their cars with them. And more people buy cars thanks to low interest rates and a booming economy.

As counterintuitive as it may seem to some, the solution isn’t to maximize the space given to motor vehicles and their drivers.

Los Angeles streets — and Hollywood in particular — are already built out to capacity. And rapidly filling to it, as well.

Our streets will all grind to halt if we don’t take steps now to make bicycling, walking and transit more viable options for more people. The only thing that’s actually infeasible is to continue on the almost exclusively car-driven path we’re on now.

Simply put, when you say no to road diets and bike lanes, you say no to safety, livability and commercial success. And that your ability to drive unimpeded is more important than people’s lives, and a healthy, thriving community.

Please do the right thing, and support the bike lanes in the draft Hollywood Community Plan.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers

Hollywood

Morning Links: Leading climate change denier attacks bikes, and problems bicyclists face on the road & with police

He’s back.

The anti-bike writer in the Financial Post who called for banning bicycles last week, saying cities made a huge mistake in promoting bicycling, is back with a second screed even less informed than the first.

Fake news, indeed.

Lawrence Solomon, executive director of the Urban Renaissance Institute, is back to misstate and misinterpret bicycling crash statistics to suggest that bikes have made the streets more dangerous, going so far as to cite unnamed studies “not funded by bike-path proponents” that show bike infrastructure actually increases crashes.

Which is the exact opposite of every study I’ve ever seen, few, if any, of which have been funded by “bike path proponents.”

It’s the worst kind of drivel, taking unrelated data points to support his arguments, such as suggesting that the recent increase in overall traffic fatalities is somehow due to the increase in bicycling, and that bike riders are almost always the ones at fault in any crash.

The problem is, his baseless arguments have given cover to other writers to attack bikes and bike lanes, like a Staten Island columnist who asks if we’re watching the beginning of an anti-cycling bikelash, or the writer for an alt-right website who does little more than repost Solomon’s arguments.

However, few of those echoing his arguments have bothered to consider who it is who’s doing the writing — a leading climate change denier and anti-vaxxer funded by the oil and gas industry, posing as “one of Canada’s leading environmentalists.” Solomon has gone so far as to call the groundbreaking Kyoto Protocol “the single biggest threat to the global environment.”

Which would suggest that everything he says should be taken with a grain of salt.

If not an entire bag.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the alt-right link.

………

A writer for Outside captures succinctly the problems bike riders face on the roads.

Let that sink in: I was in a bike lane, wearing a bright orange helmet, sans earphones, when a car traveling over the speed limit and completely off the road struck me from behind—and the police tried to ticket me and let the driver go free. I realized that day that altercations between cars and bikes aren’t so much about the risk factors, like distracted driving, bike lanes, or mountain versus road. They’re about a car culture that devalues bikes.

Over the years, passing motorists have thrown and struck me with eggs, fountain drinks, and, once, a half-empty can of beer. I’ve been shouted at, flipped off, menaced, driven into the shoulder, and even chased on foot. My own father-in-law grouses regularly about cyclists on the road and likes to joke about “door-popping” them. If cyclists can’t even rely on our families or the police, it’s clear that we are on our own.

It’s worth taking a few minutes to read.

If you’ve been hit by a driver, you may recognize yourself in the story. I certainly do; when I was run down by a road raging driver, the police officers who responded believed her story. And ended up threatening to arrest me for filing a false police report, leaving me to limp home with a broken arm and damaged bike.

If not, it’s fair warning that you may be blamed in a crash even if you didn’t do anything wrong.

It’s not right. But it’s the battle we have to fight far too often.

Note: I originally left out the link to this piece; thanks to Mike Wilkinson and J. Patrick Lynch for the heads-up.

………

BOLO Alert: A bike rider was seriously injured in a hit-and-run in La Tuna Canyon on Saturday; the victim was still unconscious after 20 hours in the ICU. The vehicle was described as a newer black Mazda SUV. Thanks to Mike Kim for the tip.

………

A reminder that if you haven’t signed it already, you can support one of LA’s most underserved communities by signing a petition calling for bike lanes in DTLA’s Skid Row.

We the undersigned residents of the City of Los Angeles, sign this petition calling on Council member Jose Huizar of the 14th District and the Department of Transportation to begin the process of creating Skid Row specific bike lanes on 5th street heading west and 6th street heading east. Skid Row has one of the largest bicycle riding populations in Los Angeles and because of this, we feel that we need bike lanes on these streets to improve public safety.

