Monday, October 30, 2006

If These Halls Could Talk...

LOS ANGELES, CA – SoapBoxLA worked City Hall this week, advocating for completion of the Bikeways element of the Santa Monica Boulevard Transit Parkway.

Formal requests for help were presented to the City Council Transportation Committee on Wednesday, to the Transportation Commission on Thursday and to the Board of Public Works on Friday.

The message:

“The Santa Monica Boulevard Transit Parkway is the largest roadway improvement project in the City of Los Angeles. At a cost of $95 million, the SMBT Parkway sets the standard for multi-modal transportation.

The bikeway element of the Parkway is unsafe.

The bike lanes run 80% of the Parkway stopping just short of Century City, the most congested and conflicted stretch of the route.

The bike lanes include over a dozen “engineered conflict” ingress/egress points that are unsafe for cyclists.

The striping is inconsistent, creating a confusing environment for cyclists and motorists.

The signage support that could clarify any right-of-way confusion is non-existent.

The Oversight Committee just held its last meeting, there are no more community meetings scheduled, the SM Blvd office is closing next week, Mr. Ganaja (1 of 2 project mgrs.) retired last Friday and those responsible for the project are referring to it as "complete" or "almost finished."

Please intervene to ensure the completion of a safe and effective bikeway element for the Santa Monica Boulevard Transit Parkway.”

The Responses:

Transpo Committee: Wendy Greuel asked for the notes, said she would follow up. SoapBoxLA spoke to Glenn Ogura in the hallway and Gloria Jeff after the meeting. (Michelle Mowery & Michael Uyeno were there but quietly slipped out) Gloria said she would follow up. Borja Leon of the Mayor’s office also said he would follow up.

Transpo Commission: Two of the Commissioners asked questions about the striping, lane width, etc. Commissioner Frierson (retired LAPD Traffic Officer) pointed out that motorists have right-of-way when driving across the bike lane to turn right (they don’t) demonstrating the need for "Yield to Cyclist" signs "Bicycle Warning" signs. Again, I had the opportunity to speak with Gloria Jeff, this time at length, and she assured me and the commission that John Fisher would respond to my requests.

Board of Public Works: Commissioner Sickler indicated that in response to the SoapBoxLA written request of last week he had surveyed the Parkway on Wednesday and that he agreed with the points that have been raised. He indicated that he would address this with the Mayor's office and the DOT.

Board President Cynthia Ruiz is the highest ranking Native American in the Villaraigosa administration and she invited SoapBoxLA to join the Red Nation Celebration on the City Hall Terrace.

Lt. Governor ”Cruzzzz” Bustamonte, Deputy Mayor Larry Frank and San Antonio all joined Cynthia in kicking off American Indian Heritage Month.

Trekking downtown to fight City Hall can be a bit of a grind and sometimes it even seems futile. But then moments like this occur and serve to remind that this City truly belongs to the people.

The Halls are ours to walk and they are ours to work.

Ride your bike, dump some tea, celebrate!

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