LAPD: No Public Record Evidence That Bike Lanes Delay Emergency Response

Los Angeles Police Department Captain Jeff Bert testifies against North Figueroa bicycle lanes at Councilmember Cedillo's Bike Lane Community Meeting on May 8, 2014
Los Angeles Police Department Captain Jeff Bert testifies against North Figueroa bicycle lanes at a May 8, 2014, community meeting. Based on LAPD’s response to a public records request, Captain Bert’s anti-bike lane assertions were not based on any LAPD analysis regarding bike lanes. Photo via Fig4All Flickr

There is new evidence that the testimony given by a Los Angeles Police Department captain against a road diet on North Figueroa Street was, similar to Metro and LAFD testimony: not based on any actual LAPD evidence.

LAPD Captain Jeff Bert appeared in uniform at the May 8th public meeting hosted by Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo. Captain Bert stated that the planned North Figueroa road diet bike lanes would impair police emergency response times. Recently the L.A. Times reported that Cedillo had stated that “local fire and police officials told him it [N. Figueroa bike lanes] could pose a safety problem for emergency response vehicles.”

Los Angeles City Bicycle Advisory Committee Chair Jeff Jacobberger submitted a public records request letter [pdf] asking the LAPD for any documentation Captain Bert had referred to and, indeed, “[a]ll documents referring or relating to any analysis or evaluation by LAPD of whether bike lanes impair emergency response times.”

It will come as no surprise that LAPD’s response [pdf, and embedded after the jump below], similar to LAFD’s, cites no documents that make any connections between emergency response times and bike facilities.

While the LAFD response was a one-page letter basically saying “no records found,” the LAPD response was five pages. LAPD included past data backing up Captain Bert’s statement that LAPD’s Northeast Division already has longer emergency response times when compared to other divisions throughout Los Angeles. For April-May 2014, Northeast Division averaged 8.2 minutes, slightly higher than West Los Angeles Division’s average of 8.1 minutes, and just over a minute worse than the citywide average of 6.9 minutes.

LAPD’s letter further stated that “no other information was located” pertinent to Jacobberger’s records request.

Now that Gil Cedillo has made his full North Figueroa flip-flop official, the latest emergency response time revelations are perhaps not so timely. Maybe by showing agency representatives’ anti-bike-lane testimonies as unfounded, uninformed, and misleading, these representatives might show some reluctance to get in the way of public safety projects in the future. Time will tell.

LAPD Response Re North Fig Public Records

  • Hounds of War

    We all knew it. Gil Cedillo is just a turd plain and simple.

  • Juan Matute

    I once saw a graphic of vehicles in a completely congested roadway pulling into the bikelane to allow sufficient space for emergency vehicles to pass in the resulting lane created in the center of the roadway. If anything, bicycle lanes should reduce emergency vehicle response times.

  • And one of the best ways to improve the response times of emergency vehicles is to create a space that is going to be occupied by vehicles (bicycles) that can be almost immediately removed from the street to the sidewalk, so that motor vehicles can pull into said bike lanes. Right now, there isn’t that option when the street is congested and the emergency vehicle gets to blast its siren while standing still.

  • Juan Matute

    maybe you’re the one who tweeted the graphic I remember seeing.

  • ubrayj02

    The words of the LAPD representative at that meeting were recorded, and what he said was, “Bike lanes reduce response time.” – and he said it twice.

    Reduced response times mean that it takes less time to get from A to B than before the bike lanes went in. I don’t see any evidence showing that relationship, but if we’re going to play Cedillo’s silly games we might as well let the actual words that came out of this LAPD commander/captain’s mouth enter the discussion.

  • ubrayj02

    Eric Garcetti’s position in this situation is the only thing puzzling me.

    Garcetti does need a way to corral council votes. He wasn’t able to covertly funnel money to council candidates the way Villaraigosa did to ensure he had friends on the council.

    Cedillo got beat badly in NELA and Garcetti did really well in this part of the city. Garcetti is letting his limelight shine on Cedillo in NELA to get Cedillo on his side. “I’ll help you look good in 2017, Gil, if you will vote my way in city hall.”

    Garcetti is giving away too much in this bargain!

    Garcetti earned enough NELA votes in his mayoral election to have won the CD1 race (or nearly so). Cedillo was backed by the LADWP union – the same union that slandered Garcetti and supported his rival in the election.

    All Cedillo has to offer is tepid support on noncontroversial issues. Anything to strike back at the LADWP, or to simply bargain with them effectively, is totally off the table with Cedillo. Garcetti is propping up Cedillo in exchange for lukewarm “support” and a direct flouting of Garcetti’s marquee administrative push for livable streets.

    Garcetti! Kick him to the curb. Get the LADOT to install the lanes. It will destroy him politically in 2017, and he will need your support to get elected more than ever. He will lose the anti-bike lane wackos – he will be an impotent suit who has already run roughshod over may of their pet projects and sentiments. He will lose the pro-livable streets votes as well – he has already double crossed us and the only way he gets us back is if he jumps on the Garcetti bandwagon before Garcetti makes the LADOT do the lanes.

    Our job, at Fig4all and other community groups, is to keep bringing ourselves together to become a political factor in the next election. No matter what happens, we will get what we want if we can keep organizing. My daily commute to drop my kid at school and back is about to start up again and Cedillo has personally made my life dangerous and unpleasant. He has done this to everyone that lives, walks, rides, or drives on Figueroa. Do not give up the fight. Garcetti has to come to his senses.

  • Katherine McNenny

    Good point & I never thought of that!

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