Today’s post, in which I don’t criticize LADOT. Much.

September 27, 2009

Maybe you missed the cycling community’s response to the release of the full draft of LADOT’s proposed new bike plan.

Yeah, me too.

Aside from a minor pissing match in which Green LA Girl, L.A.’s meiststress of all things ecological, called out Dr. Alex and Bike Girl for their damnable negativity, the plan landed with an overwhelming thud.

It’s not that we’re not interested. As Mikey Wally, who recently completed a coast-to-coast ride of his own points out, most L.A. cyclists are keenly aware of the appalling lack of infrastructure in this city. As well as the risks we take in merely trying to get from here to there on two wheels.

It’s just that A) we weren’t expecting it, considering that it was already six months overdue, and comes months after the much-maligned map that introduced the phrase “currently infeasible” to the local cycling vocabulary; and B) at 212 pages plus appendices, we have no idea what to think about it yet.

It’s going to take a lot more than a single weekend to make heads or tails out of this. And that’s exactly the point Bike Girl and Alex were trying to make.

LADOT’s current timeline gives cyclists and any other interested parties a mere seven weeks from the release of the plan to read, digest and analyze all 212 pages plus appendices, form a considered opinion, and convey that opinion in a reasoned and effective manner. Even less, considering that the first public meeting is scheduled for less than one month from today.

Or we could just do what we usually do, and base our opinions on previous experience. In which case we’d already be readying the torches and pitchforks.

Personally, I think giving us sufficient time to respond is a better option.

But hey, that’s just me.

Then there’s the fact that only four public meetings have been scheduled in a city of nearly 4 million people — which works out to just under 1 million people per meeting.

I hope they’ve reserved a big room.

Then again, they may have considered that. In what could only be read as an attempt to limit public participation, three of the four meetings have been scheduled to begin at 5p — an hour when much of the city is just starting to get off work.

Anyone interested in attending would have to make their way across the city through rush hour traffic to get to the meeting site. And as anyone who has ever attempted it can attest, in riding at rush hour is a contact sport in this city.

And it takes a very, very long time.

The irony here is that if the city had good cycling infrastructure — based on an effective bicycle master plan, of course — there might be more bikes, and fewer cars, on the streets. Which would make it a lot easier to get to one of those meetings.

Another problem is that there are no meetings scheduled in Downtown or East L.A. — despite their large cycling populations, including many for whom a bike is their primary means of transportation. And as Alex points out, the current timeline effectively prohibits any input from any of the city’s 89 Neighborhood Councils, as well.

In fact, a cynical person might suspect that LADOT anticipated a negative response to this plan, and scheduled the number, time and location of these meetings — as well as the short deadline for comments — in a deliberate attempt to limit public input.

Fortunately, I’m not a cynical person, so that never occurred to me.

So I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. And ascribe the inadequate public schedule to a well-intentioned, if ill-advised, desire to keep the process from falling any further behind.

However, I will take the advice offered by Alex:

Email West LA Councilman and City Council Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl and express displeasure with this situation – Councilman.Rosendahl@lacity.org.  I recommend asking for amendment of the deadline to January 4th, 2010.

In fact, I’ll take it one further, and suggest that everyone email their own council member, as well. And demand more time for an effective, reasoned — and reasonable — response.

Meanwhile, I’m marking my calendar for the West L.A. meeting on October 28. And I hope to see a room filled with informed and passionate cyclists.

Torches and pitchforks optional.

No one knows the streets of this city better than the people who ride them. So take a look at the plan, particularly as it affects the areas you ride. And if you have any comments you want to offer, feel free to email me at bikinginla at hotmail dot com.

……..

Dave Moulton suggests that a more positive attitude can result in a more positive cycling experience. The four most common causes of single bike crashes; not listed is a Connecticut bridge that has repeatedly taken out unsuspecting riders. Columbia, MO’s mayor sets out to set the standard for cycling cities. For once, police offer advice for safe cycling that focuses on drivers as well as cyclists. A Philly reporter asks if cyclists have been given too much of the road, while the St. Louis Post-Dispatch demonstrates just how low journalistic standards have fallen. Tampa Bay cyclists want sharrows. An Indian man is injured in a bike-on-bike collision, then disappears from the hospital without a trace. London cyclists are give the green light to ride the wrong way. After being bitten while riding on the Scottish moors, will Town Mouse transform into a werejackrussel on the next full moon? Finally, thanks to reader TricksterNZ for calling attention to a bad weekend in New Zealand in which two riders were killed — including one in which a driver went through a stop into a group of passing cyclists. As usual, the comments blame the victims.


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