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.

  • Awesome! Thanks for the coverage Damien!

  • Did John Walsh comment?

  • Thanks, Damien.

  • At 40 miles a year, it will only take a 30 or 40 years to build out the plan. ;-) Well, at least we are getting 40 miles a year, much better than the current pace. Now it’s up to us to make sure that the projects built are high-quality, so that people feel safe enough to start riding their bikes for transportation.

  • Will Campbell

    Pardon me for mostly cutting and pasting this segment of a comment I just added to BikingLA:

    As someone who enjoys cycling both for on-road transportation and off-road recreation, I feel it’s important not to look at me as a mountain biking enthusiast who’s part of a fringe and renegade element of the overall cycling community. And it’s even more important for that community certainly not to excuse and ignore those self-serving factions so rigidly exclusionary and entirely unwilling to even so much as consider having the words “mountain biking” in the plan, much less inclusive alternatives.

    Instead I’m forced to be heartened by the fact that any and all references to mountain biking weren’t summarily stripped from the document, and disheartened by the relief felt by “everyone” at LaBonge’s motion reinstating existing laws. As such my main recourse is to be what I’ve always been: an ambassador who sets an example of trail responsibility and consideration and cooperation that goes counter to the prevailing ignorance. Because unfortunately and sadly I’m never going to be able to count on the collective support against wholesale trail bans as there would be if these same hiking and equestrian factions honked the horns of their cars and demanded I be lawfully banned from their streets.

    You can argue there’s a big difference, but in the end is the hiker’s/horseperson’s refrain of how mountain cyclists never follow the rules that much different from what we hear when motorists protest about cyclists on the roads?

  • I strongly agree with Will above. The arguments that keep mountain bikers off the trails in LA City parks are essentially the same that drivers use to argue that cyclists on the road should ride on the sidewalk. The equestrian community seems to have a huge amount of political influence, especially considering how small of a minority/special interest group it is.

    Perhaps a solution to their outsize power is to gain some of that political influence ourselves (mountain bikers). Whatever happens, it is important to emphasize that most mountain bikers, just like most cyclists on the road, are responsible about their riding. The sustainable transportation community needs to get behind mountain biking as a great way to support cycling as a mode of transportation and as a sport.

  • Will is spot on. Most of the bike “advocates” that were pushing the bike plan plainly ignored the mountain bike issue and dismissed it as a parks and recreation problem.

    Shame on the “leaders” of bike advocacy. They really matched the city in their achievement of mediocrity. Horses over humans may translate into cars over bikes in the future.

  • Pete

    Good job commies! And heck, I’m sure the drivers won’t mind losing lanes. LA’s traffic is world renowned for it’s speedy pace and efficiency…. right? Since you won’t be paying federal and state gas taxes to support road maint., will you also support a $1,000/year bicycle registration “fee”? Gotta keep those bike lanes in good shape! Or does your self congratulatory moral superiority excuse you from having to pay for any of this “wonderful change”?

  • @pete

    You really need to do some research. Cyclists are already overpaying for the roads through various taxes. The so called “Gas Tax” does not cover the cost to maintain the roads. Where does that money come from? My pocket.

    So you drive all you want and destroy the roads. I will ride my bike, cause no road damage and in the end pay for your privilege to drive on a public road.

  • Pete

    That’s some great faulty logic there dude (Thanks LA schools!) So drivers don’t pay all these taxes you speak of on ON TOP of huge fuel taxes? Is that what you are asserting? And all of these morally superior cyclists….100% of them do not own cars as well? What about all the goods and services moved on these streets? Since we vehicle drivers (I also ride a bike)are such leaches and a plague according to your comment, will you brave honorable cyclists be offering to restock your grocery/hardware/clothing stores using your bike?

  • @pete

    Just do some reading….if you can read and find out for yourself:

    http://www.grist.org/article/2010-09-27-why-an-additional-road-tax-for-bicyclists-would-be-unfair

  • Pete

    Actually I just did some interesting reading in the LA Bicycle Plan your city council just approved. Guess what percentage of adults in LA commute using a bike? 0.61%…..a whopping 9,029 people vs. 1,433,200 in cars. Would you like to revisit your tax burden canard?

  • @pete

    Just because you think you are right does not make it so. In a Glenn Beck sort of a way you’re right. Just make it up and ignore facts.

