It’s going to be a very interesting election year.
While my attention has been focused on the race to replace outgoing councilmember Tom LaBonge in CD4, bike-friendly councilmember Jose Huizar has been fighting for his political future in the face of a challenge from termed-out county commissioner Gloria “Where are we all going to park?” Molina.
That was her response to a recent debate question over development replacing parking lots in Downtown LA — even though DTLA already has more parking spaces per hectare than the downtown of any other major city on earth, according to UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup.
Oh, the poor cars.
While Huizar stood on his record as a champion of complete streets, Molina criticized his support of bike lanes, saying the community hadn’t been adequately consulted. That despite the extensive public meetings held in the multi-year process that lead to the adoption of the city’s 2010 bike plan.
Simply put, if anyone feels they weren’t adequately consulted, it’s because they didn’t care enough to get involved.
Evidently going after the afraid of change demographic, Molina complained about the increased density that has finally brought DTLA back to life after decades of decline. And has previously called for completion of the unneeded and largely unwanted 710 Freeway — which she later recanted after the forum, apparently after realizing most of the voters in the district oppose the project.
In effect, it was a debate over Huizar’s efforts to move forward to a more livable city based on complete streets, and Molina’s desire to turn back the clock to LA’s auto-centric past.
You can probably guess where I stand on the matter.
And yet the Times has inexplicably endorsed Molina; DTLA Rising’s Brigham Yen endorses Huizar.
Molina has also been endorsed by CD1 Council Member Gil Cedillo, singlehandedly responsible for killing the long planned, full funded and much needed road diet on North Figueroa.
Which should be the final nail in Molina’s coffin.
At least it is for me.
So if there’s any doubt, let me make it perfectly clear. Huizar has been one of the most effective members of the city council in recent years. And with the possible exception of Joe Buscaino, has done more to improve the quality of life in his district than any other councilmember.
Which is exactly what his constituents elected him for. And why he has my unqualified support in next month’s election.
Meanwhile, Bike the Vote LA has released a complete slate of endorsements for multiple candidates in races throughout the county.
And yes, Huizar is on the list, along with Nadine Diaz, who is also running in the district.
Streetsblog’s Damien Newton somehow managed to keep his cool when KFI shock jerks — excuse me, jocks — John and Ken repeatedly misrepresented the facts on bicycling and bike advocacy in LA. Then kept interrupting Newton to insist he was lying when he tried in vain to correct them.
You can listen to it here if you have the stomach for it.
Personally, I couldn’t take more than a few minutes; frankly, I have better things to do than listen to that kind of crap.
The problem is too many people don’t. Presumably, they believe the kind of kneejerk anti-bike, auto-centric misinformation — to put it kindly — John and Ken were trying to shove down Newton’s throat.
Joe Linton politely took them to task afterwards for incorrectly insisting that half of the roadway on some unnamed streets in Downtown LA had been given over to bicycles.
Of course, the thing to remember is that John and Ken, and other blowhard TV and radio hosts like them, are entertainers, not journalists.
Their job is to draw listeners and increase ratings for the station. And any controversy, real or imaged, helps do exactly that.
The truth has nothing to do with it.
More reaction to SB 192, the proposed legislation from Glendale State Senator Carol Liu that would make California the first state to require helmets for all bike riders, as well as requiring reflective high visibility clothing after dark.
CiclaValley says the law would place a financial burden onto bikes but only have a trace impact on safety, while Boyonabike says it’s not the bikes, the helmets or the hi-viz, it’s the cars, stupid.
San Francisco’s SFGate says a mandatory helmet law would deflect attention from more pressing road dangers, like all those dangerous streets and drivers.
And the Fresno Bee tries to have it both ways, saying Liu should look at incentives to encourage, rather than requiring, helmet use. But that cyclists need to clean up their act or a helmet law may be necessary, as if being forced to wear a helmet is somehow punishment for bad behavior.
Mark your calendar for May 15th to meet retired Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Robert Friend as part of a fundraiser for Ride 2 Recovery.
