Sharrows Finally On The Streets of LA!

June 11, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Posted in Bike News | 13 Comments
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Sharrows are finally on the ground in Los Angeles, photo; facebook/lacbc

This morning we watched the installation of the City of Los Angeles’ first Sharrows, painted on Fountain Ave. in East Hollywood where City Council President and sharrows champion Eric Garcetti’s 13th district is located.  For LACBC this marks a very important victory and we’re hoping today will be turning point for Los Angeles.  Sharrows have been used in cities all across the U.S., in Canada and even in Australia. Los Angeles however had still not seen a single official shared lane marking.  But today we can say that LA has sharrows and they are here to stay. We’ve got videos and photos from this morning’s painting that we will be posting later today.

We would like to thank Council President Eric Garcetti for his leadership and help pushing through the effort to see sharrows on Los Angeles’ streets. We would also like to thank Mayor Villaraigosa for his support and help in solidifying funding from SCAG, ensuring that this project could actually happen. Thank you to the the David Bohnett Foundation for funding LACBC’s portion of the tasks and to LADOT for finally getting paint on the ground.

There are 5 more locations where DOT will be painting sharrows in the coming weeks, so look forward to more sharrows news. LACBC will be finalizing the sharrows pilot project through the summer and early fall, and will continue to work to identify streets that can benefit from sharrows as they become a standard part of the toolbox used to make this city a better place to bike.

Mayor Villaraigosa’s Response to LAPD’s Brutality Against Bicyclists

June 7, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Posted in Bike News | 7 Comments
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Last Friday, we composed a letter to Mayor Villaraigosa and delivered it in person to his office. We called for him to show leadership on the city of Los Angeles’ response to  LAPD brutality caught on video at the May 28 Critical Mass bike ride. What follows is the Mayor’s brief response to our letter, which he asked us to post on our blog:

Bicyclists have every right to use our City streets and to be treated with courtesy and respect—both by drivers and law enforcement.

I fully support LAPD Chief Charlie Beck’s efforts to improve the relationship between cyclists and police officers, and I was very   disappointed  to hear about the confrontation in Hollywood on May 28.

The video from that night is disturbing. The LAPD is conducting a full investigation of this incident, and I have complete confidence in Chief Beck’s commitment to making the City’s streets safe for everyone.

—Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

We invite you to post your comments about this alarming incident, and how you think that the mayor and the city should respond.

MOVE LA Serious About 30/10, Though Questions Still Remain for Bicyclists

April 30, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Posted in Bike News | 2 Comments
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Yesterday, we attended the star studded (at least in our universe) MOVE LA Transportation Conversation II conference, which gave the broad coalition of supporters behind mastermind Denny Zane’s Measure R campaign a chance to speak about developments in the Measure R undertaking and the acceleration concept  known colloquially as “30/10.”

Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator Ramon Martinez, with Mayor Antonio Vilaraigosa at the MOVE LA Transportation Conversation II, photo: Ramon Martinez

A quick look at the day’s lineup shows just how many people, and just what kind, are interested in this conversation. Two great articles by Joel Epstein at the Huffington Post and Gloria Ohland at Streetsblog LA have already gone up this morning, so we’ll let them do the recapping of the event.

We did miraculously end up sitting right next to Mayor Villaraigosa and used the chance to pounce on him about bicycles. The Mayor immediately asked why he was unable to open a street like Wilshire to bikes and pedestrians, and we reminded him of the CicLAvia campaign his office has been working on.

But we also said that if he seriously puts his weight behind such an idea, and gives the directive to LADOT and other city departments to get in line, the bike community would most likely mobilize en masse to support him. He then turned to his staff and said “no more excuses, let’s get this thing done,” to which, in the hallway following up with staff, they all said it wasn’t going to be that easy. So while the Mayor’s people have clearly been ground down by the planetary churnings of the LADOT, Villaraigosa himself seems to be aware of the hurdles and determined to do something about it.

Though what was most lacking through the entire morning session was any talk of bicycles in the Measure R and 30/10 vision. There were some notable speakers who mentioned putting an end to the enormous parking structures we build at every light rail station (Councilmember John Fasana, of Duarte), or beginning to image Measure R projects as part of rebuilding walkable, livable communities (David Grannis, Planning Company Associates). But not a single mention of bicycles! So we took the opportunity to point out this lacking transportation mode and to get every single person in the room to say the word out loud; “BICYCLES!” rang the chorus of developers and politicians, surprisingly loud.

But in all seriousness, big questions remain on the path to making Measure R not just a reality, but a success. Whether or not we will continue to build transit projects in this region that are retarded from the outset by the park and ride malaise, or instead come up with more effective measures like car sharing, parking buy out, and the thorough implementation of bicycle infrastructure, will determine the Measure R projects to be truly transformational for our region, or just another half-baked idea to ween Los Angeles off of the car.

Next week we will be talking about a project we’ve been putting the feelers out on. The Gold Line Foothill Extension is the first light rail project to be funded with Measure R funds, but if one were to look at the conceptual designs for station stops posted on the Construction Authority’s website, you’d find hundreds of parking spaces being built for every single station–even though the stations are already surrounded by seas of parking!

So while we are undeniably thankful to Denny Zane, Joe Cincotti and the rest of the MOVE LA crew for being so good to us at yesterday’s event, we can’t help but wonder when the real heavy lifting, of assuring this entire effort will truly be successful in reshaping our region, will occur? The bicycling community is ready, willing, and already neck deep in it. Will the coalition of labor, business, and transit folks help us wade through the muck and finally make it into the clear?

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