  • Pete

    Huh? I quoted the numbers out of LA’s report used to justify this stupidity. They are undoubtedly the HIGHEST numbers they could come up with. Now you are left with no argument so you bring up some Glenn Beck nonesense while you put your fingers in your ears and say “na na na I can’t hear you!”

    What did I make up? Look at the report if you think I created the numbers. Since you brought up Glenn Beck, I’ll quote him – do your own research.

    Look, I like bikes. I ride mine 2-3 times a week. It’s great exercise. But in a city as huge and spread out as LA this makes no sense. But that’s what I’ve come to expect from Cali – replacing what works with what feels good – realities be damned.

    Your state is about to collapse, businesses can’t leave fast enough – same with the middle class…..and you all are worried about taking lanes from an already over burdened road infrastructure and giving them to 0.61% of the population. Astonishing….

    When CA collapses – and it will. Please stay there. The rest of the US doesn’t need California’s ‘enlightened’ citizenry screwing up their states.

  • Syzlak

    Pete, there is no correlation between density and bike ridership. It makes sense to cycle wherever good facilities exist. This plan will hopefully make proper facilities to increase cycling rates.

  • Pete

    @Syzlak – who mentioned density? What you need to consider is commerce. A topic considered dirty in CA parlance. It’s what pays the bills. CA has the least business friendly environment in the US. You state’s AB32 and SB375 bills take a hostile business environment and make it downright stupid to consider opening shop in your state. Fuel costs are higher in CA than any other state besides Hawaii. Regulations are strangling incentive. TX, NV, and AZ are actively recruiting your jobs. Meanwhile, your state has a 28 billion dollar deficit annually, and CALPERS is 500 billion in the read. Illegals are gobbling up resources like locusts. Any you guys are so self-centered that hamstringing business further by removing traffic lanes makes sense? Really? Aren’t you curious why CA has the highest unemployment levels in the entire country? Your state should be in red alert, code 5, emergency mode trying to fix the damage of 40 years of failed feel good policies, but no. It’s full steam ahead. Who cares if someone’s one hour commute is now two hours! I got mine! So be it. It sure is fun to watch from a distance.

  • LAofAnaheim

    Pete – are you from Orange County?

    Maybe you don’t realize, but EVERY STATE is having economic problems. EVERY STATE. CA is no different. But California has the world’s largest entertainment industry, and we have the 2nd largest port in the world (Long Beach/Los Angeles), and tourism is really really high. Prove it to us that “businesses are fleeing in droves”. This always seems to be a talking point with no substance. The fact is, people would rather live in New York, LA, Chicago, Miami, and SF, where housing prices are high and demand is high. Using your logic, housing prices would be higher in TX, NV and AZ, which are not. Again, prove it to us.

    And using your bike statistics is flawed. Of coursing biking is low here, it’s not safe. When you build the infrastructure, people will come. Do you think car ridership would be as high as it is if we didn’t have 10 – 12 lane highways throughout LA county? We have the best freeway network in the build. Name one city that has as many miles of freeway in the world. One city. So if we heavily favor car development over bike and transit develoopment, wouldn’t it make sense that car ridership would be higher than bike and transit ridership? Think about it, bro.

    Use reason, instead of talking points. Think about these things logically.

  • Will Campbell

    As a bike commuter whose household maintains two vehicles, I’m always entertained by the insistence the Petes of the streets deliver in demanding cyclists pay some sort of “fair share” in the form of an excessive/repressive bicycle tax to mollify those motorists who want us to compensate for all the freeloading they insist we do riding on “their” streets.

    There’s always that painfully laughable disconnect in their thinking that everyone of us 9,000 angelenos who commute by choice do so because they don’t have or can’t afford to be one of the 1.4 million car drivers forced to subsidize their pedalings.

    Pete ridicules our small 0.61 percentage as unworthy of any additional infrastructure and amenities, but nevertheless his answer is to tax us few poor souls to the poor house. So hypothetically let’s do it. Let’s say there was that $1,000 a year “bicycle registration fee” he insists we all pay for the privilege of getting honked at and yelled at by him to get on the fucking sidewalk. The cumulative $9 million it would produce annually sounds like a lot at first.. until you find out from organizations such as the American Road & Transportation Builders Association that aaaaalll that money would give us would be a couple miles of roadway widened from four to six lanes.

