LABAC Recognizes Change is Coming, Endorses Reyes’ Reforms

Via Brayj Against the Machine, Ed Reyes Talks Bike Policy

Last night the Los Angeles Bike Advisory Committee, the official government body that provides the link between the city government and cyclists on the street, voted to accept all seven pieces of City Councilmember Ed Reyes’ motion, to reform the way the committee does business.

Reports from cyclists attending the meeting, including Stephen Box who organizes the “Storm the Bastille” rides to get cyclists to attend the LABAC meetings, show why such reforms are necessary.  Committee members seemed unaware that Reyes’ motion existed.  In past months, cyclists have complained that too many committee members were unaware of the controversy over the Ballona Creek Bike Trail entrance closing and even that the city was planning a new bicycle master plan. (editor’s note: I’ve gotten complaints via email from LABAC members that the LABAC has been informed and involved in the city’s Bike Master Plan from the beginning and have submitted formal comments.)

Reyes’ legislation, co-sponsored by Transportation Committee Chair Wendy Greuel, recognizes that “there are certain structural and operational changes which must be made at this time in order to allow the Bicycle Advisory Committee to reach its full potential” and makes the following changes.

Will be jointly staffed by the Department of Transportation and the City Planning Department;

A liaison from the Department of Recreation and Parks will be assigned to assist the committee as needed;

Appoint an administrative staff person to be responsible to post meeting minutes, agendas, and other support services;

Establish that any member of the Bicycle Advisory Committee may make a motion for the election of a new Chair; and that upon    

A majority vote of the members, an election for the Chair will be immediately held for a minimum term of one year; and

Require each member to have an assigned alternate member.Reyes’ motion was already passed by the Planning and Land Use Committee of the City Council.  It still needs to be heard by the Transportation Committee before the entire Council has a chance to vote on it.  Currently, there is no hearing scheduled on the legislation by the Transportation Committee.

Cyclists were also anxious to discuss the relationship between cyclists and the police given the difficult time Enci Box had filing a complaint after an incident with a Metro Bus, the lack of follow-up after Randi Cruz was rear-ended and the driver fled the scene and the needlessly rough and personal treatment Clutch received at last week’s Critical Mass ride.  Unfortunately, the LAPD didn’t send anyone to the meeting…that was held in Parkway Center, aka LAPD Headquarters.

  • Joe Linton

    Perhaps it’s a persnickety technical/semantic note, but the BAC didn’t “accept” these – we actually voted to “recommend that the City Council approve” the seven items in Councilmember Reyes motion. The way I see it, we on the BAC don’t really have the power to accept these… we don’t have much power at all… we’re an advisory committee. If the City Council’s Transportation Committee and the full council approve the motion, then the changes go into effect.

    I think that it’s encouraging that the BAC actually acted on two items – supporting the Reyes motion and providing a list of policy recommendations for the city’s Bike Master Plan.

  • Joe,

    Has the BAC already put together the list of policy recommendations for the BMP?

  • The BAC, for all practical purposes, endorsed the frickin measure. Of course, as an advisory body, the BAC is not able to make poicy into law – but it has a direct, official, route to those who do. It is a state-sponsored megaphone to local leaders, and the message from last night’s meeting was (thankfully) clear: the LA BAC supports Ed Reyes’ motion, with a few small suggested changes.

    I say, bravo BAC! It took whining, yelling, cussing, shouting, bitterness, politics, and hard work – but you guys are actually doing your job now. :)

    And david p,

    The BAC moved to pass on a 2 or 3 page set of recommendations to Alta Planning that were drafted by Kent Strumpell. So, those are a set of BAC-approved recommendations that those cats ought to be getting soon.

    It was an awesome moment when half of the BAC decided to start taking action, and talking policy, debating ideas, and then voting on whether to recommend those ideas to council and other city departments.

    I really mean that. That moment restored my faith in local politics.

  • The BAC did try to get things done, but keep in mind it was mostly to cover their own ass, as they were in danger of not having responded to motion in any way. In the process they demonstrated exactly why the committee needs reform – they can barely make a motion! Anyhow, we shall see.


  • Damien Newton

    Look I haven’t been to a BAC meeting in about eight months, but is that really fair Alex? The stuff Kent wrote on the BMP was certainly done on either his or their initiative.

  • looks like ed reyes is my new man crush.

  • I hope Reyes can send out emails to his supporters in the bike community to get us to turn out to speak in favor of his pro-bicycle reforms. Like, when one of his items goes up for a vote in a committee or on the floor of the council, it would be really cool to have someone email or call and say, “Hey! That thing you have been talking to us about, it is up for a vote!”

