What’s going on with the Bike Master Plan?
That question has been on the minds of cyclists ever since public outreach meetings for the plan were announced in January of 2008. The release last week of a series of low-resolution maps by the Department of City Planning actually made the confusion and frustration felt by cyclists even worse. The low resolution pdf.’s were nigh impossible to read, contained incomplete information and occasionally were missing streets entirely.
Looking for more answers, I took a trip to the Parker Center for the June 2009 meeting of the city’s official Bicycle Advisory Committee. This Committee consists of people appointed by the City Council and Mayor’s Office to advise policy makers how to make the city a safe and attractive place for cyclists. Surely here I would be able to find out what was going on, when we would see the rest of the plan and what was up with the low resolution maps that were released last week.
What I got was disappointment and more confusion.
Representing the City was Michelle Mowery, the senior bicycle coordinator with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Mowery claimed to not have any details about why the maps were released at all, why Planning chose such a lousy format for the release, when new details would be released to the public or why there were so many errors on the maps that were released. Basically, she was denying that the LADOT has anything to do with the plan, that it’s a planning document. Mowery even denied personally looking at the maps that were posted online.
Nobody from planning was at the meeting, neither were any of the consultants from Alta Planning or the group that is working on the mountain biking plan, or anyone who could answer any questions that had to do with the Bicycle Master Plan. In other words, the only representatives of the city either weren’t willing or weren’t able to comment on the BMP beyond what we can ascertain by looking at the maps ourselves.
This latest public relations debacle continues what has been a disheartening process from the city in what is usually a time of empowerment and hope in other cities. After all, if the city’s official group of expert cyclists can’t get the people responsible for the most important bicycle planning document in the city, what hope do the rest of us have?
The next meeting of the full Bicycle Advisory Committee is set for early August. Mowery said that she hopes that public outreach meetings would be held at some point in July.