    Wanna try for $2,000 per Pete?

  • Spokker

    “We have the best freeway network in the build. Name one city that has as many miles of freeway in the world.”

    Los Angeles is actually ranked 32nd in freeway lane miles per capita. Doesn’t mean we should build more, it’s just that there are many cities with more freeway when adjusted for population.

  • Pete

    Nope, I’m not from Orange County. If I was, would make the easily verifiable facts I have listed false, or would it allow you to rationalize ignoring my words using prejudice?

    Yup, states around the country are struggling. Some more than others, and none more than California. Aren’t you the least bit curious why that is? Californians always seem so proud of their state. You would think they would be struggling mightily to improve the economy, and thus their lives.

    You’re right, there’s a lot of entertainment jobs in LA. Have you noticed how many shows are no longer filmed in CA? Why do you think this is? Be honest. If you can’t admit openly here, at least be honest with yourself that union regulations and the cost of operating in CA are exceedingly high.

    You asked for proof that businesses are leaving CA. That’s easily ascertained using Google. Why don’t you look? Is it easier to throw down a challenge, than to actually be intellectually curious and honest and make your own determinations? Here’s one article… http://jan.ocregister.com/2010/02/24/list-names-100-companies-leaving-california/31805/

    You’re right – housing is much cheaper in other states. Lower housing costs, taxes, regulations are some of the key reasons businesses and the middle class are fleeing. Your highest state income tax rate (10%!!!) kicks in at around 40k. Yikes – in addition to the highest sales tax rates in the nation. And the left wonders why people flee.

    The left is always talking about conservatives and greedy corporations “shipping jobs overseas”. But it’s exactly these taxation and regulatory policies in your state which ships jobs to other states. Sinking in yet?

    They aren’t “my” statistics. I took them from the very report used to justify the bike lanes. I ask you to look at the people in the LA area. How many are within biking distance of work? How many are physically capable of biking the distance? How many can spare even more time commuting?

    I realize again this is viewed as a huge victory for YOU. Will it be to your neighbors and the LA region as a whole? I’d expect some anger directed at bikers as this plan is rolled out. Get ready. Your huge population of 3rd worlders is less likely to be as polite about it as the middle aged middle class engineer who fled to Texas would have been.

    Si Se Puede!

  • Pete

    @Will – interesting you feel compelled to curse rather than construct a coherent reply. One can almost feel the flecks of spit flying out of your mouth, and see your fixed, angry 1000 yard stare.

    And yes Will, if entire lanes are to be dedicated to bike lanes, then the users of those lanes should be paying for their upkeep.

    Have a great day!

  • Spokker

    “And yes Will, if entire lanes are to be dedicated to bike lanes, then the users of those lanes should be paying for their upkeep.”

    In the short-term, no. Essentially, if you want more of something, you subsidize it. If you want less of something, you tax it. Also, if something has positive externalities, you subsidize it. If something has negative externalities, you tax it. This helps correct market imperfections.

    Those who switch to bikes switch to a zero emissions mode of transportation and that should be supported. The damage done to the roadway is negligible relative to cars and freight trucks. Not only is bicycle registration and user fees impractical at the moment, they would set back efforts to encourage cycling.

    In the long-term, maybe. If cycling becomes very popular it may be worth the effort to implement such fees, but even then, it would be very small. Such a user fee would not even be a priority. It is worth funding bike infrastructure from the general fund in my opinion. These aren’t huge expenditures and the mode of transportation is generally low impact.

  • Pete is the worst kind of troll. Sadly lacking in the understanding of transportation issues, Los Angeles and the funding of such initiative, he has to talk about how bad California is and all it’s problems. I expect no less from an uninformed non-resident who thinks Beck University as the truth beyond all truths.

    You can explain, point to information and help him understand OUR transportation problems, but really his agenda is to spew some right-wing, Beck Sheeple, tea party crap.

    I for one am thankful I don’t have to encounter Pete on the streets of LA.

    PS. Measure R passed by Taxpayers (the will of the people) has moneys set aside for bikeways. So the people of California voted to pay for this bike stuff.

  • Pete

    @Spokker – why is it the government’s job to encourage or discourage anything? Are we not still a free people, who govern themselves; or has this changed? Instead are we now ruled by a class of our intellectual and moral betters whose job it is to mold us sheep as they see fit?

