The Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) unanimously voted tonight to demand that the deadline for public input on the Los Angeles Bike Master Plan (LABMP), November 6th, be extended to January 8th. With the support of the BAC, the only official body representing cyclists in the city, the campaign for sufficient time is looking better.
The BAC, which is made up of 15 council appointees and 4 mayoral appointees, quickly dispensed with routine business under the management of chairman Glenn Bailey, and proceeded to discussion of the merits of the draft LABMP. Since there wasn’t enough time for a large discussion, after a presentation of the plan by Jordann Turner (Planning Dept) the BAC gave each member 3 minutes to comment on the plan. A variety of good critiques were offered, but by the time the committee was halfway through commenting, the common theme was injustice of the looming deadline.
Most committee members expressed frustration at being forced to scramble to digest a plan in 42 days after the plan arrived 6 months late. Not only did most members express a need for more time, but many emphatically. Even arranging a special meeting of the Planning and Bikeways subcommittees to comment on the LABMP was complicated by the tight deadline.
After Joe Linton (BAC, Council District 13) pressed Michelle Mowery (LADOT) and Helene Bibas (Planning) on the weakening of the language from the old plan, Glenn Bailey added some spicy mustard to the call for a deadline extension. Glenn spoke passionately from his position as BAC Chair and as an active participant in the Neigborhood Council system about the problems with the deadline.
Next up, the public hammered on the same issue – first I used up my 2 minute comment on it, and then a succession of speakers including Aurisha Smolarski, Mark Peterson, Stephen Box, Richard Busby, Roadblock, and Enci Box (sorry if I missed anyone) all touched the issue, sometimes in passing, and sometimes with a sledgehammer. Of course, Stephen Box killed it. And so when public comment ended, Jonathan Weiss (BAC, Council District 5) quickly made a motion to demand that the public comment period be extended to Friday, January 8th. It was seconded by three committee members, but perhaps Joe Linton had the fastest hand. And it passed unanimously with, perhaps, one abstention by Donald Rosenberg (BAC, CD 12), who appeared to be asleep.
What now? We need to keep hammering this issue until we get an official change of the deadline. After the motion passed, Bibas, who had represented Planning authoritatively throughout the meeting, was quick to mention that she did not have the authority to make the decision, and that it was up to management. That could be the honest truth, or it could be a dodge. Regardless, let’s all send a short email to Rosendahl (Councilman for District 11, Chair of the Transportation Committee), Reyes (Councilman for District 1, Chair of the Planning Committee), and Jordann Turner, requesting an extension of the deadline. You might also CC your councilperson while you’re at it.
Here’s the emails – firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org – and here’s the letter I’m sending:
Dear Councilman Rosendahl and Councilman Reyes,
I’m writing to request that you officially extend the deadline for public input on the Los Angeles Bike Master Plan from November 6th to January 8th. The plan was released on September 25th, which leaves only 42 days for public input. This makes impossible, or extremely difficult for many bodies to participate in forming the plan, and as you know, this undermines public support for the plan’s proposals. Moreover, it violates the terms being drafted for the LADOT Memorandum of Understanding with the Neighborhood Councils, which specifies a minimum of 60 days notice. The Bureau of Street Services is offering the public 120 days of public input on sidewalk repair program – surely we can have 90 days for cyclists!