L.A. County Holds First Bike Advisory Committee…But It’s Hidden from the Public

1_11_10_mdr_digable_sould.jpgRiding in Marina del Rey, aka unincorporated L.A. County. Photo: Digable Soul/Flickr

The County of Los Angeles is working on a Bike Plan and, under the
guidance of Alta Planning, has embarked on the journey by convening a 
Bicycle Advisory Committee, complete with instructions that the public
is not invited. In light of the fact that the majority of the BAC
members are appointed by elected officials, in this case County
Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky, Gloria Molina, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Don
Knabe, Michael D. Antonovich, it would seem that an open and
transparent process would be the minimum and that a robust public
process would be the goal. Such is not the case.

Abu Yusef, the
LA County Bikeways Coordinator, explained in a letter to
the BAC members "Due to the parking restrictions and the security
measures in place at the Hall of Administration, we will only able to
accommodate the BAC members at this meeting." Perhaps Alta Planning’s
experience during the outreach phase of City of LA’s Draft Bike Plan
was less than ideal, resulting in the proposed "off the grid" meeting
of the County Bicycle Advisory Committee.

Of
course, the larger issue is simply "Who are these people on the County
Bicycle Advisory Committee and how do they purport to represent us?"
Apparently, the office of each County Supervisor was "allowed" to
nominate a BAC representative and an alternative, along with Caltrans
and the Metro, resulting in 14 total members.

As for the
purpose of the LA County BAC, it appears that the upcoming Alta
Planning LA County Bike Plan has created the "need" for an advisory
body, hence the creation of the BAC. The Alta Planning developed LA
County Bike Plan will direct the development of bikeways facilities on
unincorporated County land which means that in some districts, such as
Zev’s where less that 5% of the district is unincorporated, there is
little if any bikeways planning taking place. Of course, the greatest
opportunity is to make sure that the County Bike Plan integrates with
the 88 municipalities within LA County which begs the question, "Why
are none of the 88 municipalities represented?"

Two areas of great controversy that may or may not be addressed in the LA County Bike Plan are:

1)
The land around the NBCUni development that sits next the LA River in
Universal City. The river section has many parents including County
Public Works, Flood Control, Army Corps of Engineers, City of LA, and
anyone else with an interest in the river. Current plans for the LA
River Bike Path include a detour because of the NBCUni development,
taking cyclists off the river and up a hill. Will the LA County Bike
Plan address this area? Since the meeting is closed, we won’t find out
on Thursday!

2) The land around the County section of the Gold
Line extension is a heavily congested multi-modal area and it would
seem like a great place for innovations such as shared-lane markings
and road diets, resulting in traffic of moderate speed that complements
the development and success of the Gold Line. These are not new
suggestions, but the public’s ability to advocate for them is limited
if the County’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meets in private.

As
for the members of the LA County Bicycle Advisory Committee, the
privilege of representing the community comes with an obligation to the
community, in this case to advocate for an open and participatory
process. The simplest thing the members of the LA County BAC can do if
they truly want to be effective, is to stand up and reject an exclusive
and private BAC process. As for Thursday’s meeting, it should not take
place until it is open to the public and until the public has been
given sufficient notification. At the least, a little respect.

Gloria Molina                                     molina@bos.lacounty.gov                              213.974.4111

Mark Ridley-Thomas                           markridley-thomas@bos.lacounty.gov            213.974.2222

Zev Yaroslavsky                                 zev@bos.lacounty.gov                                  213.974.3333

Don Knabe                                        don@lacbos.org                                           213.974.4444

Michael D. Antonovich                        fifthdistrict@lacbos.org                                  213.974.5555

  • I don’t get a couple of things here.

    First, how many entities get to have a Bike Plan? Will the Air Quality Management District and the Metropolitan Water District all get to have county-wide bike plans?

