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Today’s Headlines

  • Crowd Gathers to Watch Hit and Run Murderer Turn Herself In (Streetsblog, LAT, Daily News, KTLA)
  • Berkeley, UCLA Researchers: Make ExpressLanes, Congestion Pricing, Permanent (LARegister)
  • L.A. Favoring Smaller Cars (LA Magazine)
  • WeHo’s $16M 200-Space Robo-Garage: Only $80K Per Parking Space (LARegister)
  • News Paper Group’s Top Priority for Sacramento: Tax Breaks for Film and TV Industry (Daily News)
  • City Council’s Chief Legislative Aide Set to Retire After 3 Decades (LAT)
  • SaMo Mayor O’Connor Works with Business to Create Green Future (Guardian)
  • Santa Monica Next Wants You To Join SM For Renters Rights Now
  • Meanwhile Expo Construction Creating “Major Traffic Jams” in SaMo (LARegister)
  • L.A.’s Done a Good Job Cleaning Smog, Too Bad the Rest of the World Isn’t (Daily News)
  • Here’s a Fun Look at Some Music Videos Filmed in Union Station (The Source)

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Judge to Hit-and-Run Perpetrator: Don’t Do it Again or it Will Be Considered Murder

Carmen Tellez, mother of hit-and-run victim, speaks to local news outlets following the sentencing hearing for Wendy Villegas. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

Carmen Tellez, mother of hit-and-run victim Andy Garcia, tells local news outlets she is disappointed with the outcome of the sentencing hearing for Wendy Villegas. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

“If you drink and drive and kill someone again, [this time] it will carry a charge of murder with a minimum sentence of 15 years,” the judge told 21-year-old Wendy Villegas at her sentencing hearing. “Do you understand?”*

Her words had been meant to admonish Villegas — to convey the idea that slamming into a group of cyclists, killing Luis “Andy” Garcia and leaving Mario Lopez and Ulises Melgar for dead, was a very serious offense.

Unfortunately, the judge’s warning that the book would be thrown at her next time only served to underscore the fact that our laws do not yet take drunk driving or hit-and-runs seriously enough.

Fire a gun into a crowd and injure four people at a party at USC, and you’ll get forty years to life.** Get behind the wheel, and you apparently have to kill a second time before the death you cause is legally classifiable as a homicide.

From where I and 40 other members of Garcia’s family and friends sat, staring at the back of Villegas’ head, it was hard to tell if the judge’s words — or anything else, for that matter — made an impression on her.

She never met anyone’s gaze as she walked in and out of the sentencing hearing, never turned to look at anyone as she sat facing the judge, never appeared to show any emotion, and never uttered a word, other than to answer the judge’s direct yes-or-no questions.

It drove Garcia’s friends and family crazy. Read more…

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A Look At L.A.’s “Second Year” Bike Lane Implementation List

Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell celebrates the January 2014 opening on the Virgil Avenue bicycle lanes. Los Angeles is beginning technical studies to extend these lanes from Los Feliz Blvd to Wilshire Blvd. Photo: Office of CM Mitch O'Farrell

Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell celebrates the January 2014 opening on the initial half mile of Virgil Avenue bicycle lanes. The city of Los Angeles has begun technical studies on 40 miles of “Second Year” bike lane streets, including extending the Virgil bike lanes from Los Feliz Blvd to Wilshire Blvd. Photo: Office of CM Mitch O’Farrell

Last week, the Los Angeles City Departments of City Planning (DCP) and Transportation (LADOT) hosted a webinar for the start of what they’re calling “2010 Bicycle Plan Second Year Implementation.” The Webinar presentation materials are posted online hereSBLA covered some news from the webinar last friday. Today’s article focuses on the “Second Year” projects and additional bikeway implementation discussed. The full Second Year facility list appears after the jump.

In 2011, city staff put forth a list of about 40 miles of “First Year” study corridors. These were streets where bike lanes had been approved in the 2010 Bike Plan, but the city deemed further study necessary. Since 2011, the city has studied all and implemented some of the “first year” corridors. In many cases, first year study corridor facility implementation has stalled due to political issues. The city has also implemented plenty of other bike lane projects: some approved in the bike plan, and some opportunistic.

In January 2014, the LADOT relased its Priority 2 list. The same list in slightly different form, called “Second Year Study Corridors,” appeared on this handout distributed at DCP’s planning forumsThe second year study corridors are a list of about 40 miles of street segments where the city is looking to implement bike lanes soon. All of these bike lanes were already approved in 2011, when the city approved its bike plan.

The word “year” is somewhat confusing. Three years after adopting the bike plan, the city is starting on its “second year” bike lane projects. So, in this case, “year” means something more like “batch” or “grouping.”