    I don’t see our current “leaders” as my better. From what I have witnessed of your LA City Council and state assembly I certainly hope they are not your betters. They appear to be thoroughly corrupt, and prostitute for every whim of illegals and union interests.

  • Pete

    @dude

    It’s a shame that you are unable to bolster your argument using facts and logic, and it a personal attack instead. If bike lanes are such a wonderful thing for LA, it should be an easy case to make. Apparently it’s not so easy.

    Do you think I’ve never been to LA? How do you know I never lived there? Do you think I am unaware of transportation issues? How do you know so much about me? I wasn’t aware I had a fan/stalker.

    I actually work for a city government and would love more bike lanes here – we have the space for them w/o taking up traffic lanes.

    ps – what is your fascination with Glenn Beck?

  • @pete

    “I actually work for a city government”

    That says it all. You are part of the problem.

  • Pete

    @dude It’s abundantly clear the school system in CA has let you down mightily. I feel for you. Since the late 60’s, most schools have focused on self esteem, rather than core learning. Regardless of your personal needs and feelings re: biking, I hoped that the questions I asked would have caused you to take a step back and consider another perspective. But it angered you when you were unable to refute my arguments. Sad, but not my problem.

    The politicians want you dumb – it makes you easier to control and steal from. Back in slavery days, it was legal to beat your slaves – it was a crime to educate them.

  • Will Campbell

    How entirely unsurprising that Pete could do little more than fixate his myopic gaze upon the solitary expletive I included in an entirely cogent retort he was then compelled to foment discontent over and dub “incoherent.” One wonders if such a defensive dismissal from someone having attained such a level of self-righteous indignation is due to an over sensitivity to salty language, an imperious condescension against any opposing point of view, or because I simply didn’t swear enough?

  • Pete

    @will. Really? You want me to tear apart your earlier posting? Fine.

    “As a bike commuter whose household maintains two vehicles, I’m always entertained by the insistence the Petes of the streets deliver in demanding cyclists pay some sort of “fair share” in the form of an excessive/repressive bicycle tax to mollify those motorists who want us to compensate for all the freeloading they insist we do riding on “their” streets.”

    Hmm, is the CA car tax “excessive/repressive” Will? What about gas taxes? Or perhaps you feel those who drive need to be punished? Fair Share. How interesting you used those words. Aren’t those the words the left uses to justify “excessive/repressive” taxes on the “evil rich”? You know – those demons who employ people. I’m not sure you understand the free market system…or perhaps you are a communist.

    “There’s always that painfully laughable disconnect in their thinking that everyone of us 9,000 angelenos who commute by choice do so because they don’t have or can’t afford to be one of the 1.4 million car drivers forced to subsidize their pedalings.”

    Who said that? I didn’t I’d assume most of the bicycle commuters are higher than avg. income.

    “Pete ridicules our small 0.61 percentage as unworthy of any additional infrastructure and amenities, but nevertheless his answer is to tax us few poor souls to the poor house. So hypothetically let’s do it. Let’s say there was that $1,000 a year “bicycle registration fee” he insists we all pay for the privilege of getting honked at and yelled at by him to get on the fucking sidewalk. The cumulative $9 million it would produce annually sounds like a lot at first.. until you find out from organizations such as the American Road & Transportation Builders Association that aaaaalll that money would give us would be a couple miles of roadway widened from four to six lanes.

    Wanna try for $2,000 per Pete?”

    I ridicule the wisdom of taking already overloaded traffic lanes (lanes which were built specifically for automobiles) and converting them for use by a minute percentage of the population in a state which is barely keeping its head above water. Do you realize there are 3rd world countries with higher bond ratings than CA?

    Shoot, let it all crash and burn. Let Mexico “reconquista” it. Whatever. You seem ready to go down with the ship and happy to do so. God speed.

  • Spokker

    “why is it the government’s job to encourage or discourage anything?”

    Because it is difficult for the free market to deal with market imperfections. In the absence of government intervention, cycling will see under-utilization because the user cannot capture the full benefit of cycling. Since you can’t charge others who benefit, they will freeride on the cleaner air and reduced congestion. Conversely, driving causes pollution that everybody must deal with no matter how much or how little they drive.

    Therefore a tax is placed on driving to help curb pollution and a cyclists do not pay a user fee in order to promote this relatively clean activity.

