Lawsuits and Leadership: Where Is Mayor Garcetti On L.A. Mobility?

Can we get some clear leadership on L.A. safer, multi-modal future? Mayor Garcetti at last month's Vision Zero announcement. Photo: Joe Linton
Can we get some clear leadership on L.A. safer, multi-modal future? Mayor Garcetti at last month’s Vision Zero announcement. Photo: Joe Linton

Yesterday, the Orwellian-sounding Fix the City officially announced their lawsuit against the recently approved city of Los Angeles Mobility Plan 2035. The plan, unpopular with those that value car travel time over public safety, is controversial because of provisions that would, in some cases, remove mixed-use travel lanes (car lanes) or car parking to add bus, walk, and bicycle infrastructure, including traffic calming.

Fix the City’s lawsuit [PDF] claims that the plan is illegal under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) because removing car lanes will increase car congestion and thus increase vehicle emissions. The lawsuit cherry-picks data from the plan’s car-centric environmental studies to make this claim. It cynically takes worst-case-scenario projections and presents them as fact.

In a particularly bald statement, published at MyNewsLA, Fix the City representatives claim that bicyclists are stealing lanes from drivers.

Fix the City Vice President James O’Sullivan said the city acted as a “social engineer” when approving the mobility plan.

“They want to make driving our cars unbearable by stealing traffic lanes from us on major streets and giving those stolen lanes to bike riders and buses,” O’Sullivan said.

“Don’t get me wrong — I love bike riders and buses,” he said. “But not all of us — in fact, very few of us — have the luxury of being able to ride to work on a bike or bus. We rely on our cars. If there were meaningful options to car travel that would be another matter. But there aren’t.”

Never mind that continuing nearly a century of wholesale investment in car infrastructure would also be “social engineering.”

What’s sad is just how put-out these 100 percent “rely on our cars” drivers tend to be. Why are they not grateful that they have been catered to for so long, and that Mobility Plan 2035 continues to favor expansion of car facilities, too, on its Vehicle Enhanced Network and plenty of widened streets?

While the lawsuit might sound somewhat like a parody, the funding behind it come from long-time foes of increasing the city’s transportation options from the Westside and people who successfully fought the Hollywood Plan.

These are well-heeled culture warriors, and they clearly don’t back down from a fight.

While the city prepares to defend its progressive mobility plan, it is also preparing a legal defense against a lawsuit challenging its retrograde redesign of the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge. For those just joining us, community members filed a lawsuit against the bridge redesign because the new bridge would not have sidewalks needed to make the bridge accessible to all road users.

And this is where the city finds itself, in large part because it can’t seem to make up its mind about what kind of city it wants to be.

On one hand, you have Mayor Eric Garcetti and LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds out in the sun declaring a plan to reduce transportation related deaths to zero by 2025.

On the other, you have the Bureau of Engineering, with the support of Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell and Former Councilmember Tom LaBonge, arguing that a road diet on the bridge is untenable because of the possible unproven impacts it might have on car congestion, despite the safety concerns of the approved design. You have a trio of Councilmembers working to gut the Great Streets Initiative in their districts by taking road diets and bike lanes off the table, and even trying to get them removed from the Mobility Plan.

The filing of the lawsuit by Fix the City appears to be bad news for Angelenos interested in seeing Los Angeles become a safer, more equitable, more livable place – with more robust transportation options and safer streets.

However, it doesn’t need to be.

Instead, it could be a wake-up-call to Mayor Garcetti. If he allows city departments to ignore his transportation vision and allows Councilmembers to try and carve his Mobility Plan and signature Great Streets Initiative without saying a word, he undercuts the work that others are doing to implement his vision. When we say others, we are including not just the activists who have devoted their lives and careers to what many believed a shared vision of a safe, robust, transportation system, but also leaders that he brought to L.A. from Denver and the Bay Area to steer key government agencies.

The dueling lawsuits show that there no sitting on the fence. It is a critical time to truly favor a safe and diverse transportation system, even at the marginal expense of the desires of car commuters to be able to speed through local streets. It may be past time for Garcetti to take a stand, because the vacuum left by his silence leaves all eyes focused on judges and lawyers instead of the leaders that we’ve elected.

  • Pat

    For many, taking the bus or riding a bike is not a luxury, but rather the only option they can afford.