Though Streetsblog welcomes and celebrates bike lanes almost anywhere, some recent L.A. City bike lane mileage has been more opportunistic than strategic. Bike lanes on Via Marisol, Laconia Blvd, Braddock Drive, and Fair Park Avenue were all implemented more because the street was overly wide, as opposed to the lanes being particularly useful.

The city’s “Second Year” list is much more strategic. Completion of these approved facilities will greatly enhance the city’s bicycle transportation network. These corridors are places where L.A. bicyclists ride and need to ride, but where no safe and convenient facility exists. These facilities connect with others to create bike networks. Read more…

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How Cities Should Frame the Way They Think About Mobility

Image: Copenhagenize

Image: Copenhagenize

The evidence that our transportation systems are producing less-than-optimal results speaks for itself — whether it’s grinding congestion, obscene traffic fatality rates, or the greenhouse gases we’re spewing into the atmosphere at catastrophic rates.

The situation warrants a new take on how cities approach mobility, writes Mikael Colville-Andersen today at Copenhagenize:

For almost a century we have been asking the same question in our cities.

“How many cars can we move down a street?”

It’s time to change the question.

If you ask “How many PEOPLE can we move down a street?”, the answer becomes much more modern and visionary. And simple. Oh, and cheaper.

With urbanisation on the rapid rise, we need to think big. Think modern. We need to travel Back to the Future for the solutions that will serve our growing populations best. Cycle tracks. Trams. Wider sidewalks. It’s all right there for the taking if we dare to take it.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Strong Towns explains how Memphis is trying to fix its sprawl problem by increasing street connectivity. Streets.mn goes into the practical limitations of Nice Ride bike-share in the Twin Cities. And The Black Urbanist ponders how “urban” and “suburban” are often misapplied as racial euphemisms.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Gold Line Authority Pushing to Extend Into San Bernardino County (SGVTribune)
  • Connecting Metro Rail to LAX (NY Times)
  • Air Resources Board May Relax Truck Emission Rules (LAT)
  • Metro Board Looks To Extend 110 and 10 Freeway Tolls (The Source)
  • Garcetti Parking Meter Enforcement Revenue Plan A Shakedown Gimmick (Daily News)
  • Expo Construction Snarls Otherwise Wonderful Westside Traffic (LARegister)
  • Actual LADOT Photos of Cyclists, on York Bike Lanes (LADOT Bike Blog)
  • Flying Pigeon Digs Dirt on Frustrating South Pasadena Gap in York Bike Lanes
  • Beverly Hills Councilmember Wants A Larger Metro Board (LARegister)
  • Upcoming Kidical Mass and Other SM Events To Take Your Parents To (SantaMonicaNext)
  • Michelle Molina is Urbanizing Long Beach (LongBeachize)
  • Dude Who Gets Parking Ticket Vows to Read Signs Before Parking Engages on Complicated Plan to Overthrow System (City Watch)
  • Scofflaw Drivers Part of Our Culture, Needs to Change (Cyclelicious)
  • Will SF Move To More Versatile Fire Engines (SBSF)

Get National Headlines at Streetsblog USA

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Photo Contest: Send Us Your Soggy, Snowy, Rain-Soaked Walk or Bike Ride!

Share imageThis year has dealt us some crazy weather, from the polar vortex to drenching thunderstorms. We know you didn’t hide all winter in a car. You were out walking the walk and riding the bike, whatever the weather. We hope you got a picture of it!

In honor of April showers — and to celebrate the end of an epic winter — we’re co-sponsoring a Showers & Snow photo contest with the Alliance for Biking & Walking and Ortlieb. Send us your gorgeous photo(s) of walkers or bikers in the rain or snow where you live, and you could win a fabulous set of waterproof Ortlieb panniers and bike bags.

Contest details

Photos: Please send high-resolution files (at least 1,600 pixels wide or tall), without watermarks. Please submit no more than 10 photos for this contest. For inspiration, check out the finalists from our last photo contest.

To enter:

  • If you’re on Flickr, add your pictures to the Ortlieb Showers & Snow photo contest Flickr group. In the photo caption field, provide your name, email, city and state, as well as a caption.
  • If you are not on Flickr, email your pictures as a JPG or PNG file to photocontest@bikewalkalliance.org, with the subject line “Ortlieb Showers & Snow photo contest.” In the body of the email, provide your name, address, telephone number, email address, and photo caption. Please submit your images in as few emails as possible.

In both cases, if you didn’t take the picture yourself, please let us know who did!

Prizes: First and second prize winners each get a full set of awesome, waterproof Ortlieb panniers and mountable bags to turn your bike into a badass hauler.

Read more…

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The Death Toll From Cars Is Even Higher Than You Thought

Ten days ago, a four-year-old boy near Houston was killed when a neighbor backed his pickup truck over him. At least 50 times a week, people back their cars over kids in the U.S. On average, two of those 50 incidents are fatal. But you won’t see them represented in official crash statistics.

