It took awhile, but Los Angeles is finally back with a study suggesting the city should take cops out of traffic stops.
First proposed nearly three years ago in the wake of the George Floyd protests, the results of the study would turn traffic enforcement over to unarmed civilians, as well as remaking streets to prevent aggressive and reckless driving in the first place.
LA, meet your underfunded Vision Zero program.
According to the Los Angeles Times,
Among the recommendations put forth by the city report is investing in so-called “self-enforcing infrastructure,” such as narrower streets, dedicated bike lanes and more clearly marked pedestrian crosswalks.
Such measures naturally slow the flow of traffic and discourage drivers from speeding or breaking other road laws. Much like the Vision Zero initiative — unveiled in 2015 by then-Mayor Eric Garcetti to end traffic deaths within a decade — they would increase safety and reduce the need for active enforcement in “high-injury network corridors, low-income communities, and communities of color,” the report said.
While the city could build on the existing Vision Zero model, the report said, it should be less reliant on law enforcement.
Then again, Vision Zero supporters have stressed that last part since the program was adopted.
The program — at least as envisioned in the original European approach — is based on re-envisioning infrastructure to prevent behavior that too often leads to traffic deaths, rather than the Americanized approach of increased enforcement and education.
Which may be cheaper, but it’s a lot less effective, as countless failed Vision Zero programs across the US attest.
Including right here in Los Angeles.
The study goes on to address the rising rates of traffic violence — as well as other forms of violence from motorists — directed at people outside of cars, whether they’re walking, biking or living on the streets.
From the chronic problem of people running stop signs to a rise in sideshows that occasionally lead to injuries — such as street takeovers or drag racing — the work group found that the “aggressiveness of drivers towards nondrivers, including the unhoused, is a growing problem in Los Angeles.”
Headlines describing road violence involving pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists have piled up in recent months, including one case last month in which police say a possibly impaired driver barreled into a mother and her 6-year-old daughter as they walked to school in Mid-Wilshire. The mother was killed and the girl was critically injured…
The city’s streets remain particularly deadly for pedestrians and bicyclists, with 159 people killed in collisions involving pedestrians and motorists last year. This is a 19% rise compared with 2021, LAPD data show. An additional 20 people died in collisions involving bicyclists and motorists, an 11% rise.
The report also calls for further reducing the kind of pretextual stops we’ve too often seen directed against people on bicycles — particularly people of color — who may be stopped for a minor traffic violation, only to find themselves handcuffed and searched.
The question is whether the LAPD’s powerful police union will be willing to give up responsibility for traffic enforcement, which is anything but a given at this point.
Particularly since they haven’t even been willing to embrace automated speed cams.
Other questions involve what happens when drivers flee a traffic stop, or when the unarmed civilians are confronted by armed motorists.
But it’s worth pursuing to see if we can make it work.
Closing arguments are scheduled for today, after the defense rested in the murder trial of Desert Hot Springs resident Ronnie Ramon Huerta Jr, for the high speed death of Washington resident Mark Kristofferson during the 2018 Tour de Palm Spring.
Huerta was allegedly driving stoned and without a license when he ran down Kristofferson at speeds up to 100 mph; he was arrested after being detained by witnesses in a nearby field as he attempted to run away on foot.
He also faces charges for leaving Huntington Beach resident Alyson Lee Akers with lasting injuries, in a crash just seconds from the brutal impact that killed Kristofferson.
The case could go to the jury as early as this afternoon.
A new bill could be the first step in ushering out parking minimums nationwide.
The bill, co-sponsored by four Democratic Representatives, including Long Beach Congressman Robert Garcia, would extend California’s approach to eliminating parking minimums near transit hubs to the federal level.
It’s a start, anyway.
Although the chances of getting the bill through the Republican-controlled House seem pretty minimal, at best.
This morning I submitted the People over Parking Act, a bill in the U.S. House that eliminates parking minimums across the country in transit rich zones. We are in a housing crisis and eliminating parking requirements lowers costs to build. It’s good housing & climate policy.
— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarcia) May 9, 2023
Speaking of which, the Los Angeles Times reviews Slate columnist Henry Grabar’s new book, Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World, describing it as “a romp, packed with tales of anger, violence, theft, lust, greed, political chicanery and transportation policy gone wrong.”
If you own a car, you’ve got to park it somewhere. If you live in or near a city — most of us do — the consequences are all around you. Everyone already knows how fundamentally the automobile has shaped our physical environment, the residents of Los Angeles County perhaps most of all. Roads and highways are only part of it.
“Paved Paradise” sensitized me to just how profoundly parking itself has contributed to the uglification of urban life, creating, as one of Grabar’s sources puts it, “a super-mundane environment that people just want to move through.” He notes a sad fact about “The Sims,” the popular reality-cloning video game, which tried to simulate the world as accurately as possible but had to cut back dramatically on the overwhelming presence of parking lots for its simulated city. The visual result would have been too grim…
California, inevitably, figures heavily in “Paved Paradise.” The paradise line from the famous Joni Mitchell song “” that gives Grabar his title may have been inspired by Hawaii, but Los Angeles is its truest manifestation. In the 1920s, as those newfangled private motor cars gummed up traffic, street-side parking downtown was banned. The result: comfortably smooth traffic flow and a revenue decline for downtown merchants of 50%.
It’s a good read, about what sounds like a surprisingly good read about parking, and how too much emphasis on cars can destroy cities.
It’s going on my reading list, anyway.
LA street safety PAC Streets For All is hosting their virtual happy hour this evening, featuring CD1 Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez.
Metro is celebrating bike month in Los Angeles County with free rides on Bike Day — formerly known as Bike to Work Day — as well as $1 bikeshare passes and a long list of bicycle classes.
Although here’s a link to the Metro Shop to replace the broken link on the page above, in case anyone else wants the backpack in the photo, which doesn’t seem to actually exist.
However, the real peak to this year’s Bike Month may come the following weekend, when Long Beach hosts their latest Beach Streets open streets event on Saturday, May 20th, followed by CicLAvia’s first Ciclamini in Watts the next day.
San Diego’s BikeSD reminds us about next week’s annual Ride of Silence to remember bike riders killed in traffic violence.
Join us on the evening of May 17th for a Ride of Silence.
More information to come soon. pic.twitter.com/P5mAa9eTbJ
— BikeSD (@BikeSD) May 9, 2023
So far, there are two rides scheduled for the Los Angeles area, with the usual Rose Bowl ride joined by another in East Hollywood.
|Contact:||Thomas Cassidy <–Send email|
|Contact:||Rafael Hernandez <–Send email|
|Notes:||Location is tentatively scheduled to start and end at Reciclos pending confirmation from the venue|
The San Diego County Bike Coalition wants to know where you want to see the city’s upcoming open streets events.
Works for people on bicycles, too.
— Martyn Schmoll (@martynschmoll) May 9, 2023
The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on rolling.
Proving once again that no good deed goes unpunished, a New Haven, Connecticut bike rider was shot after arguing with a second motorist when he tried to help a driver who’d fallen asleep at the wheel.
But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.
A Florida man was busted for being a bike-riding porch pirate.
Actor James Norton is one of us, although he might regret that after London’s Daily Mail goes ballistic when he’s seen jumping a red light in the city.
Two friends were “viciously” attacked when a London man deliberately rode his bikeshare bike into one of them, then punched the other in the face, breaking his glasses. Although I’d think a truly vicious attack would result in more than just broken spectacles. But what the hell do I know?
LA County wants your input on how to update the county bike plan, and improve conditions for people on bikes in unincorporated areas of the county. Thanks to Dr. Grace Peng for the heads-up, who reminds us to request completion of the LA River and Ballona Creek bike paths, which are under county control.
Former UFC interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson was busted on suspicion of DUI after his truck hit at least two other cars and flipped over in Hollywood early Sunday; fortunately, no one was injured.
