East Bike Ambassador Program Bridges City Decision Makers To Regional Voice

Participants from the last East Bike Ambassador Program look at a L.A. City Bike Master Plan map. The LACBC-run program, which links regional communities to the city government, is looking for more members to attend its East meetings. Kris Fortin/LAStreetsblog

L.A. City had funds to install two bicycle friendly streets, and the recently formed LACBC  East Bike Ambassadors (EBA) were mulling over where to put them. Looking at the poster-sized L.A. Bicycle Master Plan map, the eight participants were torn on whether Evergreen Avenue in Boyle Heights, a street near the L.A. River Bike Path, or Griffin Avenue would get the bicycle infrastructure touch-up.

LACBC launched the East Bike Ambassador program late last year as a way to connect the concerns from the region to the city. While the group can be influential in identifying potholes that need to be fixed, prioritizing bike lanes, or identifying and fixing intersections that do not recognize bikes, problems and solutions ultimately come from the members of the group.

“You have a say in what you want to do with your time here,” said Alek Bartrosouf, LACBC Policy and Campaigns Manager.

The EBA representatives come from all the areas east of Downtown L.A. The group is a mix with some coming from as far away as Pasadena and Eagle Rock. Northeast Los Angeles’ Crank Heads Cycling Crew make up almost half the group.  Despite the being a hotbed of cycling advocacym there were no representatives from Boyle Heights at the meeting.

The EBA’s first campaign RideFigueroa aims to get a bike lane on Figueroa Street between Colorado Boulevard and San Fernando Road in Northeast L.A. Members have been given petitions, and talked about strategies on how to talk to businesses.  The group is also planning  a bike ride for the area soon.

The purpose of the EBA is far from rigid, and has already been used to troubleshoot unconventional bike problems. Crank Head members asked Bartrosouf at a meeting if they could take abandoned bikes locked up on the street so they could rehabilitate them. Some bikes are stripped down to their frames, they said, but remain on the street for weeks. Bartrosouf promised an answer to this query at their next meeting.

While Bartrosouf’s main job with the EBA is to facilitate the conversation, he said, the long term goal is to create a sustainable group similar to Santa Monica Spoke, or Walk Bike Glendale.

The next East bike ambassador meeting is on Monday, January 7 at the the Los Angeles River Center, California Building (1st floor atrium) (5700 West Avenue 26. Los Angeles, CA 90065) For more information, contact Alek Bartrosouf at alek@la-bike.org.