  • Alex Brideau III

    Even if I subscribed to the lawsuit’s premise, it still ignores the fact that more and more cars in CA release zero emissions when stopped in traffic and/or at low speeds. Indeed, both standard and plug-in hybrids already do this as do some newer models of traditional-transmissioned cars (e.g. BMW X1, etc.). And of course, fully electric vehicles release no emissions while they operate, regardless of speed.

    As of 2013, the market share of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles in CA was nearing 10%. (

  • LAifer

    Thank you for this. Well said.

  • michael macdonald

    Also ignores the reality that the alternative of more cars in more lanes as a result of population growth and lack of options for drivers far exceeds the lawsuit’s hypothetical fear mongering.

    Vehicles emit hydrocarbons when drivers step on the gas pedal. Fix the City would rather we live in an enormous and deadly parking lot filled with solo drivers out of some unfounded fear of the brake pedal.

  • michael macdonald

    Many low income workers without other mobility options wake up early to spend long, non-luxurious hours commuting by bus and/or bike to get to work. To have James O’Sullivan — a wealthy white man living in proximity to businesses and opportunities — call out transit riders and bike commuters as having privilege is as tone deaf as one can get.

  • Chewie

    Oh the irony: the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) swoops in to protect us from bike and bus lanes after its recent victory in Hollywood protecting us from New Urbanism. I love it. Everything is bad for the environment if you can afford a lawyer to argue that it is. You can’t do anything big without it getting dragged into court for years. I consider myself an environmentalist and I’m in favor of overhauling CEQA, because I’ve seen it used to kill so many environmentally beneficial projects, and because there’s something wrong with an environmental disclosure law that churns out War-and-Peace-length reports that virtually nobody reads (how could they?), including the officials who vote on projects that those reports are supposedly informing. There has to be a better way to protect the environment.

  • SZwartz

    People approach this issue with the passion of religious zealots. When one looks at the facts, a different picture emerges. September 10, 2015, Zwartz Talk, Garcetti’s Mobility Plan 2035 Has Been Challenged in Court, by Scott Zwartz

  • Mike

    Good luck Scotty, you’re not alone but your severely outnumbered. Even the whole lot of you shortsighted regressive activists can’t conjure up a decent rebuttal to refute the benefits presented by the new Los Angeles and with that I pay no mind to your actions.

    I don’t mean to be an ass every time I respond to your comments, but you can’t talk sense into stupid. (no offense..) If you ever want to discuss the merits of multi-modal transit and the positive impacts it would have on the city, I would happy to sit down with you and hash out some details. Neither of us win unless we compromise, otherwise good luck in your journey to uphold the failures of our past.

  • SZwartz

    Bikers are 1% and you think I’m out numbered? You need to brush up on your math skills.

    The court room is not a numbers game. While I have no illusions about the serious limitations of our judicial system, so far the City has been batting zero.

    The legal system operates on the basis of issues, and you do not show any understanding of any of the issues. All you have is some bizarre secular mythology.

  • Mercedes owners = real 1%’er

    Someone can support removing space from cars and NOT be a “biker.” My grandmother will never be seen on a bicycle and she commutes to work on the Westside from Glendale. However, she is not selfish and actually cares about future generations so she actually supports road diets even though she will never use the bicycle lanes installed. She supports them for safety reasons and because they promote bicycling. So please stop this “1%” nonsense, there is far more than 1% of the population that supports making Los Angeles a multi-modal city. The majority of people believe in climate change and that we have a responsibility to make tough decisions to address it. You apparently are not one of those people and that’s ok, for now.

  • Mike

    Of the millions in LA who are spurring the growth of progressivism here, theres a lot more than 1% that have interest in our transition to becoming a much healthier, pleasant and livable city.

    Of the deranged variety that somehow think, no growth, wider lanes (Google latent demand for a little “math” refresher), low density, more cars and more parking lots will end our urban sprawl induced blight, nightmarish commutes and poor air quality… there’s about 200 including smclc, noma, fix the city, la Mirada etc. Furthermore, studies by nextcity have shown that of the regressives, most are wealthly white old men… not exactly the most popular demographic for envisions of the future especially with their history of poor decision making nationwide. Your reference of proven fundementals of urban planning as “bizarre secular mythology” are exactly what will keep you from furthering your backwards agenda.

    You’re a passionate guy and you’re diligent, but unfortunately you’re backing the wrong argument with falsified data. We could use you on our side, and the offer stands if you want to go over some details about the future of LA!

