Days after the City of Los Angeles sponsored a series of events to celebrate bicycling in Los Angeles, the City Council heard the first draft budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year as presented by the LADOT. Let’s cut right to the chase, the budget eliminates the Bikeways Department completely, or as the Rita Robinson signed memorandum, available exclusively at Streetsblog, explains:
Discontinue bikeways function, including bicycle path maintenance, bicycle programs and school bicycle and transit education.
Discontinue work on Safe Routes to Schools
While I’m sure there are some of you that look at these paragraphs and wonder how we’ll survive without those yellow bracelets that tell us to "ride right and stop at the light," there’s more at stake here. As Kent Strumpell put it in an email:
That LADOT would even consider eliminating Bikeways programs as their
solution to this budget crisis is a vivid example of how out of touch
the Department is. With more people riding bikes than ever before,
with a vibrant cycling culture developing and with congestion and
climate change consequences screaming at us, this is exactly the wrong
time to cut the entire bikeways staff. If you think cycling doesn’t
get enough attention in Los Angeles now, wait until we have no staff at
all to look out for our needs.
I couldn’t agree with Strumpell more. With Los Angeles already a punchline for Car-Culture jokes throughout the world; eliminating the bikeways department is a great way to make certain those jokes continue ad infinitum. The only argument that would make sense would be if one wanted to argue that Bikeways was under performing; but that would speak to a need to reform the program not eliminate it altogether. Over at LAist, Zach Behrens gets to the bottom of the fiscal nature of the proposed cuts, and why parts of Bikeways should be saved; but even if it makes fiscal sense the LADOT has already sent the message to cyclists that they don’t have their full support.
The first pushback against the proposal came this morning on the Council floor when a group of cyclists, Midnight Ridazz and LACBC staffers, took to the podium to rail against the plan. The proposal will still be heard at least by the Budget and Finance Committee and full Council before it goes to any sort of actual vote. A full Action Alert by the LACBC, including contact information for Robinson, the Budget and Finance Committee and Mayor Villaraigosa, can be found after the jump.
TAKE ACTION!! 2 things you can do to save LA bike projects:
WHEN: Monday, May 18, 10:00AM
2) WRITE EMAILS AND CALL- 1st THING MONDAY MORNING BEFORE THE MEETING to LADOT, the Budget and Finance Committee Members and to the Mayor.
Numerous bicycle projects are underway which will be curtailed or compromised by this short-sighted move, including:
· The update of the city’s Bicycle Plan, already behind schedule.
Some talking points:
ATTEND THE MEETING and/or WRITE EMAILS AND CALL IN ON MONDAY!!! NEED YOUR VOICES IN NUMBERS!!
Budget and Finance Committee Members:
Councilmember Bernard C. Parks, Chair
Councilmember Wendy Greuel
Councilmember Bill Rosendahl
Councilmember Jose Huizar
Councilmember Greig Smith