Tag Archive for Figueroa Blvd

An open letter to CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo on improving safety and livability on North Figueroa

Courtesy of LACBC

Courtesy of LACBC

Dear Councilmember Cedillo,

Seldom does such a defining moment come so early in a council member’s time in office.

But that’s exactly what you face in deciding whether to install bike lanes on North Figueroa; a choice that will define your legacy long after you leave office.

For better. Or for worse.

And right now, things aren’t looking good for you. Or the people who live, work or travel through your district.

But let’s be honest. It’s not about bike lanes.

As you should be aware by now, North Figueroa has long been a dangerous street for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as motorists. In fact, the street has averaged nearly one traffic fatality a year, and over 82 injuries, over a 10-year period.

It’s a roadway where dangerous design and overcapacity encourage speeding and overly aggressive driving, risking innocent lives and discouraging the non-motorized transportation that could ease traffic and benefit local businesses.

In a process that began five years ago, the street was studied and discussed in an extensive series of public meetings. And the overwhelming consensus among local residents — your constituents — was that the roadway needed to be reconfigured to calm traffic and improve safety.

Bike lanes were just a part of a larger plan that would benefit everyone by increasing pedestrian access, reducing dangerous driving and improving livability throughout the North Figueroa corridor.

Combined with the recently approved MyFigueroa project on South Figueroa, it would establish one of the city’s most complete streets from end-to-end, where average people could feel comfortable strolling casually or enjoying a leisurely bike ride to local shops and restaurants. As well as encouraging people to get out of their cars to commute to work and school, taking pressure off our city’s overcrowded and fume-choked streets.

The project was approved, funded and shovel-ready when your predecessor left office.

All you had to do was sign off on it.

Instead, you’ve engaged in a year-long campaign of obfuscation and foot-dragging, repeatedly refusing to engage with local residents questioning why you were delaying such a beneficial and desperately needed project.

221162813-Bike-Lane-Community-Meeting-5-8-14-Flyer-English-FinalAnd now you are proposing an alternative approach, a complicated series of sharrows similar to ideas that have already been considered — and rejected — before you ever took office.

Yet sharrows will do absolutely nothing to slow traffic and improve safety on and around Figueroa. They will not improve walkability or encourage shoppers to stroll the street. And they will do nothing to entice anyone but the most confident bicyclists to risk their own safety by riding directly in front of impatient drivers.

In other words, your proposal fails to address any of the concerns that prompted the city and the residents of Northeast LA to reimagine the North Figueroa corridor in the first place. It represents a failure of imagination and leadership for which you and your staff should be ashamed.

And it begs the question of why you have backed off on a proposal with such overwhelming support — including, at one time, your own.

Some say it’s due to a desire to place your own stamp on the street, rather than allow your predecessor build on his own legacy. Others have suggested that it’s political payback to an anti-bike lane opponent who helped throw the election your way.

True or not, neither reflects well on you.

The mere fact that people in your district would question your motives for such inexplicable foot-dragging speaks to the confusion and betrayal they feel.

You have a rare opportunity to demonstrate genuine vision and leadership in creating a truly Great Street that will benefit everyone who lives, works or travels anywhere on or near it. And bring greater growth and prosperity to an area that desperately needs it.

Or your can decide to keep things more or less as they are, maintaining a dangerous auto-focused street that risks the lives and safety of everyone who travels or crosses it, as well as an almost inevitable decline for what is and should be a vibrant community.

Despite extensive criticism — including mine — Curren Price, your colleague on the City Council, showed genuine leadership in forging an agreement to keep the MyFigueroa project on track.

Will you do the same, and support a more livable North Figueroa that will stand as your legacy long after you’ve left office?

Or will you stand in the face of progress — and your constituents — to maintain a future of danger and decline?

The decision is in your hands. We can only hope you make the right choice.


Ted Rogers

Note: There will be a community meeting tonight at Nightingale Elementary School to discuss the proposal to replace the planned road diet and bike lanes with sharrows, from 6 to 8 pm, 3311 North Figueroa. The anti-bike lane factions are expected to be out in force, so supporters are urged to attend to demonstrate the support this project has among bike riders, pedestrians and the greater community.

And if you haven’t already, sign the petition to show your support.


Malibu study suggests PCH safety improvements; a NELA paranoid bike lane conspiracy theory

Lots of news to wrap up the work week.

No, seriously, don’t take note of the perfect summer weather that finally arrived in LA this week. You’ve got important things to do. And you can live without riding your bike for another day.



UCLA professor Donald Shoup would be proud.

The nation’s parking meister has long argued against the high cost of free parking. Now a new Malibu safety study seems to be taking him seriously, suggesting parking meters along PCH could improve safety by reducing the problems with drivers looking for free parking.

I like it.

The study also recommends putting east/west bike lanes along the full length of the 21-mile city to get cyclists out of the way of high-speed traffic. Although someone should tell them that sharrows are not bike lanes.

You can read the study here, and weigh in with your own thoughts online through September 17th; thanks to Paiwei Wei for the link.


Anti-NELA bike lane activist Tom Topping writes in his Boulevard Sentinel newspaper that he’s being smeared by bike advocates — and oddly, KPCC’s Larry Mantle. I listened to the Airtalk program he refers to when it aired last month; actually, I though Larry was going easy on him. And having appeared on Larry’s program, I can’t say I detected a bit of pro or anti-bike bias, though word is he’s a car guy at heart.