  • Damien Newton

    Like, when one of his items goes up for a vote in a committee or on the floor of the council, it would be really cool to have someone email or call and say, “Hey! That thing you have been talking to us about, it is up for a vote!”

    Or, you could just read streetsblog :)

  • Damien,

    It is totally fair. Jay Slater et al initially argued strongly that they should ask Reyes to delay his motion, saying that the motion was a surprise and they had not had enough time to react. Then, during public comment, multiple members of the public pointed out that the motion was dated February 29th. Some noted that the fact that the committee could not react properly to a motion within 3 months was indicative of the need for reform.

    The committee then spent an hour and a half cobbling together an eight point motion to advise the City Council about their opinion of the motion. During this time they ran roughshod over parliamentary procedure and failed to allow public comment on the points of the motion – that’s eight Brown Act violations.

    They then flew through Kent’s document, hardly discussing, and then skipped the rest of their items and adjourned “on time”, having failed to make it through their agenda.

    All in all – they took action on a motion that threatens the way they (don’t) do business, acted on one man’s recommendations for the LABMP with little debate, and skipped and hurried a whole bunch of agendized items.

    I’m glad the Reyes representative got a good look at the shoddy function of the committee. Ubray views it as positive, and I think it is a good change in direction, but in essence this is because they were so dysfunctional in the past. Objectively, they are a long long way from being a high functioning committee.

    Shoot, they spent 5 minutes discussing how Alex Baum and Michael Goodman (who slept through parts of the meeting) are the only people who attend the Advocacy and Education subcommittee. Then Nidia Garcia said that she had been waiting for Mowery’s formal introduction of her to the committee before joining the subcommittee, but that she would like to join it and not wait for that introduction – since it had been several months since she joined the committee. Then – I cannot believe this – Goodman actually told her she could not join the subcommittee, because it was full with 7 members, not twenty seconds after he had complained about the lack of attendees.

  • Joe Linton

    To respond a bit to Brayj and Thompson… who I generally agree with in their diagnosis of this frequently do-nothing committee.

    I share Thompson’s disbelief at the inability of BAC leadership to take on new folks. It’s supremely ironic that Michael Goodman lamented the lack of attendance, then told Nidia Garcia that she couldn’t be on the sub-committee because it was already full. I find a similar irony in Alex Baum’s statements: a point he makes often is that bicyclists never show up to public meetings, hence we don’t get our needs met. Stephen Box, Brayj, Thompson, and their comrades are showing up to lots of public meetings! Alex Baum should celebrate instead of discouraging them – they’re the people Baum has been waiting and begging for!

    My initial post was just to clarify Damien’s. Sure the LA Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) “endorsed” (Brayj’s words) the motion – yes, definitely reluctantly, as Thompson characterizes – but I just wanted to clarify that it’s a motion of the LA City Council, so they have to approve it for it to take effect. I don’t think that it really matters much if the BAC likes (endores, accepts, recommends) it or not.

    Though I serve on it as Councilmember Garcetti’s representative on the BAC, I have to say that I don’t expect much from the committee. It’s largely older recreational cyclists – who are unrepresentative of the more transportation-oriented cycling community that has emerged in LA. I thought that it was telling that one of the points that got the most attention was the point in Reyes motion was the proposed liaison from the Rec&Parks department. The thing that most of these folks get excited about is weekend biking in Griffith Park or Sepulveda Basin… not everyday biking on the streets of LA.

    So… I don’t expect the BAC to be any sort of vanguard on LA bike issues. The reason why I attend is to get updates about the DOT is working on, what obstacles they’re facing, etc. That information is valuable – it can help bike advocates to take on issues (issues that I don’t expect the BAC to take on).

    All that said, I will ramble to an avuncular conclusion… Though I think that public attendance has made meetings difficult, long and uncomfortable, I think that their presence has pushed the BAC to “take action” (Brayj’s words) more often than it has in the past. I would assert that it’s still marginal, and even the actions taken have been minimal, quixotic, ineffective. I would posit that the best use of bicyclists time/energy is not to try to make the BAC effective or active, but to end-run us and get policy-makers and city departments to implement change on the streets of LA. We commend Councilmember Reyes (who is generally good and supportive of bikes [Note: I worked for him from 2002-2004, though not on bike issues]), but most of the City’s Bicycle Master Plan approved bike lanes located in Reyes district have not been implemented. How about if we push Reyes to push the DOT to do bike lanes now on Elysian Park Avenue, Sunset Boulevard, Fletcher Drive, York Boulevard, First Street, and others?


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