Thanks to Bobby Peppey for the heads-up.

………

‘Tis the season.

Over 400 Cathedral City students got new bikes for getting good grades.

One hundred ninety Clovis kids got new bikes and helmets thanks to a local nonprofit group.

Hundreds of Sonoma County fire victims got new bikes on Sunday.

Five hundred kids in Tucson got new bicycles thanks to a local community activist.

Eighty Aurora IL volunteers built 350 bicycles to donate to kids.

Roughly 100 San Antonio kids took home new bikes as part of an earn-a-bike program.

One hundred bikes were donated to children of law enforcement officers in College Station TX.

Around 35 Santas rode their bikes to raise $5,000 for a Green Bay, Wisconsin children’s hospital.

Around 90 people took part in a 1.2 mile bike ride through an underground cavern in Louisville KY, decorated with more than 2 million lights and past 850 holiday displays.

An Ulster NY bicycle club donated 30 bicycles and helmets to the local county children’s services.

………

It’s Day 18 of the 3rd Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive.

You can help keep SoCal’s best bike news coming your way with just a few clicks by using PayPal. Or by using the Zelle app that is probably already in the banking app on your smartphone; send your contribution to ted @ bikinginla dot com (remove the spaces and format as a standard email address).

Any donation, in any amount, is truly and deeply appreciated.

As an added bonus, frequent contributor Megan Lynch will provide a free download of her CD Songs the Brothers Warner Taught Me to anyone who makes a contribution during the fund drive. If you’ve already contributed and would like a copy, just email me at the address above and I’ll forward it to her.

………

Local

By all reports, Los Angeles enjoyed another successful CicLAvia yesterday; next year could see one in running through San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona and Claremont.

Metro Bike Share wants your feedback, whether or not you’ve ever used bikeshare.

David Wolfberg points out that even the LA Auto Show doesn’t recommend driving there.

 

State

Smoking dope will soon be banned in motor vehicles in California. But bikes aren’t considered motor vehicles under California law, so puff away. As long as you don’t do it in public or ride under the influence.

The Orange County Register’s David Whiting looks at efforts to clear homeless camps off the Santa Ana River Trail, even though the people living in them have nowhere else to go.

UC Santa Barbara students are having to bike through smoke and ash from the Thomas Fire to get ready for finals.

Life is cheap in San Luis Obispo, where a 60-year old driver gets 90 days behind bars for illegally crossing a double yellow line to pass another vehicle, and killing a bike rider in a head-on crash; he’s expected to actually serve just half of that. The driver is reportedly grief-stricken. Although likely not as much as the relatives of the victim.

A San Luis Obispo man responds to recent anti-bike columns by asking city officials to make it safer for people on bicycles, and for local residents to spare a few moments for the safety of cyclists.

Sad news from Fresno, where a bicyclist was killed by a suspect drunk hit-and-run driver.

A tragic find, as a bike rider discovered a young woman’s body in the water along a Sunnyvale bike trail.

Life is even cheaper in Napa, where a 77-year old woman got three years probation and had her license permanently revoked for the hit-and-run death of a popular cyclist.

A Boston website says Marin County’s West Ridgecrest road up Mt. Tamalpais may be one of the best bike rides in the US.

An Oak Park man in riding his bicycle around Sacramento, collecting garbage and scraps to turn into compost. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

 

National

The Wall Street Journal says gadget obsessed cyclists need a data detox, while a writer for Slate complains that he doesn’t even know how turn off the tech and ride his bike for fun anymore. Seriously, turn everything off, and for the rest of this month, just ride for the fun of it. You might even remember why you love bicycling again.

NPR looks at automakers attempts to woo members of Gen Z, who have shown little interest in owning cars so far.

California Congressman Tom McClintock discusses his bill to allow bicycles back in wilderness areas.

A Denver weekly looks at how the murder of mountain biking legend Mike Rust was finally solved, seven years after he disappeared; his killer was found guilty of 1st degree murder last week, along with a host of other charges.

A Colorado newspaper applauds plans to make the town more walkable and bikeable, but worries about the loss of 162 downtown parking places. Because everyone knows people never walk or bike to go shopping. Right?

A group from my hometown is asking the public for another 75 bicycles so they can donate 400 bikes to kids for the holidays. And they can drop off those bikes at the shop where I bought my first bike, back when dinosaurs still walked the earth.

A Chicago letter writer suggests everyone walking on the river walk should wear a bike helmet, since city hall somehow ignored his letter demanding that bikes to be banned from the path.

