Waaaay back on December 9th, Councilman (CD11) Bill Rosendahl asked 12 tough questions of city staff – Michelle Mowery, Jordann Turner, and Jane Blumenfeld (who is E-RIPping) – about the proposed LA Bike Plan. I think the responses to the these questions are telling, so I clipped out the section and you can listen to it below, or download it here.
After the comment deadline on the Bike Plan passed without council attention, many called attention to the failure of Councilman Bill Rosendahl to pick up the issue. I’m glad that Rosendahl has re-engaged on the Bike Plan. After talking with him in December, Bill invited Stephen Box and I to submit a series of questions, which he would pose to LADOT & Planning staff responsible for the bike plan. These questions are the questions we submitted, and staff received them a day ahead of time, so they would be prepared to answer them.
I appreciate Rosendahl’s willingness to ask some hard questions, particularly in a LA culture where city staff are often treated too gently. By asking those questions, Rosendahl helped to expose a possible prejudice of Michelle Mowery’s, and put staff on the record on important issues. Here’s the 12 questions:
1. From the “scope of work”, to the contract, to the selection of the consultants, to the supervision of the consultants, to the final development and presentation of the Draft Bike Plan, who is in charge and who is responsible for the Draft Bike Plan?
2. How was the drafting of the proposed plan funded? Who pays the consultants and the staff for the development of the Draft Bike Plan and where do the funds come from? What is the mandate for these funds and what is the accountability?
3. The proposed Bike Plan plans to add how many miles of Bike Lanes to the Streets of Los Angeles?
4. In what ways does this proposed plan propose improve safety conditions for cyclists as they travel to schools, employment centers, transit hubs, social and entertainment attractions? How does this Draft Bike Plan get cyclists where they need to go?
5. The current plan is good until the end of 2012 – what’s the motivation for replacing the current plan with the proposed plan?
6. How does the proposed plan differ from the plan that Alta delivered to the city?
7. Regarding the current plan and the proposed plan – what metrics measure the difference between the two? Will we use the Bikeway Quality Index (BQI) and the Cycle Zone Analysis (CZA) that our consultant, Alta Planning, uses in Portland?
8. Currently bikeways stop and start and don’t connect to one another. What are the projected cost and timeline estimates for the development of a Bikeway Network that connects our city?
9. Alta Planning is reportedly one of the finest consulting groups in the world for bike planning. How is it that the City of Los Angeles kicked off the Draft Bike Plan process with Alta but did not incorporate the robust Bike Plan process that Portland used/is using to develop their own Bike Plan? For example in Portland Alta maintained eleven working groups, and they used community bike rides to engage and survey.
10. The CA Supreme Court supported the City of Los Angeles will not assuming liability for cyclist injuries due to unsafe bike paths on the LA River and Ballona Creek. Does the plan address this? Why would the City of LA continue to build bike paths that shirk responsibility for protecting cyclists, resulting in a “ride at your own risk” bikeway that offers less legal protection than if the cyclist were on the street?
11. Chapter Three of the Draft Bike Plan addresses off-road cycling, currently prohibited/restricted in the City of Los Angeles. Given that the initial recommendation to study this topic appeared in the 1996 Bike Plan and that the topic was addressed by the Department of Rec and Parks in their assessment study last year, why would the LADOT and the Department of Planning continue to address a Rec & Parks issue in a Planning document? Is the Department of Rec & Parks involved in the development of Chapter Three?
12. This plan is an element of the Transportation Plan, so what is the motivation for including off-road cycling, which is primarily recreational, within the plan?
The full audio of the meeting is available here.