Cedillo Kills Approved North Figueroa Bike Lanes Citing “Safety” Reasons

#fig4all supporters decked in green to show their support for the bike lanes
#fig4all supporters decked in green to show their support for the North Figueroa Street bike lanes. Yesterday, Councilmember Gil Cedillo confirmed his opposition to the lanes.

As a candidate, Gil Cedillo pledged his support for the approved road diet bike lanes on North Figueroa Street. Once elected, Los Angeles City Councilmember Cedillo maintained that he was listening to community concerns, while he and his staff phone-banked and canvassed to rally opposition to the bike lanes. 

Cedillo hosted two disgraceful community meetings on the North Figueroa Street bike lanes, both of which turned out greater numbers of bike lane supporters than opponents.

Yesterday, Cedillo made his flip-flop official.

Councilmember Cedillo wrote that he will be “deferring the implementation of any bike lanes on Figueroa until [he] can ensure all residents who travel along this corridor will be safe.”

It is a topsy-turvy Orwellian statement justifying his opposition to safety improvement on the grounds of safety–a bit like a smoker saying that he won’t quit smoking until everyone around him is healthy.

The full text of Cedillo’s statement follows the jump. 

July 10, 2014

Dear Neighbor,

Thank you for attending our community meetings on the proposed Bike Lane’s [sic] on Figueroa held on May 8th at Nightingale Middle School and on June 12th at Franklin High School. I too share this concern, and I am committed to ensuring the safety for all those who travel along this corridor – pedestrians, bikers, and drivers.

Last year I was humbled and honored to be elected to serve the communities of Council District One, and as such, it is my job to balance the diverse needs of the entire community. With that said, I will be deferring the implementation of any bike lanes on Figueroa until I can ensure all residents who travel along this corridor will be safe.

Mayor Eric Garcetti has included North Figueroa in his Great Streets initiative, which is part of a neighborhood revitalization strategy to increase public safety, enhance local culture, and build great communities. This is an opportunity to take a comprehensive and holistic approach to address all of the safety concerns raised during our community meetings.

Some of the improvements we will be looking at will include, but are not exclusive of:

•Reconfiguring existing traffic signals
•Installation of pedestrian/bicyclist-activated hybrid beacons at uncontrolled crossings Figueroa [sic]
•Curb ramps to provide access for folks using wheelchairs, strollers, walkers, crutches, handcarts, bicycles, or who have other mobility restrictions
•Pedestrian lighting, with an emphasis on luminating pedestrian crosswalks
•Highly visible Continental Crosswalks at intersections
•Curb Extensions in order to shorten the distance that pedestrians have to cross on Figueroa
•Street Furniture, Bicycle Racks, Corrals, and Fix-it Stations
•Landscaping, Street Trees, & Parklets

Thank you again for your time and I hope you will continue to partner with my office as we continue to promote safety on Figueroa.

Sincerely,

Gilbert A. Cedillo
Councilmember, First District

  • Kenny Easwaran

    Can we defer the implementation of any green light signal phases on all traffic lights on Figueroa until we can ensure that all residents who travel along this corridor will be safe?

  • mcas

    The fact that a councilmember can opt out of part of an approved, *citywide* plan in his/her district is a disgrace to the politics of Los Angeles. What’s next? Allowing councilmembers to opt of building fire stations or sewer lines?

  • Salts

    Let’s defer ALL lane, crosswalk, turn pocket, and median striping until we can ensure all who travel along any corridor will be safe (whatever that means)

  • Alex Brideau III

    “…I will be deferring the implementation of any bike lanes on Figueroa until I can ensure all residents who travel along this corridor will be safe.”

    Thank you, Councilmember Cedillo, for apparently committing to converting Figueroa into a car-free street, because as we all know, that’s the only way to ensure the safety of all Figueroa Street travelers!

  • AJ

    I’m sure the families of the 10 victims killed crossing the street on North Fig over the past decade will appreciate Dictator Cedillo’s concern for safety.

  • rj

    The last time I rode my bike down Fig, a black SUV started tailgating me for a couple blocks and laying on the horn the entire time. There was little traffic and he could’ve easily passed in the left-hand lane, but seemed intent on threatening me with his lethal weapon (a.k.a. car) instead. I can’t help but wonder if Cedillo’s whipping the anti-bike crowd into a frenzy is causing an uptick in such incidents. Safety!

