Time is running out to get a better bike plan

By Rach Stevenson

In less than a week the public hearings for the 2010 Los Angeles bike plan will be finished.  The bad news?  One of them is already over.  The good news?  There are four left!  This is your opportunity to ask the people responsible for choosing the streets in the bike plan why your desired streets aren’t included, your time to get your opinion officially on the record, and, best of all, your chance to review the bike plan maps on big posters instead of trying to zoom into a PDF on your computer screen.

Time is running out for cyclists to comment on the 2010 Los Angeles bike plan

The first meeting took place in Hollywood on Saturday.  A group of cyclists spent an hour looking over large maps of the various networks of bikeways that should result from the plan.  Two hours of public comment saw the cyclists give their input, which ranged from identifying gaps within the proposed networks to requesting connectivity with adjacent cities to prioritizing bikeways on streets in low-income neighborhoods.

Additionally, specific details on implementation timescales were commonly requested.  If you look carefully at the maps at the public hearing you’ll notice that the name of one map has changed from “Implementation Strategy” to “Expenditure Plan”.  It’s the map that shows the first 5 years of bikeways – those that are the highest priority for LADOT.  So what’s with the name change?  The timeline on the map does not describe when the bikeways will be created, simply when funding for those bikeways will be obtained.  So the name change is appropriate but where is the timeline specifying when each bikeway will be completed?  Short answer: there isn’t one.

Another recurring request was for accountability from LADOT.  Several people noted that failure at the implentation stage was what led to the creation of only 50% of the bikeways in the 1996 Los Angeles bike plan.   There were calls for collaboration between LADOT and  bicycling advocates to ensure the bike plan stays on track, as well as quarterly public meetings with LADOT representatives.  Currently there are no plans to provide public updates on the status of the bike plan.

Concerned about the lack of an implementation timeline or accountability once these hearings end?  Concerned about something else?  Just want to see some big maps?  Then get yourself out to one of the upcoming meetings before it’s too late.

Remaining Bike Plan Public Hearings:

Wednesday, September 29, 11:30am-1:30pm. Webinar Public Hearing. Check website for details.

Wednesday, September 29, 5pm-8pm. Felicia Mahood Senior Center, 11338 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

Thursday, September 30, 5pm-8pm. Constituent Service Center, 8475 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90044

Saturday, October 2, 10am-1pm. Braude Constituent Service Center, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd, Room 1B, Van Nuys, CA 91401

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3 Responses to “Time is running out to get a better bike plan”

  1. Thanks for the insightful write-up. Another open question (aside from the implementation schedule) is how the neighborhoods can move priority projects forward on their own. It’s not just the big-ticket items of course; there are also ancillary improvements – like racks and other facilities – that can be made which will complement the bike plan’s bigger focus.

    So let’s not forget the community plans that are an opportunity to put bike planning on the neighborhood agenda too. There are 35 community plans that are long outdated but ready for an update. The Planning department has indicated an openness to working with communities for incremental updates to those plans, which could be a novel approach to bringing them up to date – and bringing cycling onto the local plate.

    Last adopted about twenty years ago (!) these plans are policy documents that predate the latest thinking about moving people around. Advocates, working with neighborhoods and their councils, can move the ball on a long-awaited policy reorientation from the neighborhood up.

    So we need not look only to DOT and Planning for leadership. With a (draft) plan soon to be adopted, neighborhoods can carry the ball forward locally, and advocates working with them can play a supportive for grassroots transportation change.

  2. Great write up Rach. We’ll be at the Van Nuys meeting, if anyone’s interested.

    @Plebis Power – You don’t even have to wait for a community plan to be adopted to get new bike racks! Businesses who want a bike rack in front of their store can request them here: http://www.bicyclela.org/RackRequest.htm We’re putting together a schedule that will allow us to install about 100 new racks a month for the rest of the year. We do have a little bit of a back-log right now, but it should be cleared up shortly.

  3. Regarding accountability, the bike plan has no goals for percentage of cyclists increased, traffic casualties reduced, carbon pollution prevented, noise reduced, etc.

    There are no reporting schedule for data that is routinely collected. There is no analytic method being proposed to keep this plan, and city staff, honest other than brute force political pressure.

    This is a stupid way to do things.

    The enlightenment happened quite a while ago. You’d think that measurable goals would be a signpost of any government plan in the developed world. Not in L.A. We don’t even publish regular reports on casualty counts from traffic crashes.

    We need goals. 5% more people counted using bikes in 2012 than in 2010. 50% fewer casualties by 2013. And so on and so forth.

    Finally, this plan needs proper environmental review for the “proposed but not feasible”, “needs further study”, bike facilities to actually get laid down. Removing a car lane on a street is not such a political calamity, if done properly. Most local residents would salute a properly narrowed roadway. It is the culture in the LADOT that refuses to narrow lanes. It is the culture in the LADOT that prevented an EIR from being done at the outset of this process.

    Their myopia has, and will continue, to cost us all: we lose money to cities with friendlier streets, we lose lives in crashes, we lose our civil society due to poor street design, we lose connections with neighbors due to high volume auto traffic. Who gains? A bunch of car dealers, sprawl builders, and the all-star team of road designers at the LADOT?

    Cripes, I thought they worked for us.

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