Quotes That Matter from Folks That Matter

After reading the very comprehensive coverage of yesterday’s meetings on some of the other blogs around town, I decided that rather than write a long coverage post on what’s already been written, that I would instead just pull out some highlight quotes from many of the leaders that were there yesterday.

Before I get into the quotes, I want to recognize that there were "pro-bike" comments from at least the following Councilmembers: Wendy Greuel, Tom LaBonge, Eric Garcetti, Dennis Zine, Bill Rosendahl, Bernard Parks and of course Ed Reyes.

Rita Robinson, Director of LADOT, recognizes that traffic isn’t something that just happens, pledges to do better when looking at land use, and calls for parking reform.

"We are traffic. The cars don’t drive themselves."
"One thing we don’t fund well is planning and land use…we’re reactive not proactive."
"We need to look at not just how we use the street when we move, but how we use it when we stay still."

Gail Goldberg, Director of City Planning, comments on LA being a sprawling city, recognizes that better land use will lead to less traffic, critiques the community planning process and argues that we need to think about transportation differently.

"LA is different…uniquely spreads its density over a large area. We have the worst of both worlds…dense sprawl."
"With better land use, we can reduce traffic by 10% and that’s before discussing the increase of transit usage associated with TOD (Transit Oriented Development)"
"The old community plans are horrific….New plans will be much more complex and will have a mobility element."
"(LA should) promote plans that maximize walking and biking while rejecting decisions that maximize driving while moving pedestrians away from the streets."

Assemblyman Mike Feuer gave a talk similar to his one at It’s Time to Move L.A., but also offered this brief history of transportation funding priorities.

"We focused for too long on building freeways at the expense of public transit…at the expense of bikeways."

Councilman Jack Weiss interrupted a series of councilmembers asking questions that only pertained to their districts to ponder the relationship between the departments. Weiss followed this statement with a motion to merge the efforts of these departments on the city’s transportation master plan.

"It’s my view that these (LADOT and planning) are the same department."

Council President Eric Garcetti proposes a measuring stick for success.

"In Los Angeles, we average 1.1 people per car…we need to get that to 1.5 or higher."

Councilman Tom LaBonge talks bikes.

"I’m very concerned about bikes riding on sidewalks. Too often they merge onto the street without looking, like they have the right of way. More bike lanes could help fix that."

My evil twin, Damien Goodmon, threatens the Expo Line.

"If the plan isn’t made safe, we will derail this $850 million project….Our local council people aren’t just uneducated (about the safety problems of at-grade light rail) they don’t care."

There was also testimony given from the LACBC, Illuminate LA and Green LA all focused on the lack of transportation options in the city, especially bikeways. Roughly half those commenting in the first round of commenters spoke against the Pico/Olympic plan. The Bus Rider’s Union noted that you could build an entirely new bus network for the same cost as the Subway to the Sea. The bike testimony can be summed up by this letter by "Over the Hill" at Midnight Ridazz, read into the record by Enci of Illuminate LA:

I am a resident of District 3. By free choice, not of economic necessity, I use a mix of modes for my transportation needs: Auto (less than 6000 miles last year), bicycle (more than 2100 miles last year) and the MTA.
By using bicycles as part of my transportation mix, I have decreased my own auto traffic in Los Angeles from over 12,000 miles per year to less than 6,000. It’s time to stop thinking of transportation in terms of autos only.
I request that the Council instruct the LADOT to RE-ENGINEER its metric for transportation efficiency away from VEHICLES per hour to PERSONS transported per hour, using a WEIGHTED SUM across all available modes [auto + motorcycle + bus + bicycle + pedestrian + surface rail], giving independent weight to each mode’s available speed, spacing and achievable traffic density. Regarding bicycle traffic, I support integration of bicycle traffic with other roadway traffic rather than marginalization of bicycle traffic to the sidewalk.

Denny Zane noted that this year is a good year to get a sales tax ballot proposition passed.

"There is expected to be high turnout among young and first time voters. Young voters are more likely to support ballot measures that fund infrastructure for the future."

USC Professor Gen Giuliano on the failure to lobby Washington.

"The unified California fell apart on SAFETEA-LU, and the rest of the country noticed."

Councilmember Richard Alarcon on his fears on HOT Lanes.

"Wealthy people can buy a better ride and would have negative impact on that that can’t afford it. 30% of the population is at poverty level."

John Rist, from the Portland DOT noted that "complete streets" isn’t just a concept to our northern neighbors.

"We will retrofit all of our streets…with new sidewalks, bike paths and links to transit."
"5-10% of the people that commute in to Portland do so on a bicycle."

I couldn’t help but noting that during the Portland DOT presentation, there were only three councilmembers paying attention…councilmembers Wesson, Zine and Perry. Good for them.

Al Fox, Director of Baltimore’s DOT, noted the importance of community involvement.

"We needed buy-in for the strategic plan to work, so we included all stakeholders, including advocacy groups, in the plan’s design."

To peruse the official presentations of some city departments, you can do so here.
To look over the schedule they didn’t even come close to keeping, you can do so here.
To re-read my post, don’t click anywhere.

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