A Little Lobbying Goes A Long Way…
Councilmember Ed Reyes, Bike Advocate
Immediately following the closing of the opening comments at yesterday’s all-day transportation press confer…errr…City Council Hearing, Councilmember Ed Reyes (D-1st) rose and gave a visionary speech promoting bicycling in Los Angeles. Reyes gave a vision of a Los Angeles where "People are able to go from house to train station on a bike, store it safely there and get it back after completing their trip on transit."
While the majority of the council’s complaints centered around something going on in their district, or just blamed "poor planning" (as though the planning decided to be bad by itself, and there’s nobody in particular to blame for this), Reyes also offered a specific solution…change the way we think about transportation.
"The goal should be to move cars, not people," Reyes proclaimed, sounding more like an advocate then a council member. The councilmember noted that in Los Angeles, we decide whether a street/intersection is working based on the amount of cars that move through an intersection. Thus, if more people in an area choose transit/walking/biking, and the amount of cars on the street is reduced, the City of Los Angeles would believe that street to be failing.
What the heck is going on here? We already know Reyes is exceptional when it comes to bike related issues, but this level of detail and passion was unexpected. It turns out, the councilmember’s speech was partially the result of some direct lobbying by Illuminate LA, Brayj Against the Machine, and other Midnight Ridazz. Reyes deserves all the praise in the world for taking a stand for cyclists, and it should be noted that biking was a big topic at yesterday’s meeting, but it probably doesn’t happen that way without some direct contact initiated by activist cyclists.
Let’s keep that in mind when hearings on LA’s Bike Master Plan come up in a couple of weeks.