It’s hard to take some of the hysteria surrounding the City Council’s approval of Mobility Plan 2035 this past August very seriously.
And by “hysteria,” I mean the lawsuit and most recent claims by Fix the City president James O’Sullivan, who told MyNewsLA that the city “want[s] to make driving our cars unbearable by stealing traffic lanes from us on major streets and giving those stolen lanes to bike riders and buses,” and that, worse still, “…not all of us — in fact, very few of us — have the luxury of being able to ride to work on a bike or bus.”
Oh, yes. All those transit-dependent people luxuriating on bikes and buses, stealing your lanes. How very selfish they are, indeed.
I’m sure that at this very moment, those very transit users are rubbing their hands together in collective selfish glee as they stand, sweating through their work and school clothes in 90-degree heat at a filthy sun-drenched bus stop while waiting for a bus that is late because it is stuck behind car traffic. In fact, they are probably high-fiving the sweaty cyclists riding past them on the sidewalk as we speak.
Some people are just so selfish.
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The crux of most arguments against the Mobility Plan generally lies in the notion that the needs of the many (beleaguered drivers) are being subjected to the whims of the few (mostly arrogant/entitled hipsters) — a claim supported by census data suggesting that only 1% of folks in Los Angeles County ride bikes to work and just 11% use transit.
Which, I’ll admit, can sound pretty damning.
At least on the surface. (And as long as you don’t consider the possibility of people switching over to transit or cycling as more and better infrastructure for both goes in as part of the Mobility Plan [PDF]. But I digress.)
When you think about what those numbers mean on the ground, you have a completely different story on your hands. One that suggests that those doing the complaining are (inadvertently, I hope) advocating for the holding of lower-income Angelenos hostage to the very traffic conditions that they themselves find so abhorrent and destructive. Conditions that will continue to present challenges to lower-income residents who desperately want their neighborhoods and the children they raise there to grow and thrive and be healthy. And conditions that the complainants themselves had the means to escape.
Pshaw! Thou art a luxury-loving lane-stealer, you might be thinking to yourself.
Just bear with me.
And let’s take the case of Central Avenue in South Los Angeles — a street slated for a protected bike lane and road diet, per the Mobility Plan — and see why a different approach to mobility matters. Read more…