City Council Gives Unanimous Nod to New Bike Plan

It’s all over but the signing.  And that’s scheduled for tomorrow.

By a 12-0 vote, the Los Angeles City Council approved the Bike Plan sending it to the Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s desk for a signature.  The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and Villaraigosa have already announced the signing will take place tomorrow on the steps of City Hall.

Too bad Council Members Alarcon, Parks and Smith weren't present. Especially Alarcon who helped push for progressive planning at the Transportation Committee when the plan was more controversial.

The only drama that remained was how to placate the representatives of the city’s equestrian community who were fighting to get any mention of mountain biking in city parks removed from the plan.  A motion by Councilman Tom LaBonge, which basically re-stated existing city law that any changes would have to go through the parks commission, seemed to mollify the group much to the relief of nearly everyone involved.  There’s already enough progressive transportation planning being held up by lawsuits in this town.

However, if you block out the testimony by the horse people, the meeting was pretty much a love fest.  Councilman Ed Reyes gave shout outs to the Bike Kitchen, Bike Oven and “Pigeon Bike Shop.”  Later, he complimented the LACBC and their City of Lights Program.  Councilman Bill Rosendahl recounted his first story visiting the “Bike<mumble>wave” and twice noted the hard work of Alex Thompson.

While not at today’s hearing, Villaraigosa tweeted his congratulations and released a statement to Streetsblog promising a bright, and well-funded, future for bike planning.

“The 2010 Bicycle Plan is another great example of Measure R funds at work–we are investing in bicycling as a viable transportation option and in the process encouraging Angelenos to lead healthy, active lifestyles. With the addition of 1,600 miles of bikeways, Los Angeles is on the path to becoming a world-class city for bicycling.”

To top it off, city officials were sounding like advocates, or at least adopting our terms.  LADOT Interim General Manager Amir Sedadi referred to the Backbone Bikeway Network and Councilman Paul Koretz talked about the “4th Street Bike Boulevard.”  These terms have been the turf of insiders for years.  But today, everyone was an insider.

As for the plan itself, there are many highlights.  Quoted text via a fact sheet from the Mayor’s Office.

The plan builds on the City’s past two plans (1977 and 1996) by more than doubling the number of bikeway miles to be developed.

The overall goal is to construct over 1600 miles of bikeways and create a continuous north-south/east-west bicycle network in the city.

In order to ensure that this plan does not just gather dust on a shelf, the Mayor’s office insisted on including an aggressive 5-year implementation strategy.

Original Member of Bike Advisory Committee, Alex Baum, motioned for final approval of plan on behalf of LaBonge,

“Unlike previous plans, this plan has an implementation plan,” commented Alexis Lantz of the LACBC.  Basically, this time parts of the plan are actually going to get built quickly.

The implementation strategy includes a commitment to build 40 miles of bikeways a year. This is a fourfold increase over the past average of 10 miles a year.

The implementation strategy focuses on projects that close existing gaps in the network, create new bikeways in lower income and underserved communities and build the foundation of the citywide network.

Staff for Paul Koretz noticed some gaps in the network of “Bicycle Friendly Streets” and successfully moved that these gaps, most noticeably at the end of the “4th Street Bike Boulevard” be bridged so that the final network provides safe and smooth transitions.

The City has created a Bicycle Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) to ensure public participation and transparency for implementing new bicycle facilities and programs.

The 2010 Plan is a joint effort of the Department of City Planning, the Department of Transportation, members of a multi-agency Technical Advisory Committee, and the City’s consultant team, Alta Planning + Design.

Of course, the battle for a safe Los Angeles doesn’t end with the Mayor’s pen stroke tomorrow morning.  Different projects will require outreach efforts and political pressure to go from paper to city streets and of course the plan will need to be modified from time to time.  “This is a work in progress,” Rosendahl reminded the speakers and Council Members, “I’m not going anywhere, at least for a couple of years.”

To see this plan through to the end, cyclists better not be going anywhere either.

