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Bike Sharing

City Council Moves Bike Sharing and Advisory Committee Reforms

10:44 AM PDT on September 25, 2008

9_25_08_bikes_belong.jpg
An Assistant Helps Adjust a Bike at Denver's Massive, Temporary Bike Share Program for the DNC

Enamored with the awesome bike sharing program she experienced while in Denver, Transportation Committee Chairwoman Wendy Greuel wanted to bring some form of bike sharing to Los Angeles.  Surprisingly, a lot of the feedback from the bicycle community received at yesterday's hearing cautioned that the City of Los Angeles isn't ready for a complete bike sharing system.

Aurisha Smolarski and Dorothy Le suggested that funds that could go towards bike sharing instead be spent on a Sharrows and bike lane program, echoing some of the comments from LACBC Board Members that appeared on Streetsblog yesterday.  Stephen Box and Mark Peterson of the Bike Writer's Collective each suggested that the funding could go into better bike parking and other amenities around the city.  Michelle Mowery, the senior bike coordinator at LADOT, worried that LADOT isn't able to properly administer such a program.

After public comment, Greuel clarified that she wasn't looking for LADOT to administer the program, just explore what the best options for bringing such a program to Los Angeles are.  While a Velib-style city-wide plan is one of the things to look at, so is event specific programs such as Bikes Belong's efforts at the national conventions or micro bike share plans in specific areas such as Hollywood, the Downtown or at stops along LA's major bicycle trails.  Greuel asked LADOT to confer with the other speakers and get back to them in the next couple of months.

The Committee also advanced a motion by Councilman Ed Reyes to reform the way the Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Board does business.  While the Board itself had endorsed the changes, LADOT proposed some amendments to the legislation including creating an "emeritus" position on the board for past chairs, having the Department of Recreation and Parks join them in staffing the committee in place of the Department of City Planning and removing the provision creating alternate board members so that the committee will have quorom on a more regular basis.

Three cyclists testified on the motion, including myself and two members of the Bike Writers Collective.  During Stephen Box's testimony, he read letters of endorsement from a variety of bicycle, pedestrian and equestrian groups including the Sierra Club, Equestrian Trails Inc., and Los Angeles Trails; the committee did pass an amended motion that kept the provisions of the original motion except for the creation of the emeritus position and removal of the provision creating the alternate board members.  However, the council will want an update on how the changes have effected the committee in six months and may make more changes at a later date.

A full list of the proposed changes, which still need to be approved by the entire council, is available below:

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;

Previous chairs will be able to continue to serve on the committee in the role of Chair Emeritus; and

Require each member to have an assigned alternate member.

Photo: Scottograph/Flickr

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