Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
Antonio Villaraigosa

Living on Earth, a National NPR Radio Show, Looks at Cycling and L.A.

Television man outside the Mayor's Bike Summit.  Photo: Ingrid
Television man outside the Mayor's Bike Summit. Photo: Ingrid

It's a story that's told so often, it's almost cliche.  Biking in Los Angels is hard, and dangerous.  More people are taking to two wheels in the Car Culture Capital, but they're taking their own life into their hands.  If only Los Angeles were run by people who cared about bicycling, the city could be a cycling paradise.  I mean, consider the weather and reasonably flat terrain...

But now there's a wrinkle:  A mayor that goes for a bike ride and gets his wing clipped.  Now the story has changed, and people are starting to notice.

On Friday, a piece on the nationally syndicated National Public Radio program "Living on Earth" looked at the state of cycling in Los Angeles and wondered if the mayor's poor fortune will be a game changer for cycling Angelenos.

As anyone that's ever read this Streetsblog knows, we write a lot about bicycling and Los Angeles.  Even so, it's hard to balance the dual stories of hope and frustration that cycling advocates contend with when lobbying City Hall for the changes we need to be safe and comfortable on the street.  However, this exchange, captured in the L.O.E. piece, between the Bike Coalition's Ramon Martinez and Mayor Villaraigosa at the Mayor's Bike Summit captures both hope and frustration very well.

MARTINEZ: Antonio, if you are really interested in moving quickly on bike lanes-- there are bike lane projects in the downtown street centers that can be done downtown Los Angeles in dense areas that are transit-dependent, today, right now, with your support.

VILLARAIGOSA: I gotcha, Ramon.

In short, Martinez is saying, "We appreciate what you're trying to do, but let's get moving on things that have already been studied now instead of waiting for a Bike Plan to be passed.  I emailed Martinez over the weekend to see how he felt about whether we'd be seeing new bike lanes in the Downtown.  His answer?  That moving quickly on the projects approved when the city passed new street standards for the Downtown would show fulfillment of his promises, but if he doesn't move it sends a confusing message.

However, the Living on Earth piece wasn't meant to be a news piece for those pedaling around Los Angeles, in fact no NPR station in L.A. has carried the program for years, but to introduce people around the country to what is happening in Los Angeles.  While change may not be happening as quickly as we'd like, it's clear that even in the car culture capital of the world that bicycles and green transportation is taking hold.  And if it can happen here...

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

L.A. Street Vendors Celebrate Removal of No-Vending Restrictions in Huge Win Against City

The victory is the product of a decade-plus-long battle to legalize sidewalk vending on our city streets

July 23, 2024

This Week In Livable Streets

East L.A. Food Bicycle Tour #3, Metro/Caltrans 91 freeway expansion, Metro board meeting, C Line delays, Metro East Valley light rail, and the Citywide Housing Incentive Program Ordinance

July 22, 2024

Metro and Caltrans Expect to Complete Torrance 405 Freeway Widening Project Next Month

Metro and Caltrans are adding nearly two miles of new auxiliary freeway lanes, a new on-ramp, and widening adjacent streets including Crenshaw Boulevard and 182nd Street

July 19, 2024
See all posts