Metro: We’re Not Opposed to North Figueroa Road Diet

Responding to coverage in Streetsblog of the May meeting held concerning the North Figueroa Road Diet, a spokesperson for Metro reached out to Streetsblog arguing that despite our characterization of Metro’s position as “opposed to the Road Diet,” Metro is not opposed to reducing mixed used traffic lanes to create a buffered bike lane.

Metro Line 81 buses on North Figueroa Street. Photo: ##https://www.flickr.com/photos/fig4all/8745176419/##Fig4All/Flickr##
Metro Line 81 buses on North Figueroa Street. Photo: ##https://www.flickr.com/photos/fig4all/8745176419/##Fig4All/Flickr##

“It’s pretty clear Scott DID NOT speak against the Figueroa bike lanes as your article states,” writes Dave Sotero, a spokesperson with Metro. “He merely said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that when the lanes come in, we’ll monitor and make changes to the schedule accordingly and do our best to ensure the buses stay on time.”

Watching the video again, I can see Sotero’s point. However, Metro’s Scott Page gave his presentation surrounded by public officials speaking against the road diet in a series of agency testimonials orchestrated by the office of Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo. Video of Page’s testimony is available here.

Whether Metro or Page meant for the Metro staff-person’s presentation to sound as though it were opposed, many people, including our writer, assumed it was meant to cast doubt on the safety and mobility benefits of the road diet project, which would make the street safer for bicyclists, pedestrians, and people in cars and buses.

It is also important to note that, under state law, bicycles are allowed  on every street lane. Painting a bicycle lane on a street increases safety for all.

See Also:
LAFD: No Evidence NELA Road Diet Would Impact Emergency Response Times
North Figueroa Bike Lanes: Public Safety Reps Against Public Safety Project

  • Alex B.

    Bullshit. I was there and the tone of Scott Page the metro rep was VERY much to cast doubt on the bike lanes.

    Gil Cedillo is aiming to keep figueroa a freeway alternative to the 110 which lines up with the greater plan of re-aligning the figueroa bridge and a truck route exit from the 5 fwy.

    Gil Cedillo doesnt give a shit about figueroa becoming a small business coridor again. He is in place to make sure it remains a freeway flush through so that rich white people in pasadena can commute “faster.”

  • ubrayj02

    The central problem to those of us working for a safer, bike-friendly, Figueroa is that we often believe that bringing truth or facts to the table is making a big difference. It isn’t. Cedillo’s so craven and cynical at this point in his career that the only truth or fact he cares about is “do these bike lane people vote”.

    It doesn’t matter to him if people are getting killed, it doesn’t matter if active transportation prevents the health epidemics in our community.

    We have some great data and studies to back up our arguments, but the real crux of it should be: do this or we will vote you out of office. There is nothing else that matters to him – and the same can be said about Paul Koretz.

    So, do you bike and do you vote? Do you walk and do you vote? There is no way forward in LA liveable streets politics for anything less that that.

  • True Freedom

    you almost had a point until you threw in the “rich white people in Pasadena” bit.
    First, it’s not necessary and cheapens your point.
    Second, if you were a person living in Pasadena (not just a rich white person), you’d realize that the effort required to get to Figueroa in the first place is prohibitive. It’s much, much easier to get to the Orange Grove entrance to the 110, and it’s actually visually appealing as well.

  • Joe Linton

    I think it’s telling that LADOT Parking Enforcement Sgt. Luciano Meza said that the bike lane would “increase commuter time to and from L.A.” Though he’s representing a city bureau (he said “our bureau’s view on this, we’re not in favor of it”) his perspective is that of outside-the-city car-commuters, not folks who live and walk in the neighborhood. (video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFY6LJa8Unc )

  • The Real

    I think the main concern about the passers through from Passsadena (rich white people and other) is that they will EXIT the 110 when there is jam up. also, truck traffic is not allowed on the 110 so theres that…

  • Jeff Jacobberger

    Let’s be fair to Metro. On North Figueroa, buses move in general traffic lanes. If the bike lanes cause increased traffic congestion, those delays affect Metro, both in creating an accurate time table for the routes that run on Figueroa. To the extent that the congestion is unpredicatable, it creates problems re adherence to schedules, bunching, etc. We can ask motorists to drive on the Arroyo Seco Parkway (or Marmion); we can’t ask Metro to do that.

    If we want decisions about bike lanes to be based on facts, we need to fairly discuss and acknowledge that Metro bus service is impacted by increased traffic congestion.

  • Regardless of what we think of Mr. Page, Metro itself is not against this project. I even showed this article to staff before posting it and they had no issues with any of it. Page is speaking for himself, not the agency. Same with the LAFD representative.

  • HighNoon

    We should be equally clear the congestion is primarily the result of other motor vehicles (mainly SOVs) and not bicycles or bike lanes.

  • He said he was representing Metro but qualified that Metro was not against or for the bike lanes.

    Start watching the video at 0m 40s in: http://youtu.be/ys4BPKJGKOA?t=40s

  • marcotico

    I think Ubrayj02 is absolutely right about this, the bike advocacy community made great strides by presenting a unified front and marshalling facts and data to get biking represented in planning, and engineering design in LA County. They were able to accomplish this through extensive political advocacy and coalition building with transit, public health, and community advocacy groups. But that was planning and design, the next step will require another leap in coalition building to get the next phase, the non-“low-hanging fruit” phase, built and maintained. PS. I don’t live in LA County, so I ain’t volunteering.

  • calwatch

    There are some streets where Metro has strenuously objected to bike lanes – such as Chavez over the Los Angeles River and around Union Station, where hundreds of buses per hour use the streets from Union Station, the MTA bus plaza on the east, and the RRC and Division 10 (and future Division 13) facilities. Metro should reserve their objections for those situations, since the volume of buses on Figueroa is nowhere near that level.

    On the other hand, the bicycling and transit rider communities are beginning to conflict with each other, which is a shame. You have bike riders complaining that bus drivers are cutting in and blocking them, while bus riders are seeing former bus-only lanes, like the ones on Main and Spring downtown, being converted into bike lanes, or bus-only lanes like the one on Sunset being clogged with bicyclists creeping up the hill very slowly (as has happened before a Dodger game). A lot of bus riders resent the amount of time it takes to load bicycles on the front of a bus, and grumbling from the disabled when bicycles take up spaces where wheelchairs need to be on rail. There needs to be a greater dialogue between the bicyclist and transit communities.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

LAFD: No Evidence NELA Road Diet Would Impact Emergency Response Times

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When a bike lane and road diet were approved by LADOT for 5.1 miles of N. Figueroa Street, from San Fernando Road to Colorado Boulevard, safe streets advocates were thrilled. The plan promised better pedestrian crossings, buffered bike lanes and reduced traffic speed. But once Councilmember Gil Cedillo replaced Ed Reyes in last year’s election, the plans were knocked off track. In less than a year, Cedillo […]