Saturday, August 23, 2008

CityWatchLA - Bicycle Plan Advice for the Advocate

CityWatch, Aug 22, 2008
Vol 6 Issue 70

The Feedback Cycle
By Stephen Box

Feedback, both pro and con, is great. Especially if it leads to a discussion, a dialogue, a conversation that gets the issues out and into the public arena where they belong.

My CityWatch article on LA's Bike Plan stirred some great feedback, some of which I'd like to share with you.
  • "C" … cut right to the chase and offered up "Bulls---!" as his simple and succinct response to my claim that "The Bicycle Plan has the potential to be a significant and powerful document, full of vision and promise and hope."
  • "JL" … went to the other extreme and offered a lengthy response, agreeing with the main points: "1) the LA City Bicycle Master has flaws, 2) LA City’s pursuit of state bicycle funding (BTA – Bicycle Transportation Account) has been flawed, and 3) the massive-multi-million-dollar infrastructure approach to bike lanes on Fletcher Drive is very deeply flawed…" and then defending LA's Bike Plan by claiming "the bike plan has resulted in the meager numbers of bike lanes that we do have on LA City streets. We wouldn’t have the bike lanes on Silver Lake Boulevard, Griffith Park Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard and Venice Boulevard had we not had them in the plan, and had not advocates (in those cases, the LACBC circa 1998-2002) fought for them."
  • "LL" … was concerned about the Bikeways improvements in the area and the impact on the community, especially if it was going to impact parking for the businesses on the Atwater Village side of the Fletcher Bridge. He was also confused by the BTA funding and was under the impression that the bridge was due for seismic retrofitting but that it was funded by Prop G money. Of greatest concern to him was the simple fact that so much was going on in the neighborhood, but without his knowledge. "LL" is active in the community, owns a business within sight of the bridge and is of the opinion that the community should be involved in decisions that affect the neighborhood.
  • "OF" … had questions but never revealed his opinion on the issues, simply concluding our email exchange with words of encouragement. "I'm enjoying reading many of your recent City Watch pieces. I hope you're having fun writing them."
  • "RM" … clarified the funding issue by asking "Didn't you realize that the Fletcher Bridge is 40 miles long? That's why its Bike Lane markings cost $7 M." He offered that the price would be even higher if Leonardo Da Vinci where still alive to work as a subcontractor, painting stripes for the City of LA.
I still haven't heard from "GO," a Traffic Engineer who took me to task last week for my position on public participation in the “science” of transportation. Last week he wrote "While I may agree that the methodology of the existing system could be improved it is not something to leave to a local plebiscite." Of course, the week isn't yet over!

(Stephen Box is a cyclist activist and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at:

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