    “Instead are we now ruled by a class of our intellectual and moral betters whose job it is to mold us sheep as they see fit?”

    The social costs of personal automobiles are well documented. Pollution is proven to degrade public health and quality of life. You can weigh a car and deduce from physics that the damage done to a person by a car is much higher than the damage done to a person that collides with a bike (though the operators of both should obey the law and not drive/ride recklessly).

    People also voted for the city council they have now in order to represent them in matters such as these. If the bike plan is a deal breaker for voters, then you may see backlash and the public might vote in a more libertarian crowd, but I doubt it.

    “Are we not still a free people, who govern themselves; or has this changed?”

    Nothing has changed, and people are not free to pollute the air as they see fit. They must pay a tax in order to mitigate the damage done.

    “I don’t see our current “leaders” as my better.”

    No, but they are elected to represent people. If you have evidence of specific wrongdoing please present it and get these people off the council. Supporting a bike plan, however, is not evidence of corruption or that a crime has been committed.

  • Spokker

    “I ridicule the wisdom of taking already overloaded traffic lanes (lanes which were built specifically for automobiles) and converting them for use by a minute percentage of the population in a state which is barely keeping its head above water.”

    Part of the reason why cycling is not as popular as it would be might be because those bikes lanes, or a system of bike lanes, do not exist currently. The event called Ciclovia has provided evidence that there is a demand for cycling when cars are corralled.

    The point made in your parentheses is untrue. Throughout the entirety of our road building efforts, cyclists have had the same rights and responsibilities as the drivers of automobiles. Roads were built not just for cars, but trucks (freight), cyclists and buses as well.

    They were not built for skateboarders but I do acknowledge that this activity is not necessarily a crime.

  • Spokker

    It should also be noted that user fees do not cover the cost of roads and highways. Even if you “put back” the money diverted to transit and other
    nonsense, roads would still not be paid for out of user fees.

    Here’s what the national situation looks like: http://subsidyscope.org/transportation/highways/funding/

    Here’s a state-by-state breakdown: http://subsidyscope.org/transportation/highways/funding/state/

  • Pete,

    Thanks for taking the time to visit our website. While we appreciate your comments, there seems to be a lot of things you don’t really know.

    I love that you’re so interested in California’s budget crisis. As the largest tax donor state in the country, the people of California have been carrying your freeloading ass for two and a half decades. Given that reality, it seems especially callous that you would mock us during our current budget issues, because even today we’re still carrying your freeloading ass. A little gratitude would be appreciated. Next time you’re driving on a repaved street, thank California.

    Also, you should know that the bulk of this plan will be paid for by dollars from a sales tax that L.A. County voters have voted to place on themselves. See, we have to do things like that because our federal taxes go to pay for your freeloading ass. You’ll be happy to know that ration of spending on roads and highways to transit, in current dedicated funding, is $8 billion to $50 million. The gas tax has NOTHING to do with this plan, and not a penny of gas tax is going to pay for it. But keep going on for that user fee that pays a small part of the massively subsidized highway and surface road system that you enjoy driving on.

  • Pete is easy to defeat, just repeat after me, “See you at the polls, sucka!”

    Clueless, disengaged, ignorant, self-important rant machines don’t vote. Cyclists do, and we’re a hell of a lot more organized (which really isn’t saying much).

    Back to Will’s original point, I, personally, totally sold out MTB access in the parks. The people that back bike-free trails and horse owners would kick our ass around the block and back again.

    We need to find space for off-road cycling, but it’s going to take some MTB group organizing to do it. It has been enough of a struggle to get the plan to this point.

    You mess with well-off, retired, organized, animal and nature lovers at your own peril when you are a movement our size. We’re lucky that the plan didn’t include provision to legalize cock fighting and cat de-clawing.

  • One further point is that Pete’s use of the .61% of bicyclists vs. the rest of the population figure is misleading. This number represents the total number of “Bicycle Commuters” vs. the entire human population in the City of LA.

    My daughter, a member of the population, and her entire preschool class do not drive cars, nor do they bike to work. I am pretty sure all of them are unemployed.

    The LA Bike Plan contains in its second chapter a seminal work of statistics and cycling in LA. The findings are enlightening.