    Otherwise… Best of luck,

  • Dennis_Hindman

    Your article, that you provide a link to, doesn’t have one iota of data or information about how the Mobility Plan is based on faulty data and wishful thinking. Its all about lawsuits involving development. Anyone can file a lawsuit. That does not mean it has any merit. Nor does losing a lawsuit on something that does not involve the mobility plan increase the probability of the city losing a lawsuit against the mobility plan.

    Where are the so called facts that you refer to?

  • Dennis_Hindman

    You first state: “You need to brush up on your math skills.”

    Then you state: “While I have no illusions about the serious limitations of our judicial system, so far the City has been batting zero.”

    You seem to be claiming that the city of Los Angeles has lost every single lawsuit that has been filed against them by stating that the city is batting zero. Cherry picking cases where the city has lost lawsuits does not show that the city has lost all lawsuits, nor does this indicate the odds of the city losing a lawsuit filed against the mobility plan.

  • SZwartz

    If you want to include personal injury lawsuits where people have tripped on a sidewalk, go ahead. If you want to include lawsuits about sexual harassment or racial discrimination, go ahead. Of course, those lawsuits have nothing to do with CEQA and land use which is the matter at hand.

    If you find a CEQA lawsuit where the City has prevailed since Garcetti has become mayor, please let us all know.

  • SZwartz

    You are adroit at missing the issues. The 1% comment was to the statement that I was “seriously out numbered” and I pointed out that bikers are only 1%. The fact that some people other than bikers support MP 2035 does not alter the basic statistic anymore than we are also bikers who ride every day.

    The issue, which hyper-emotional people who eschew rational analysis, fail to recognize is that The City based itself on false data, used wishful thinking rather than facts, and deprived the public of its right to make a meaningful contribution. You do not have to accept my word on the last point, since Councilmember Cedillo explained it in great detail during the City Council hearing and he backed up his words with his action of voting against MP 2035.

    As for Climate Change, once again you are clueless about that the lawsuits challenge. One of HELP’s and CCLA’s main points is that The City ignored the quickest and most effective environmental alternatives. Rather than take the time to educate yourself, you simply invent things with no regard for the truth, e.g. “The majority of people believe in climate change and that we have a
    responsibility to make tough decisions to address it. You apparently are
    not one of those people…” September 10, 2015, Zwartz Talk, Garcetti’s Mobility Plan 2035 Has Been Challenged in Court

    The reality is that HELP and CCLA have sued The City due to its refusal to study the most environmentally beneficial alternative, but people who prefer to make up their own version of reality will never know that. They have the same mentality as religious fanatics who cheer as the “witches” are burned at the stake.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    Mentioning lawsuits that involves construction of buildings has very little relationship to reallocating road space from private automobiles to bus only lanes or bike lanes. Its very clear from the implementation of the Rapid bus lines that more people will ride buses if the service is sped up. Installing bike lanes also increases the volume of bicycle riding on a street based on bicycle counts in and studies of large cities in the U.S.

    The groups suing based on CEQA having got much of a leg to stand on. About 3.4% of the mixed use through lanes would be removed to install all of the bike lane miles. The anticipated bicycle commuting mode share would be about 2% if only conventional bike lanes were installed. The bicycle mode share would be higher than that if protected bike lanes are installed as is proposed in the mobility plan.

    Bus only lanes are expected to increase bus boarding’s along those streets by 15%. That’s based on the increase in bus boarding’s from installing Rapid bus lines which increased the average speed of buses and thereby making the service more attractive.

    Creating bus only lanes or bike lanes would not impede emergency vehicles on city streets. If anything it would open up space for emergency vehicles to get to their destinations faster. If off-peak motor vehicle speeds were reduced then there would be less emergency vehicle trips as the severity of collisions would be less.

    Lost time from work and family due to traffic congestion also does not stand up to reasoning. Some of the lowest commute times for residents in the city of Los Angeles are for those who live on the west side according to Census household survey results. In fact, the average commute times for Census tracts from Le Conte to Exposition Blvd along the Westwood Blvd corridor is 20-24 minutes. The average commute time for the entire city is 29.9 minutes.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    “You do not have to accept my word on the last point, since Councilmember Cedillo explained it in great detail during the City Council hearing and he backed up his words with his action of voting against MP 2035.”

    Gil Cedillo gave loads of erroneous information that was based on opinion and not facts at the city council hearing.

