Vision Zero, in any meaningful sense, is dead in Los Angeles.
We may see incremental improvements; a new crosswalk here, a bike lane there. But only if they don’t adversely affect anyone on four wheels.
Which is not what Vision Zero is about.
But any meaningful attempt to reduce traffic deaths to anywhere near zero in finished.
That’s because CD11 Councilmember Mike Bonin and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti jointly announced yesterday that they are caving in to the angry NIMBY and driver-led backlash, and ripping out the bike lanes and road diets in Playa del Rey.
Although that’s not the way they put it.
And in the process, throwing bicyclists and anyone else who fought for the changes under the bus. Perhaps literally.
They present it as a compromise, with a long list of pedestrian-focused improvements that won’t do crap to protect people on bikes, slow traffic or prevent crashes between motorists.
But let’s be honest.
This is a compromise like Jim Bowie and Davey Crockett compromised at the Alamo.
Those pedestrian improvements were already planned as the next phases of the community-driven process to improve safety in Playa del Rey — after the road diets, not in place of them.
So instead of improving safety and livability in the area, it will go back to being a virtual freeway for pass-through motorists.
Except now the city will be on the hook financially for every death and injury that occurs in the area, after removing the safety improvements designed to prevent them.
It’s a liability lawyer’s dream.
Worse, though, is the potentially fatal damage it’s done to Vision Zero in Los Angeles, as few, if any, councilmembers will be willing to subject themselves to the hate and vitriol Bonin and his staff have faced.
It’s a surprise they held out as long as they did.
Chances are, road diets are now off the table in this city. Perhaps permanently.
The same with installing the bike plan, which is no longer worth the silicon it’s printed on. Or any other substantive street changes that inconvenience motorists in any way, or makes NIMBY home and business owners sharpen their pitchforks and light the Tiki torches.
Even if they’re the ones who’ll benefit from it.
And even though Vision Zero was never about crosswalks or enforcement — or cutsie football videos — but about redesigning the roadways so that when people act like people do, their mistakes won’t be fatal. To them or anyone else.
Which is what these road diets were supposed to do.
But we’ll never know if they would have succeeded or not, because they were never given the chance.
I’ve long questioned whether LA’s leaders had the courage and conviction to make the tough choices Vision Zero would require, and withstand the inevitable criticism that would be directed their way.
They’ve answered with a resounding no.
The odd thing, though, is that Garcetti somehow got his name attached to the plan to restore traffic lanes — and got top billing, no less.
Even though he didn’t do a damn thing to implement or support the road diets. Or any of the other traffic safety improvements that have gone down to defeat under his tenure, from bike lanes on Westwood Blvd to sidewalks on the Hyperion-Glendale bridge.
He hasn’t shown up for a single public safety meeting since announcing Vision Zero to great fanfare two years ago. Or made a single public statement in support of Mike Bonin and the desperately needed safety changes in Playa or Mar Vista.
And yet, he gets full credit — if that’s the word you want to use — for restoring the Playa del Rey streets to their original dangerous condition, and thrusting a dagger through the heart of his own signature safety policy.
It’s been seven years since the late Bill Rosendahl stood before the city council and proclaimed that car culture ends today in the City of Angels.
He was wrong.
It’s clearly just getting started. And we will all pay the price.
In better news, The Argonaut reports on the figures released last week showing safety improvements and a reduction in speeding on Venice Blvd following the recent lane reductions.
However, traffic truthers refuse to accept the results; the leader of the Bonin recall effort tried to claim the street was actually more dangerous, because injuries went up on a per capita basis since there was a drop in traffic.
Today’s common theme, kindhearted people — mostly in blue.
An Ohio sheriff held back bicycles from a property auction, insisting that they be given to kids and adults who need them instead.
Tennessee cops pitch in to buy a man a new bicycle, after the one he relied on to get to work was stolen.
A Florida man bought a new bicycle for a boy who was run over by a distracted driver as he was riding to school; unfortunately, he’s too scared to ride it.