Then again, it does make for a damn good paranoid conspiracy theory if bike shop owners and public radio hosts are all on the city payroll to ram through “vehicle removal plans” for a fast buck.

Though I’m not exactly sure who profits from road diets and bike lanes. Except, of course, for the businesses and residents who reside alongside them.


Evidently, I wasn’t the only one to host a Bike Talk program on Tuesday. Flying Pigeon’s Josef Bray-Ali — the unnamed bike shop owner in the above conspiracy theory — hosted a discussion touching anti-bike UN paranoia, billionaires and bikes, and measuring the success of bike projects, among other topics.


ABC’s 20/20 program takes a look at LA’s hit-and-run epidemic, which the LA Weekly takes sole credit for uncovering; I seem to recall a long list of bike advocates who have been raising the alarm for years, but what do I know? Culver City hosts the annual bike-friendly Fiesta La Ballona this weekend. The comment period for the new Union Station master plan has been extended through the end of this month. Santa Monica will hold a free festival next month to preview the planned MANGo Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway; for the sake of fairness, I hope they also have a WOMANGo greenway in the works. Santa Monica’s Bike Center will try to help the city’s businesses become more bike friendly. Sunday will see a Kidical Mass ride in Chinatown. Metro and CICLE team up to offer three free community bike rides in the LA area in the next three months. County Supervisor Gloria Molina joins with the LACBC and LA County Parks and Recreation to hold a free East LA Bicycle Ride on Saturday, Sept. 7th. Ride Pablove Across America will hold an LA fundraising ride in the Valley on October 12th. Okay, so it’s not a bike race, but proceeds from the October 20th Loco Motion 10K Run will benefit the LACBC in honor of fallen cyclist Marisela Echeverria, killed while riding on PCH last year. Red5 Yellow7 will host a workshop on how to choose the right bike on September 9th. The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition will hold its first official meeting Saturday. Incycle Bike Shop says they’re having their biggest sale of the year. Bike Long Beach explains when you can really take the lane.

Laguna Beach moves towards complete streets while trying to move bike riders off PCH; maybe the city should consider a Roman role model. Irvine is now officially bike-friendly, but that’s about all you’ll learn thanks to the OC Register’s draconian paywall. A San Diego writer proposes using the city’s unpaved canyons for bike superhighways. A bicyclist gets her bike back, thanks to a door-to-door wildfire evacuation; thanks to murphstahoe for the heads-up. Yet another holier-than-thou Napa bike rider says she obeys the law and rides courteously, but those damn speeding spandex-clad cyclists should stay the hell off the streets.

AAA says American drivers are growing less concerned about behaviors that could kill you. Biking improves employee productivity. The firing of Serotta’s founder takes some of the soul out of American framebuilding. I’ve been to Maui’s Haleakala volcano, and would not want to ride a bike off the edge of it. A sidewalk riding Las Vegas cyclist is killed in an apparent SWSS. Bicycle tourists are a major source of revenue in Arizona. It takes a village to capture a Longmont CO bike thief. BMC’s Tejay van Garderen takes the leader’s jersey in the USA Pro Challenge. A 74-year old MA pastor was murdered with a hammer while riding home on his bike. Needless to say, the New York cabbie who severed the leg of a British tourist earlier this week blames the bike rider who tried to warn him, as well as the city’s bike lanes; the Daily News reveals the bike rider may not be a nice person, but fails to note what the hell does that has to do with the wreck. Those NYC bike lanes may be key to outgoing Mayor Bloomberg’s legacy. Citi Bike rides the subway; New York bike share riders may ride drunk, but at least they don’t black out. Even a Philly bike cop can be a victim of hit-and-run. Is it time to end the longtime Share the Road campaign in Delaware — and everywhere else, for that matter?

British cycling star Bradley Wiggins calls for making helmet use mandatory; how about making it mandatory for cars to not hit bicyclists, instead? Volvo’s new cyclist detection system wins the UK’s award for best car safety system. Edinburgh is the latest city to drop speed limits to 20 mph to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Queensland, Australia cyclists could get a minimum 1-meter passing distance, maybe more in high speed areas.

Finally, repeat after me: If you have two bags of meth stuffed in the tubes of your bike, stop for the damn stop signs, already. And a car crashes into a San Fernando Valley post office; witnesses report the building swerved into the car’s path and wasn’t wearing a helmet.

Update: Bike lanes approved for Figueroa and Colorado Blvds in NELA. Or not.

LADOT has just announced that road diets and bike lanes have been approved for Figueroa and Colorado Blvds in Northeast L.A., over the objections of a small but very vocal minority.

This is a huge victory for supporters who have been battling for the lanes, including Flying Pigeon’s Josef Bray-Ali, Fig4All and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

I’m guest editing LA Streetsblog once again tomorrow, so look for a full report there. You can read a PDF of the full General Manager’s determination on link below.

LADOT LOD 053013

Update: So much for that. Just moments after I got my story online at Streetsblog, the city sent out a notice that yesterday’s announcement was merely procedural, and that no final decision has been made.

Not only is the war not over yet, it seems the battle has barely begun.

At least you can console yourself with a mostly bike-centric look at today’s headlines.