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Full Comments Mayor’s Announcement of Bike Summit on August 16

Mayor's Office Press Announcement - 


Town Hall meeting is an opportunity for dialogue on enforcement,
infrastructure, and related issues.

LOS ANGELES - Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa today announced that he will convene a Bike Summit from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. on August 16, 2010 in the Board Room of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, One Gateway
Plaza, Los Angeles 90012.  The Bike Summit will provide an opportunity for cyclists to talk directly with the Mayor and representatives of key departments and agencies about improving conditions for cycling in Los Angeles.

“Let’s get together and talk about what we need to do to make the streets safer for cyclists,” said Mayor Villaraigosa.  “Whether you depend on your bike for commuting or just take it out for fun, I invite you to come to the Bike Summit to talk about your experiences and learn about what we’re doing in Los Angeles to make streets safer for everyone.”

Topics for discussion at the Summit include:  the City’s draft Bicycle Plan which would build over 1600 miles of bikeways including 200 miles in the next five years; LAPD enforcement of laws governing safe
driving and cycling; Metro’s effort to integrate cycling in the region’s rail and bus network; and other infrastructure and enforcement related topics.

Mayor Villaraigosa first announced his plans for the Bike Summit in July.

Glenn Bailey, Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee - 

I welcome Mayor Villaraigosa's efforts to make Los Angeles the world class bicycling city it can and ought to be.  Bicycles are an important part of the solution to improving this City's automobile-congested streets and degraded air quality and the health of its residents.

But the time for more "talk" has long since passed.  The Mayor needs to immediately direct all responsible City departments to do their jobs and fully implement the adopted 1996 Bicycle Plan.  They need to report at the "Bike Summit" in detail what they will be doing during the next month and the year ahead to comply with the existing plan and the pending 2010 plan requirements.  Because in the past, the Department of Transportation, as an example, has been installing peak hour lanes on the very streets the current Bicycle Plan designated for  bicycle lanes.  Needless to say, the bike lanes were never installed.

Rinaldi Street in Porter Ranch is a specific case of bureaucratic inaction:  two and half years ago*  I requested the Department of Transportation to install a gap closure of one and half miles between Tampa and Mason avenues, thereby making the Rinaldi Street bicycle lanes continuous from Laurel Canyon Boulevard on the east and De Soto Avenue on the west.  To date, not one inch of bicycle lane has been installed. 

Joe Linton -

It's great that the Mayor is taking a more active interest in bicycling. He's shown leadership on hosting CicLAvia and on setting aside 10% of the city's "local return" funding (from the Measure R transportation sales tax) for bike/ped projects... but there's still a long way to go before I would say that he's really shown leadership on bike issues, especially in comparison to mayoral leadership in New York City, San Francisco, and Long Beach. (Speaking of Long Beach, I hope that the mayor can invite his local counterparts - and learn from their experience in quickly implementing facilities both regular and experimental.)
I am glad that the mayor is scheduling the event quickly... though a weekday morning may not be optimal for attendance. Hopefully this won't be our last chance to dialogue with him about how to make L.A. truly bike-friendly.
Here are three important inexpensive projects that I plan to push the mayor to support, if I get a chance to give my input at the summit:
1. Release the Full Draft Bike Plan: The draft bike plan that the mayor's YouTube stated "the Planning Department is putting the finishing touches on" should actually be released in advance of the summit. The plan is incomplete without the listing of facilities. If it remains sloppy and non-committal, bicyclists aren't going to support it, and it's going to drag out for a long time.
2. Implement the Approved Bike Lanes in Downtown L.A.: Last year, the city approved Downtown bike lanes on 7th, 2nd/Glendale, Figueroa and Flower. These are easy, very cheap, already approved, high-visibility projects that should be implemented by the end of this year. The city is mainly implementing bike projects in the Valley lately, the mayor should work with the LADOT to implement inexpensive bike projects in population-dense places where Angelinos already ride for transportation. 
3. Visibly and Vocally get behind CicLAvia: Mayoral staff, along with LADOT and LAPD, have been very supportive of CicLAvia scheduled for 10/10/10 - another very cheap project that can be done this year! I would urge the mayor to be more vocal about his commitment to CicLAvia. It would be great if he could promote it in places like youtube, press releases, press conferences, and other media appearances - especially Spanish-language media.

Aurisha Smolarski, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition -

LACBC appreciates the Mayor's newest initiative to focus on the needs of Los Angeles cyclists. We see the Summit as a way to provide the Mayor with ideas on how to quickly create safer streets. We would like
the Mayor to walk away from from his bike summit with concrete action items and a clear commitment to directing the LADOT and other city departments to better work with and for bicyclists. Overall we hope the Summit is the first step in the Mayor taking leadership for creating a more bike-friendly Los Angeles.

Alex Thompson, Bikeside - 

The mayor was hit in the Venice Bl bike lane.  Actually, the mayor was hit in the Venice Bl bike lane while protected by his LAPD security detail.  Yet the mayor puts forward, above all, building bikeways as a solution.  If mayors with police security details are getting clobbered in bike lanes, building bikeways isn't going to do the trick.  We need education and enforcement.  We need a real educational program, and we need additional funding for LAPD enforcement activities related to cycling.  Above all, we need more walk and less talk.  Less bike talking with the mayor, more of the mayor walking into council with bike proposals.

Bikeside Press Release -

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced the date and time of his bike summit today - Monday, August 16th from 9am-11am.  The mayor's staff, renowned for the extraordinary political acrobatics, completed a triple front FAIL in organizing the bike meeting.

Failure #1: The meeting takes place during work day, making it impossible for many of the city's best bike advocates to attend.  Had the mayor's staff consulted with bike advocates ahead of time, it would have realized this.

Failure #2: The mayor's staff did not coordinate with members of the city's Bicycle Advisory Committee - the official body focused on bicycle issues in Los Angeles.  Members of this committee learned of the summit secondhand, from press.

Failure #3: The mayor's staff titled the meeting the Bike Summit, disrespecting advocates who organized two previous bike summits in Los Angeles.  More than 150 people attended each of the two previous bike summits - the Bike Summit in 2009, and the Street Summit (rebranded Bike Summit) in 2010.  The Mayor's event, early on a working day, can't compete with the real Bike Summits, so his staff have set him up for a failure.

A summit is a bringing together of the most powerful energies on an issue.  Bikeside endorses the good intentions of the Mayor and welcomes his energy and clout.  We do not endorse the process or timing of this event.  By positioning the Mayor's staff as a daytime event that, the Mayor's staff settled for third place.  The Mayor's staff sent a clear signal that convenience for city staff will continue to be a higher priority than engaging the community leaders who have been working on bike issues all along.

When the Mayor returned from Copenhagen he said "in the area of bicycling I’ve got to do a better job and the city’s got to do a better job."  Indeed.  Mr. Mayor, you may begin by moving your bike meeting to a weekday evening, coordinating with existing leadership, and choosing another name.

For interviews or questions, contact Alex Thompson, President of Bikeside LA, at 323 620 8985 or