Northeast LA Kicks Off the Four Corners Campaign and a Fight for Bike CorralsFebruary 12, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 9 Comments
Last Tuesday, on what had to be one of the coldest nights of the year, a group of residents, small business owners, families, students, and bicyclists from Northeast LA (NELA) came together at Cafe De Leche in Highland Park with CICLE‘s NELA campaign to make the northeast a better place to live and bike.
Since November of last year, CICLE has been working hard to organize bicyclists in Northeast LA, and last Tuesday saw this year’s first manifestation of that project. Organized with help from Ramon Martinez of the LACBC, the meeting was the culmination of months of conversation, years of sporadic political stirrings and do-it-yourself spurts, all mixed in with that special something identifiable in Northeast LA for as long as anyone can remember.
The northeast is a special little section of the City of Los Angeles, more or less bordered by the 134 freeway to the north, the 110 on the east, the 5 freeway to the south, and the 2 freeway on the west. What was once a place crossed by intercity trolley lines and noted for its natural beauty is now an area defined by freeways and eight lane boulevards. Nonetheless, the northeast still retains enough geographic cohesiveness and neighborhood diversity to make it one of the most promising areas for LA’s growing bicycle and livable streets movement.
After brief introductions amongst a diverse group—gathered not just for an issue but also because of geography—and the requisite catharsis seen at every gathering associated with bicycles, the group quickly got down to business. Ideas were thrown around and cases were made. A list was jotted and a straw poll was taken. One short term goal and another of longer terms floated to the top, and finally the decision was made:
- In the short run, the NELA campaign will be pursuing a Bike Corral Pilot Project in front of Cafe de Leche on York Blvd, just east of Ave 50. Matt Schodorf, who owns and runs Cafe de Leche, has been a big supporter of bicycles and last helped LACBC by donating coffee for our Car-Free Friday holiday morning ride. But Matt went above and beyond last September when he pushed his Councilmember, CD 14’s Jose Huizar, to make a City Council motion for a Bike Corral Pilot Project. Inspired by Stumptown Coffee in Portland, OR and their world famous bike corral, Matt’s vision has now convinced the northeast group to push for the Bike Corral Motion. The first step is to get the motion heard by the Transportation Committee, then to a full City Council vote where we’ll push hard to get it passed and finally implemented by the LADOT.
- In the long term, the group has decided to pursue the “four corners of the northeast,” the four large streets that form a square in the heart of NELA—York Blvd, Eagle Rock, Colorado, and Figueroa St. While ideas are still many and hopes still big, the goal here is to create more bikeable streets through the implementation of things like bright and physically separated bike lanes, bike boulevards, sharrows, and an interconnected network of inter-neighborhood, Pan-NELA bike facilities.
Last night’s meeting was amazing and the turnout incredible, and we plan to continue working with as many members of the community to make this effort as inclusive and all encompassing as possible. So what can you do to help?
Join CICLE’s NELA Campaign Facebook page or Google Group to stay up on the latest. We plan to hold another sit down meeting in the next month, and in the coming weeks we’re set on hitting the streets to scope out where and how we envision transforming NELA into a biker’s paradise.
In the meantime there’s plenty you can do. Read up on bike corrals and dedicated bike lanes and begin spreading the ideas to your friends and family; get them excited about the concepts and familiar with how they work. This being LA, a lot of innovative bike facilities are still not completely understood, so we’re gonna need some thoughtful ambassadors to pitch in. Also, if you’re already riding in the northeast, or if you’ve got some time to make a trip into the neighborhood, start keeping an eye out for locations that can accommodate bicycle improvements. Begin looking at places where wide shoulder lanes have enough room to fit a bike lane. Or imagine the calmer, flat neighborhood streets that fill the gaps in your trip as bike boulevards.
At the beginning of 2010, with a campaign like this already kicking off, smart money is on an exciting year for bicyclists in the northeast and together across Los Angeles.