    A more important graph, on page 31 of the current draft, shows that a full 40% of the population in Los Angeles uses a bike at least a few times a year – mostly for recreation, but 10% do commute by bike.

    This happens with a paltry, or nonexistent, bike network.

    If this plan were to be 1/4 finished, we’d see an large growth in not just bike commuters, but those using bikes for all sorts of other reason: cycle tourism, sport, fitness, errand running, and other discretionary trips.

    We would also see some immediate side benefits: increased recirculation of dollars in the local economy (as most car-based spending leaves the local economy); safer streets with less crashes and injuries and deaths; and a stronger civic spirit as people get to know themselves and their city more intimately (both the good and the bad).

  • Will Campbell

    Pete, I’m one of those old farts who’s been riding bikes as a transportation alternative across Los Angeles for more than 20 years, when the prevailing curiosity wasn’t why I did it, but rather when would my driver license be out of suspension. When a good encounter on the street was one in which I’d get passed at speed with an entire foot of clearance rather than a few inches and a supplemental horn honk to add insult to the injury I’d managed to avoid.

    Things and attitudes have changed for the better since then — glacially — but still it’s a marked improvement. Instead of you hating on the 874 like me in those days, bike commuters in Los Angeles are now threatening to number officially into five-digit territory. To you that’s 0.61%. To me that’s 100% awesome. As such, we’re making more noise and we’re being heard, and I understand how much that bothers those who see results occur that they adamantly feel aren’t worthy the time and effort and that certainly shouldn’t dare take position ahead of the bigger ills that need curing and the stagnating status quos that need to be let alone.

    But believe it or not, as one of those wizened spittle-flecking urban gorillas who’s literally had anything and everything thrown at me during my thousands upon thousands of miles on two wheels, I’ll continue to ride these streets whether or not another inch of striped bike lane is laid down and encroaches onto the asphalt you want to so zealously deny me.

    If you were King of Los Angeles you’d love me because short of trying to ban bikes from the streets, you’d never hear a peep from me. I’d just do my thing with no need for special consideration of any sort. The only fighting I’d do to assert my right to the streets would be with any motorist who failed in trying to deny me that right instead of putting me in the hospital might find himself stuck at the next red light up the block watching me getting bigger in his rear view mirror.

    And instances like that are what I hope this bike plan will help eliminate. Seriously, it’s worth little more than the paper it’s printed on at this point. it’s a baby step; nothing more than a framework of good intention. But if it is acted upon and realized, perhaps one day it will provide people not as street-wise as me with an incentive to pursue urban cycling as a viable alternative, and people like you to share the road, not own it.

    If you insist that makes me a crash-and-burn part of the problem, that’s your prerogative. But it’s our problem. Yours and mine. You can either rant and rail as to why you’re so right and I’m so wrong, or you can recognize that change is inevitable and strive to be a part of a solution that involves all not some.

    I’m pretty sure I can hear you already disparaging me as a pollyanna sermonizer of smoke-blowing silliness so I won’t bore you with any more of it and let you get to your insults.

  • Pete

    Hey Spokker,

    I appreciate your well-reasoned replies. I don’t agree with everything you’ve said, but there’s some logic behind it.

    Freedom is messy man. That’s ok. I see a drive in California to legislate everything, as if there will be a day in the future when life is perfect…no ill ever befalls anyone, and unicorns bound over rainbows while dolphins flap their fins in approval. Ain’t gonna happen.

    As a consequence, your freedoms are eroded bit by bit til little remains. I have spoken to CA residents who were prior subjects of totalitarian regimes. They LAUGHED “land of the free – you are far more controlled here than we ever were.” They weren’t kidding. No, they couldn’t criticize the government, but in nearly every other aspect of their lives, CA citizens are more highly controlled. Strikes me as sick, but then I see posts on this board which seem not only fine with that – but welcome it.

    I am out of juice to argue with people who’s minds are made up no matter what evidence is presented to them. I hope the bike lanes work out for LA (despite what the last post mentioned about me dancing on CA’s grave). I don’t think it will help CA or LA dig out of its very deep hole, or even be economy-neutral, but that’s the great thing about civic/state experiments – it provides an example to the rest of the nation…good or bad.

    Read the report from the city regarding potential future use of the lanes. I think it’s illuminating. One is left to wonder how many people begin to bike out of sheer insane frustration at the traffic snarl after lanes are removed. That’s a loss of freedom, and it’s sad. But then I’m not a leftist.

