The 2009 Streetsies – The Best of Times
I thought we would start with the good times of the year. Tomorrow we'll look at "the worst of times" and award our stories and advocate of the year awards. Happy reading!
Best Mainstream News Article
The Panel's Choice: Bicycling Magazine Looks at L.A.'s "D.I.Y. Bike Culture"
My Choice: Times' Editorializes for Congestion Pricing
Following the media firestorm surrounding Metro's announcement of its Congestion Pricing plans in 2008, you would have thought it would have remained a powerful story into 2009. However, once Metro announced its watered down plan in August of that year, a lot of the anger died off. When Metro began pushing the plan again this year, the media misinformation articles began appearing again. Congestion Pricing is just a way to rob the poor, it's making us pay for highways we already paid for...the beat went on and on.
However, the feeding frenzy came to an end when the Times editorialized about all of the good things about congestion pricing. This blog has hardly been the Times' cheerleading section this year, but this time they nailed it.
Good News from Sacramento
For a long time, transportation policy in California has been dominated by state rules that require that street designs move as many cars as possible through our streets. Proposed changes in state law would change that law and could be a game changed that ripples all throughout the transportation community. The final rules will be done early this year, but so far the news looks good.
Honorable Mention: Backlash to Passage of the Sprawl Bill, S.B. 375, Gov. Reduces State Car Fleet, State Allows Families of Crash Victims to Erect Official Memorials, State to Offer Pay-As-You-Go Insurance
Livable Streets Win of the Year
The Long Beach story is huge and ongoing. That the city is doing groundbreaking work on bike planning in its Downtown has been inspiring since the city brought Charles Gandy on board to do its sustainable transportation planning. Congratulations and good luck.
However, I thought the city's discontinuation of the city's controversial bicycle licensing and ticketing program was a great moment for city cyclists and our first victory of the year. For the first time in years, the City Council heard conflicting reports from the LAPD and the cycling community and sided with the cyclists. From this foundation, the experience
Honorable Mention: City Ends Free Parking for Hyrbids, Bike Lane Added to Reseda Boulevard after LADOT Plans to Remove Already Painted Lane
Best Advocacy During an Election
There were two competitive City Council elections in the City of Los Angeles, and both times our activist cyclists inserted themselves by pinning the candidates down on bicycling and Livable Streets. Ted Rogers got all of the major candidates for the CD5 election to replace Jack Weiss to write essays for Biking In L.A. It was great work.
Box on the other hand didn't get people to write comments, but rather was so in their face with staff and the candidates that by the time they got Streetsblog questionaires every one of them, every single one, either mentioned their relationship with Stephen or the Bike Writers Collective's Cyclist Bill of Rights in their answer. Every. Single. One.
As a result, we've gotten both of our new Councilmen, Paul Koretz and Paul Krekorian are on the record talking up the importance of bicycling.
When I was considering moving out here, all I heard from people was that Los Angeles was a graveyard for bike culture and transit culture. Livable Streets were so far off in the horizon that I shouldn't even bother.
While the vision offered by our city and state government has been less than inspiring, the state of advocacy and culture are strong in Los Angeles. We may not have a transportation reform super group such as the several thousand member strong San Francisco Bike Coalition or Transportation Alternatives; I would put the power and passion of our advocates up against anyone. In recent years, the Midnight Ridazz have become a source of that advocacy. Taking a look at their history with a couple of Originalzz was as informative as it was fun.