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Posts from the "Dennis Zine" Category

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City Breaks Ground on West Valley River Bike Path

Councilman Dennis Zine, far left, leads a team of activists and city staff breaking ground on a new bike path. Photo: LA Streetsblog/Flickr

City Councilman Dennis Zine served as master of ceremonies at the groundbreaking for the West Valley Los Angeles River Bike Path yesterday.  Construction has begun on this first phase of the path, a 2.2 mile stretch that extends from Vanalden Avenue to Corbin Avenue.  The path won’t just be a stretch of concrete, but will also have some landscaping, access some mini-parks and have overhead lighting.

The total cost of the 2.2 mile path?  $7 million.

To read Joe Linton's ongoing coverage of this issue, click on his picture.

But, as Joe Linton points out at Creek Freak, because of all the amenities the path is more like a 2.2 mile linear park than a bike path.  Over $5 million of the budget comes from federal stimulus funds and the rest comes from a state grant program programmed for the expansion of open space.

There are 32 miles of L.A. River embankments in the City of Los Angeles, and currently only eight miles have adjacent bike paths, so this is a significant investment by the city in improving access to the river.  Future phases of the River Path are funded, but the construction timelines are unclear. Read more…

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Councilman Dennis Zine: Southern California Car Culture Here to Stay

The above ABC News story on this Monday's meeting of the Los Angeles City Council Public Safety Committee's hearing on the anti-harassment ordinance for cyclist has a couple of jaw dropping moments.  One bike messenger describes being the victim of a hit and run crash four times and Ted "Biking in L.A." Rogers recounts the hate mail he's received in the wake of the conviction and sentencing of Dr. Christopher Thompson.  Scary stuff.  But perhaps the scariest thing is the comment by City Councilman, former LAPD Officer and former member of the Bike Advisory Committee Dennis Zine who clearly states that this is a car town and it's going to stay that way.

Gleeson: Councilman Dennis Zine says he sympathizes, but doesn't know how police would enforce such an ordinance.  He says L.A. isn't designed to be bicycle friendly.

Zine: "I think we are a car culture here in Southern California.  I don't know if we're ever going to change that."

I think anyone that regularly rides throughout the city would agree that there's a major design problem, but an elected official that wants to show leadership on transportation and public safety should be looking for ways to make things safer for all road users.  After all, our streets should be a public space for everyone to use, not a funnel for people who happen to own expensive pieces of personal property.

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City Council Public Safety Committee Blows Easy Chance to Support Cyclists

1_11_10_alphabet.jpgGo ahead, harass away. Photo: Slippy Jenkins/Flickr
 Earlier today City Council Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl's legislation requiring the City Attorney to draft "anti-harassment" ordinance protecting cyclists and pedestrians was heard by the City Council Public Safety Committee. The passage of Rosendahl's motion, which doesn't tie the Council to the final ordinance in any way, would have been an easy way to show the most basic support for a community that has been attacked, neglected and feels unsafe in public streets.

It would have been easy, but they blew it. Instead of slam dunking the motion through, the committee showed how far cyclists have to go to earn the respect of city leadership despite the occasional pep rallies at City Council Transportation Committee Hearings. Instead of moving Rosendahl's motion, already cleared by the Transportation Committee, they changed it to one asking the City Attorney to write a report on what changes they could make in an ordinance if they so choose. Basically, they added a third step to a two step process, so that now instead of going directly to the ordinance writing stage, the City Attorney will have to come back to the Council and Council Committees before writing an ordinance that will have to go through the Council and Committees itself.

But even more discouraging than the committee's enthusiasm for adding a layer of bureaucracy, was that some of the members seemed downright hostile and out of touch with the issues cyclists actually face.

After LADOT Senior Bike Coordinator Michelle Mowery gave a detailed, if somewhat passionless, explanation that in addition to the physical dangers cyclists face they are often spit upon, threatened, buzzed, etc. intentionally by drivers, the hearing took a turn downhill.

First, Committee Chair Greig Smith questioned whether the city could actually do anything to make the city safer for cyclists through an anti-harassment ordinance. First he noted that the state controls most of the laws on city streets, second he noted that it's already illegal to do many of the things mentioned in the ordinance and third he brought up, repeatedly, that the police can't enforce a law without witnessing the crime unless there is evidence. While I'm sure all in the room were thankful that the Chair has such a firm grasp of law enforcement, I'm not sure why this was such a large point. Maybe he brings this up everytime someone wants to change a public safety law?

Smith's other points were spot on, the state does control most of the streets when it comes to writing laws and it is already illegal to spit on people in Los Angeles without provocation. However Mowery pointed out that there's other things the city can do, such as write a law regarding minimum passing distance.

When Council Woman Jan Perry tried to bring up the policing of late night bicycle rides, and perhaps an educational campaign to drivers, cyclists, and the LAPD to make the rides more safe for everyone; she was interrupted, twice, by Councilman and former LAPD officer Dennis Zine who sneered that the rides break every law in the book. Mowery quickly interrupted that this law is designed for "law-abiding cyclists" and commuters, recreational cyclists et al. This somewhat off topic exchange seemed to be the opposite of what Perry's point was supposed to be.

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