    Here’s some of what he said at the council meeting on approving the mobility plan:

    “The fact of the matter is that there is 1% of the population that uses bicycles. I’m excited that they may grow 170%. Assuming that’s the case, that takes us to 2.7%. I have to be a representative of my entire district, not simply 1%”

    Leaving out one percent would not be representing the entire district.

    “We’ve had those conversations in my district. We had two town hall meetings and let me tell you the results and the concerns were distinct from what’s being articulated here and many of the concerns were concerns around the question of public safety.”

    Now he’s just flat out lying. About have the attendees wanted bike lanes on Figueroa St. Bike lanes improve the safety of bicycle riders. That is public safety. Six percent of the motor vehicle involved collisions are with bicyclists and five percent of the collision fatalities are bicyclists.

  • SZwartz

    CEQA requires that the City study certain impacts. The important word is STUDY. (I used caps as I cannot use bold which is better.)

    Both the petitions are technical documents, but in providing further disclosure the entire petitions were provided. Fix The City, on the one hand, and HELP and CCLA, on the other hand, do not raise identical issues, nor should they. However, readers should notice the differences.

    One of HELP’s and CCLA’s major points is that The City ignored the most climate friendly alternative, Virtual Presence (No, not Virtual Reality). I think that Zwartz Talk can do a better job informing the public if it also hyper-linked some of the comments about Virtual Presence. It will reduce greenhouse emissions the most and it will decrease commute time by removing about 30% of vehicle traffic. It also shows that TODs and mixed-use project are financially harmful to the City and thus it is a significant mistake to construction a transportation system which is designed to cater to them.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    Under section 10 of the Fix The City lawsuit it states: “MP2035 is intended to comply with state legislation enacted in 2008 which requires cities to include multi-modal transportation planning in the required general
    plan circulation elements; and enable the city to apply for state and federal grants to implement the projects included in MP2035.”

    That’s exactly what the city of Los Angeles is attempting to do by including protected bike lanes and bus only lanes along major streets as part of the mobility plan. Not having bike lanes would be excluding safety improvements for bicycling along major streets which would not encourage more bicycling access and thereby not complying with the state legislation for multi-modal planning. The definition of multi-modal is not prioritizing only cars, which the plaintiff seems to believe should be the planning for transportation on city streets.

    In the EIR it states: Complete Streets Act. Assembly Bill 1358, the Complete Streets Act (Government Code Sections 65040.2 and 65302), was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in September 2008. As of January 1, 2011, the law requires cities and counties, when updating the part of a local general plan that addresses roadways and traffic flows, to ensure that those plans account for the needs of all roadway users.
    Specifically, the legislation requires cities and counties to ensure that local roads and streets adequately
    accommodate the needs of bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders, as well as motorists.

    Under section 28 of the lawsuit it states: “The EIR concluded that the implementation of MP2035 would have significant and unavoidable impacts to transportation and safety, substantially reducing the number of street segments citywide operating at acceptable impact levels as a result of plan implementation; and that there would be less congestion without the plan.”

    What it actually states in the EIR:

    Both the project (mobility plan) and no project alternative would have significant impacts on the circulation system (roadway).

    Emergency access is listed as no impact both for the project and no project alternative.

    Safety is listed as no impact for both the project and no project alternative–which also states less pedestrian and bicycle safety than project.

    Public transit, bicycle or pedestrian facilities is listed as no impact for both the project and no project alternative–less mobility than the project.

    Air quality for the region is listed as less than significant impact for both the project and no project alternative–more emissions than project.

    Greenhouse gas emissions is listed as less than significant impact for both the project and no project alternative–more emissions than project.

    Consistency with applicable plans and policies is listed as less than significant impact for the project and significant impact (negative) for the no project alternative.

    This is a frivolous lawsuit that is hoping to win on a technicality.

    Your so-called virtual presence is nothing more than the use of the internet. Somehow the city is supposed to do something to create that 30% drop in vehicle use by the use of of “virtual presence.” That’s pure fantasy to believe that there would be a drop in commute times by a supposed 30% reduction in vehicle use caused by the internet alone.

  • SZwartz

    Nothing in the HELP CCLA lawsuit says not to have bike lanes. Their lawsuit says that the City was required to study the health risks for people who use bike lanes on major thoroughfares. CEQA requires that health risks be studied. It looks like HELP CCLA presented maybe 20 scientific papers from around the world about the health risks of bike lanes on major thoroughfares vs bike lanes removed from the major boulevards, by maybe a block or two. That does not say like a radical request, nor does it sound anti-bicyclist.

