Neighborhood Focused Bicycle Plans
Thanks to hard-working bicycle activists like Joe Linton and Stephen Box
who’ve read through the L.A. draft Bike Plan, Angelenos who care about
bikes can get the skinny on the 212-page draft without wading through
the typo and error-riddled document themselves. That said, I’d love it
if this draft were not so big and intimidating so that more people
would be encouraged the actual document — which is why David Byrne’s latest blog post got me thinking.
In his post about “An Evening With David Byrne”
— an L.A. event that happened earlier this month — Byrne opines that
“LA, like Austin in a way, is so spread out that it has more obstacles
to overcome” — and presents some ideas:
I suggested to the city rep that one might try adding
bike lanes, etc. in specific neighborhoods, little by little, and not
try to instigate a whole citywide program. Downtown, Santa Monica and
Venice would be obvious candidates. Her response seemed to imply that
the state of LA politics and bureaucracy makes that impossible — if one
hood gets something, they all want it.
Byrne’s suggestion got me thinking: Would it be possible to get
multiple bike plans going in various L.A. neighborhoods — with shorter
drafts of the plans that cyclists in that area could get through more
easily? Might that get cyclists more engaged and active in the areas
that they live or work in?
I think we still need an overall master bicycle plan to weave those
neighborhood plans together — and thus the city’s bike infrastructure
together — into a more comprehensive system. But considering the fact
that at the moment, neighborhood councils seem to lack the time even to
comment on the master plan, as Alex Thompson at Westside Bikeside’s pointed out, perhaps having a greater focus on neighborhood based bike plans — headed up by individual neighborhood councils — could work.
Certainly, neighborhood councils have been more receptive to adopting the Cyclists Bill or Rights, as Stephen Box points out. And efforts like the LA County Bicycle Coaliton’s 4th St. Bike Blvd. already seem to be along this neighborhood-focused vein. Plus, bike plans that focus on smaller areas — like the Burbank Bike Master Plan — seem to be creating more optimism and less angst.
That said, I live in Santa Monica, not the City of L.A., and thus
don’t have a neighborhood council. For those of you who do: Do you
think we could look to neighborhood councils to push through smaller
bike plans in their communities? The pedestrian and cyclist-friendly work of the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council certainly seems like a step in that direction –