Welcome to the Blogroll: LADOT Bikeways?

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I have to admit.  When I was told last week that LADOT had opened the "LADOT Bike Blog" I assumed it was a joke.  After the creation of the Michelle Meowery twitter feed at the end of last year, and knowing how easy it is to open a wordpress blog; I assumed this was going to be another chance for everyone to get a laugh at LADOT Bikeways.

But that’s not the case. for the second time in recent months a local transportation agency that is regularly covered on Streetsblog has opened their own blog.  In this case, the blog isn’t authored isn’t by a team of seasoned transportation writers, and no, it’s not written by Michelle Mowery.  Instead, it’s a labor of love by an intern working with both the public relation’s office and LADOT Bikeways. 

While LADOT professes pride in their new website, you can definitely see the differences between LADOT and Metro by looking at the resources put into the website.  No link on the front of the LADOT website, but of course that site hasn’t been updated in years.  I’m also not seeing any sign of an omni-present advertising campaign that we saw when The Source was launched.  Heck, I write about LADOT bikeways as much as anyone, but I still had to read about the blog’s launch on Biking In L.A.

Of course, if LADOT really wants to support the blog, they should use it to announce some groundbreaking piece of good news to cyclists.  How about using it to announce funding for the first bike boulevard in Los Angeles or the first protected bike lane in all of Los Angeles County?  

Thus far, the tone of the blog is upbeat, and the themes (such as encouraging people to aggressively lock their bikes) are non-controversial.  However, given the cries for better bike parking from members of the bike community on other blogs, I was surprised to see thos one dip its feet into bike parking issues so quickly.

But to really make waves, the LADOT Bike Blog is going to have to either cover ground breaking good news out of LADOT, which is out of the author’s control, or aggressively take on much of the criticism aimed at LADOT bikeways.  A quick perusal of the comments section already shows some of the city’s bike bloggers griping about bikeways.  And we’re only two posts in.

So, welcome to the blogroll and welcome to the Internet, LADOT Bike Blog.  We’ll be reading and watching as you continue to develop your stories and your voice.  Good Luck.  I have a feeling you’re going to need it.

  • Don’t feel left out. I stumbled across it while I was looking for more information about the cyclist hit by a car in Santa Ana. I guess Google figured LA was close enough, so they threw in a link to the new LADOT blog to see if I’d bite.

    Maybe they were hoping for a soft launch to work the bugs out before they let us all in on the secret.

  • Carter R

    I’d just as soon welcome them with open arms, but I hope LADOT doesn’t have any allusions about what they’re going to hear off the bat.

    For an agency that’s forged its brand on its lack of responsiveness to complaints, it may have just opened the floodgates.

    All in all, I’m optimistic and a little curious to see how they try to justify the agencies worst policies (if they decide to touch them with said 10 foot pole).

  • Erik G.

    Are we sure that LADOT even knows that this blog exixsts? Anyone can set up a blog in pretty much any name. Sorry to be so suspicious, but it comes from experience with LADOT.

  • Yes, this is a real blog and really affiliated with LADOT. I talked with Bruce Gilliam in PR and Michelle Mowery in bikeways before I wrote.

  • My comment didn’t make it past the moderator. It went something like this:

    “Wow, good luck with this. Sounds like you’re a buffer between the do-nothing LADOT and the actual bicycling community. At least you won’t have to write much original material, you can just keep cutting and pasting the part about what LADOT is ‘working on.'”

  • I have a feeling it will resemble the Transportation Security Agency’s blog: honest, valid, criticism shot down with lies, bureaucratic brush-offs and comment deletion.

    Your IP and email address will most definitely be logged.

    They’ve got this one, underpaid, kid installing bike racks and blogging for them. Do you think they could put some of that $100,000 a year “talent” towards … anything? How long until we get some sane pedicab regulations out of the LADOT? Criteria for traffic calming? A bike plan?

  • I’m with Ubrayj. Why would you put this in your blog roll Damien? It reflects poorly on you.

  • I didn’t mean to imply that Ubrayj said it reflects poorly on you . . . I was just seconding his comments and then adding something. I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouths.

  • Looks like one of the LADOT bike blog articles has already has been redacted for some reason. In my RSS reader the following article appears:

    “Elysian Valley Bike Path: Almost there! from LADOT Bike Blog
    by ladotbikeblog
    So there was a recent post in The Eastsider LA (also covered in L.A. Creek Freak) about the newly paved section of bike path running through Elysian Valley. We’re pretty excited about the bike path too. 2.5 more miles of bike infrastructure is always something to be happy about. But as happy as we are about […]”

    But, as of this afternoon, when I follow the link, I get an error message. Not clear why the article disappeared.

    I frankly was a little disappointed with the first LADOT bike blog entry, too. The author seems to imply that bike activists don’t know what the LADOT is doing, and that we bicyclists are wrong in asserting that LADOT is doing very little for bikes. From the LADOT blog: “A lot of friction between the L.A. bicycle community and LADOT Bikeways has risen from our inability to effectively communicate our goals and rationale to a growing, vocal, and increasingly connected bicycle community. LADOT Bikeways can sometimes come across like we’re not doing too much, but it is mainly because we didn’t tell you about all the things we ARE doing.”

    Over the past two years, in the same time that the New York City striped 200 miles of bike lanes and Long Beach striped 30+miles, the LADOT did what? less than 5 miles (Reseda Blvd & Myra Avenue – and the only reason that they striped Reseda Boulevard was because bike advocates rose up and caught high level lies that LADOT was telling about its plans for peak hour parking.) In the same time that Long Beach, Hermosa Beach, Pasadena, Glendale, etc. striped sharrows… LADOT promised sharrows, then delayed and delayed a modest-scoped highly-overpriced pilot. (The LADOT has many good people, and I don’t want to imply that they’ve done nothing… but, in comparison to even to other car-centric Southern California municipalities, they’ve accomplished very little. I would assert that this is not necessarily the fault of LADOT Bikeways folks -but the relative lack of priority they are afforded within the overall LADOT.)

    Please LADOT intern: don’t imply that bicyclists don’t know what LADOT is doing for bikes… and that if we only knew, we’d really like what LADOT is doing. This tone is ahistorical, disrespectful and incorrect. Perhaps read the story of the Reseda Blvd bike lanes – bicyclists know what the LADOT is doing sometimes better than the LADOT management knows. See http://la.streetsblog.org/2009/08/14/does-ladot-headquarters-know-whats-happening-in-district-offices/

    Also, please don’t underestimate the friction between cyclists and LADOT. That friction is not due to the LADOT’s inability to get the word out… it’s a difference in philosophy. Bicyclists are for safer streets… the LADOT has consistently shown its priority to be getting more and more car traffic… without regard to the safety of vulnerable road users. We know LADOT’s goals and rationale – it’s written visibly on the streets where we bike every day.

    LADOT intern, I don’t mean to blame you for all this – it was in place long before you started blogging. I know that LADOT can change this culture… I hope you can be a part of that positive change.

  • hearty LOL @Matt’s comment… yes just keep cuttin’ and pastin’…Goodness I hope that we’re not right about how doomed this intern’s situation is.

  • At Bikeside, I told Alex I’d write this here:

    http://www.bikesidela.org/ladot-starts-bike-blogging-and-lacbc-becomes-a-planning-consultantcy/comment-page-1/#comment-3273

    When I read your comment at Streetsblog, I just sort of rolled my eyes. But after reading a more in-depth explanation of your exasperation, I can’t help but conclude that you’re right. They don’t belong in the blogroll but in the Government websites section with Rita’s twitter feed. My bad. I’ll both make that change and repost this in the LASB comments section as a h/t for calling me out.

  • Thanks Damien.

  • I was in NYC this past week and I love the new Eighth Ave. bikeway. The bike lane is separated from auto traffic and even has special traffic lights for bikes.

  • Mihai Peteu

    I look at comments like the one from Dan Wentzel, and all I can do is sigh and shrug my shoulders. LA is so full of… inactivity… It’s kind of unfair to ever compare LA to NY in any category, but it does give us something to look up to while making us look extremely bad in comparison.

    We’ve got a lot of work to do in this 3rd world small town of ours called Los Angeles. After 5 years of riding in LA and only 1 year of sticking my nose into bike advocacy I quickly realized how little support there is in place for cyclists. So all I will say is that whatever bike planners employed for the LADOT were/are not doing their eff’ing job. So welcome to the era of us having to do everything ourselves – signage, painting, planning, enforcement. Not so bad after all, if you ask me. I just wish everyone else that rides in this city would hurry up and come to this same conclusion.

    What role has the LADOT played in ensuring that I am more likely to survive my commute to work??? They don’t even exist in my book. It’s that simple.

    Give me 450 fucking thousand dollars, I’ll start painting sharrows up and down Wilshire tonight.

  • From the concern information,I come to know the basic definition regarding the creativity and its various forms.We’ve got a lot of work to do in this 3rd world small town of ours called Los Angeles. After 5 years of riding in LA and only 1 year of sticking my nose into bike advocacy I quickly realized how little support there is in place for cyclists.

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