    What’s wrong with studying the health risks so we know if our kids are breathing in toxic fumes which may create caner in 20 years?

    Fix The City does have some statements about bike lanes reducing vehicle lanes and therefore increasing traffic congestion and thereby increasing people’s exposure to toxic emissions. The issue for the court is whether that is a mere opinion or whether it is a conclusion based upon scientific fact. I am certain the City Attorney Office will find out. Based on prior experience with Fix The City, I expect that they do have the facts. However, the facts and their scientific method will be determinative.

    Basically, the two petitions argue that The Mobility Plan 2035 is written very poorly and falls short of the requirements of a proper EIR. The Bike Lanes in major thoroughfares is the easiest flaw to remedy. Based on worldwide consensus, they will have to be moved.

    But here is an interplay between Fix The City and HELP. If HELP (and the rest of the world) is correct about the health risks of Bike Lanes in major thoroughfares, Why did Garcetti insist on leaving them in MP 2035? Fix The City’s response is that the objective is to make vehicular traffic more congested.

    It will be interesting to see what explanation the City gives to the judge. What justification is there to unnecessary expose people to high doses of toxic emissions when there are safer routes for the Bike Lanes?

    Kortez was not very clear why he did not like Bike Lanes on Westwood, but he may have been suggesting that they should be on side streets that parallel Westwood. I am not certain; he sounded very vague in council, especially when compared to Cedillo who made his thoughts very clear. I thought Cedillo made the most cogent comments that I have heard in City Council on any issue. He was quite impressive. That’s all I know about him.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    “The Bike Lanes in major thoroughfares is the easiest flaw to remedy. Based on worldwide consensus, they will have to be moved.”

    Absolute horsesh*t. There is no worldwide agreement that riding in bike lanes on major streets pose a great health risk. The city of Los Angeles doesn’t have to do its own studies on this matter. Its already been done numerous times. This is another attempt by a litigious party grasping at straws trying to stop the installation of bike lanes. Its just laughable. That’s another lawsuit which will land on its face in absolute failure. Again, anyone can file a lawsuit. That does not mean it has any merit.

    “But here is an interplay between Fix The City and HELP. If HELP (and the rest of the world) is correct about the health risks of Bike Lanes in major thoroughfares, Why did Garcetti insist on leaving them in MP 2035? Fix The City’s response is that the objective is to make vehicular traffic more congested.”

    By far the biggest reason for congestion in this city is the amount of motor vehicles exceeding the supply of lanes. There is no viable solution to this problem. What the city is attempting to do is give people more choices for transportation. Focusing on making sure that driving remains the fastest and most convenient way to move around encourages more people to choose driving over any other form of transportation.

    “What justification is there to unnecessary expose people to high doses of toxic emissions when there are safer routes for the Bike Lanes?”

    You don’t seem to have the foggiest clue that people who drive cars directly behind other motor vehicles are sucking in much more exhaust fumes than bicyclists who are riding to the side of motor vehicle traffic. Are you also trying to say that motorists should not be allowed to drive directly behind other motor vehicles due to the high levels of toxic fumes? That there are safer routes for driving also?

    Councilmember Cedillo is attempting to eliminate what he believes is a divisive subject in his district–bike lanes. His so called cogent arguments are nothing but excuses to justify his lack of leadership and courage on the subject.

    These lawsuits against the mobility plan are not much more than an attempt by motorists to keep driving as the priority in this city and to deny proven safety designs for bicycle riders along major streets. Safety features for cars are mandated by the federal government. Unfortunately people riding bicycles do not have exoskeletons to protect them as do occupants inside of steel cages in cars. Safety improvements for airplanes, trains, boats, cars and pedestrians are not generally decided by what the public thinks about it and yet for bicycle riding its fair game.

  • SZwartz

    You exhibit the same type tunnel vision as most True Believers.

    Fix The City does focus on Bike Lanes, while HELP CCLA make proposals which allow for more Bike Lanes and Bike Lanes which pose less a health risk.

    Since your preferred modus oeprandi seems to be ranting and raving and not analysis, you show no real understanding of what the lawsuits seek or their factual basis.

    Hopefully, many more lawsuits are filed on Monday. Try as they might, Fix The City, HELP and CCLA cannot present all the unique aspects which need to be addressed. They can, however, obtain a court order that the City follow CEQA. After that, maybe more people will participate in the formulation of the Mobility Plan 2045. We could start tomorrow, if the City did the smart thing and heeded Fix The City, HELP and CCLA and started over from next week. That way we could still concentrate on Mobility Plan 2035.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    Almost all of the bike lane miles have to be installed on either arterial or collector streets due to a minimum right-of-way width requirement. You don’t even seem to have a basic understanding of what a bike lane is or a cycle track and neither do the litigants HELP and CCLA.