Four-year-old Zain Ali Hussain's death, like the deaths of an average of 1,621 people per year, will not be counted in NHTSA's traffic death statistics because he was hit in a driveway, not a public road. Photo: ##http://www.click2houston.com/news/deputies-child-hit-and-killed-by-pickup/25434032##Click2Houston##

Four-year-old Zain Ali Hussain’s death will not be counted in NHTSA’s traffic fatality statistics because he was hit in a driveway, not a public road. Photo: Click2Houston

Every year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issues a grim summation of the death toll on American roads: 33,561 killed in 2012. The year before that: 32,479. The year before that: 32,999. But this statistic leaves out many fatalities caused by cars and drivers. And the victims it undercounts the most are pedestrians and cyclists — and children.

NHTSA does track these other deaths, but it categorizes them differently. The agency recently released its “Not-in-Traffic Surveillance” numbers from 2008 to 2011 [PDF] — which measures injuries and deaths in “nontraffic motor vehicle crashes” off public roadways. The agency explains:

These crashes… are mostly single-vehicle crashes on private roads, two-vehicle crashes in parking facilities, or collisions with pedestrians on driveways. Then there are also noncrash incidents such as a vehicle falling on a person underneath or unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.

So, add to the 37,261 people killed in traffic in 2008 another 1,605 killed in “nontraffic.” Between 2008 and 2011, there were 6,483 such deaths and 91,000 such injuries. About 39 percent of the people killed in these incidents weren’t in cars.

Children like Zain account for a disproportionate share of “nontraffic” fatalities. (NHTSA put out a separate report [PDF] on children involved in nontraffic crashes.) Between 2008 and 2011, 13 percent of the victims were 4 or younger, while kids that young account for about 3.5 percent of the overall population. Almost half the children who die in these kinds of incidents are killed by drivers backing up over them. Three percent are killed by rollaway vehicles that no one is driving. Of all children injured in “nontraffic” crashes, 60 percent are not in a car at the time.

NHTSA didn’t collect information on these crashes until 2007, and the agency still doesn’t include them in its annual traffic fatality reporting. The National Safety Council does, however, which helps explain why the NSC’s numbers are always higher than NHTSA’s. The NSC also considers a death to be traffic-related if it occurs within 12 months of the crash; NHTSA’s window is only 30 days.

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Eyes On The Street: Sunset Triangle Park Plaza Gets New Paint

Sunset Triangle Park plaza recently received a new coat of paint. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog LA

Sunset Triangle Park plaza recently received a new coat of paint. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog LA

There’s a fresh coat of bright green paint on L.A.’s Sunset Triangle Park plaza! This space had been Griffith Park Boulevard roadway for many years. In early 2012, it was re-purposed to support local businesses, sitting, eating, walking, and bicycling.

Just as Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman was reporting that it was looking a bit worse for the wear, the city happened to be re-painting. The new paint job looks great, other than being slightly marred by some kind of white wash. No word on whether the original polka-dots will return.

Sunset Triangle Park plaza - fresh, green, but the polka dots are gone! Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog LA

Sunset Triangle Park plaza – fresh, green, but the polka dots are gone! Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog LA

More plazas are on the way, including in Leimert Park, thanks to the L.A. City Department of Transportation’s (LADOT) new People St program. Residents or businesses can apply to work with the city to bring a plaza – or parklet or bicycle corral – to your very own street. The initial round of applications are due April 30th – the middle of next week. An annual round will take place each year in October through November.

Where would you like to see a new plaza, parklet, or bike corral?

 

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Events: 2 Hit and Run Court Appearances, Finish the Ride, #Fig4All #LA2050 Visioning Workshop

sblog_calendarJust as the week before Easter/Passover is usually a light one, the week after is usually a heavy one. And this one is heavy. Court appearances, committee hearings, educational events, a Streetsblog L.A. event with the Bike Oven, two amazing sounding events on Sunday. It’s a packed house.