Still no explanation for what drove a bike-riding doctor to attack his neighbor, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

The surgeon who treated Bono after his Central Park bicycling crash was found dead in his New York apartment with a knife plunged into his chest, the victim of an apparent suicide.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 79-year old Georgia man is riding from Northern California to Atlanta.

Seriously? A Tallahassee FL writer welcomes dockless bikeshare to town, but worries where people will park their cars to use them.

 

International

A Canadian cycling magazine calls on the country to adopt a National Cycling Strategy. Something you’re not likely to ever see in the US.

The war on bikes continues, as someone vandalized a bike belonging to the mayor of Victoria, British Columbia for the second time; she doesn’t want to believe it has anything to do with her support for bike lanes.

Roughly 180,000 Quebec residents ride their bikes all through the winter, despite the cold and snow. Tell that to the next person who tells you Angelenos won’t ride their bikes to work year-round.

This is what happens when you install a temporary bike lane around a Toronto construction site, but don’t do anything to accommodate people on foot.

Ed Sheeran gets back on a bike in London for the first time since he broke both arms in a crash, even if it did have training wheels.

Shades of Children of the Corn. A British town is installing bollards designed to look like little children, and stare back at drivers to get their attention. Thanks again to David Wolfberg.

A Bulgarian expat has formed a volunteer crew to rescue damaged and abandoned dockless bikeshare bikes in Singapore; he may have his work cut out for him.

A Pakistani woman became the first woman to ride a bike up Mt. Kilimanjaro.

An Indian man is riding across the country to encourage people to ride to work.

 

Competitive Cycling

A freshly bearded cycling great Bradley Wiggins craps out in his attempt to make the British rowing team, after mistakenly lowering his oars in a “schoolboy error.”

The very busy Peter Flax has written a great profile of lifelong bike racer Bill Elliston, saying that Elliston, while never quite fast enough to make the pros, “represents much that is pure and good in the sport of bike racing.”

 

Finally…

Kylo Ren is one of us. We may have to worry about distracted drivers, but at least we don’t have dodge zebras.

And Australia chose their bird of the year even though it attacks bicyclists.

Or maybe because of it.

 

Morning Links: Eric Garcetti fails street safety test, LA BMX pro fatally shot, and meet Cycling Without Age founder

A must read Op-Ed from Bike the Vote LA’s Michael MacDonald, who asks where Mayor Eric Garcetti is, as angry motorists torch the mayor’s signature traffic safety plans.

And Angelenos continue to die on the streets.

And yet, since the mayor’s 2015 directive, Los Angeles hasn’t just gotten more dangerous, it has become outright hostile to the concept of roadway safety. A small but vocal contingent of residents has taken an increasingly combative posture to any meaningful safety improvements that appear to interfere with their daily car commutes. City agencies have responded to this pushback by buckling — either canceling or watering down proposals to address dangerous speeding on North Figueroa StreetLankershim Boulevard, the Hyperion bridge and elsewhere. At the same time, we’ve seen a 43% increase in traffic fatalities in the first year after the adoption of Vision Zero, with the fatality rate trending to rise again in 2017.

Garcetti, meanwhile, has been inexplicably and unaccountably silent on the matter.

When Councilman Mike Bonin and Garcetti announced last week that they were removing a multi-street Vision Zero effort in Playa del Rey, it was in large part because Garcetti refused to insert himself in the debate around safety. As the drama escalated and some residents threatened a recall of Bonin over the safety upgrades, Garcetti never came to the councilman’s defense…

This is why I won’t support Eric Garcetti for any higher office, despite strongly supporting him in the past, first on the city council, then in two runs for mayor of Los Angeles.

The last straw came last week, when Garcetti appeared to take credit — if you want to call it that — for the decision to rip out the road diets and bike lanes in Playa del Rey, even though at least one of those bike lanes was included in the 2010 bike plan.

He has done a great job of setting policy by calling for safer, more walkable and bikeable communities, and bringing Vision Zero to Los Angeles, along with LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds.

But then he disappeared, leaving it up to others to defend those policies, as he set off in search of other initiatives, like so many shiny new toys.

He had the potential to be a great mayor.

But that will never happen unless and until he decides that this is the job he actually wants to have.

And that means rolling up his sleeves and getting to work on the street level with the rest of us.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

………

On a related subject, Curbed asks if LA’s road diets are in jeopardy due to the bikelash in Playa del Rey. That would be an unequivocal yes.