    One of the references that the HELP CCLA lawsuit lists is an article about a study comparing the pollution levels riding in a conventional bike lane compared to a cycle track (which the Mobility Plan 2035 proposes to install with a bicycle enhanced network).

    As it states in the article:

    “exposure levels measured on the driver’s side were akin to what a person would be exposed to riding in a traditional bike lane and the exposure levels measured on the passenger side represented the exposure while riding in a cycle track.”

    “The results show “statistically significant differences” in exposure levels and a correlation between those differences in exposure with traffic levels (which were also measured). The study concluded that the parked cars did not act as the main barrier to the ultrafine particulate matter and instead they found that lower levels were due to the “increased horizontal distance from the traffic stream.”

    This study indicates a lower level of pollution for those riding a bicycle along a cycle track compared to a conventional bike lane. Which supports installing cycle tracks as a health benefit compared to conventional bike lanes.

    There is also the increased safety aspect of conventional bike lanes for bicyclists compared to no separation from motor vehicles along major streets. Cycle Tracks provide an even greater degree of separation and safety improvement for bicycle riding.

    People who ride bicycles need to get to destinations on arterial and collector streets just like everyone else.

    Arterial streets do have more pollutants due to the exhaust of motor vehicles. That means everyone who uses a motor vehicle on these streets is exposed to more pollution than driving on quiet residential streets. People who live or walk close to freeways and major streets are also exposed to more motor vehicle exhaust pollution compared to those living further away on quiet residential streets.

    Another contention of the HELP CCLA listed in the lawsuit is:

    “Mobility Plan 2035 has no evidence to support its basic premise that Los Angeles’ population will grow ten (10) times faster per year starting in 2011 than it had in the prior decade. In the decade 2000 to 2010, the US census found that The City grew by only 97,801 persons for the entire decade. MPB 2035 asserts that between 2010 and 2012, The City population increased by 105,890 persons per year.”

    It doesn’t actually state in the Mobility Plan that the population grew by 105,890 persons per year between the years 2010 and 2012.

    The Census Bureau states that the population in the city of Los Angeles in the year 2000 was 3,694,820 and that the population was 3,792,621 in the year 2010. That’s an increase in population of 97,801 in 10 years. The population in LA grew to 3,897,940 in 2013. An increase of 105,319 people (2.8%) in three years. The Mobility Plan lists the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) as predicting that the population of the city of Los Angeles will grow to 4.3 million by the year 2035. Which is a 11% growth in population starting from 2013. That’s a reasonable estimate when using the growth rate from 2010 to 2013.

    That three year growth in population from 2010 to 2013 is strong evidence that the population growth in the city of Los Angeles from 2010 through 2035 could be ten times more than it was from 2000 through 2010.

    Another frivolous lawsuit that shows, once again, that anybody can sue for any reason, regardless of its merit.

    Your encouraging people to file even more lawsuits that carry little weight or importance which would accomplish nothing beyond burdening our court system with some more worthless lawsuits.

  • SZwartz

    You still fail to comprehend the requirement of CEQA. The City has to STUDY certain things; it may not assume things.

    When the population increased by only 97,801 in the ten years between 2000 and 2010, the idea that it increased by 105,000 in the next year is ludicrous, especially in light of all the demographic studies say that the rate of population increase in California and Los Angeles has drastically slowed and there is no data from which to claim that we will experience another rapid population increase.

    The City’s claim that the population between 2010 and 2011 was ten times greater than the average annual population increase for the prior decade is not a matter which anyone can accept without the EIR’s studying the matter.

    The same with air pollution for bike lanes in thoroughfares. It is a serious health problem which people may not assume does not exist. That is why HELP placed into the administrative record studies it found from around the world including those which questioned the health risks. That is what objective, impartial people; they add the evidence whether or not it supports a predetermined view. HELP and CCLA, however, have no predetermined view for or against Bike Lanes. Their goal is that the City proceed in accordance with the law rather than produce an EIR which is a mere propaganda document.

    On the other hand, you consistently argue that the City ignore facts and adopt your views without subjecting them to any objective standards.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    The city of Los Angeles does not have to study certain things (as you say), it has to report findings and the methodology used that achieved results shown from studies.