  • Joe Linton

    Perhaps the Councilmember wants to keep cars moving, but, I think, using Cedillo-logic, we could also defer anything that would increase speeds on Figueroa, until ever car is already moving at least 100mph.

  • rj

    Sadly, it’s only a matter of time before another pedestrian (or cyclist, or even driver) is killed. When this happens, we need to make it abundantly clear that the blood is squarely on Cedillo’s hands. He could’ve helped prevent more death and mayhem, and blithely chose not to. The voters need to know this.

  • This very clearly has nothing to do with safety. The only argument that even made a shred of sense was that this might delay emergency responders, but they explicitly stated that this would not slow them down. Bike lanes and road diets ALWAYS make roads safer — for all users. All of the additional things he’s bringing up can be added at any time down the line. Waiting will just increase the number of accidents and injuries that occur in the intervening period.

  • Alex Brideau III

    I’m interested to see how the new LADOT General Manager will address this issue. No doubt she’s encountered this kind of counterproductive resistance before. Hopefully the bike and pedestrian community can work with her office and the mayor’s to overturn the council member’s shortsighted “decree”.

  • Johnny

    This guy Cedillo is SUCH a DIPSHIT. Barely won that race too. Ignorant fuck.

  • Joe Linton

    The only honest argument that I can think of, that makes sense, seems pretty obvious: “we drive and we’re used to this, and we basically like it the way that it is.” It’s disingenuous that politicians can wrap that pro-existing-car-centric-conditions in a nonsensical statement about safety.

  • bicyclingme

    •Curb Extensions in order to shorten the distance that pedestrians have to cross on Figueroa

    Sounds like he wants the people on bicycles to be pushed out more into traffic at intersections.

  • RoadDietFan

    This is a very important voice. Does anyone know whether the councilmember even has the legal authority to opt out of such a plan if it has been approved by the city.

  • RoadDietFan

    I meant important *point*. My apologies.

  • brianmojo

    I’m generally against everything Cedillo is proposing here, but just to clarify the above would not necesarially be the case if parking remains to the right of traffic (and a potential bike lane).

  • Egbert True

    A curb extension at the crossing in the middle of Sycamore Grove Park as an example would improve pedestrian safety by increasing their visibility as they wait to cross and reduce the time to cross the street by shortening the distance.

  • Jonathan Weiss

    Let’s give credit – and support – to Councilmembers who inherited plans for road diets and bike lanes when they were elected and stood by the planners and engineers because that actually means safer roads for all. Joe Buscaino comes to mind.

  • ubrayj02

    Buscaino is a champ!

  • ubrayj02

    The councilmembers DO NOT have the legal authority to individually pick out pieces of plans and make them happen or not happen … but, the LADOT could be forced by the passing of an ordinance by the full council to stop all work on North Figueroa bike lanes. It would take Cedillo making a Motion in city council and having them all vote on stopping the LADOT, but it is a possibility. The councilmembers would likely support that move because they rely on a similar amount of power in their districts. So, there is no legal authority, but there is the threat of sanctions via city council action on the department later on down the line.

  • jennix

    I’m taking the lane, so AFAIC, the result is the same: You’ll need to pass me in that #1 lane, ’cause i’m riding here.

  • Hilda

    L.A needs a StreetsPAC!

  • Abogado

    Sounds like there may be grounds for a lawsuit.

  • steven

    Have you seen this happen before? The LADOT Gen Mgr overturning a decision such as this? If so, we should start contacting her…

  • rickrise

    I recently read through much of the Charter of the City of Los Angeles. Among the 1,000 mentions of the City Council, I did NOT FIND ONE citation that gave veto power to individual council offices over projects such as N. Fig, or 4th street, or Lankershim, or Westwood, or….

    The City Council has become an anti-democratic institution that is holding back the development of safe and prosperous streets in LA!

  • elson

    PRO TIP: If you get the labor unions to support Fig4All, Cedillo will have the bike lanes painted overnight. That guy will do ANYTHING the unions order him to do.

  • Alex Brideau III

    I don’t know, to be honest. I guess the question is how much power does a single councilmember have over their own district? Can there be situations in which the full Council and/or mayor can overrule their opposition to a project?

  • CalRobert

    And now a cyclist is murdered by a hit and run driver. Their blood is on Cedillo’s hands. Not that he cares.