Where Should the LADOT and Planning Do Workshops on Bike Plan?

In addition to witnessing LAPD fail a reality test, cyclists also got into a debate with the LADOT and City Planning over the Draft Bike Plan at yesterday’s City Council Transportation Committee Hearing.  As regular readers already know, in late May a series of maps was released to the public, causing a round of jeers from many in the cycling community.  Last week the maps and outreach plan were presented to the City Council Transportation Committee, and over four dozen cyclists pedaled Downtown for the 8:00 A.M. meeting to lodge their protests.

Yesterday, a smaller crowd was on-hand and Council Chair Wendy Greuel tried her best to keep the comments directed at the outreach plan and not the Bike Plan.  A few speakers got their objections to the plan on the record, but the bulk of the comments were on the outreach plan’s deficiencies.

Unfortunately, so far there is no change to the outreach plan that was outlined back in May at a Bike Advisory Committee sub-committee meeting.  There are four public workshops planned as well as hearings at the Planning Commission, Transportation Committee and City Council.  The plan will also be presented at a special meeting of the Bike Advisory Committee and of course they will continue to collect comments at the website at labikeplan.org.

However, following testimony that the four locations for the workshops, Downtown, South LA, the Westside and San Pedro were insufficient and that it is downright strange not to have a hearing on the Eastside; a strange thing happened.  Councilman Rosendahl asked how much it would cost to have another workshop and guaranteed he would find the money for it.  Greuel followed up with a request that if there are other places that need workshops, people should submit them.  Feel free to use the comments section, I’ll pass them on.

However, the complaints about the outreach also reached to the Internet outreach.  Roadblock continued to press for a more interactive website, picture combining the current bike plan site with Midnight Ridazz; but was brushed off by city staff.

While the lowlight of the meeting was clearly the LAPD report, a sub-lowlight was a virtual no-show by Alta Planning and Design.  Last week, Rosendahl demanded that the firm, which has gotten nearly half a million dollars in city funds, be at future Council hearings on the Bike Plan.  While it’s true that local consultant Matt Benjamin was in the room, he was only identified at the end of the portion on the bike plan causing  Greuel to grump, "It would have been nice to know he was here earlier" and for Stephen Box to ask for everyone to get a "do-over" in testimony since we should get a chance to hear from them.

Benjamin was never called on to testify.

  • LA Valley resident

    How about first asking (one email) the Neighborhood Councils to each hold there own bicycle workshops, and then decide where to hold the larger workshops based on responses. Neighborhood Council workshops wouldn’t require any City or Alta staff or very little if anything. They would just need documents, media and materials sent by email (or mail). This would help drum up participation and get people thinking, talking, and planning in advance.

    Another two cents – There should be workshops in both the West Valley and East Valley, somewhere on the Orange Line. I propose the new restaurant in Reseda – Milanos, which is right up against the bus station, with great seating. (Are they on MTA property?) Don’t know about the East Valley.

  • Mel

    I second LA Valley resident’s suggestions. We need workshops out herein the forgotten valley. East Valley location could be in Noho – the City has offices at the Academy complex.

  • Yeah, have a meeting with no staff – they ignore whatever the public says for their pre-written plans anyway.

  • Joe

    My vote is that, in addition to the physical meetings, that the city should host a really good online “meeting”! Like Rhode Bloch testified, the city website should be helpful, clear… kinda twenty-first century… and a place where folks can weigh in on changes we want to see on the plan.

  • It would be nice if the plan was open to comment PRIOR to sending the plan out to bid with a contractor.

    As it is, the “plan” was done behind closed doors. Then poorly executed hearings were done, and we’re here complaining about a process that NEVER INVOLVED THE PUBLIC PROPERLY.

    The scope of work with Alta Planning (as revealed in Michelle Mowery’s testimony) was always a baloney side-streets strategy, and never what the cycling community needed to make our rides safer, easier, and more likely to replace car trips.

    “Staff” routinely whines about not having the political direction to suggest making findings that would allow lane removal for bike facilities, and falls back on baloney CEQA lawsuit myths. What needs to happen is, political will needs to be cultivated by the Bike Coordinator (as it has been by friendly council offices) to allow enough lobbying to take place to give both the Bike Coordinator and bicycles the political force necessary to maketruly bike-friendly planning deisions and findings.

    We’ve been cut out of the process, then scolded for trying to insert ourselves (and our interests as cyclists) into it. We will fight for the political will, if “Staff” will work with us. This antagonism is pointless, and the “Blame the mob on Stephen Box” strategy is a lame tack to take for a public employee.

  • I’m sorry to do the old double-comment thing, but I’d like to make it clear that I understand what it must be like to advocate for bicycles in the City of Los Angeles’ multiple byzantine, heavily pro-car, bureaucracies.

    What I’m saying is, I’d like to help make that process easier, to bring the political support that “Staff” claim they need (though I sometimes doubt they want), to make things happen. I think that a lot of people in the cycling community feel similarly: we just want better streets for bicycling.

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