  • The dude abides

    @Josef

    “A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!”
    -Richard III

  • @josef

    Let’s take your argument framework and insert some other facts:

    Commuters in LA = a marginal issue with a big opposition (car peeps).

    Recreational cyclists (class 1, mtn biking, beach path,Lycra roadies) = the reason most of us got engaged in this issue.

    Why should the marginal issue win out over the issue that got most of us engaged? There is a political fight that will have to be fought over commuters having fair road space, but this is a shitty time to fight it when we all know the car will be king no matter how high oil is and the large % of cyclist in LA will be recreational.

    So in your mind and the mind of a few vocal activists the bike plan is about transportation. But then you are really under severing the Los Angeles voters when recreational cycling is really going to be the majority for a very long time.

    So why are we wasting money on bike lanes when we really need more Class 1 separated paths, city park bike paths and other opportunities for recreational cyclists.

  • I stumbled across this post after reading about the death of Long Beach bicycle advocate Mark Bixby, I live in Studio City, and a few years ago, we landscaped and paved a section of the LA river, creating a place to jog and bike. But you have to cross a busy street (Laurel Canyon) in the middle of it, so it’s not really useful for bike commuters. I asked the city what was being done about that and they said that when the bridge is eventually widened or replaced, they will continue the path under it.

    Recently, I read that a bridge along the LA river was being replaced just a mile to the East, so I called the City Council to see if they are going to create a pedestrian walkway under it too, envisioning a day when the entire LA river will be one long bikeway. I got a lot of doubletalk from the representative, and I still don’t know the answer, but what I got out of it, is that it WON’T happen. That’s a shame, because like everyone here except for “right wing Pete”, I think this city has done far too little for cyclists.

    Nobody has suggested we take away an entire lane from the cars. We need, what, three feet? And the comparison to other states is unfair. Any place where people want to live, homes are expensive, due to supply and demand. This means that any businesses in that area has to pay higher wages. I’m sure Billings Montana is very business friendly, because it’s cheap to live there, cheap to buy land to expand freeways etc.

    Pete talks about the film community moving out of LA because we aren’t business friendly, but as a person who has worked in the film community for 30 years, I can tell you that isn’t true.

    Other states, like Louisiana, New Mexico and now Michigan, have offered high tax incentives to production companies, hoping to lure them to film there and subsequently hire their residents. It’s gotten to the point where they will even help find financing for movies. It’s not that California is anti business, it’s that these states are desperate, due to things like the closure of automobile manufacturing plants. Again, since few people want to live in Shreveport or Detroit, property is cheap and money goes further. You may have read that you can buy a distressed home in Detroit for as little as $5000.

    I don’t see your correlation: that by NOT providing a little space to bikers, we will lure business back to LA. Let’s make this a city people still want to live in, instead of competing in a “race to the bottom” with other states.

  • Josef Bray-Ali

    thedudeabides,

    Those “facts” you have inserted are not true. Inserting incorrect facts into my argument doesn’t make your argument more convincing.

  • @josef

    You gonna say Commuters vs recreation cyclists are a bigger part of the landscape in LA? You pretty much are dissing your primary customers.

    But like you said before there is little or no data to prove who is right. But I have a pretty good idea recreational cyclist vastly outnumber commuters.

  • No, I am saying that the reason most of the people advocating for the bike plan got engaged in this is because of the need for amenities for cyclists on the streets, not in parks or off-road. Recreational cyclists are not a force in city hall (or at least they weren’t, can’t speak for now). They aren’t a force in neighborhood councils, they aren’t a politicized group pushing for change as recreational cyclists.

    The push for change came from people concerned with transportation issues and cycling, legal protection issues and everyday cycling, culture change for everyday cycling.

    Thus, the politics of this situation is primarily focused around everyday cycling and the needs of everyday cyclists.

    Is it moral, is it ethical, to focus on this group of cyclists over the interests of other groups of cyclists? When it comes to fighting to overturn an old LA law banning mountain bikes in the parks, the politics just don’t line up in favor of the recreational cyclists.

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