    Second, why the hell aren’t we invited to these meetings? I’m sure we can all acknowledge that this is just a pay check for Alta Planning and Design, as they grind through the Southern California area using their name to generate clients – it’s not like they’re going to care if the County prevents public input. I don’t get the County’s idea of an unpublished meeting on behalf of people it doesn’t take the time to count.

  • I am already disappointed with the county process. I was appointed to the county’s BAC by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. When I received notice of the first county BAC meeting, here’s the response I quickly responded as follows. I have yet to hear back from this email… so it doesn’t look like the process is getting off on a good foot yet.

    “Mr. Yusuf –

    It sounds like you’re describing just the car parking. This is a bike meeting, and it’s likely that many of us will arrive by bike. Could you please include bike parking instructions? Also, the location is very well-served by transit, so I would suggest that it’s just as critical to include transit instructions, not just assume people will arrive by car.

    Are you saying that the meeting is not open to the public?

    Joe”

  • Roadblock

    Let’s just show up anyway.

  • Just talked with Abu on the phone- supposedly he is going to send out another notification stating that the meeting is open to the public and that the location has changed to the Hall of Records (bigger space) right next door. I’ll believe it when I see the notification.

  • The county has opened the meeting to the public. Notification just went out -from L.A. County’s Abu Yusuf:

    “Members of the LA County Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC),

    Please note that we have changed the venue for this Thursday’s meeting to accommodate stragglers who may come in after the meeting starts. The new meeting location is Room 150 of the County Hall of Records at 320 W. Temple Street. Please use the Temple Street entrance to the Hall of Records. The meeting is open to non BAC members.

    Attached is a revised parking map showing the meeting location and the parking in the area. You can also park at the music center which is located at the corner of Grand and temple or at the Cathedral which is right across from the Hall of Administration. The County of Los Angeles Hall of Records has several bicycle racks in the vicinity, and is very well served by public transportation. The table below lists some of the bicycle racks in the area.

    BuildingAddressNumber of Racks
    County of Los Angeles Hall of Administration (West Side of building on N Grand Avenue)500 West Temple Street Los Angeles, CA2 inverted U racks
    Los Angeles County Superior Court (west side of building110 N Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA2 Inverted U racks
    Los Angeles County Superior Court (east side of building)110 N Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA6 Inverted U racks
    Dorothy Chandler Pavilion135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA2 Inverted U racks
    Metro Civic Center StationIntersection of Hill Street and 1st Street6 rack parking spots

    As for public transportation options, both the Metro Purple Line and Red Line subways are serviced by the Metro Civic Center located at the intersection of 1st Street and Hill Avenue. Many buses also service this location. Metro lines 70, 71, 76, 78, 79, 96,378, 439, 442, 485, 487, 489, and Metro Silver Line stop at this location as well as Foothill Transit lines 493, 497, 468, 499, and 699. Please contact me if you have any further questions.”

  • roadblock

    squeeky wheels get the GREASE!

  • Could you more more prominently ID the date and time for the meeting? That would be helpful for all interested in attending. Thanks.

  • Dude: The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works and Alta Planning are hosting the first meeting of the nascent LA County Bicycle Advisory Committee.

    Thursday, January 14, 2010
    6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
    Room 150
    County Hall of Records
    320 W. Temple Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
    The meeting is open to non BAC members.

  • Thanks for that info, SoapBoxLA.

    Looking forward to more of ubrayj02’s assessment re whether this has hopes of moving things forward.

  • As much as I appreciate the revised memo to the LA County BAC members, including the detail on bike racks in the vicinity, it only went to the BAC members. LA County and Alta Planning are gonna have to work hard to engage the public, an item that is on the agenda for the meeting. Not a great start!

    Agenda

    Bicycle Advisory Committee Meeting #1

    County of Los Angeles Bicycle Master Plan

    January 14, 2009

    6:30PM – 8:00pm

    Introductions (10 min)

    Overview of Bicycle Master Plan Process (15 min)

    § Draft Goals and Objectives of Plan

    § Work Completed to Date

    Purpose of BAC (30 minutes)

    § Staff describes intended purpose (e.g., review of deliverables, advise/assist on outreach, etc.)