    According to the Census Bureau the estimated population of the city of Los Angeles in 2010 was 3,792,657 and the estimated population in 2013 was 3,897,940 (also by the Census Bureau). That’s an increase of 105,283 people in three years, not one year.

    What you fail to notice is that the year 2010 was in the midst of a deep recession in the U.S. The city of Los Angeles was hit especially hard. The year 2013 is when the city of LA was recovering from the recession, hence the estimated increase in population by the Census Bureau.

    “The same with air pollution for bike lanes in thoroughfares. It is a serious health problem which people may not assume does not exist.”

    Your assumption is that that bike lanes in thoroughfares are a “serious health risk.”

    Several of the links provided in the HELP CCLA lawsuit show quite the opposite.

    One of these is a 2010 study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

    This study looked at what might occur if 500,000 people in the Netherlands used bicycles instead of cars for short daily trips. Their conclusion was that bike riders would gain three to fourteen months of life. The possible effect on mortality would mean 0.8 to 40 days lost from inhaling more air pollution and five to nine days lost from the increase in traffic collisions involving bicycle riders. The bottom line is a net increase in life expectancy for those choosing to ride a bicycle.

    The lawsuit mentions another study published in 2011 in the British Medical Journal, which looked at the effects of bike sharing on health and the environment. It found that while there could be a yearly jump of 0.13 deaths from air pollution annually compared to drivers, 12.28 deaths could be avoided each year due to the health advantages from cycling.

    Conventional bike lanes are installed where most cyclists already ride on major streets. These bike lanes reduce the number of motor vehicle involved collisions with bicyclists by the use of separation. There is a study of bike lanes in New York City that shows a reduction in bicycle collisions after the installation of bike lanes even though there was very likely a large increase in the volume of bicycling. There was also a reduction of motor vehicle involved collisions with bicyclists in the city of Los Angeles after over 200 miles of bike lanes were installed from 2011 through 2014.

    As I mentioned in my last post, there was research done by Portland State University referred to in the HELP CCLA lawsuit which studied motor vehicle emissions that were inhaled by people riding on standard bike lanes (with cars directly adjacent) compared with people riding on cycle tracks (which the city of Los Angeles has intentions on using in the Mobility Plan). The study concluded that there were lower levels of pollution where the cycle tracks would be located compared to conventional bike lanes due to the greater horizontal distance from the traffic stream.

    This lawsuit is farcical. It lists studies which show riding bicycles on a major streets have health benefits that far outweigh any negative aspects. The plaintiffs also don’t seem to grasp that using the population in the middle of a deep recession in 2010 is not indicative of the future. The Census Bureau’s estimates of the 2013 population for the city of Los Angeles indicates a growth compared to 2010 as the economy came out of the recession.

  • SZwartz

    You are so hostile that you are stumbling over yourself. The City put out data that the City had increased by over 105,000 each year. We said that number was too high. Thus, your figures agree with us 100% and disagree with the City.

    The lawsuit does not say that the City has to study data; the lawsuit says the city has to base its conclusion on correct data, and you just proved that the City’s population data is three times higher than the real data.

    If you would slow down and pay attention to what he actually said, you might find out that you agree with much of the lawsuit. Fix The City and HELP * CCLA did not make the same points.

    The Netherlands study which we also included was based on bike paths which had been drawn to avoid thoroughfares and to deliberately go through green areas. It does not support the notion that the air along Reseda Boulevard should be inhaled by cyclists.

    Don’t talk to us about bikes and traffic collisions. That is not part of our Petition.

    The rate of increase in the City population has been declining for the past three years, per the US Census. The State Department of Finance and the Sol Price School of Public Policy agree that there is no basis to think that Los Angeles will have any surge in population. We do have the more detailed population analysis from Hollywood, and it showed that the type transportation and housing which Garcetti wants to install results in people moving away from those census tracts.

    If you look at the immigration and emigration pattern for Los Angeles, you would see that Los Angeles is doing much worse than any other part of the country. We are even losing people to the southern Great Lakes region. MP 2035 is constructing a very expensive transportation system for TODs at a time when all the demographic data shows that Americans do not like TODs and when faced with the choice of a home with a yard in another part of the country or staying in Los Angeles if it means living in a City, so many people are chosing to move away from Los Angeles, that it is possible that we could start to lose population.

    You have to remember that other parts of the nation are building up their economies and people who have jobs skills can now find good jobs in other parts of the country.

