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And the Winner Is…

10:38 AM PST on December 31, 2009


Bike Story of the Year:

Panel's Pick: Everybody Hates the Bike Plan, The Trial and Conviction of the Road Rage Doctor
My Pick: Hummer Slams Into Cyclist, LAPD Blames Cyclist, Cyclists Swarm City Council and Police Commission

I'm not even sure I need to go in to an explanation for any of these stories.  The panel was evenly split on whether Dr. Thompson's trial and conviction or the ongoing drama and disappointment surrounding the Bike Plan was the news of the year.  Meanwhile, I thought the reaction of the community to the Bike v Hummer crash downtown and the LAPD's botched reporting of the crash.

However, while there's three very different stories that have dominated our hearts and minds there's a common thread that unites them.  In each case, cyclists responded to either disappointing or downright insulting news with an organized and mature yet in-your-face advocacy that was powerful and effective. 

In the case of the Bike Plan, LADOT and City Planning are on their heels while cyclists work on their own Plan without a $450,000 budget.  In the case of Dr. Thompson's trial and conviction, cyclists were on pins and needles awaiting the results of the trial awaiting what turned out to be good news.  In the meantime, Thompson became the face of dangerous driving in City Hall.  And in the case of the Bike v Hummer Crash cyclists turned Tena's horrible crash and the harassment of cyclists by the driver and the reporting officer into a rallying cry.  Through a series of rides to City Council and Police Commission meetings cyclists made the case that the LAPD has no idea how to effectively support and police cyclists...especially if they're riding in a group.

Of course, none of these stories is completely played out.  Thompson's sentencing won't be for another couple of weeks; and the relationship between the LAPD and the cycling community isn't likely to reach full detente anytime soon.  As for the Bike Plan, LADOT Senior Bike Coordinator Michelle Mowery said they expect the Plan to be finalized and voted on by the Council by the end of June.  Of course, they were nearly eighteen months late getting us the Draft Plan, so who knows when we'll actually see it.

Honorable Mention: Where the Hell Are My Goddam Sharrows?!?

Transit Story of the Year:

Panel's Pick: Courts Rule (over and over) That State Robbery of Transit Fund to Balance Budget is Illegal
My Pick: Courts Rule (over and over) That State Robbery of Transit Fund to Balance Budget is Illegal

For years the State Legislature and Governor have worked together, hand-in-hand, to effectively over-rule a voter created fund that subsidizes transit operations to close the state's budget gap.  Of course, that gap hasn't stopped the Governor from enthusiastically jetting to every highway widening groundbreaking you can.  Ahhh, the perils of pretending to care about the environment.

Meanwhile, the State Transit Association sued the State, noting that they were overriding a voted mandate because they have no ability to control the state budget.  A judge agreed.  Then another one.  Then another one.  And how has the state responded?  The Source reports that the legislature is working on a way to rob the gas tax to help close next year's budget tax.

Honorable Mention: Metro Board Bends Over Backwards to
Extend Exclusive Rail Car Contract to Ansaldo Breda for Nine Months...Then Negotiations Between Agency, Breda Breakdown after Board Sticks
Its Neck Out; Gold Line Eastside Extension Opens, But Is It Safe?, City Ready to Roll with Wilshire BRT Even if EIR Required

Livable Streets Person of the Year:

12_31_09_box_speaks.jpgStephen gives instructions and advice between cyclists visit to the Police Commission and Inspector General's last May.  Note all the familiar faces in the scene.  Photo: Me/Flickr

Your Pick: Stephen Box
My Pick: Stephen Box

I'm not sure there's a lot more to say than what I already said in the nominations post from last Monday except to say that the work done by Stephen and Joe this year and every year since I've been here is always top notch, creative, and above and beyond.  Outside of my great personal effection for each of them, I can't imagine where we'd be without them.  However, this year Box had his stamp all over the all three of the major bike stories we mentioned above and for that reason he edges Joe.  I have a feeling I'm going to be writing similar paragraphs as the one I just wrote every year for as long as I'm writing the Streetsies with an occasional switching of the two names.

Also, a quick note on Denny Zane.  I kind of blew it by not nominating him, and he's done great work both in 2008 with the Measure R campaign and this year getting Metro to focus on accelerating the transit projects.  I'm sure we'll here more from him this year.

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