    § Q&A

    Outreach Strategy (20 minutes)

    § Tapping into Existing Meetings and Planning Processes

    § Formal Workshops

    o Locations

    o Potential Dates

    o Meeting Format

    Next Steps/Action Items (15 minutes)

    § BAC to provide input on Goals and Objectives by 02/05/2010

    § BAC to provide input on meeting locations and dates by 01/29/2010

  • Another note of clarification on the scope of the county bike plan (somewhat in response to Stephen’s query in the article about the 88 municipalities and Josef/@ubrayj’s comments about various agencies potentially doing bike planning)

    My understanding of the scope of the county bike plan is that it’s not an overarching plan for all bike facilities in the entire county. In the 1990’s the county worked with Metro and did county bike plans along those lines. These overarching plans suffered from what is known as the “big staple” effect (apologies to Anne Riley for stealing her “big staple” watershed planning criticisms) -ie: the county basically asked all the cities to turn in their plans, then stapled them together and said – here’s our county plan.

    This time around, the county bike plan scope includes only two things (my source is one phone conversation with county staff – so I hope to learn more about this on Thursday):

    1 – Planning for bikeways in unincorporated areas. These include lots of islands of communities scattered throughout the county: East LA, Windsor Hills/Ladera Heights, Altadena, Lennox, etc. etc. These mostly-small areas actually add up to 65% of the county (by area) and have a population of about 1 million (hence would be the second largest “city” in the county)… but they’re spread out all over… so difficult to plan coherently. (Statistics source: http://ceo.lacounty.gov/OUAS/ )

    2 – Planning for bikeways along L.A. County Flood Control District right-of-ways. The county controls (by ownership or by easement) nearly all of the waterways (rivers, creeks, etc.) so they’ll be looking at where they plan to put bike paths along waterways.

    Y’all come Thursday and find out more!

  • nobody

    Since the meeting is public, I guess it no longer matters, but something should be mentioned tomorrow about the County’s bikeways coordinator having never ridden any of the County’s bikeways. I’m not even sure if he’s ever ridden a bike. This is based on prior dealings with him, hopefully he’s actually ridden them in the past year.

  • s_sic

    So it’s open to the public right? I just posted it on my Facebook in hopes my LA friends can attend

  • Anon.

    I just called Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ office and talked to someone who really didn’t have any idea what I was talking about, and tried to direct me to the LA County Bike Coalition.

  • Well, it’s so open now, it’s on the web site. Here’s the agenda: http://dpw.lacounty.gov/lib/feature/498A.pdf

  • If anyone makes it there and is looking for some specific things to ask the county:

    (1) Provisions for a countywide cyclist count (650+ intersections suggested for a population as large as Los Angeles County (the National Pedestrian and Bicycle Documentation project recommends 1 intersection for every 15,000 people in a population));

    (2) Comprehensive quarterly injury and crash data for bicyclists, pedestrians, and other road users countywide;

    (3) Allow new and existing buildings to provide quality, covered, bike parking in lieu of mandated minimum car parking. This should extend to Residential, Commercial, Manufacturing and other zones. The percentage of bike parking allowed should be higher if the project is located next to a transit hub.

    Point number (3) will be a huge give-away to those still trying to build projects in LA these days. It will drastically lower the cost to expand a building, its uses, or build new projects if the bike/car parking swap is high enough (50%+ of car parking eliminated would save loads of cash for developers). This will build a moneyed constituency in full support of bicycle infrastructure as well as provide a base of residents in favor of better bicycle amenities.

  • Warren

    Nice of them to open the meeting to the public. Maybe someone figured out that they didn’t really want to violate the Brown Act, which requires this kind of public access.

  • Aubrey Provost

    I am a BAC Member and it is new to me also, however, I welcome all to our 1st meeting and wish us success in providing a more friendly bicycle community.

    Aubrey

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