Last Friday, the city’s D.I.Y. Department was hard at work in East Los Angeles installing Sharrows on several city streets. There was an unofficial count of sixteen painted Sharrows on the street. Oddly, they seem to be centered in the area surrounding the Bike Oven in NELA’s bike district.
This is hardly the first time L.A.’s D.I.Y. bike culture has struck. The bike lanes on Fletcher Bridge that appeared briefly in the summer of 2008 earned some amateur street artists a star turn in Bicycling Magazine. More recently, they "announced" a park opening in Mid-Wilshire during this year’s Park(ing) Day.
While these street markings usually get taken up within a couple of days of being put down, the purpose isn’t to calm the streets but to throw down the gauntlet to LADOT. While the city is being ringed with smaller cities, from Santa Monica, to Long Beach, to Pasadena, to Hermosa Beach, that are literally ringing the city with progressive road design; the City of Angels progressive efforts are either being unintentionally mired, or intentionally buried, in studies and paperwork.
Of course, the D.I.Y. team has thrown their gauntlet less than a week before Wednesday’s Big Bike Meeting held by the Transportation Committee. It will be interesting to see if this form of confrontational advocacy is being pushed by a small segment of the community, or if cyclists have finally reached the breaking point when it comes to dealing with the city.