Take This Plan and Shove It (LABP 18/100)

“Take this plan and shove it.  Who needs it?  Not us.”

That’s been a common refrain in backroom discussions about the proposed LA Bike Plan.  When the plan first came out there was outrage at the lateness, and frustration with the narrow comment period.  Then, as people began to dissect the plan, dismay at how short it fell in multiple categories.

I think it was when CICLE’s analysis of the proposed bike lane mileage came out that I first wondered why we should change plans.  If the proposed bike plan has less bike lane mileage by 100 miles than the current plan, why should we want it?  The old plan has richer policies, and the language is stronger.

The draft plan is the opus of Michelle Mowery, LA’s bicycle coordinator.  So is the 1996 plan, but that is the work of a younger, more ambitious Mowery.  Now Mowery treats the cycling community with open hostility.  I have to suggest then, consider the source.  Since she wrote the current plan, Mowery has overseen 15 years of bikeways and cycling safety failure in Los Angeles.  If the new, proposed plan is her baby – and all her allies in City Hall leap to defend it – do we really want more of her way of (not) getting things done.

I think it’s time to have a serious, public discussion about this.  If the final draft of the bike plan – to be released in February – doesn’t exceed the current plan, why adopt it?  The current plan is good till 2012 and, while it may seem harsh, what motivation do cyclists have to support a plan that is worse than the current?  Just because a thing is new, doesn’t necessarily mean it is better.

What do you think?

Alex Thompson

Bikerowave co-founder, Cyclists' Bill of Rights co-author, President of Bikeside, and Math Phd. HULK SMASH straight from Michigan!

5 thoughts on “Take This Plan and Shove It (LABP 18/100)

  1. With the way L.A.’s officials handle improvements and concerns with cycling infrastructure and cyclists rights, many of us are inclined to believe we’re simply on our own. Ineptly served, unjustly harassed and cited, and left to fend for ourselves, while our supposed “public service” officers default to sorry excuses like “car culture,” slippery paint and “too diverse,” a bike plan for L.A. seems to be more of a pie in the sky than something that we could look forward to as a tool for change.

  2. I agree! This plan was created by Mowery who is looking to distract not better our streets. Nothing has gotten better in the past few years except the attitude of those drivers who are now riding their bikes because they lost their house, their job and gas prices are too high for them to drive.

    No infrastructure has been proposed or even implemented in the bike capital of LA, which is East Hollywood. Nothing has been done about bikes in Downtown. Cyclists are being whacked on our streets weekly and sometimes daily and nothing is changing. Nada! Null!

    And to top that off, cyclists get badmouthed by City Councils, by Mowery, by LAPD, etc. Kryxta is right. We’re on our own.

  3. I would echo Enci’s sentiments a few weeks ago, until I really got inspired by how much more connected and effective we have become thanks to her, Stephen Box, and others who have put in the time and energy to move things forward. After all these past couple of years of pushing and organizing, we’ve finally gotten some small victories.

    I just read this letter from the LA Chamber of Commere:

    The LA Chamber of Commerce people! You ignore letter like this at the risk of your own political future. The Ciclavia and the StreetSummit being organized by the folks at Occy all give me hope.

    Of course, Enci is right about the here and now. Things suck, and I hit a wall recently – running out of hope and energy that things would ever materially change in the streets of LA. Fortunately a quick look back at where we all came from and what is coming together around cycling issues, I have high hopes for the future.

    As most of us know already, “When the people lead, the leaders will follow.”

  4. You know, I had the same moral outrage waaay back in the 1980’s.

    I once had a interesting conversation with some guy who did transportation planning for UCLA in the early 90’s. He was *very* interested in meeting a cyclist and was selling an elevated bike path connecting UCLA to San Vicente. I told the guy cyclists want to use the roads we have, not wait for more dreams. I gave making Westwood blvd. more cycling friendly as an example. He was dumbstruck. It apparently never occurred to him that the beach bike path WASN’T Shan-Gri-La.

    I always thought the cleverest plan was to hammer out better right-of-ways from cycling-active streets like San Vicente in S.M. You certainly aren’t going to get council members behind broad, poorly defined plans. The cycling stake has got to go in the ground somewhere in L.A.

    Other than that, there are more of you now than us in the 80’s, but still plenty of geniuses in powerful positions like the UCLA transportation planner who are clueless.

    Good luck.

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