“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?