  • Tuesday – Wendy Villegas, the woman who struck and killed Andy Garcia will formally turn herself into authorities after accepting a deal that will put her in jail for at least a year and a half. Despite hitting a human being with her car and killing him and cowardly leaving the scene in the murder weapon, Villegas was given the lightest possible sentence and was allowed to leave the courtroom at sentencing before turning herself in. Family and friend’s of Garcia are planning a community ride to the courthoue to see the legal portion of Andy’s story come to an end. Get the details, here.
  • Tuesday –  Jose Gonzales is being charged with vehicular manslaughter for hitting Philip O’Neil from behind with his car, killing him. . So far, there have been two pre-trial hearings and a third one has been scheduled for Tuesday, April 22, 8:30 am, at the Pasadena Courthouse, 300 East Walnut Street. Family and friends of Phillip as well as concerned individuals and LACBC staff have attended both pre-trial hearings, which are open to the public. Get the rest of the details for this week’s hearing, here.
  • Wednesday - Learn, network, and be inspired at the Urban Land Institutes’s 14th Annual Urban Marketplace – a conference and expo designed to promote real estate investment opportunities and development strategies for LA’s lower income and higher poverty neighborhoods. In a half-day, you will hear from an exclusive keynote panel, then participate in 20+ interactive roundtable discussions led by industry leaders who have made meaningful and innovative contributions to the urban environment. And hey, Streetsblog is a media partner! Go, us! Get the details, here.
  • Wednesday - The City Council Transportation Committee meets at 2 p.m. in City Hall to discuss what’s going to happen to all of the good bicycle and pedestrian projects that were abandoned when the state dissolved the Community Redevelopment Agencies last year. I have a surprise for you. They have a plan to complete them! Really! Read the full agenda, here.
  • Wednesday - Come and join Las Ovarian Psyco-Cycles for a space fundraiser and watch the film “Wadjda”. Wadjda is a 10-year-old girl living in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Although she lives in a conservative world, Wadjda is fun-loving, entrepreneurial and always pushing the boundaries of what she can get away with. After a fight with her friend Abdullah, a neighborhood boy she shouldn’t be playing with, Wadjda sees a beautiful green bicycle for sale. She wants the bicycle desperately so that she can beat Abdullah in a race.  Movie starts at 7 p.m. Get the details, here.
  • Thursday – It’s your monthly dose of political rancor and public policy known as the Metro Board of Directors Meeting. The highlight of this month’s agenda is a proposal by Gloria Molina to add a $1 account fee on all Metro transponder accounts regardless of use. Read the agenda, here.
  • Friday – Our friends Aurisha and Somerset are opening Los Angeles’ first worker-owned electrical and solar co-op. The opening party is this Friday at Eco-Village. Get more details, here.
  • Friday –  Come & join Las Ovarian Psycos & Yerberia Mayahuel and have a good time! Since January 2014, OPC & YM inherited the space Centro de Comunicación Comunitaria located in Boyle Heights. Since then, both collectives have been utilizing the space to do movie nights, Qi Gong classes, worm composting workshops, health and wellness circles, reading circles etc. Get the details, here.
  • Saturday – First we announced that The Bike Oven, Streetsblog and Place It! would be holding a community visioning workshop for North Figueroa Street in 2050 as part of the #la2050 event. Then, the Mayor announced it would be a “Great Street” in his state of the city. Coincidence? Let’s assume not. Come participate in one of James Rojas’ workshops, enjoy some local cuisine, meet Josef Bray-Ali…all in one day and place. 4 p.m. this Saturday in front of the Oven on North Figueroa Street. Read more about it, here.
  • Sunday – It’s finally here. Damian Kevitt and Friends’ Finish the Ride, the fundraising ride that will literally start where Kevitt was hit by a hit and run driver in 2013, is this Sunday. There are rides for people of all ages and skill levels. Get the details at Finish the Ride.com
  • Sunday - On April 27th railLA’s Expo Explorers presents a full day tour exploring the historic Metro Expo Line. The interactive event will teach new riders how to ride Metro Rail and take them to discover amazing places along the Expo Line. As event guests explore each destination, they’ll complete an activity in their Event Passport and learn about the past and future of Los Angeles. We’re told that the Mayor of Santa Monica and a host of local Livable Streets Advocates will be on hand. Get all the details, here.

Is there something we missed? Is there something we need to know about for next week? Email damien@streetsblog.org

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Today’s Headlines

  • The Evolution of Green Architecture (LAT)
  • KCET Overviews the Plan For A Healthy Los Angeles
  • Metro Red Line Suicide Attempt Unsuccessful, Dragged 20 Yards (LAT)
  • Glendale Hosts Pedestrian Safety Workshop (News Press)
  • Santa Monica’s Three Prettiest Parking Garages (Gizmodo)
  • Long Beach’s Five Prettiest Libraries (LongBeachize)
  • Southern California Carnage – Heavy Weekend:
    16-year-old Adrian Chavez, Jr., Killed in Hit-and-Run in Florence-Firestone (Daily News)
    Deadly To Run Out of Gas on 405 Freeway (LAT)
    Sleeping Palmdale Teen Killed When SUV Crashes Into Bedroom (LAT)
    Motorcyclist Killed in Head-On Collision (LAT)
    San Diego Speeding Drunk Crashes, Kills Two Passengers (LAT)
  • Downey Has a Parking Disaster (Downey Patriot)
  • California Heritage Museum Hosts Awkward Family Photos (SantaMonicaNext)
  • San Bernardino Bus Rapid Transit “SBX” Green Line Starts Next Week (Sun)

Get National Headlines at Streetsblog USA