Councilman Smith Steps Up: Neighborhood Council Motion Now Addresses All Modes. (Updated, 10:10 A.M.)

(Update: Paul Krekorian’s office provides a copy of the resolution and a plug for the importance of Neighborhood Councils on their blog.  Read it here.)

Earlier this month, Streetsblog broke the news that Councilman Greig Smith was pushing a motion that would give Neighborhood Councils the ability to approve or veto bikeways projects before any changes would happen to city streets. Reaction was pretty harsh in the comments section, and I know several cyclists that wrote to Smith’s office to express disapproval. Some championed a second way of approaching the issue: instead of singling out bicycle projects have the motion apply to all modes. In other words, give NC’s the right to vote down widenings and expansion projects as well.

Smith receives an award from
Smith receives an award from the ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/sfvjaycees/1518290291/##San Fernando Valley Jaycees.##

Apparently, Smith heard you. Streetsblog just received a press release from the Council Office announcing a new resolution with a similar message.  However, this one applies to projects of all modes.  Smith goes out of his way in the release to state that this motion, sponsored by Paul Krekorian, is not just about Wilbur Ave. bike projects; but meant to give all neighborhoods a greater stake in the control of their streets.

Although this motion was precipitated by new road striping that included bike lanes on Wilbur Ave. in Northridge, it is not targeted specifically at bicycle traffic features. Councilman Smith supports making L.A. more bike friendly and increasing the number of bike lanes to make traveling by bike safer and more convenient. However, the Wilbur re-striping was done by DOT with complete disregard of the many serious concerns voiced by the community and by Smith’s office. In response, Smith submitted a motion that would require Neighborhood Council review for any bicycle traffic features. This new motion would expand that to include ANY new traffic features.

Regardless of one’s views on Smith or this motion, one does have to give him credit for listening to complaints from his constituents and making adjustments in proposed legislation.If this motion were to go through, it would place greater importance than ever on making sure people with progressive views on transportation can run for, and win, seats on their local Neighborhood Councils.

The entire release can be read after the jump.
Councilman Smith Motion Would Require Neighborhood Council Review on All New LADOT Traffic Features

Los Angeles – In a move to boost the role of Neighborhood Councils in new traffic features in the City of L.A., Councilman Greig Smith on Wednesday, September 22, introduced a motion that would require Neighborhood Council review on all new Department of Transportation (DOT) traffic features before installing them.

“We have heard a great deal of input from cycling advocates, Neighborhood Councils and community members who want to have more input on traffic improvements that affect their quality of life,” Councilman Smith said. “Traffic improvements can have a huge big impact – positive or negative – on safety, travel time and convenience for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, so it is crucial that community stakeholders’ voices are heard.”

The motion, co-presented by Councilmember Paul Krekorian, would have the DOT implement a policy of engaging in outreach and dialogue with the community before changing any traffic features, such as crosswalks, road striping, bike lanes, turn lanes, parking, traffic signals, stop signs and more. They would have to share the plans for any traffic feature with the Neighborhood Council representing the area where the project is proposed and hear and address their concerns and feedback before installation.

“Today’s motion is a step toward creating an expanded community outreach process that gives a voice to neighborhood leaders throughout our City on transportation issues and in creating a future L.A. where bicycles and cars peacefully share the road,” said Councilmember Paul Krekorian, Chairman of the Education and Neighborhoods Committee. “It is vitally important to ensure that our Neighborhood Council members – who know their communities better than anyone – have a central role in setting priorities and addressing the array of specific transportation issues that impact their diverse communities.”

The Neighborhood Council system was established by the City Charter to fulfill exactly this type of advisory function. They are an excellent platform to communicate the sentiments and needs of community members on a highly localized level. They also are already established by the Charter as the preferred neighborhood-level advisory bodies. Most of them already have transportation committees and are highly engaged and knowledgeable about local traffic issues.

Although this motion was precipitated by new road striping that included bike lanes on Wilbur Ave. in Northridge, it is not targeted specifically at bicycle traffic features. Councilman Smith supports making L.A. more bike friendly and increasing the number of bike lanes to make traveling by bike safer and more convenient. However, the Wilbur re-striping was done by DOT with complete disregard of the many serious concerns voiced by the community and by Smith’s office. In response, Smith submitted a motion that would require Neighborhood Council review for any bicycle traffic features. This new motion would expand that to include ANY new traffic features.

We will announce progress on this motion on the newsletter and website at www.CD12.org.

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