Friday, July 04, 2008

BWC Picks up 2nd Cyclists' Bill of Rights Endorsement from Silver Lake NC

Stephen (BWC,) Enci (BWC,) Alfredo, Elson, Alex (BWC,) Erik (BWC,) Colin, Mark (BWC) and Michael

The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council became the 2nd NC to endorse the Cyclists' Bill of Rights as presented by the members of the Bike Writers Collective and a delegation from the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council. EHNC was the 1st NC to endorse the CBR and they have demonstrated themselves to be leaders among the NC's in fighting to make our communities great, not just for cyclists but for all modes.

Alexis and Erik

As usual, the ride started at REDquarters, the Redline station at Santa Monica & Vermont, this time only traveling a short distance to the SLNC Board Meeting at the Micheltorena Elementary School Auditorium where Alexis and Erik of the SLNC Transportation Committee stood by with motion in hand for 1) a resurfacing project in Silver Lake and 2) the endorsement of the Cyclists Bill of Rights.

Elson took to podium saying "I know SLNC has a reputation for being a progressive NC, so this president of the 1st NC to adopt the CBR hopes to see you become #2 tonight!" He also pointed out that the CBR has no official authority but just like the 232 year old document that we will be busy celebrating on July 4th, it takes time to grow and establish awareness - so we're doing it one community at a time.

Alex, co-author of the CBR, urged the SLNC Board to affirm to cyclists who live here, work here and travel through the neighborhood that the NC cares about them and wants to engage them in the Silver Lake community. Alex's photoset of the evening.

Enci spoke of her experiences riding the streets of Los Angeles, both good and bad, and urged the Board to endorse the CBR as a starting point in stirring neighborhood discussions of equality, shared space and a spirit of community, all of which will ensure that LA is a great place to ride.

Erik spoke of the need for equality, pointing out that on the ride over to the meeting, he passed a long rubber hose stretched across the street, used to measure the number of vehicles that pass through our streets. "But they don't count cyclists. In fact they don't count seniors walking to the store, they don't count children walking to school and they don't count the many people on a bus, simply the bus."

There's something wrong when we don't measure the effectiveness of our streets on the people who use them but simply on the number of vehicles. When it's all said and done, the CBR is about equality. We count!

The Board then discussed the CBR, asking if this was the Bill of Rights or the Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. Common question, simple answer. The Bill of Rights, just like the Bill of Rights for the United States, is a simple list of basic human rights, and addresses the issues and elements that are basic human rights, civil rights and which serve to support an environment of equality. You're not opposed to equality, are you?

Spencer Strauss had a bit of difficulty with item #8 and item #9 and ultimately voted against the CBR.

#8) Cyclists have the right to be actively engaged as a constituent group in the organization and administration of our communities. (apparently he doesn't have a AAA card, a Union Card or belong to any group that acts to represent its membership. Even the SLNC Board has fellow Boardmembers who qualify for their At-Large seats based on a variety of interests in the community)

#9) Cyclists have the right to full access for themselves and their bicycles on all mass transit with no limitations. (Spencer was concerned about the future. What if lots of people start taking the Metro and we reach capacity and it's full and everyone wants to ride a bike. - Wow! Is that a problem or a solution? Meanwhile, City Council President Eric Garcetti has just introduced a motion urging the Metro to remove its ban on rush hour access for bicycles. Spencer has his elbow firmly on the pulse!)

After Spencer spoke, other Board members spoke up affirmatively and firmly. "Cyclists deserve the full support of the Law!" said Gale Jaffe. Elizabeth Bougart-Sharkov said "This is the way to urge the City to encourage pedestrians and cyclists and to improve our community. I support it!" Bea Gold cut to the chase saying "We need to do anything we can. I'm in favor."

And so it passed, 16 to 1, with Boardmember Michael Ray Menjivar joining the group in the hallway, asking about the next NC ride and prompting a few cries of "One of Us!, One of Us!"

Stakeholder Norman Chramoff, an elderly gentleman who had arrived on foot, joined the cyclists in the hallway saying "I think we should all be riding bikes! It would make it safer for all of us! Thank you! What you're doing is great!

As the Board continued with its business, the group broke up, some riding to Tren Way, some riding to Scoops and some to Pure Luck.

As for next steps, on Thursday, July 10th, @ 6pm, we meet at REDquarters and ride to the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council for the 3rd NC endorsement.

See you on the Streets!


Shay and Liz said...

Congrats you guys! That's awesome!

Anonymous said...

Why not the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council?