Los Angeles County has given a long-overdue blessing to the concept of Slow Streets.
And LA Mayor Eric Garcetti has suggested the city may give them a try.
According to a story from Time Out,
On Wednesday, the county announced that as part of an update to its “safer at home” order, it would allow cities to close off streets to car traffic and temporarily turn them into pedestrian-only areas.
“Local public entities may, if they want to, temporarily close certain streets or areas to automobile traffic and this would allow for increased space for persons to engage in recreational activity that’s permitted by the health officer orders,” said Department of Public Health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer in her daily briefing.
Slow Streets, a term that was virtually unheard of before the concept spread rapidly across a world afflicted by Covid-19 and the resulting lockdowns, are fully or partially closed to motor vehicles to allow people to get outside for a little fresh air and exercise, while providing enough space to allow for social distancing.
Without having to worry about getting run down by a speeding, distracted driver. Or having to leave their own neighborhood.
But as usual, LA appears to be wrapping the concept in needless red tape.
Instead of simply choosing several streets to close down across the city, as countless other cities have done, Los Angeles will make residents apply if they want one near them.
Garcetti: "I think it will be a great experiment for Los Angeles. We've all enjoyed being outside. Maybe we'll learn some lessons for some permanent closures in the future. But at least for now, we'll have safe places for us all to be."
— Laura J. Nelson 🦅 (@laura_nelson) May 14, 2020
Which may or may not be approved, depending on whatever criteria will be used to vet the request.
Most likely, though, it will depend on whether the local councilmember wants them, in a city where they are virtual kings and queens in their own districts, with the power to bless or kill any street proposal.
So we may be able to get out for a little air soon. But I wouldn’t hold your breath just yet.
As usual, though, this comes because bike and pedestrian advocates fought for it.
I’m blown away… @streetsforall started working on slow streets for LA 8 weeks ago. About 4 weeks ago we assembled an awesome coalition and sent an open letter to the city. About 3 weeks ago we started getting some press. About 2 weeks ago this almost happened. And now it’s here! https://t.co/ow5Ei87nsK
— Michael Schneider (@schneider) May 14, 2020
You’re now going to have to wear a face mask anytime you go outside in the City of Angels.
Although whether that would apply if you’re riding your bike, and not around other people, remains to be explained.
But just like deciding to ride without a helmet, you can expect to be harassed and publicly shamed by self-appointed safety vigilantes if you’re not wearing one.
YouTube stars and influencers Marcus and Kristin Johns were both injured by a hit-and-run driver, who they say swerved directly at them in an intentional attempt to run them down as they were riding their bikes.
The driver was apparently fleeing from police following a burglary.
Neither one suffered major injuries, though they were both hospitalized. Unfortunately, however, they don’t give any date or location for the crash.
But it could explain why this story about Monday’s Toluca hit-and-run has unexpectedly blown up, with over 10,000 page views in the last two days.
ESPN has released the trailer for their upcoming documentary about Lance Armstrong, titled simply Lance.
Which reminds me of this old classic.
The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on.
A pair of “respected” retired woman are suspected of sabotaging a British bike trail by building traps using rocks and branches to stop unsuspecting bike riders.
Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says there are new bike lanes on two sections of York Blvd in NELA, with a two-block gap on a narrow section in between.
Streetsblog looks at the opening of the Rose Bowl loop to people, not cars. Meanwhile, a Pasadena writer suggests repurposing Old Town’s Colorado Blvd for outdoor dining.
Watchmen actress Malin Akerman celebrated her birthday with an unmasked ride with friends and family through the streets of Venice.
Final Destination star Ali Larter is one of us, riding through Pacific Palisades with her five-year old daughter.
Shia LaBeouf is one of us, too, riding with his with wife in Pasadena, with the family dog in tow.
San Diego is trying to pump new life into May’s moribund Bike Month by encouraging people to try bike commuting. There may never be a better time to give it a shot, with motor vehicle use at a historic low.
He gets it. Writing for a Yucaipa paper, a veteran bike cop says the far to the right law is widely misunderstood, and you’re not expected to be a gutter bunny. Although he may not have used that exact term. But still.
An allegedly intoxicated Fresno teenager hit the trifecta, crashing into a parked car, a bike rider and an apartment complex while fleeing from police; no word on the rider’s condition.
Vallejo’s annual tongue-in-cheek Obtanium Cup bike festival has been cancelled.
Time to start hoarding bicycles. The Guardian says bike usage is soaring across the US, while Bike says we’re running out of bikes, and it’s not just due to the coronavirus.
Lifehacker offers tips on learning to ride a bicycle, even if you’re an adult. Although once you actually get on a bike, you won’t feel like one.
The Verge says something better may emerge from the ashes of the scooter-sharing industry, which has ground to a halt over coronavirus fears.
A pair of Seattle bike cops are suing the city, alleging they were injured due to poorly maintained bicycles.
Los Angeles isn’t the only city enjoying cleaner air during the coronavirus lockdown. Denver is getting long-overdue relief from the city’s notorious brown cloud.
Evidently, that flawed study that incorrectly asserted that bike helmets reduce head injuries up to 85% will never die, rearing its head once again in an editorial from a Kansas paper. More accurate studies suggest helmets can reduce the risk of head injury 48%, and serious head injury 60%.
An Illinois letter writer complains that bike riders are discriminated against at drive-up windows. Just another example of windshield bias and the hegemony of motor vehicles.
Boston is considering four options to allow residents to get outside while maintaining social distancing, including Slow Streets and pop-up bike lanes.
New York is opening another 12 miles of Slow Streets now to allow for social distancing outside, along with another nine miles of protected bike lanes later this month.
An Alabama man was killed by his neighbor in a shooting that began with a dispute over the victim’s son, who was riding his bike down the street with a slingshot.
That’s more like it. A Florida city is building a new visitor’s center to attract people on bicycles.
The World Economic Forum suggests the Covid-19 pandemic could usher in a golden age of bicycling.
Cycling News looks at how ebikes are powering a worldwide revolution in post-lockdown transportation.
Road.cc lists their picks for the best road bikes priced from roughly $1,222 to $1,833. Which makes a lot more sense when you consider that translates to a nice, round £1,000 to £1,500 in the UK.
London’s historic Square Mile financial district will block some streets to motor vehicles as the city comes back to life, encouraging people to walk and ride bikes instead of driving.
The Standard says this is a chance for a more bike-friendly London.
A suspected British bike thief experiences instant karma, falling off the bike into a patch of nettles and breaking his ankle as he tried to make his escape.
The Sea Otter Classic is pulling the plug on the inaugural Australian edition of the annual Monterey bike fest.
Covid-19 claims another major event with the cancellation of Colorado’s iconic Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race.
If Oregon gives the okay to resume bike racing, it will be up to promoters to prove the race is safe from the coronavirus.
And this is what happens when someone who’s apparently never ridden a bike tries to design facilities for them.
Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already.