But Michigan cops got it backwards, buying a car for a woman who rode her bike or took a bus 13 miles to work for years.
Women’s racing takes a big step back, as the Tour de France cut’s the women’s La Course back to a single day.
Austrian cyclist Christoph Strasser set a new indoor 24-hour record at 585.25 miles, and vows to never ride on a track again; he’s a four-time winner of the Race Across America.
And SoCalCross offers a video recap of the year’s first cyclocross race at Irvine Lake.
The city council’s Public Works and Gang Prevention Committee approved a motion to paint LA’s bike lanes a dull, non-reflective green, prioritizing the convenience of the film industry over the safety of bike riders. After all, it’s just so damn hard for film crews to cover-up a bike lane with some sort of mat, let alone fix it in post.
LADOT has installed what appears to be a very problematic bus loading platform in the bike lane on First Street in DTLA, which forces riders up a sharp ramp while creating a crowded conflict point when people board or get off; as passengers adjust to it, they will likely start to wait on the platform, blocking the bike lane.
UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup has been honored with the 2017 Distinguished Educator Award, the highest honor offered by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning; Shoup’s work has changed the understanding of the hidden costs of parking around the world.
Musician Andrew Bird used the LA River as his muse, inspired by his bike rides along it.
CiclaValley M.A.S.H.s gears up the Bulldog.
A 60-year old San Diego man was seriously injured when a woman crashed into his bike in Pacific Beach.
I want to be like him when I grow up. An 81-year old San Diego County man just finished a 4,300-mile ride across Canada.
Construction of a new bike path has Santa Barbara residents on edge, as road surface grinding is keeping them up at night.
If people in San Luis Obispo look depressed, it’s because they’re no longer the happiest city in the US. It’s probably no coincidence that every city in the top five is ranked silver or higher on the Bike League’s list of Bicycle Friendly Communities.
A San Francisco bike cop is in grave condition after he was run down by a suspect, who was arrested several hours after fleeing the scene.
Bicycle Times offers advice on how to clean your dirty, dirty bike.
Rails-to-Trails recommends some haunted pathways for your pre-Halloween riding pleasure, including one with a ghost bike. No, literally.
No surprise here, as the Washington jerk bicyclist who injured a pedestrian after yelling “hot pizza,” expecting her to jump out of the way, is now facing a lawsuit; he uses the same excuse drivers do, saying 3 mph pedestrians shouldn’t mix with cyclists doing 15 mph.
What’s one way to jeopardize a football scholarship at Texas A&M? Stealing a bait bike is a good start.
Bike PGH meets up with carfree former Trojan and current Pittsburgh Steeler JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Now that’s more like it. A New York man was sentenced to five to 15 years behind bars for the hit-and-run death of a bike rider; more importantly, he received a lifetime revocation of his driver’s license. Which should be automatic for any driver in any hit-and-run.
DC has become a testing ground for dockless e-bikeshare.
A new documentary takes a look at MAMILs, following four men from the US, the UK and Australia. Which should be required viewing for anyone who makes fun of middle-aged people on bikes, spandexed or otherwise.
Road.cc explains how to stop the dreaded speed wobbles.
Bicycles are making a comeback in Cuba.
A Canadian newspaper talks with Danish bicyclist Ole Kassow, who created the Cycling Without Age program.
Ed Sheeran won’t be one of us for a while, after realizing the next day that he had fractured not one, but both arms when he was hit by driver while riding in London; he had to cancel his upcoming Asian tour.
Motorist and bicycling groups both condemn calls for British bicyclists to be required to carry numbered license plates.
A Turkish librarian operates his own personal book bike, towing books for children from village to village in a bike trailer.
An Aussie newspaper says kneejerk decisions to confine dockless bikeshare bikes to specified parking areas defeats the whole purpose.
Maybe Bonin should have just used a coloring book. Evidently, we’re just sidewalk speeding cyclos.
And the left lane of the southbound 5 Freeway in Newhall Pass may not be the best place to walk your bike.
Especially before 6 am.
Thanks to kdbhiker for the photo.