WIN! Jane Blumenfeld, who I recently criticized, wrote activists today to tell us the public comment period has been reinstated and extended to January 8th:
City staff will take comments on the draft Bicycle Plan (which can be read on line at labikeplan.org) until January 8th, 2010.
YEEEHAWWW! Thank you Jane for doing the right thing by protecting the need of the public to work with the city to discuss our concerns.
When the Bike Plan was released, I read the release memo and saw that we were only given 42 days for public input. Rather than opening the plan, and ripping through the plan in a panic to produce my comments, I immediately blogged about the unreasonable public comment deadline. Bike Girl wrote a great post about it simultaneously. Soon the whole Bike Writers Collective was enjoined in fighting for a lengthy and fair public comment period.
We did that because process counts. Ultimately, negotiating content and commitment for the Bike Plan will determine how it impacts cyclists, and more broadly, citizens. But the process determines how it is negotiated, and therefore sets the limit on changes. With an extension of the public comment period, we now have the opportunity to give a more intelligent and solution oriented critique of the proposed plan.
Blumenfeld did more than extend the deadline. In her email she outlined and explained the process for consideration of the proposed bike plan, something that no one has done till now:
After January 8th, staff will begin to prepare a revised Plan (including the maps) based on all of the input that has been received through the website, at workshops, in letters, e-mails, and on comment cards. We anticipate releasing a staff report and a revised Draft Bicycle Plan in February 2010 and giving all interested parties two months to review the revised plan. We will then hold 2 public hearings on behalf of the City Planning Commission (one in the Valley and one near downtown) to hear your comments on the revised Plan.
Following the 2 hearings, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting in the spring to act on the revised plan. Staff will provide the Commission with information about the comments made at the two public hearings and any additional proposed modifications based on input received.
Following the City Planning Commission’s action, two City Council committees will act on the City Planning Commission’s recommendation for the Bicycle Plan: the Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) and the Transportation Committee. Their recommendations will then be considered by the full City Council.
- Comments will be received until January 8th
- Final draft released in February
- Two months of review
- Two public hearings at the City Planning Commission
- PLUM Committee and Transportation Committee consider the plan
This summary by Blumenfeld is greatly appreciated. Till now I hadn’t met anyone who had a clear idea of how the process would work once the final draft was finished. Now we understand it.
How did the deadline get extended after it had passed? Well, I don’t really know yet. I do know that collectively the bike community brought a ton of heat on this issue, with a lot of help from our friends. I blogged about it – , , , , , ,  – and Stephen wrote about it – , , , , , , and just now,  – Bike Girl [CRUSH], BikingInLA [SWOOP] [BLAM], Josef Bray Ali [WiN], Mikey Wally [SMASH], Matt Ruscigno [BOOM], Jeremy Grant [!!!], and many others. The Mar Vista CC, Bicycle Advisory Committee, Silver Lake NC, Mid City West NC, Valley Alliance of NCs, NC Action Summitt, CD11 Transportation Committee, Palm NC, East Hollywood NC weighed in demanding an extension, and the LACBC even threw in some emails. Glenn Bailey, Joe Linton, and a few friends in City Hall, among others had tremendous impact behind the scenes. (sorry if I missed anybody.)
Which is to say, a lot of heat was brought, and somewhere a crack was found, and the bike community was heard and respected.
We’ve got time to work on this now. Let’s Make It HAPPEN!