Santa Clarita wants you to Hit the Trail this Saturday, with an informal, self-guided community bike ride exploring the city’s bike trail system.
Streetsblog says the pandemic kind of increased street space allocation for California bike riders, but more is needed.
California’s Equity-First Transportation Funding Act (AB 1525) would require that 60% of the state’s transportation funds would have to directly benefit “priority populations” in historically marginalized communities.
A 23-year old San Diego man was hospitalized with an open fracture to his right ankle after failing to land a bike stunt.
Two 57-year old men were seriously injured when their bikes collided as they were riding together in San Diego’s Point Loma neighborhood last Friday.
Fresno is marking Bike Month with a Ride With the Mayor event. Meanwhile, Los Angeles isn’t.
Sad news from Hayward, where a 29-year old Salinas man was killed in a collision while riding his bike Sunday night. But the driver wasn’t drunk or stoned, so apparently it’s okay.
Every city in Oregon can now use speed cams, after the state’s governor signed a bill expanding the current ten-city pilot program. Meanwhile, speed cams continue to be illegal in California, for reasons no one seems able to adequately explain.
A Salt Lake City public radio station says it will take more than reducing costs to establish an ebike society in the region.
Denver is working with nonprofit bike registration program 529 Garage to replace the city’s existing bike registration system. Meanwhile, the LAPD is using Bike Index to register and recover bikes. Although bike registration does more to recover bikes after they’re stolen than to prevent thefts in the first place.
Colorado is set to offer a $12 million income-based e-bike incentive program, building on the successful Denver ebike rebate program. It’s also $2 million more than California’s long delayed program, despite having just 14% of California’s population.
Oops. A Wisconsin man will spend another six months behind bars after a judge revoked his deferred sentencing agreement for noncompliance, after he originally spent just two months in jail for seriously injuring a bike rider; he will also be required to maintain absolute sobriety for the next five years.
The Federal Highway Administration has approved New York City’s proposed congestion pricing plan, after an environmental review resulted in a “Finding of No Significant Impact” on the surrounding region.
The star of TLC’s Welcome to Plathville is taking a sabbatical from social media after her 15-year old brother was killed in a collision while riding his bike in Franklin County, Virginia.
Florida bike riders could soon get that healthy radioactive glow, after the state legislature passed a law mandating a study of using radioactive phosphogypsum as a paving material, although using the agricultural byproduct would require EPA approval.
No bias here. A couple of candidates for mayor of Toronto clashed over whether bike lanes help or hurt traffic congestion, even as one insists he’s not anti-bike lanes while promising to rip them out anyway.
That’s more like it. A British appeals court increased the sentence of a “callous,” speeding driver, resentencing him to six years behind bars for killing a man on a bicycle while driving at 82mph, after concluding the original sentence of four years and eight months was too lenient.
Ebike sales are booming throughout Europe — except in the UK, where they actually shrank last year. But that may have more to do with the UK deciding it’s not part of Europe anymore.
Here’s another one for your bike bucket list, with the new Seine à Vélo bike route that follows the river from Paris to the Normandy coast.
Bicycling reports one man is dead, and two other people injured, after a stoned Spanish motorcyclist plowed into a group of Polish bike riders vacationing in Mallorca. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.
After a South African bike rider was killed when he fell off his bike and was struck by a driver, the local press somehow feels the need to note that his bike was undamaged. As if it’s okay as long as his bike survived.
In a surprising turn, Norway’s Andreas Leknessund took the leader’s jersey from pre-race favorite Remco Evenepoel in Tuesday’s 4th stage of the Giro, becoming just the second Norwegian to wear the pink jersey, and the first in 42 years.
American Sepp Kuss successfully pulled off a high risk, high speed battery swap in Monday’s Stage 3 of the Giro.
Bicycling offers a calendar of amateur bike races and events for the next two years. This one isn’t available on other sites, however, so you’re on your own if the magazine blocks you.
And that feeling when the internet really loves your new bike fest logo.
Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.
Oh, and fuck Putin, too.