  • @josef

    “We need to find space for off-road cycling, but it’s going to take some MTB group organizing to do it. It has been enough of a struggle to get the plan to this point.”

    I find it funny how the issue of bikes in parks is so difficult. Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area and Angeles National Forest both near the city of LA allow mountain bikes on the same trails as hikers and horse enthusiasts.

    I guess the federal governed parks understand the meaning of multiple use better than their city brethren. or that the city of LA caters to it’s more affluent constituents. Either way all the players involved: bikeside, LACBC et al failed the cycling community.

  • LAofAnaheim

    Spokker: “Los Angeles is actually ranked 32nd in freeway lane miles per capita. Doesn’t mean we should build more, it’s just that there are many cities with more freeway when adjusted for population.”

    Does having the most freeway lanes mean that we are #1? We are the only large world-class city in which freeways go directly INTO the city. Freeways do not go into New York, Chicago, London, Paris, San Francisco, etc.. the cities we should be compared against. We shouldn’t be comparing LA to cities like Las Vegas or Phoenix, which are on a whole different tier than LA.

    D

  • LAofAnaheim

    Pete: “@Spokker – why is it the government’s job to encourage or discourage anything? Are we not still a free people, who govern themselves; or has this changed? Instead are we now ruled by a class of our intellectual and moral betters whose job it is to mold us sheep as they see fit?”

    Hmmm…isn’t it the government who has transformed the USA from a railroad society in the early 1900s to highways during the post-WWII era? It wasn’t like American people said “we want cars”. It was the Ford administration who sold it as we need to move people by using cars/trucks for WWII. Then we had the Highway Authorization bill under Eisenhower..enough said. Yes, the federal government will influence your attitudes.

  • spokker

    Our transportation policy since the 1950s has been as much about behavioral modification as any transit/bike plan. If you really want to go full free market I don’t think the car will do as well as you think if users had to pay the full cost of securing oil that is refned into gasoline.

    The car isn’t necessarily bad, but its overuse is bad. I’m in a car right now (parked of course), but mostly because OC gutted the bus system and I take night classes. I rode the bus for two years prior.

  • Will Campbell

    “Good job, Commies!” Pete said when he first thudded onto this tread with opinions locked and loaded… only to retire too exhausted “to argue with people who’s minds are made up.”

    HA!

  • Ken Price

    As a biker in San Luis Obispo county it is interesting to read the comments pro and con. The point is that bikes have the same responsibilites and legal rights as a car. Most of us I suspect ride legally and respectfully, but the same as cars there are small numbers that give the rest of the group a bad name. I rode in the south bay for two years before moving to one of the best places I can imagine to bike. I have averaged 1,000 miles a month for over 7 years with very few problems in the south bay or here. Whatever else anyone says pro or con our footprint is very small. Come up to SLO town and enjoy riding at its best

  • Pete,

    You and the rest of the motorists in the world may continue to enjoy a fairly crappy, frustrating life no matter how many folks try to enlighten you. You can blame cyclists all you want for stealing your valuable road space, but it’s really only due to your own choices that you hate your life. A helpless motorist, stuck in traffic day after day, in no control of the prices of the fuel that you desperately rely upon.

    More people *will* ride bikes because there will be actual cycling infrastructure on the roads. No sh%% people don’t ride in huge numbers in Southern California, it’s deadly. Why? Because people like YOU are so hard headed and refuse to try something different as a solution to LA’s decades-old problems.

    Pete, are you sure you’re not from Orange County?!?

  • On equestrians:

    I have met three. Two are good people, the other one was a douche.

  • On equestrians:

    Some folks here have expressed their disappointment that mountain biking got thrown under the rug in this process.

    I just want to mention for the record that LACBC’s Jen Klausner brought up the importance of mountain biking at almost every single Bike Plan hearing I attended. She articulated that mountain bike routes can be used for utilitarian purposes at a very early T-Committee meeting with Bill Rosendahl in 2009. But this never really became a rallying point that the bike community was willing to get behind. Stephen Box has studiously avoided the topic of mountain bikes in city parks, probably because he knows there is an organized constituency in CD4 that opposes it. Early in the Bike Plan process, Stephen’s voice really shaped the debate, and that is probably part of the reason the cycling community never collectively insisted on preserving (the possibility of future planned) mountain bike trails.

