Robert Gottlieb, of the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute
at Occidental College, penned an op/ed piece for today’s Los Angeles Times arguing that the key for Los Angeles to meet it’s environmental goals is to encourage more people to get out of their cars and into their bicycles. UEPI is the main sponsor for the Bicycle and Pedestrian Summit that takes place in March.
The thrust of Gottlieb’s piece is that for Los Angeles to truly be a world leader in environmental issues the city needs to embrace cycling. In a city with many psychological barriers to getting on a bike, the city needs to reach out to under-represented communities when it comes to riding a bike such as seniors and women. The op/ed comes days after the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition released the results of their bike count showing only 12% of cyclists counted were women. Further, Gottlieb argues that we need more leadership from the city after singleing out Mayor Villaraigosa for talking the talk on the environment.
We need visionaries and "practical idealists" (as
Villaraigosa likes to say) to push these kinds of changes forward.
Janette Sadik-Khan, New York’s transportation commissioner — who is
coming to L.A. in March to receive an honorary degree from Occidental
College — has been an inspiration to bike advocates and climate change
activists alike. Wander around Times Square or down Ninth Avenue and
you immediately see how the streetscape has been changed to accommodate
bike riders and walkers.
I’m already reading some mild criticism of Gottlieb’s piece in email from activists. Some of the complaints have to do with a lack of specifics after Gottlieb states an idea or his apparent unawareness that there is a strong movement to bring ciclovia style events to Los Angeles already underway. However, after having opinion pieces I’ve written in the past get cut to pieces before publishing, I’ve learned that it’s best to focus on what is in an op/ed not what’s not in it, because oftentimes the editing is completely out of the author’s control. Besides, Gottlieb sure didn’t seem like a lightweight when he sat down for an interview with Streetsblog almost a year ago.