    That is one problem the movie industry faces. Other places are building the infrastructure for filming and often it is ex-Angelenos who are building up those other areas for movie production.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    Where in the EIR or Mobility Plan 2035 does it state that the population of the city grew by 105,000 in one year from 2010 to 2011? You keep making that claim, but have produced no evidence to back it up.

    If the strength of this lawsuit rests on someone typing 2011 instead of 2013 in either the EIR or Mobility Plan then that’s a pretty weak argument against it. The Census Bureau estimates that the population in the city of Los Angeles grew by 2.8% from April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013 and 3.6% from April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014. That makes the prediction of SCAG of a 11% growth in population by 2035 quite reasonable.

    I have yet to find any data in either the EIR or Mobility Plan 2035 that is incorrect. I was already well aware of much of the data that is listed in both the Mobility Plan and EIR.

    The Census Bureau makes a annual survey of households. One of the questions is what mode of transportation did you use to travel to work in the previous week for the majority of days and distance. In the year 2000 traveling to work by car, truck or van was 80.4% of commute trips for workers in the city of Los Angeles. By 2013 that had shrunk to 77%. Commuting by bicycle increased from 0.6% in 2007 to 1.2% in 2013. Taking road space away from a shrinking mode share to create separate space for the growing mode share would make sense and also make it more balanced.

  • SZwartz

    If you cannot follow the Petition and the underlying data, there is no reason to waste my time. You shot from the hip without taking the time to understand the issues. Our time will be better spent on the case. The CEQA legal issues are clearly far above your ability level.

  • Joe

    Traffic in this town is so bad its almost inhabitable. Only the most selfish human being would think taking away lanes is a good idea. Literally this is a form of torture, to put you through stress in some pathetic attempt to make you ride a bike? Think road rage is bad now? How about im sick and cannot ride a bike, or disabled, or live to far, or how about not wanting to ever become a bike rider, how about the weather turns. Great lets a street that takes 45 minuets to go 1.5 miles and make it so it takes 90 minuets, lets put every single car through such hell that you will fry piston rings and destroy cooling systems, or just kill any car older than 5 years. And lets take your time, the very small amount you get in this life and lets spend it on the road. Just sitting.

  • Tyrese

    Whats more pathetic is that bikers actually think they help traffic or that somehow pissing drivers off is going to make them become bikers. If anything there will be more hate and injury due to the extreme rage they are currently in because of some ridiculous new bike lane. Sorry but whoever wants to bike is doing it already, this will bring 0 help to anyone outside of current day bikers. I still think the most horrendous part of all of this is bikers still think they help traffic, yeah because you 3 bikers really help relieve the congestion of millions of cars trying to go down a two lane road, oh wait I know what will help, lets make it one lane and give the other to the 3 bikers, this will stop traffic. Wow delusional island called, it wants its morons back.

  • Matt R

    I agree with not sitting on the fence. We need to mobilize or these pro drivers will be the only force out there. I attended Sherman Oak’s Neighborhood Council meeting on Monday and I was the only one out of 8 or 10 people who was for the plan and not one shred of evidence was discussed nor was there any semblance of rationality- everything boiled down to “Garcetti’s an idiot!”. Councilmember Ryu’s representative was clearly confused as to what a Tier 3 bike lane represented and couldn’t explain it clearly to the NC so they were left with the impression that they were taking out a car lane on Ventura. SONC also was throwing around facts that did not seem realistic about their intention of adding light rail to run down Van Nuys and one member in particular was tellign the crowd this is all a conspiracy to turn all of the city into skyscrappers. What they were following was a horrible drawn map that made no sense, a councilemember’s representative who couldn’t explain a thing with any precision, so I can’t even tell what is going on myself at this point. I called Garcetti’s office for some help and had to leave a voice mail but they never called back. I clearly said I support it and need help and… nothing.

    If we do not mobilize this will set us back.

  • SO does anyone know how the council meeting went yesterday?!?! I didn’t even find out about it until after the fact. This is so upsetting. These fuckers should be stopped! Oh wait, they probably are, as they’re probably sitting in traffic right now.


Garcetti Livable Streets Report Card Open Thread

Last week the Los Angeles Times ran an editorial evaluating Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at two years into his initial term of office. The article includes a report card, with various letter grades, including Leadership: C-, Vision: B+, and an overall grade of C. The Times’ report card does not focus on livability and transportation, but mentions […]