If you’re not familiar with them, the Tuskegee Airmen were not only among the greatest heroes of World War II, but paved the way for the Civil Rights Era by proving they were as good, if not better, than anyone else in the air. On either side.
My dad, who fought in both Europe and the Pacific, always wanted to meet one of them so he could thank him for the job they did in the face of incredible racial injustice.
If I get the chance on May 15th, I’m going to do it for him.
Caught on Video: The previously mentioned LA Councilmember Joe Buscaino works with the LACBC to distribute bike lights through Operation Firefly.
Metro’s presentation from the recent Bicycle Roundtable is now available online; CiclaValley offers the condensed version — including coming arrival of Bike Hubs, along with Complete Streets and the long-desired triple bike racks on buses.
Tres shock! Police in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills are filming a bike safety video; a clip posted online shows an impatient driver harassing a cyclist. And no, not to encourage that sort of behavior. I think it was Helen’s Cycles Dan Weinberg who sent that to me; please forgive me if I got that one wrong.
Cycling in the South Bay has a great suggestion on what to do with that unused mountain bike gathering dust in your garage — a bikeless South LA high school mountain bike team needs it if you don’t.
The next Women Bike, Women Lead event sponsored by Multicultural Communities for Mobility will be a ride from Downtown to South LA.
Ride or walk for a great cause, with the 2nd Annual Bike-A-Thon and Hike-A-Thon to raise funds for Bikes4Orphans.
Bust out your woolens, CICLE is hosting their annual Tweed, Moxie and Mustaches Ride on Sunday, March 1st.
Newport Beach’s popular Back Bay Drive will be closed for resurfacing through the end of the month.
The hit-and-run epidemic has spread to our neighbor to the south, as 23 San Diegans lost their lives to drivers who fled the scene last year. Thanks to sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the heads up.
A San Diego writer says you can save $12,000 a year just by kicking your car to the curb.
Palm Desert cyclists ride to remember handcyclist Rose Peters, who lost her life earlier this year.
If you’re selling a bike, Santa Barbara police say don’t accept a set of keys as security for a test ride.
Unbelievable, or at least I wish it was. An Antioch driver is under arrest for getting out of his vehicle and stabbing a bicyclist in a road rage incident; fortunately, the victim’s injuries were not life-threatening.
A writer for the Modesto Bee says cyclists need a share of the road, and not just in the form of ghost bikes.
I don’t think this is what Springsteen had in mind when he wrote Blinded by the Light, as a Washington driver plays the universal Get Out Of Jail Free card after running down a bike rider.
Seattle is trading parking spaces for bus and bike lanes. And needless to say, not everyone is happy about it.
A Michigan group wants your help to provide adaptive bikes to special needs kids. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.
Maybe you recall the case of the asthmatic Chattanooga cyclist who was harassed, nearly run off the road, and pepper sprayed by a group of teenagers in a truck, then threatened with arrest himself after he reported the crime. Now he’s filing suit against the teens and their parents, as well as the local sheriff’s department and the cop who tried to coerce him into dropping the charges.
A Baltimore letter writer says bike riders should share the costs, responsibilities and accountabilities of motorists, conveniently forgetting we’re not the ones in the big dangerous machines that kill people, damage the roadways and harm the environment.
Yet another way cyclists are vulnerable on the streets, as a Manchester, UK rider is subjected to racist abuse, knocked off his bike and punched in the head as he made his way to work.
Women’s pro cycling continues to gain a foothold in the Grand Tours, with a women’s race scheduled before the final leg of the Vuelta. Although it would be nice if they were given more than a single token race at any given tour.
Syrian women fight to stay on their bikes in the war torn county.
Tasmanian cyclists get the equivalent of a three-foot law on roads with speed limits up 37 mph, increasing to nearly five feet at higher speeds.
Caught on video: A Brit motorist defends her actions after being caught reading a book while driving. The Desert Sun says the Tour de Palm Springs is not a race, then calls it exactly that in the caption.
And this is so not the way to promote women’s cycling.