Speaking of which, CD4 Councilmember David Ryu has put a survey online asking about safety improvements on 6th Street between Fairfax and La Brea; this is your chance to voice your opinion on whether to improve traffic flow on the deadly street (Option A), or slow traffic and improve safety through a lane reduction (Option B). Do I really have to tell you which one I prefer?

Meanwhile, community group Keep Rowena Safe offers proof that lane reductions, aka road diets, really work. Which isn’t to say that the Rowena road diet isn’t at risk of being ripped out by Ryu, despite its proven success.

………

Fast Company lists 50 reasons why everyone should want more walkable streets, virtually all of which apply to bikeable streets, as well.

And somehow we missed this one from earlier in the month, as an architecture critic for the Philadelphia Enquirer listed seven ways bike lanes benefit motorists and pedestrians. Commit these to memory for the next time an angry driver complains about bike lanes. Which will probably be the next time you go to any public meeting or onto any social media platform.

………

Tragic news from the Vermont Square neighborhood of Los Angeles, where BMX pro Gabe Brooks was found shot to death outside his home at 52nd and Western. Thanks to Matt Ruscigno for the heads-up.

………

Here’s your chance to meet Ole Kassow, the founder of Cycling Without Age — the international program that’s changing lives by giving older people the chance to enjoy bicycling again, often for the first time in decades.

Kassow will hold a meet and greet at the Surf Food Stand on The Strand in Manhattan Beach, from Noon to 3 pm this Saturday.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the tip.

………

Local

KPCC looks at the effects of the deadly 85th percentile law, which will force Los Angeles to raise speed limits on a number of streets, whether we want to or not.

If you think the LA streets you ride could use a good cleaning, there may be a reason for that.

 

State

San Diego State University is cracking down on students who don’t ride their bikes in designated bike lanes or routes. Even though that would appear to violate state law; under California law, bikes are legally allowed on any public surface street where motor vehicles are permitted.

Former motocross racer and current Pink husband Carey Hart catches hell on Instagram for the crime of letting his 10-month old son roll gently on a skateboard, sans helmet.

A San Francisco museum is attempting to halt an effort to close Golden Gate Park to cars on weekends year-round; the main road through the park is already closed on Sundays and half the year on Saturdays. On the other hand, if the street was closed, the museum wouldn’t have to worry about the parking spaces they lost when a cycle track went in.

You’ve got to be kidding. A Novato man has been charged with multiple felony hit-and-run counts, despite intentionally running down four bicyclists earlier this month; he faces a maximum of five years behind bars. He should be facing four counts of assault with a deadly weapon at the bare minimum.

A proposed new bridge over the Sacramento River could improve access for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as providing space for a possible future streetcar line.

The town of Paradise is rewarded with full bike racks at the town’s elementary school as new bike lanes near completion, part of a Safe Routes to Schools project.

 

National

Caught on video: A Chicago burglar discovers that a stolen bicycle can come in handy to cart off a freshly stolen snow blower. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the link.

Not surprisingly, the family of a Michigan cyclist killed by an 83-year old driver want a change in the review process to keep dangerous drivers off the road. And they’re right.

JuJu got his bike back; someone turned the Pittsburgh Steeler and former USC star’s bike in to the police, claiming he’d bought it for $200 before recognizing it on TV. Sure, let’s go with that; no one would want to get rid of a stolen bike just because it got too hot.

New York Streetsblog calls for the state to give prosecutors the tools they need to go after hit-and-run drivers, and for prosecutors to be more willing to do it.

A road raging New Orleans driver tried to run a bike rider off the road after telling him to get onto the sidewalk, then got out of his car and physically attacked him.

 

International

Relatives of people killed by traffic violence in Toronto call for safer streets; the families want safer infrastructure and stiffer penalties for careless drivers.

A new survey shows that 87% of British cyclists think bike lights should be required day and night, 81% call for mandatory helmets, and over half would require mirrors and hi-viz. Which might be explained by the fact that the survey was conducted by a car rental company, of its own self-identified bicycling customers.

After a friend was badly injured riding his bike, a Bengaluru, India writer asks if it’s better to risk life and limb to be socially and environmentally responsible by taking to two wheels, or add to the city’s choking congestion by driving a private car.

 

Finally…

Your next ped-assist ebike could have hydrofoils instead of wheels. Why wait for someone to give you bad bicycling advice when you can read it all here? Thanks to David Drexler for the link.

And this may be the best scary clown bike fast food burger commercial in human history.

%d bloggers like this: