Friday News Dump: City Schedules Bike Plan Meetings, Westside Subway Won’t Reduce Car Congestion

The subway might be full, but extending it to UCLA won't make a dent in the 26,000,000 car trips added to the Westside in the next 30 years.  Photo: Spokker Jones/Flickr
The subway might be full, but extending it to UCLA won't make a dent in the 26,000,000 car trips added to the Westside in the next 30 years. Photo: Spokker Jones/Flickr

Traditionally, the Friday before a holiday weekend is considered the time to release news that you don’t want to get traction in the public.  Sure, the story could get picked up, but there’s less people watching the news that night or reading the newspaper the next morning than any other time.

Both the City and Metro went for a Friday info dump, although I’m sure neither agency would admit it, last week.  Metro released the draft environmental documents for the Westside Extension of the Purple Line.  Meanwhile, the city released the dates for the public meetings for the most recent draft of its Bike Plan.

For Metro, the reason was obvious, the Draft Report showed that automobile congestion will not see a significant reduction after the Purple Line is extended from Wilshire/Western to Westwood.  While this seems like a somewhat obvious “revelation” to people who follow transit issues; after Metro and politicians have spent years promising that transit would unlock Southern California’s streets to smooth flowing traffic, it might come as a shock to everyone else.  Remember the “Yes on Measure R” ad campaign that talked about freeways more than anything else?  Let’s just say transit officials and boosters didn’t sell Measure R based on creating a twenty five minute trip between Union Station and Westwood.

Metro’s fears were probably well founded.  The Los Angeles Times’ coverage led with the “bad news” that the subway won’t be the savior for Westsiders trapped in their cars.  Unless, said westsiders are one of the thousands of people who will use the subway everyday that is.  If you go through the entire Times article, it repeatedly discusses the subways benefits for “transit riders” before sadly telling us those benefits won’t be there for everyone else.  It’s almost as though the Times believes train riders are an entitled group of people that commute in a private freeway under the ground and don’t even have to drive, while everyone else is forced into their sad little cars and won’t see any benefits of this billion dollar boondoggle.

As expected, most of the news reports that followed picked up the Times’ take, although Curbed did follow The Source and focus on the twenty five minute commute between Westwood and Union Station promised in the documents.  For the record, the public hearings for the DEIR are scheduled for later this month (check out our calendar for more information), and you can read the environmental documents themselves at http://metro.net/westside.

For City Planning, the issue was different.  This is the third time they’ve released dates for hearings on the Bike Plan, and the last two times the meeting schedule was met with outrage from the cycling community after only four meetings were scheduled for a city with four million people.  Because there were only four meetings scheduled again, Planning did the only thing they could and released the schedule not just on the Friday before a holiday weekend…they did it at 5:40 P.M.

You can see the full schedule at the official Bike Plan Website.

  • Mark

    It’s more the the Times views driving as normal and transit riding as aberrant. They would never lead an article on road improvements with the title “freeway expansion won’t help transit riders, cyclists and pedestrians”

  • UrbanReason

    How a more realistic article that leads with “Adding lanes to the 405 won’t relieve congestion, experts say”.

  • anty

    By the logic of that framing, most subway/light rail systems are ineffectual. Think of all of the rush hour gridlock in NYC!

  • I said it over at Straight Outta Suburbia, I’ll repeat it here. Transit doesn’t fight gridlock. What it does is create a class of people who no longer give a damn about gridlock.

  • What? The Wilshire Subway won’t reduce the birth rate? I’ve been mislead!

  • More pointless meetings, all the ways the city says “no” to bike infrastructure, and the only real improvement to my daily life are the sharrows that my neighbors painted last year on their own.

    Here’s some news: $8.5 million is being spent to widen San Fernando Road in North East L.A. $8.5 million to make cars go faster through my neighborhood on a street that parallels the 5 freeway. Where’s the EIR for this one?

    $8.5 million could paint a Class II bike lane on most of the major boulevards in the area. This would bring local streets to scale with the traffic volumes they actually receive on a daily basis.

    Nah, we’ll get a stupid PSA to “Give me 3”, a mayor that wants us to wear foam hats, and a DOT general manager smiling on top of a growing body count of pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.

  • Roadblock

    What Justin said.

  • San Fernando is the historic Route 6 which before the freeways were constructed was the primary route from NELA into the San Fernando Valley, but they blasted through those neighborhoods to build the freeway! Why do they need to widen San Fernando when there is an 8-16 lane freeway right there?? A Class 1 Bike Path is being designed along the rail cooridor that parallels most of San Fernando. Most of San Fernando is pretty intimidating to walk or ride on as it is and the alternative River Path will never quite make it to Downtown. For me the only saving grace when riding through there is that if there is traffic at least the cars are traveling at a mild pace. Perhaps that 8.5 Million would be better spent on a path for people in the neighborhood that might actually reach Downtown.

  • I got that info from the latest issue of the Eagle Rock based Boulevard Sentinel. You might want to contact Tom Topping, the publisher, about that project or the LADOT PR people.

    He printed an LADOT press release verbatim – the release probably will have the contact number for that project on it.

    San Fernando is an ideal street to re-orient towards rapid bus, bicycle, and pedestrian travel. Yet, in LA, it is just another car-only shit pipe to be widened for more sewage to spill through.

  • To be fair, LADOT Bikeways IS engaged in constructing the second phase of the San Fernando Bike Path, from Branford Street to Wolfskill Street. This doesn’t address, however, any of your “complete streets” concerns about the San Fernando Road roadway.

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