    Just for the record. So that all Jen’s words weren’t a waste of breath.

  • I personally advocated to others in the bike community that we stay the hell away from the mountain bike issue from the moment I heard the first equestrian stand before the BAC and make a statement about it.

    Bikes are already banned, but the law is not enforced. The Bike Plan is a part of the transportation element of the General Plan for the city. This is an issue with an organized constituency bent on keeping this ban in place. It is a stupid political fight to pick, and one with no good prospects with all the rest of the things people spent their days, nights, weekends, holidays, and everything else working on. That is, we focused, collectively, on making a serious bike plan that will change the paradigm on LA streets if it is implemented.

    Mountain bike riders were banned from city parks before the bike plan, and they are banned after the bike plan. Is it right that they are banned from city parks? Man, I don’t know, and because I don’t mountain bike I don’t personally care – but I know there are those who do.

    So, why is it Stephen Box, et al, responsibility to fight this fight? It is bad politics, and as much as I’d like to not have the guilt of having made this calculation I think it was the right one to make.

    Shoot, my neighbors that ride in Griffith, Debs, and Elysian parks are still going to do it – ban or not. The ban should be lifted, or proper space made for mountain bikes, but in a political process that will not stop short three years of intense work to change the way local government looks at bicycles and street design.

  • @ josef your logic makes no sense. Bike are banned already so lets not fight for it. That is like saying you already have bike paths and bike lanes in every part of the city why do you need more? why fight for better access or facilities? Why do anything?

    I understand that you personally don’t care because it doesn’t effect you, but people in the minority need to fight the bigger political machine to make sure we are treated fairly.

    Plus people have been working hard and fighting for access a long time ago. SO when you and AT where hanging out at your local campus looking for the nearest beer bong, cyclists that like to ride dirt were working with the city to make it happen. http://articles.latimes.com/2000/feb/14/local/me-64183

  • Marcotico

    Well I went back and read all of Pete’s rants. That was amusing.

  • My logic makes very good sense.

    Mountain bikes in LA parks = a marginal issue with a big opposition.

    Bikes taking street space = 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 legal access to trails for mountain bike riders, but this is a shitty time to fight it.

    After all this back and forth, I’ll be honest, I stopped feeling guilty. I feel like the whole lot of us made the right decision.

    Nobody is enforcing the anti-MTB law and we had a bunch of environmentalists (that would have stopped the plan in court) drop their opposition and instead support the passage of the Bike Plan. Every day I see more and more people riding bikes – people of all ages and backgrounds in North East LA. They aren’t riding off-road. They are using their bikes for basic transportation. We need to meet those needs, grow this base of support and community.

    Did you see the equestrians and environmentalists that stood in opposition to bike access to trails in LA parks? Not a one of them under 50 years of age, with most well into their 60’s. How long will they hold out against the tide of cycling interests?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

City Election Preview: LaBonge vs. Box in CD4

|
For those in the livable streets advocacy community, no city council race has taken on more significance than this one. Here, LA Streetsblog presents a rundown of the two candidates and the livable streets issues at the heart of the race, so that you can make an informed decision. The Incumbent: Tom LaBonge is an […]

What to Make of Last Night’s Election Results

|
Apparently, Los Angeles’ voters think everything is going pretty well in Los Angeles right now.  How else to explain the “clean sweep” that incumbent Councilmen, and in one case a hand-picked successor, enjoyed.  Not even one of the races went to a runoff, meaning that even in crowded fields incumbents garnered over 50% of the […]

LADOT Proposes Eliminating Its Bikeways Department

|
LADOT Bike Coordinator Michelle Mowery talks to Councilman Tom LaBonge. Photo: Ingrid Peterson Days after the City of Los Angeles sponsored a series of events to celebrate bicycling in Los Angeles, the City Council heard the first draft budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year as presented by the LADOT.  Let’s cut right to the chase, […]

Beutner, Garcetti, James, Perry and Greuel on CicLAvia

|
Before CicLAvia, Streetsblog reached out to the five major declared candidates for Mayor of Los Angeles in the March 2013 elections.  All five wrote responses of some sort, and they are listed below in the order in which they are received.  We asked the candidates to describe their day on Sunday, but not all were […]